Russia Squeezes Ukraine Strongholds 05/27 06:01
Russian forces on Friday pounded the last Ukrainian strongholds in a
separatist-controlled eastern province of Ukraine, including a city where
authorities said 1,500 people have been killed and 60% of residential buildings
destroyed since the start of the war.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Russian forces on Friday pounded the last Ukrainian
strongholds in a separatist-controlled eastern province of Ukraine, including a
city where authorities said 1,500 people have been killed and 60% of
residential buildings destroyed since the start of the war.
Ukraine's foreign minister warned that without a new injection of foreign
weapons, Ukrainian forces would not be able to stop Russia from seizing
Sievierodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk, locations that are crucial to Russia's
goal of capturing all of Ukraine's industrial Donbas region.
The cities are the last areas under Ukrainian control in Luhansk, one of two
provinces that make up the region. Russian forces have made slow but persistent
advances as they bombarded and sought to encircle both Lysychansk and
"The Russians are pounding residential neighborhoods relentlessly," regional
governor Serhiy Haidai wrote in a Telegram post Friday. "The residents of
Sievierodonetsk have forgotten when was the last time there was silence in the
city for at least half an hour."
Russian shelling killed four people in the city over the past 24 hours, he
Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said late Thursday that at least 1,500 people have
been killed in Sievierodonetsk since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. About
12,000 to 13,000 remain in the city -- down from a pre-war population of about
100,000 - and 60% of residential buildings have been destroyed, he said.
Stryuk said a Russian reconnaissance and sabotage group entered a city
hotel, and that the main road between neighboring Lysychansk and the city of
Bakhmut to the southwest remains open, but travel is dangerous. He said only 12
people were able to be evacuated Thursday.
In Donetsk, the Donbas region's other province, Russia-backed rebels claimed
Friday to have taken control of Lyman, a large railway hub north of two more
key cities that remained under Ukrainian control. There was no immediate
confirmation from Ukrainian officials.
With Ukraine's hopes of stopping the Russian advance fading, Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pleaded with Western nations to provide his
country with more weapons so its defenders were equipped to "push (the Russian
"We need heavy weapons. The only position where Russia is better than us,
it's the amount of heavy weapons they have. Without artillery, without multiple
launch rocket systems we won't be able to push them back," Kuleba said in a
video posted on Twitter Thursday night.
He said the situation in the east was "even worse than people say. ... If
you really care for Ukraine, weapons, weapons and weapons again."
In his nightly address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Zelenskyy had some harsh words for the European Union, which has not agreed on
a sixth round of sanctions that includes an embargo on Russian oil.
"Of course, I am grateful to our friends who are promoting new sanctions,"
the Ukrainian leader said. "But where did those who block the sixth package get
so much power? Why are they still allowed to have so much power, including in
Zelenskyy also spoke bluntly about what's at stake in the battle for eastern
"Pressure on Russia is literally a matter of saving lives," he said. "And
every day of delay, weakness, various disputes or proposals to 'appease' the
aggressor at the expense of the victim is new killed Ukrainians. And new
threats to everyone on our continent."
Moscow pressed the West on Thursday to lift sanctions already imposed over
the war, seeking to shift the blame for a growing global food crisis that has
been worsened by Kyiv's inability to ship millions of tons of grain and other
agricultural products while under attack.
Britain immediately accused Russia of "trying to hold the world to ransom,"
insisting there would be no sanctions relief, and a top U.S. diplomat blasted
the "sheer barbarity, sadistic cruelty and lawlessness" of the invasion.