- Russian forces are advancing east and changing pace
- The EU is focusing on banning oil exports from Russia
KYIV, May 28 (Reuters) – Russia said on Saturday it had full control of the Ukrainian city of Lyman, a railway center in the Donetsk region, setting the stage for the Kremlin’s next offensive. In East Donbass.
Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for Lyman for several days. The city is located 40 km (30 miles) west of Siverodonetsk, the largest Donbass city still under Ukrainian control, but is now under heavy attack by Russian forces.
The governor of the Luhansk region, which is forming the Donbass with Donetsk, said on Friday that Russian troops had entered Siverodonetsk, which was the center of the main Russian offensive.
Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com
Russian gains signify a change in the pace of war.
Despite the fact that the forces occupying Ukraine on February 24 failed to capture the capital Kyiv in the early stages of the conflict, they have been making slow but steady advances in the Donbass.
Tactics include massive artillery bombardment and airstrikes that ravaged cities and towns.
“If Russia succeeds in capturing these areas, it will be considered a major political achievement by the Kremlin and will be portrayed to the Russian people as justifying the invasion,” the British Defense Ministry said in a daily intelligence report on Saturday. .
The British report said Russian forces may have captured much of Lyman, and the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that they had taken full control of the city. read more
Russia also said on Saturday that it had used missile strikes to destroy Ukrainian command positions in Bakmut and Soladar. Both cities are located on an important road southwest of Lyczynsk and Siverodonetsk.
Lyman is a railway junction and the gateway to rail and road bridges over the Shivarsky Donets River.
The British Conference was told that the bridge near Lyman would be a boon to Russia in the possible next stage of the Donbass attack. It said Russian forces would try to cross the river in the coming days.
Ukrainian forces have repulsed eight attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk in the past 24 hours, Ukrainian Armed Forces civil servants said on Saturday. It said artillery attacks in the Siverodonetsk region were also “not successful” in Russia’s attacks.
The governor of Luhansk, Sergei Kaidoi, said on Friday that Ukrainian forces would have to retreat from Sivirodonetsk, located east of the river, to avoid being captured after Russian troops entered.
90% of buildings in Siverodonetsk were damaged and 14 tall buildings were destroyed in the latest shelling. Dozens of paramedics were staying in Siverodonetsk, but they had difficulty getting to hospitals due to the shelling, he said.
Reuters could not verify the information independently.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy opposes the Ukrainians in a night-time speech.
“If the invaders think Lyman and Siverodonetsk will be their own, they are wrong. Donbass will be Ukrainians,” Zhelensky said.
Analysts at the Washington-based Military Research Institute say that even if Russian forces launch a direct offensive on the Sivorodonetsk-built areas, they may still be fighting to land in the city.
“Russian forces performed poorly in the urban landscape, which was structured throughout the war,” they said.
Russia says it is carrying out a “special military operation” to militarize Ukraine and eliminate nationalists who threaten Russian-speakers. Kyiv and the West claim that Russia’s claims are a false pretext for war.
The war has killed thousands of people, including many civilians, and forced millions to flee their homes. Despite Moscow’s refusal to target civilians, Russia’s destruction of entire urban areas has drawn widespread international condemnation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been deterred by the broader Western sanctions on Russia or the setbacks of previous wars.
Russian troops advanced last week after piercing Ukrainian lines in the town of Bopasna, south of Siverodonetsk, and capturing several nearby villages.
Following Russia’s eastern gains and the withdrawal of its forces from its approach to Kiev, the Ukrainian counter-offensive pushed its forces back from Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv.
Ukrainian civil servants said on Saturday that several Russian strikes had hit nearby communities and infrastructure near Kharkiv.
In the south, after the invasion of Moscow, an area, including the port of Mariupol, has been occupied, with Ukrainian officials claiming that Russia aims to impose permanent rule.
On the diplomatic front, EU officials could reach an agreement by Sunday to ban the supply of Russian oil by sea, which accounts for about 75% of the camp’s supply, but not by pipeline. read more
Zelenskiy criticized the EU for delaying such a ban. But his country has also received stable weapons from the Allies. In such a recent distribution, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksi Resnikov on Saturday began to receive Ukraine anti-horn missiles from Denmark and self-propelled howitzers from the United States. read more
Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com
Natalia Zinets, Conor Humphries, Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv, Vitaliy Hnidyi in Karkiv and Reuters journalists Popasna Robert Birsall and Angus MacSwan editing William Mallard and Francis Kerry
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.