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Ukraine wages counteroffensive against Russian forces in east

WorldMay 14, 2022 09:03PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian servicemen carry bodies of Russian soldiers killed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, before putting them in a refrigerated rail car, in Kyiv, Ukraine May 13, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY 2/3

By Tom Balmforth and Jonathan Landay

KYIV/BEZRUKY, Ukraine (Reuters) -Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive near the Russian-held town of Izium in eastern Ukraine, a regional governor said on Saturday, in what could prove a serious setback for Moscow's plans to capture the entire Donbas region.

Russian forces have focused much of their firepower on the Donbas in a "second phase" of their invasion that was announced on April 19, after they failed to reach the capital Kyiv from the north in the early weeks of the war.

But Ukraine has been retaking territory in its northeast, driving the Russians away from the second-largest Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Keeping up pressure on Izium and Russian supply lines will make it harder for Moscow to encircle battle-hardened Ukrainian troops on the eastern front in the Donbas.

Russia's defence ministry said its forces hit a series of military sites, including in the Donbas, killing at least 100 Ukrainian "nationalists."

Reuters could not independently verify the report. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the situation in Donbas remained very difficult, adding that Russian forces were still trying to salvage some kind of victory there.

"They are not stopping their efforts," he said.

Later Saturday, Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won the popular Eurovision Song Contest in Italy, a sign of how European public sentiment has swung in Kyiv's favour since Russian forces launched an all-out assault against the country in February.

Ukraine were in fourth place based on jury voting but viewer support catapulted the country into first place.

"Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! Next year Ukraine will host the Eurovision song contest," Zelenskiy said in an online message.

Eurovision's winners traditionally get to host the event the following year.

In another token of international solidarity, U.S. Republican senators paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv. The Republican delegation discussed further strengthening sanctions on Russia, Zelenskiy said.

Western analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to anticipate the fierce Ukrainian resistance - and the forceful global response - when he ordered the Feb. 24 invasion.

As well as losing large numbers of men and much military equipment, Russia has been hit by economic sanctions. The Group of Seven leading Western economies pledged in a statement on Saturday to "further increase economic and political pressure on Russia" and to supply more weapons to Ukraine.

Commenting on the latest developments in eastern Ukraine, regional governor Oleh Sinegubov said in comments aired on social media: "The hottest spot remains the Izium direction."

"Our armed forces have switched to a counteroffensive there. The enemy is retreating on some fronts and this is the result of the character of our armed forces," he said.

DIPLOMATIC TREMORS

Moscow's invasion, which it calls a "special operation" to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists, has jolted European security. Kyiv and its Western allies say the fascism assertion is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression.

The war has prompted Finland to abandon its military neutrality and seek membership of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Sweden is widely expected to follow suit.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told Putin by phone that his country, which shares a 1,300 km (800 mile) border with Russia, wanted to join NATO to bolster its own security.

Putin told Niinisto it would be a mistake for Helsinki to abandon its neutrality, the Kremlin said, adding that the move could harm bilateral relations.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday it was not possible for his country, a NATO member, to support enlarging the alliance because Finland and Sweden were "home to many terrorist organisations".

The foreign ministers of Finland and Turkey had been due to meet in Berlin later on Saturday to try to resolve their differences over NATO accession.

G7 MINISTERS BACK MORE AID

One of the aims of Russia's action in Ukraine was to prevent the former Soviet republic ever joining NATO.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who spoke to Putin by phone on Friday, said he detected no sign of any change in the Russian leader's thinking on the conflict.

In an interview for the t-online news website published on Saturday, Scholz said Western sanctions on Russia would remain in place until it reached an agreement with Ukraine, adding: "Our aim is for this invasion to fail."

Meeting in Germany, foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich nations backed giving Ukraine more aid and arms.

In their statement, the G7 ministers - from the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada - also pledged to "expedite our efforts to reduce and end reliance on Russian energy supplies".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West's sanctions amounted to a "total hybrid war" against Moscow but Russia would withstand sanctions by forging deeper partnerships with China, India and others.

Meanwhile complex talks are still underway to find a way to evacuate a large number of wounded soldiers from a besieged steel works in the port of Mariupol in return for the release of Russian prisoners of war.

Mariupol, which has suffered the heaviest fighting in nearly three months of war, is now in Russian hands but hundreds of Ukrainian fighters are still holding out at the Azovstal steel works despite weeks of heavy Russian bombardment.

Erdogan's spokesman said Turkey had two weeks ago proposed carrying out a maritime evacuation of wounded fighters from the plant. The proposal remains "on the table" although Moscow has not agreed to it, he said.

A large convoy of cars and vans carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia after nightfall on Saturday after waiting days for Russian troops to allow them to leave.

Refugees first had to get out of Mariupol and then somehow make their way to Berdyansk - some 80 km further west along the coast - and other settlements before the 200 km drive northwest to Zaporizhzhia.

"My parents' house was hit by an aerial strike, all the windows got blown out," said Yulia Panteleeva, 27, who along with other family members had been absent.

"I can't stop imagining things that might happen to us if we stayed at home," she said.

Ukraine wages counteroffensive against Russian forces in east
 

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Comments (12)
John Laurens
John Laurens May 15, 2022 3:02AM ET
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Ukraine should not stop until they've taken back ALL sovereign territory INCLUDING Crimea!!! NO PEACE until Ukraine is restored COMPLETELY!!!!
Erwin Jedwab
Erwin Jedwab May 15, 2022 3:02AM ET
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I agree completely and compensation to all families that have lost someone in this aggresive rusian war
gab nea
gab nea May 14, 2022 9:14PM ET
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the Ukrainian's resilience and courage are truly heartening!
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo May 14, 2022 7:31PM ET
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BIDEN, when are you getting your act together to send the MRLS and F16s that the Uki's need now? -- With Putin, you gotta be a step ahead of comfort because, in the end, Putin will pull you into a bad situation anyway. If Putin throws an N-bomb tomorrow will that be enough evidence to send the MRLS and the f16s to the Ukis? -- History by that time will have expired 1000 more uki lives, for what? for Biden's timid indecision?
Erik Sarkisov
Erik Sarkisov May 14, 2022 7:31PM ET
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In 2014, Ukrainian’s got out of russian influence. However, they couldn’t enjoy their freedom for a long time. Currently, they uave begun to fall under USA influence. We as Americans love to say, how we wont be friends with Russia in expense of the Ukrainian people. But as of now we are actually fighting against Russia, with the expense of the Ukrainian people. Ukrainian’s need to think about themselves and have independent minds and actions. They are following USA and NATO orders. I wish the choose a neutral status. I believe this will be the key to their security.
Oleksii Trugov
Oleksii Trugov May 14, 2022 7:31PM ET
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Erik Sarkisov  As a Ukrainian, I'm telling you - we do not follow anyone's orders but our own. In fact, when it all started the US and some of the European NATO members were trying to convince us to forget about Crimea and Donbas, make concessions to Russia. We said no. They were trying to negotiate with Russia behind our back, and we said there will be no agreements without Ukraine's say in it. Ukraine is a sovereign country, not a puppet state. Keep your nonsense to yourself.
Erwin Jedwab
Erwin Jedwab May 14, 2022 7:31PM ET
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very true and agai n Macro n of France was negotiating parts of Ucraine away to the Russian invaders, Hungary waiting compensation for loss of oil from Russia, and Turkey a Nato partner also wants "something" in return to let Sweden and Finland join Nato, just money keeps these partnership together, with corruption on a scale never seen anywhere on such in large numbers 🇺🇦💙💛
John Laurens
John Laurens May 14, 2022 7:31PM ET
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Erik Sarkisov  You're nuts! Russia has invaded a sovereign peaceful nation TWICE. They guilty of 1,000s of war crimes! The valiant Ukrainian people just want the Russian barbarians to leave and never come back. 100% Ukraine or no peace!
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo May 14, 2022 7:26PM ET
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Ukraine needs the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), Paladin self-propelled howitzers, and fighter jets like the F-16s in order to effectively counter Russia, and call on the US to begin training Ukrainian pilots to use such jets.  Kaleniuk, who said she recently met with Ukrainian defense officials in Kyiv, noted that Ukraine has “combat-experienced pilots, who are willing and ready to go now for training. They were willing to go yesterday for training. But there is no decision to accept them and to provide that because there is no decision to provide fighter jets.”
Klaus Mittwoch
Klaus Mittwoch May 14, 2022 6:37PM ET
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Ukrainian fights and bleeds. German and Hungarian and other companies buy russian gas and pays in "rubbles" as Putin asked supporting long war. Europe needs US to make order with them because without strong response US will pay for that war forever.
jason xx
jason xx May 14, 2022 4:06PM ET
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The Russian bear will be crushed by the weight of the Nato steam roller. It's already well in motion and can't be stopped
jason xx
jason xx May 14, 2022 4:06PM ET
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It's sad because Russia was part of the alliance and how soon they forget they could have never defeated the N a z I without massive Allied help that makes what is going to Ukraine look like 1 back pack. Not to mention D day and the Allied bombing campaign. they are now ingreats
jason xx
jason xx May 14, 2022 4:04PM ET
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If Russia does not leave all of Ukraine at once we will be rightfully and righteously swimming in Russian blood. the spamming traitors can stop accusing us of having "blood on our hands" lol another hypocrisy from the "victim" Russia. what a joke they are.
Olgrim Gri
Olgrim May 14, 2022 3:57PM ET
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Ukraine has to assault and bomb Russian military facilities on Russian territory. There is no other way around. War rules are inhumane. It is probably world war 3 now, we just don't know it yet.
Millennial Stacker
Millennial Stacker May 14, 2022 10:43AM ET
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Ukraine will lose. The western media is propagandizing you to think russia is losing
Rob Stone
Rob Stone May 14, 2022 10:43AM ET
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Absolutely. The West thinks money will win and win the propaganda!!!!
Oleksii Trugov
Oleksii Trugov May 14, 2022 10:43AM ET
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In your dreams
Don Getty
Don Getty May 14, 2022 10:43AM ET
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ahhh well this has been going on three months now and Ukraine is about 40% the size of russia with a significantly smaller military - so its not like Putin's winning don't you think - i mean the stopped trying to take the capital - LMAO - total embarrassment for the leadership and military of Russia - what a bunch of putz's
Christian Boulais
ChristianB May 14, 2022 10:43AM ET
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Peoples who believe the globalists media propaganda leting believe ukrainian army (with their neonazis officers)  is winning will not like the reality that will soon be obvious.  The media are horribly lying.  The ukrainians are the pawns of the globalists against Russia, because Russia  does not want to play the globalist game. The nightmare of US globalists is a Europe in peace and cooperaton with Russia. Russia must be the ennemy without this no NATO, and then no US politicial control over Europe.
Mrs Awag
Mrs Awag May 14, 2022 7:02AM ET
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Is anyone verified that they actualy the bodies of russian soldiers lots of disinformation from both sides
Rob Stone
Rob Stone May 14, 2022 7:02AM ET
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It's all propaganda to get the West to keep giving billions and go broke. the world is against the West and they don't see it. Coordinated attack!!
 
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