Russia is so close to gaining Luhansk and Donetsk.
Day 93 in Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Sorry about that. It’s hard to keep count. The days are blending together, which is never a good sign.
Russia is not going to stop until it gets the entire Donbas region. Does the West think Russia will stop then?
D.C. Lectures Ukraine About Shelling Russia
Russian shelling killed at least seven civilians and wounded 17 in the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine, authorities said.
Meanwhile, as the United States and its allies provide Ukraine with increasingly sophisticated arms, Washington has held discussions with Kyiv about the danger of escalation if it strikes deep inside Russia, US and diplomatic officials told Reuters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the West that supplying weapons to Ukraine capable of hitting Russian territory would be “a serious step towards unacceptable escalation”, Tass news agency said.
Zelenskyy: Genocide in Donbas
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of pursuing genocide in Donbas:
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, has said Russian bombardments could leave the entire region of Donbas “uninhabited”, accusing the Russians of wanting to reduce its cities to ashes.
“All this, including the deportation of our people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia,” he said in his nightly televised address.
Lyman fell to Russia today. Russia controls 90% of Luhansk:
Moscow-backed separatist forces in Ukraine said Friday they had captured Lyman, a strategic town that sits on a road leading to key eastern cities still under Kyiv’s control.
Together with Russian troops, separatist forces have “liberated and taken full control of 220 settlements, including Krasny Liman,” the breakaway region of Donetsk said on its Telegram channel, using an old name for the town.
There was no immediate confirmation from Russia or Ukraine.
Located in the north of the eastern Donetsk region, Lyman lies on the road to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the capital of the Ukrainian-controlled part of Donetsk.
Moscow is focused in Ukraine on securing and expanding its gains in the Donbas region, near the border with Russia and home to pro-Kremlin separatists, as well as the southern coast.
Russian and Moscow-appointed officials in the southern region of Kherson, which is under the full control of Russian troops, and in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia have said both regions could become part of Russia.
Will Severodonetsk Fall?
Severodonetsk (also spelled Sievierodonetsk) is the last Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk. However, Russia is trying to gain control of it:
The Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk is the centre of fierce fighting in the east of the country. Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk says the city is holding out even though a Russian reconnaissance and sabotage group went into a city hotel.
Mr Stryuk said at least 1,500 people have been killed in Sievierodonetsk and about 12,000 to 13,000 remain in the city, where he said 60 per cent of residential buildings have been destroyed.
Sievierodonetsk is the only part of the Luhansk region in the Donbas under Ukrainian government control, and Russian forces have been trying to cut it off from the rest of Ukrainian-controlled territory.
Mr Stryuk said the main road between the neighboring town of Lysychansk and Bakhmut to the southwest remains open, but travel is dangerous.
He said only 12 people were able to be evacuated on Thursday.
Ukraine Admits Russia Gained a Lot in Donbas
Russia is using all its force in Donbas. I mentioned on Wednesday that Russia outnumbers Ukraine (soldiers, artillery, resources, etc) in Donbas.
Ukraine admitted on Thursday that it has lost ground in Luhansk, one of the regions occupied by pro-Russian separatists since 2014:
A senior Ukrainian military official conceded at a briefing on Thursday that Russia had the upper hand in fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region at present.
“Russia has the advantage, but we are doing everything we can,” General Oleksiy Gromov said.
Gromov also said Ukraine had observed Russia moving Iskander missile systems to Belarus’ western Brest region, which Gromov said raised the possibility of new missile strikes on west Ukraine.
It’s no better in Donetsk:
In an operational update Thursday, the armed forces’ general staff said that while several Russian efforts to advance had been thwarted, “in the directions of Pokrovsky and Klynove, the enemy has partial success, capturing the village of Midna Ruda.”
Midna Ruda is some 10 miles (about 16 kilometers) southeast of Bakhmut, which has come under heavier artillery fire in the last week. Bakhmut is on a key resupply route for Ukrainian units on the frontlines, which would potentially be cut off by further Russian advances.
“In the Donetsk direction, the enemy is shelling our troops, launching missile strikes, conducting surveillance, and increasing air support,” the general staff said.
The general staff also said that other Russian efforts to push west towards the Donetsk region border had been repulsed. It said the Russians continued to bombard Ukrainian troops south of the town of Lyman, much of which fell into Russian hands Tuesday. Video Wednesday showed the Russian flag flying above the town’s municipal offices.
According to the Ukrainians, Russian efforts to advance into Donetsk from the north continue to be frustrated. The front lines in the area have changed little in recent weeks. The general staff said that “with the support of artillery, the enemy carried out an offensive in the direction of the village of Bohorodychne, had no success, and retreated to previous positions.”
Further east, as Ukrainian forces cling onto defensive positions around Severodonetsk, the general staff said Russian forces had enjoyed “partial success” in making slight advances on the ground.
Russian Shelling Kills Baby in Kharkiv
Ukraine has control of Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second-largest city, but Russia is still aiming for it. The shelling killed nine people:
Nine people, including a five-month-old baby, were killed in Kharkiv on Thursday amid “dense shelling” on residential areas near the city center, according to Oleh Synyehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration.
Among those killed was “a family who was simply walking down the street — a man was holding his five-month-old baby in his hands, whom he died holding. (The) mother of this baby is severely wounded and is now in the hospital,” Synyehubov said.
He also described the artillery used, and said the targeting of residential areas in Ukraine’s second-largest city could only be for the purpose of “terrorizing” local residents.
“The enemy shelled with MLRS SMERCH and URAGAN and with artillery, modification of which is being established now by our military experts. According to the available data. the shelling was conducted from the North of the oblast, where our troops are holding their positions and slowly pushing the enemy away to the borders. This was a solely residential area, so the aim of this shelling could only be terrorizing the local residents,” he said.
The official added that it was the Shevchenkivskyi and Kyivskyi districts of Kharkiv that were “densely shelled.” He said in addition to those killed, 19 were injured, among them a nine-year-old child.
“As of now our armed forces holding their positions firmly and there is no question about possible seizure of Kharkiv city,” he said.
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