“Decisive” battles raged in villages around Sievierodonetsk on Monday as Russian forces launched an offensive aimed at encircling Ukrainian troops desperately trying to hold the crucial eastern town, the Ukrainian military said.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, speaking on Ukrainian television, said the Kremlin had “thrown virtually all of its forces and resources” to storm surrounding settlements and break through undercover Ukrainian defenses. effective and under-armed. The city is one of the last outposts of Ukrainian troops in Luhansk Oblast, which together with Donetsk Oblast constitutes the industrial region of Donbass that Russia has sought to control.
“Now, without exaggeration, decisive battles are continuing in the Sievierodonetsk region, and the enemy plans (to control) Luhansk Oblast ‘by June 26,'” Maliar said.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said only a fraction of the city’s population, which once exceeded 100,000, remains. Ukrainian forces only control the Azot chemical plant, where around 500 civilians are also taking refuge.
“It’s just hell out there. Everything is engulfed in fire, the shelling doesn’t even stop for an hour,” Haidai said.
►German prosecutors said on Monday they seized three apartments and a bank account belonging to a Russian lawmaker and his wife, citing European Union sanctions.
►NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Bild that Western support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia must remain strong. He also said a nuclear attack seems unlikely.
►Germany’s economy minister said on Sunday the country would limit the use of natural gas for power generation amid concerns over possible shortages caused by a cut in supplies from Russia
CAPTURE :Two American veterans felt compelled to fight Russia. They were captured in Ukraine.
China now imports more crude from Russia than from Saudi Arabia
China’s crude oil imports from Russia rose 55% in May from a year earlier and overtook Saudi Arabia as the top supplier, Chinese customs officials reported. Moscow was forced to cut prices as European sanctions dried up demand for its crude in Germany and other countries. China imported more than 8 million metric tons, up from about 5.5 million a year earlier. China has rejected the sanctions and promised some support for Russia in the war. India is among the other countries that have also significantly increased their purchases of Russian crude.
The United States and Britain have halted purchases of all Russian oil, citing the invasion, while other Western countries are drawing up plans to do so. Europe remains a major buyer of Russian natural gas, a dependency that could prove difficult to abandon when heating demand increases this winter.
Father’s Day in Ukraine: Zelenskyy urges the country to keep fighting
As Ukraine’s outnumbered forces slowly give way in the critical battle against Russia for the Donbass region, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday urged the citizens of his country in a poignant Father’s Day message on Sunday to continue to stand up. fight for the future of their families and the nation.
Zelenskyy posted 10 photos of parents and children against the grim backdrop of war, praising fathers who “protect and defend the most precious.” The images reflect the Ukrainian reality in the nearly four months since its invasion by Russia.
“Being a father is a great responsibility and a great happiness,” wrote Zelenskyy in English on Instagram. “It’s the strength, the wisdom, the motivation to push forward and not give up.”
A Ukrainian doctor who helped wounded on both sides has been freed by the Russians
A famous Ukrainian doctor who treated soldiers on both sides of the war has been freed by Russian forces three months after being captured on the streets of Mariupol, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced over the weekend.
Yuliia Paievska is known in Ukraine as Taira, a nickname she chose in the World of Warcraft video game. Using a body camera, she recorded 256 gigabytes of her group’s two-week effort to save the injured – Ukrainians and Russians – and smuggled the footage of the besieged city by a team from the Associated Press.
The videos, broadcast by major networks in the United States and Europe, have been viewed by millions of people around the world. They illustrate the brutality of war but also the humanity of medical personnel. Taira and a colleague were taken prisoner by Russian forces on March 16.
“I am grateful to everyone who worked for this result. Taira is already home,’ Zelenskyy said in a nationwide address over the weekend. “We will continue to work to free everyone.”
Contribute: The Associated Press