July 6, 2022

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Ukraine says Russian forces have retreated in a major city in the east of the country

Ukraine says Russian forces have retreated in a major city in the east of the country

  • Ukraine says Russian forces have retreated in Severodonetsk
  • The UK says Russian air activity is high over the Donbass region
  • Macron says it is important not to humiliate Russia

Kyiv (Reuters) – Kyiv said on Saturday it was pushing Russian forces back in Severodonetsk, as fighting intensified around the industrial city that was the focus of a Russian offensive to seize control of the eastern Donbass region.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk region, said Russian forces had suffered severe defeats, and were blowing up bridges across the Seversky Donets River to prevent Ukraine from bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in Severodonetsk. Read more

“At the moment, our soldiers have pushed them to retreat, they (the Russians) are suffering heavy losses,” Geday said in a live television broadcast on Saturday.

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“The Russian army, as we understand, is making all its efforts and all its reserves in the direction (Severodonetsk),” he said. “The Russians are blowing up bridges, so we couldn’t bring reinforcements to our sons in Severodonetsk.”

The governor said Ukrainian forces have regained about a fifth of the land they lost in the city.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties in street-by-street battles for the Soviet-era Factory City, where roads were littered with potholes and vehicles destroyed.

If Sievierodonetsk fell, then neighboring Lysychansk would be the last city that Russia needed to capture to take full control of the Luhansk Province, which together with the Donetsk Province form the Donbas.

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The region has become the epicenter of the Russian invasion as President Vladimir Putin seeks to rebuild momentum after a failed attempt to seize the capital, Kyiv.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian military said Russia had used artillery to conduct “offensive operations” in Severodonetsk, but that Russian forces had retreated and Ukrainian forces were maintaining positions inside the city.

Reuters reached Severodonetsk on Thursday and was able to verify that the Ukrainians still controlled part of the city.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army said that Russian soldiers also tried to advance towards Lyschansk, across the Seversky Donets River from Severodonetsk, but were stopped.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Russian air activity remained high over Donbass, as Russian aircraft launched strikes using both guided and unguided munitions. Read more

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday its forces had shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane carrying weapons and ammunition near the Black Sea port of Odessa. Read more

cut off the grain supply

Tens of thousands have died, millions have been driven from their homes and the global economy has been turbulent in the war that marked its 100th anniversary on Friday.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has sought to maintain dialogue with Putin throughout the war, said on Saturday it was essential that Russia not be humiliated so that a diplomatic solution could be found when the fighting stopped. Read more

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Macron’s position has been repeatedly criticized by some partners in eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

On Saturday, Ukraine said there was no point in negotiating with Russia until Russian forces were pushed back as far as possible toward Ukraine’s borders. Read more

Ukrainian officials are relying on advanced missile systems recently pledged by the United States and Britain to swing the war in their favour, and Ukrainian forces have already begun training on them.

Moscow said Western weapons would “fuel the fire” but would not change the course of what it called a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of dangerous nationalists.

The war had a devastating impact on the global economy, especially for poor food-importing countries.

Ukraine is one of the world’s leading sources of grain and cooking oil, but those supplies have been largely cut off by Russia’s closure of its Black Sea ports, with more than 20 million tons of grain stuck in silos.

Kyiv and its allies blame Moscow for blocking the ports.

On Friday, Putin denied that Moscow was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting grain and blamed the West for soaring global food prices.

Moscow says the sanctions are also hurting its grain and fertilizer exports, exacerbating shortages.

This week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tried to broker what he calls a “comprehensive deal” to resume Ukrainian food exports and Russian food and fertilizer exports.

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Reporting for Natalia Zenets, Pavel Pollyuk, Max Hunder, and Conor Humphreys in Kyiv, Reuters offices.

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