Ukraine under pressure in the east as NATO chief says Russia must not win


KIEV—Ukraine said on Thursday it had been forced to cede some territory in its east in the face of Russian aggression, and the head of the NATO military alliance said it must not allow Moscow to win the war. rice field.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week described the pressure his troops were under in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region as “hell.” He spoke of heavy fighting around the town of Avdiuka and the fortified village of Pisky, in which Kyiv recently acknowledged “partial success” for its Russian enemies.

ukrainian war
Ukrainian military personnel fire a shell from a towed FH-70 howitzer at the front line in the Donbass region on July 18, 2022. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

The Ukrainian military said on Thursday that Russian forces had launched at least two attacks on Pisky, but that they had managed to repel them.

Ukraine has spent the past eight years bolstering its defensive positions at Pisky, which it sees as a buffer zone against Russian-backed forces that control the city of Donetsk, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) southeast.

General Oleksiy Gromov said at a press conference that Ukrainian forces had recaptured two villages around the city of Sloviansk in the east, but were forced to abandon the mines, which were seen as important defensive strongholds, before leaving the town of Avdiuka outside. said he was pushed back by

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the attack.

It said its troops had inflicted heavy losses on Ukrainian forces around Avdiuka and two other locations in the Donetsk region, causing the withdrawal of mechanized and mechanized infantry units in Kyiv.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm either side’s claims.

Video footage released by the Russian Defense Ministry showed a Russian rocket launcher in action as the tank advanced rapidly across open terrain and opened fire. It was not clear where they were filmed.

Several unconfirmed reports suggest that Russian-backed forces reached the outskirts of Pisky.

Ukraine, armed by the West, has also attacked Russian-backed forces in the region.

Officials in the self-proclaimed Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said on Thursday that at least five people were killed and six wounded in artillery shelling by Ukrainian forces in the city of Donetsk.

Ukraine’s Donetsk governor Pablo Kirilenko told Telegram that three civilians were killed and five wounded in the past 24 hours in Bakhmut, Mariinka and Shevchenko by Russian shelling.

Eight people were killed and four wounded in a Russian shelling in the Donetsk town of Tretsk, he said.

Russia said it plans to take full control of the larger Donetsk Oblast, one of the two regions that make up the industrialized Donbass region. This is part of what Russia calls a “special military operation” to safeguard security against unwarranted NATO expansion.

Russian attack on Ukraine in Lyushchansk, Ukraine.
Smoke rises over the remains of buildings destroyed by a military attack in Lyschansk, Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine, June 17, 2022. (Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters)

NATO warning

Ukraine said the Russian offensive in the east appeared to be an attempt by Kyiv’s forces to recapture territory and divert troops from the south where they were trying to disrupt Russian supply lines.

“The idea is to put military pressure on Kharkov, Donetsk and Luhansk in the coming weeks … What is happening in the East does not determine the outcome of the war,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arrestovich in an interview. said in Youtube.

General Oleksiy Gromov said Russia could launch its own offensive to try to regain momentum in the war after building up its military forces in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that the war was the most dangerous moment for Europe since World War II and that Russia must not be allowed to win.

To deter Moscow from succeeding, NATO and its members may have to back Ukraine with weapons and other aid for a long time to come, he said.

“It is in our interest that this kind of aggressive policy does not succeed,” Stoltenberg said in a speech in his native Norway.

Amid growing concerns among some Western politicians that Russia’s ambitions may extend beyond Ukraine, Stoltenberg said the response to such a move from the Western military alliance would be overwhelming. warned Putin that it would

The war prompted formerly non-aligned Finland and Sweden to seek membership in NATO, and so far 23 of the 30 member states, including the United States, have ratified their demands. .

Pavel Polichuk and Natalia Zinnets

Reuters

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