Saturday June 04, 2022

Ukraine says its troops have pushed back Russian advance in eastern city

Ukraine says its troops have pushed back Russian advance in eastern city

Members of a foreign volunteers unit which fights in the Ukrainian army take positions in Sievierodonetsk. Reuters

Rlixa Report

Ukraine said it had recaptured a chunk of the factory city of Sievierodonetsk, the focus of a Russian offensive to take the eastern Donbas region, and could hold it for up to two weeks as fighting raged on Saturday.

Sergiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, told national television on Friday that Ukrainian troops had retaken 20% of the territory they had lost in Sievierodonetsk.


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It was "not realistic" that the city would fall in the next two weeks even though Russian reinforcements were being deployed, he said.

"As soon as we have enough Western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery away from our positions. And then, believe me, the Russian infantry, they will just run," said Gaidai.

Ukraine says its troops have pushed back Russian advance in eastern city
A man sits at the debris of a destoyed house after a missile strike in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. AFP

Earlier, Russian forces tried to ford a river from the ruined eastern factory city of Sievierodonetsk but Ukrainian troops were still holding out there as Russia’s assault on its neighbour reached its 100th day on Friday.

Ukraine’s defence minister said his soldiers were already training in Europe to operate new, advanced missile systems pledged this week by the United States and Britain, which Kyiv hopes will help swing the battle in its favour.

Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 20% of the territory they lost in the city of Sievierodonetsk during fighting with Russia, the head of the eastern region of Luhansk said on Friday.

Ukraine says its troops have pushed back Russian advance in eastern city
A man walks past a fire after a shelling, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv. File / Reuters

"Whereas before the situation was difficult, the percentage (held by Russia) was somewhere around 70%, now we have already pushed them back by approximately 20%," Serhiy Gaidai told national television.

A war that Western countries believe Russia planned to win within hours has ground on for more than three months, with Moscow having been driven back from the capital launching a huge new assault in the east at a cost of thousands of lives and disruption to the global economy.

Ukraine says its troops have pushed back Russian advance in eastern city Volodymr Zelensky and newly appointed US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink (L) take part in a credential ceremony in Kyiv. AFP

Rejecting Western criticism that the war is to blame for rising global food prices hurting poor countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Moscow was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting cereals.

Reuters reached Sievierodonetsk on Thursday and was able to verify that Ukrainians still held part of the city. Troops drove towards a plume of black smoke at high speed over roads littered with wrecked armoured vehicles. One soldier sat in the back seat, his face streaked with blood from injuries. At another location in the city, Ukrainian troops, including foreign volunteers, unloaded weapons from a truck.

“We’re gonna push the Russians back. It will take a day, a month, or a year it does not fucking matter. We are on the right side of history,” said Zurab Kakalidze, a Georgian who described himself as “just a 22-year-old kid.”

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