Ukraine halts counteroffensive in a strategic region for Russian troops

Ukraine accuses Russia of intensifying the Donbass offensive

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation in Donbas as “extremely difficult” in his last national speech on Saturday evening after the Russian army stepped up attacks on the cities of Sloviansk and Severodonetsk.

“The armed forces of Ukraine deter this offensive. Every day that our defenders move away from and interrupt these Russian offensive plans is a concrete contribution to the approach to the most important day. Victory Day,” Zelenskyy said.

According to the President of Ukraine, “no Russian attack, whether by rockets in the Rivne region, or by artillery in the Kharkiv or Sumy regions, or by any weapons in Donbass, will lead to a result for Russia.”

In a statement, the head of the Lugansk regional military administration, Sergei Gaidai, said the Russians are trying to enter Severodonetsk from four directions.

“The frontline city of Lugansk is now under siege after Russian bombing killed 12 people and wounded another 40,” Gaidai added, saying “bombing continues.”

Human rights commissioner of the Ukrainian parliament Lyudmila Denisova condemned that the Russians are concentrating their forces on attacking the city of Severodonetsk in Lugansk, which is “turning into a new Mariupol”.

“In many areas, enemy attacks are constantly being carried out and settlements are being bombarded with artillery rockets and targetfiring systems. The enemy has concentrated all its forces on the attack on Severodonetsk, on the outskirts of which fighting is constantly taking place. The city is turning into a new Mariupol,” she said.

Today, Ukrainian police reported that Russian troops fired on houses and civilian structures in the Donetsk region, leaving at least seven dead in attacks on the villages of Bakhmut, Soledar, Avdiyivka, Sviatohirsk, Mykolayivka, Toretsk, Zalizne, Raigorodok, Lastochkine, Pervomaiske. Jarov, salt.

“Inmates fired on 12 settlements. There were dead and wounded. More than 40 houses, a college, a music school, an institute, shops and life support facilities were destroyed,” the authorities reported, adding that the Russians fired from planes, tanks, heavy artillery and various rocket launchers.

The Russian army also destroyed a bridge connecting Severodonetsk and Lysyhansk in eastern Ukraine’s Lugansk region, which “will greatly complicate the evacuation of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid,” Gaidai wrote on Telegram.

According to the head of the Lugansk regional military administration, this is the second time the bridge has been destroyed, but at the moment there is still “a connection between the cities”.

“Today the bombings in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Belogorovka do not stop for even an hour. The Russians use artillery day and night. Every life saved by these settlements is important to us today. These 57 evacuees are now safe and secure,” he told Gaidai.

Russian highprecision missiles destroyed 13 military installations, four ammunition depots and three Ukrainian command posts in Donbass in the past 24 hours, the Russian Defense Ministry said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that among the targets hit by the Moscow army were “three batteries with multilaunch missile systems and a Ukrainian electronics station at Bukovel near the populated town of Annivka in the Mykolayiv region.”