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Ukraine says it pushes back Russian troops in battlefield city

Commodities Jun 04, 2022 08:12PM ET
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6/6 © Reuters. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits an area damaged by Russian military strikes, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine May 29, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS 2/6

By Max Hunder

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine said on Saturday it had recaptured a swathe of the battlefield city of Sievierodonetsk, where intense fighting continued, in a rare counter-offensive against Russia's main assault force that had been steadily advancing in the east.

The Ukrainian claim could not be independently verified, and Moscow said its own forces were making gains there. But it was the first time Kyiv has claimed to have launched a big counter-attack in Sievierodonetsk after days of yielding ground there.

Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said street fighting continued during the day on Saturday, with both sides exchanging artillery fire.

"The situation is tense, complicated. ... Our military is doing everything it can to drive the enemy out of the city," he told national television, saying there was a shortage of food, fuel and medicine.

Russia has concentrated its forces on Sievierodonetsk in recent weeks for one of the biggest ground battles of the war, with Moscow appearing to bet its campaign on capturing one of two eastern provinces it claims on behalf of separatist proxies.

Both sides have claimed to have inflicted huge casualties in the fighting for the small industrial city, a battle that military experts say could determine which side has the momentum for a prolonged war of attrition in coming months.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Saturday said that while it was impossible to predict when the war would end, "my optimistic prognosis is that it is realistic to achieve this as early as this year," the defence ministry said.

In the diplomatic sphere, Kyiv rebuked French President Emmanuel Macron for saying it was important not to "humiliate" Moscow.

"We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means," Macron said in an interview with regional newspapers published on Saturday, adding he was "convinced that it is France's role to be a mediating power."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted in response: "Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.

"Because it is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy offered a stark message: "The terrible consequences of this war can be stopped at any moment ... if one person in Moscow simply gives the order," he said, in an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "And the fact that there is still no such order is obviously a humiliation for the whole world."

INTENSE FIGHTING IN SIEVIERODONETSK

Ukraine now says its aim is to push Russian forces back as far as possible on the battlefield, counting on advanced missile systems pledged in recent days by the United States and Britain to swing the war in its favour.

Asked about Macron's mediation offer on national television, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said: "Until we receive weapons in their full amount, until we strengthen our positions, until we push them (Russia's forces) back as far as possible to the borders of Ukraine, there is no point in holding negotiations."

Moscow has said the Western weapons will pour "fuel on the fire," but will not change the course of what it calls a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and rid it of nationalists.

Putin will discuss the war in an interview due to be broadcast on national television on Sunday. In a brief excerpt aired on Saturday, Russia's RIA news agency quoted him as saying that Moscow was easily coping with U.S. weapons systems sent to Ukraine and had destroyed dozens of them.

Russia's defence ministry said its troops were forcing the Ukrainians to withdraw across the Siverskiy Donets River to Lysychansk on the opposite bank.

Serhiy Gaidai, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk province, which includes Sievierodonetsk, said overnight that Ukrainian forces previously in control of just 30% of the city had mounted a counter-attack, recapturing another 20% of it.

Gaidai said the Russians were blowing up bridges across the river to prevent Ukraine's bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in Sievierodonetsk.

"The Russian army, as we understand, is throwing all its efforts, all its reserves in that direction," Gaidai said in a live TV broadcast.

Tens of thousands are believed to have died, millions have been uprooted from their homes, and the global economy has been disrupted in a war that marked its 100th day on Friday.

Zelenskiy posted footage on Saturday of an important timber Orthodox Christian monastery ablaze in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv says two monks and a nun were killed at the site on Wednesday when it was struck by Russian shells.

"Every church burned by Russia in Ukraine, every school blown up, every destroyed memorial proves that Russia has no place in UNESCO," he said, calling for Moscow to be expelled from the main cultural body of the United Nations.

The war has 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 were largely cut off by Russia's closure of its Black Sea ports, with more than 20 million tonnes of grain stuck in silos.

Ukraine says it pushes back Russian troops in battlefield city
 

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Comments (32)
Dharmendra Raja
Dharmendra Raja Jun 05, 2022 12:36AM ET
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finish this war
clinton stanley
clinton stanley Jun 05, 2022 12:36AM ET
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The war will be over soon and everything will be fine but have you secured the future after rhe wat my friend?
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Jun 04, 2022 5:32PM ET
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All the russian trolls on here should volunteer for conscription! Go join the special operation!
Roberto Baggio
Roberto82 Jun 04, 2022 5:09PM ET
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Nice pose.. nice facial expression.. nice background.. in Poland?
Aleksander Dashi
Aleksander Dashi Jun 04, 2022 2:21PM ET
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The cokehead of Ukraine is this guy. Unbelievable what damage he has caused to his country!
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Jun 04, 2022 2:21PM ET
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Lmao russian cuckhold is angry
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Jun 04, 2022 2:21PM ET
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Most civilized people have moved beyond the 19th century mentality of blame the victim.
jason xx
jason xx Jun 04, 2022 1:42PM ET
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Typical French
Junk Man
Junk_Man Jun 04, 2022 1:35PM ET
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Push back??? Sounds ***
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Jun 04, 2022 11:36AM ET
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First, I hope all people participating in Putin’s mafia army meet their end in Ukraine. We all blame Putin. But apparently there are thousands of people willing to do his dirty jobs. So pain and suffering to them. Secondly, I think it’s time to hand over nukes to Ukraine. This way Ukraine can defend itself properly. Also, hope Ukraine gets some very serious weapons the can use to strike Russian army in Russia itself and Russian warplanes and ships. That’s the kind of rebalancing we need to keep them murderous people out of Ukraine
Andrew Allen
Andrew Allen Jun 04, 2022 11:36AM ET
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you'd have to keep Ukrainians out in order to keep the murderous out of ukraine
Matt Brackley
Matt Brackley Jun 04, 2022 11:36AM ET
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Sounds great until bombs are dropping on US soil. This is a blatent escalation to eliminate some population. Enjoy dumb dumb.
Abc Xyz
Abc Xyz Jun 04, 2022 11:01AM ET
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Funking actor whines to scam free money. Some fo0ol took the bait and gave away $40 BILLIONS.
Benjamin USA
Benjamin USA Jun 04, 2022 11:01AM ET
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Very angry russian simp hahah too scared to sign up for participatian in special operation
Imre Zsombor Varga
Imre Zsombor Varga Jun 04, 2022 10:08AM ET
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Idiot America you are sacrificing 44 million Ukrainians for not daring to fight Russia, a joke is all you do.
Jeremy Johnson
Jeremy Johnson Jun 04, 2022 9:19AM ET
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See 'Ukraine on Fire', Oliver Stone, to cut through western propaganda.
 
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