RUSSIAN forces have taken control of half a key industrial city in eastern Ukraine, as they continue an unrelenting push deeper into the Donbass region.
A Ukrainian military official said on Tuesday that Russian forces now controlled half of the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk.
‘Unfortunately, the front line divides the city in half,’ Oleksandr Stryuk, head of the city’s military and civil administration, admitted in a live broadcast.
‘But the city is still defending itself, the city is still Ukrainian, our soldiers are defending it,’ he added.
Separately, the Ukraine regime’s Lugansk regional governor, Sergiy Gaiday, said in an online statement that the situation in Severodonetsk was ‘extremely complicated.’
He said that Ukrainian troops still retained control of some areas.
Severodonetsk is one of the several urban hubs that lie on Russia’s path to capturing Lugansk in the Donbass.
Meanwhile a woman was killed in the Ukrainian army’s bombardment of the settlement of Makeyevka in Donbass, the territorial defence headquarters of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) reported on Tuesday.
‘A woman was killed in the Ukrainian military’s shelling of Kirovogradskaya Street,’ the statement reads.
The DPR mission to the Joint Ceasefire Control and Coordination Centre specified that a man was wounded in the shelling.
The DPR mission earlier reported that a child born in 2017 was killed in the Ukrainian army’s shelling of the Chervonogvardeisky district of Makeyevka.
The Ukrainian military fired shells from the Grad multiple launch rocket system against the community, it said.
Elsewhere Ukraine shelled a retirement home, casualties reported, Lugansk People’s Republic Interior Ministry said.
Ukraine’s forces also shelled Zolotoye, Kirovsk, and Pervomaisk, peaceful cities with no military units stationed there.
A retirement home caught fire, an aide to the Lugansk People’s Republic interior minister told Channel 1 on Tuesday, reporting casualties among the inhabitants.
‘A rescue operation is underway. Unfortunately, there are those killed and injured,’ said Vladimir Kiselev.
‘Details are being sought as to where the shelling came from, who delivered the strike.’
‘I’m sure the Prosecutor General’s Office will in the near future make public the names of those, who committed this atrocity,’ he added.
Ukraine’s forces also shelled Zolotoye, Kirovsk, and Pervomaisk, peaceful cities with no military units stationing there, according to Kiselev. Ukrainian troops have been hitting civilian infrastructure on purpose, he said.
The bravery, heroism and self-sacrifice being demonstrated by militiamen and Russian troops in the Donbass republics show that the truth is on Russia’s side, the country’s Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said on Tuesday.
‘The bravery, heroism and self-sacrifice being demonstrated by local militiamen and Russian servicemen in the Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republics are proof that the truth is on our side,’ Patrushev said addressing a meeting in Kazan on national security in the Volga region.
The Russian security official also emphasised that Russia would surely attain the goals of its special military operation.
‘Russia was forced to preemptively launch its special military operation as long as its well-grounded security guarantees were being totally ignored amid plans by the Kiev regime to renounce its non-nuclear status and join NATO, reconnaissance data showing preparations for military activities in the Donbass republics and an attack on Russia and other threats,’ he added.
Patrushev pointed to documented proof obtained in the course of the special operation of the plans by Kiev and of biological military activities that had been run in Ukraine under foreign sponsorship and control.
- The authorities of the Kherson region intend to raise the issue of the region entering the Russian Federation in the near future in order for it to become Russia’s full-fledged territorial entity, Kirill Stremousov, Deputy Head of the Kherson region’s Military-Civilian Administration said last Tuesday.
‘The Kherson region intends to accede to the Russian Federation in the near future, becoming its full-fledged constituent,’ the official said.
The situation at the Donbass engagement line flared up on February 17. On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a decision to recognise the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
The treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid were signed with their leaders. On February 22, the State Duma and the Federation Council ratified both documents and Putin signed the respective laws on the same day.
Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people ‘who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.’
The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarisation of Ukraine.
- The West is keen to destabilise Belarusian society and change the constitutional system in Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting on improving information policies on Tuesday.
‘We are actually under pressure from the collective West – Washington and its allies. Their intentions are well-known: to destabilise society, to change the constitutional system and to bring to power loyal people obedient to the West.
‘The level of technologies being used in attempts to achieve these aims is very high,’ Lukashenko’s press-service quotes him on the official website of the head of state.
He warned that foreign pressures on Belarus were growing and for this reason “our resistance must be proportionate.”
Lukashenko stressed that ‘any war, first and foremost, not a hot war but hybrid war, implies struggle for people’s minds.’
‘We are obliged to protect our people. What is most important we should master the skill of counter-propaganda, which we possessed back in the Soviet Union.
‘I am not denying it. We should not find the word “propaganda” scaring at all,’ Lukashenko said, adding that the West was indulging in propaganda, too.
‘But at the same time, they are making fun of us and calling us “propagandists” and “agitators”. Why are they laughing at us? In order to mislead us,’ Lukashenko said. ‘We should devise a mechanism of resistance and of countermeasures,’ he concluded.
The US and its Western allies have been sending heavy weaponry to Ukraine and shared intelligence with the government in Kiev, while imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russian officials and entities.
Earlier on Tuesday, European Union (EU) leaders agreed to effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the continent by the end of the year.
Russia’s Gazprom, meanwhile, has halted gas shipments to the Netherlands. The energy corporation revealed the shut-off after Dutch energy firm GasTerra ignored a demand that gas supplied from April 1 be paid for in roubles.
The cutoff means that two billion cubic metres of gas will not be supplied to the Netherlands between now and October, GasTerra said. The partly state-owned firm buys and trades gas on behalf of the Dutch government.
European companies have been scrambling to work out how they can keep buying Russian gas after Moscow demanded payments be made in rubles and the European Commission said such a move would breach sanctions.
Russia has already halted deliveries to Finland, Poland, and Bulgaria.
Danish energy company Orsted also warned its gas shipments could be cut off when a Tuesday payment deadline passes.
Energy dependence varies widely across the bloc, with countries such as Bulgaria almost totally dependent on Russian oil.
Putin says EU nations have ‘scored an own goal’ by imposing the oil embargo on Moscow.
- An employee of the Montenegrin embassy in Moscow has been declared persona non grata as a response measure, the Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
‘On May 31, Montenegrin Ambassador to Russia Milorad Scepanovic was invited to the Russian foreign ministry where the ministry’s note on declaring a Montenegrin embassy employee persona non grata was handed over to him,’ it said.
‘This measure was taken in response to Montenegro’s ungrounded decision of April 7, 2022, to declare several diplomats from the Russian embassy in Podgorica personae non grata,’ the ministry stressed.
On April 7, Montenegro’s foreign ministry declared four Russian diplomats personae non grata and gave them seven days to leave the country.