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Russia on Monday intensified its assault on Ukraine on the battlefield, hitting a city that has become a key battleground in the east as Moscow extended sanctions against those who condemned its actions during the war.
The fight for Severodonetsk has “gotten worse for us,” Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said in a televised interview. Russian forces have been bombing and expanding their footprint in the city, although Ukrainian troops continue to control their industrial zone.
Growing losses are occurring as the West strives to send more firepower to Ukraine as fighting intensifies in the eastern Donbas region. On Monday, Britain said it would send rocket launch systems that could be used to hit targets up to 50 miles away despite threats from the Kremlin to retaliate. The announcement follows a promise by the United States to send similar weapons to Ukraine.
U.S. officials have said it will take at least a few weeks for Ukrainian forces to be trained on how to use long-range weapons, and it is unclear whether the combined efforts of the West to arm Ukraine with more powerful systems will be enough. to win. to support the latest advances in Russia.
Ukrainian leaders have tried to lift the morale of the troops. Speaking to reporters on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky, who a day earlier visited units in Lysychansk, a neighboring town of Severodonetsk, said Ukraine had “every opportunity” to reclaim the city. Kyrylo Budanov, the country’s military intelligence chief, said the “occupiers” were being gradually expelled from Severodonetsk.
The assassination of Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov, confirmed by Russian state media, seemed to reinforce these claims. Kutuzov was the fourth general whose death in Ukraine was confirmed by Russian officials or pro-Kremlin media. Ukraine claims to have killed 12 generals, apart from Kutuzov.
However, on Monday, Zelensky acknowledged that Ukrainian forces were “resisting” Severodonetsk and Lysychansk was outnumbered by “stronger” Russian troops. He also referred to both places as “dead cities”.
Milley equates “horrors” in Ukraine with suffering during World War II
Speaking at the annual D-Day commemoration in France on Monday, Chief of Staff Mark Mark Milley compared the suffering of Ukrainians to the “horrors” experienced “at the hands of Nazi invaders” during World War II. World Cup. Milley and his counterparts from other countries who support Ukraine are meeting in the Normandy camp this week to discuss how else they could help the government in Kyiv.
“The world has come together to support Ukraine’s defense against a determined invader,” Milley said, adding that the fight now is to preserve the principle that “strong countries cannot just invade small countries. “.
“This aggression,” he said, “cannot be stopped.”
At the United Nations in New York, Ukrainian officials declared the worsening of sexual violence in Ukraine. Natalia Kabrowska, of the Ukraine Women’s Fund, told a UN Security Council session about how Russian troops use rape “as terror to control civilians in temporarily occupied territories.” The United Nations has received 124 allegations of sexual violence during the war, which is the “tip of the iceberg,” said Pramila Patten, the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Ukraine has accused Russian troops of rape, a crime that is difficult to prosecute
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency also reported “extremely stressful and challenging working conditions” at a Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control, and regulators have not yet been able to visit it.
Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense reported on Monday that Russia has probably installed new air defense systems in the Black Sea, south of Odessa, on Snake Island. The anti-aircraft missile units believed to be there would cover their ships operating in the area, which have been vulnerable to attacks by Ukrainian forces. In April, the Russian Black Sea ship, the Moskva, sank after Ukraine claimed to have hit the ship with two anti-missile missiles; in February, Ukrainian fighters on Snake Island were captured and detained as prisoners after defying a demand from the Moscow surrender.
Russia has begun handing over the bodies of Ukrainian fighters killed during the siege of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to Ukraine, the Associated Press reported on Monday. The remains are being tested for DNA to verify identities.
Russia and the West also traded punitive measures against prominent figures, as Moscow blacklisted more than 60 Americans, including Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, and a New York federal judge ruled that The US Department of Justice confiscated two private jets owned by Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Abramovich, who until recently owned Chelsea FC’s British football team and has served as an intermediary between Putin and Zelensky since hostilities began, is accused of violating federal law by re-exporting his planes, which they were made in the United States and are worth more than $ 400 million.
Shayna Jacobs, Lateshia Beachum, Dan Lamothe, Robyn Dixon, Karen DeYoung and Bryan Pietsch contributed to this report.