As the street battle raged in the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, Russian forces fired cruise missiles at a major store storing the US and European armaments in western Ukraine’s Ternopil region, according to Interfax. According to the governor of the Ternopil district, a rocket attack from the Black Sea on the city of Chortkiv partially destroyed a military complex, injuring 22 persons. There were no weapons stored there, according to a local authority.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the conflicting accounts. Moscow has criticized the US and other countries for supplying Ukraine with weaponry on several occasions. President Vladimir Putin indicated earlier this month that if the West provided Ukraine with longer-range missiles for use in high-precision mobile rocket launchers, Russia would strike new targets.
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As Russian soldiers bombard the country’s east with artillery, Ukrainian leaders have reiterated their pleas to Western countries to hurry up the delivery of heavy weapons. The war for control of the industrialized Donbas region in the east, which includes the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, has centered on Sievierodonetsk. Parts of the city have been razed in some of the most brutal combat since Moscow launched its invasion on February 24.
On Sunday, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai reported that Ukrainian and Russian forces in Sievierodonetsk were still fighting street by street. While Russian forces have gained control of the majority of the city, he claims that the Ukrainian military still controls an industrial district and a chemical factory where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.
Moscow has switched its attention to increasing authority in the Donbas, where pro-Russian separatists have held a swath of territory since 2014. Employees and city residents were among the 800 individuals cowering in bomb shelters beneath the Azot facility, according to Ukraine. “No one can say whether or how many people have died in the previous 24 hours in Sievierodonetsk, where violent fighting continues,” Gaidai said on Sunday through Telegram.
“It’s likely that everyone wants to escape right now, but there’s no way to do so right now,” says one source. A woman was killed in Russian shelling in Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk’s twin city across the Donets River, while four residences and a shopping center were demolished, according to Gaidai.
According to a daily briefing from Ukraine’s general staff, Russian soldiers were firing mortars and artillery around a number of communities to the south and southwest of Sievierodonetsk. Russian attempts to move towards several settlements, however, were repelled by Ukrainian soldiers, according to the report. The battlefield accounts could not be independently verified by Reuters.
UKRAINE IS STRONGER THAN EVER, BUT IT NEEDS HELP
Ukrainian forces have proven to be more resilient than expected, according to the Institute for the Study of War in the United States, but they will require regular Western backing as they use up the last of their Soviet-era weaponry and munitions.
According to an Interfax article published on Sunday, Russian soldiers attacked the big store with Kalibr cruise missiles. Russian forces also shot down three Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets near Donetsk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, according to the report.
Russian news agencies reported that Russian officials have begun issuing Russian passports in two occupied Ukrainian cities, Kherson and Melitopol. It was unclear how many were given out. The invasion is described by Putin as a “special military operation” aimed at disarming and “denazifying” Ukraine. It is referred to by Kyiv and its allies as an unjustified campaign of aggression aimed at capturing territory.
As a result of the war, Ukraine has sought to strengthen its connections with the West. Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, stated on Saturday that the European Union executive’s view on Ukraine’s request to join the EU would be ready in the next week. To be considered for membership, all 27 EU countries would have to agree to grant Ukraine candidate status, which would be followed by long talks on the reforms needed.
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