June 28, 2022

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Ukraine attacks Russian forces in the east

Ukraine attacks Russian forces in the east

  • NATO chief says Russian attack will not be planned
  • The Russian Donbass Campaign Lost Its Momentum – British Army
  • Finland confirms its offer of NATO membership

RUSSKA LOZOVA, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine launched a counterattack on Russian forces on the eastern front on Monday, with battles reported near its second city Kharkiv, after Western military agencies said Moscow’s offensive in the Donbass region had stopped.

Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Vadim Denisenko said in televised comments that the fighting near Kharkiv was our “counter-attack.”

“It can no longer be stopped … Thanks to this we can go to the rear of the group of Russian forces,” he said.

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The governor of the Luhansk region in the Donbass, Serhiy Gaidai, said the situation “remains difficult”, as Russian forces try to capture the town of Severodonetsk.

He said leaders of the Luhansk People’s Republic, the region in Luhansk controlled by Russian-backed separatists, had announced a general mobilization, adding that it was “either fight or shoot, there is no other choice”.

The presidential office in Kyiv stated that fighting was raging in the south around the city of Kherson and that Russian missiles had hit residential areas in Mykolaiv.

Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the reports.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that the Russian offensive in Donbass had been halted and that Ukraine could win the war, an outcome few military analysts expected when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

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Since then, Russian forces have incurred heavy losses while razing cities and towns to ruins, killing thousands and driving more than six million refugees into neighboring countries. Russia denies targeting civilians.

In a strategic blow to Russia, which has long opposed NATO expansion, Finland confirmed on Sunday that it would apply to join the transatlantic military alliance.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats also supported NATO membership, paving the way for an application and abandoning decades of military nonalignment. Read more

NATO and the United States said they were confident the two countries would accept the alliance and overcome reservations from Turkey, which wants Nordic countries to stop supporting Kurdish militant groups on its soil. Read more

Ukraine has scored a string of successes since February, reversing the Russian advance in the capital Kyiv and pushing Russian forces out of Kharkiv in the east.

Since mid-April, Russian forces have focused much of their firepower on trying to capture two eastern provinces known as Donbass.

Moscow recognized the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic in Donbass days before launching its invasion.

British military intelligence said Russia had lost about a third of the ground combat force deployed in February and that its offensive in the Donbass was “significantly behind schedule”.

Moscow describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation” to rid the country of fascists, an assertion that Kyiv and its Western allies say is an unfounded excuse for an unprovoked war.

Fighting around Azium

Ukrainian forces received a morale boost from the country’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest at the weekend, which some said was a sign of battlefield victories.

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“We showed that we can not only fight, but also sing wonderfully,” said Vitaly, a fortified soldier north of Kyiv. Read more

The heaviest fighting appeared to have taken place around the Russian-controlled city of Izyum in eastern Russia, where Russia said it had bombed Ukrainian positions with missiles. Read more

Ukraine’s Joint Task Force said its forces repelled 17 attacks on Sunday and destroyed 11 pieces of Russian equipment. The Ukrainian Air Force Command said that the Ukrainian forces had shot down two helicopters, two cruise missiles and seven drones. .

The task force added that Russia continued to target civilian areas along the entire front line in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, firing at 23 villages and towns.

The Ukrainian military has also acknowledged setbacks, saying that Russian forces “continue their advance” in several areas in the Donbass region.

The Ukrainian military said Russia’s bombardment of steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol did not subside on Sunday, as a few hundred Ukrainian fighters emerged weeks after the city fell to Russia.

Brightly lit munitions were shown falling on steelworks in a video posted by a pro-Russian separatist leader. Read more

Donetsk commander Alexander Khodakovsky said on his Telegram channel on Monday that 10 Ukrainian fighters emerged from a tunnel at the Azovstal plant carrying white flags. Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the news.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “very difficult and sensitive negotiations” are underway to rescue Ukrainians in Mariupol and Azovstal.

Natalia from Mariupol said her apartment was bombed and three of her neighbors were killed.

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“We were not able to bury her because of the bombing. Every day we put a person in a grave, but we could not cover it with dirt because of the bombing,” she said.

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Stephen Coates. Editing by Lincoln Fest and Nick McPhee

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.