Russian forces yesterday stepped up their offensive on the last pocket of resistance around Lugansk in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, as the war entered its fourth month.
Since Moscow’s invasion on Feb. 24, Western support has helped Ukraine hold off its neighbor’s advances in many areas, including the capital, Kyiv, but Russia is now focused on securing and expanding its gains in Donbas and the southern coast.
“The coming weeks of the war will be difficult, and we must be aware of that,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday in his nightly address after regional leaders and residents reported heavy bombardments.
“The most difficult fighting situation today is in Donbas,” Zelenskiy said, singling out the worst-hit towns of Bakhmut, Popasna and Severodonetsk.
The Ukrainian armed forces said on Facebook on Tuesday that Russian forces were conducting non-stop “offensive operations” in the region, adding that “the enemy is exerting intense fire along the entire line of contact.”
Lugansk Governor Sergiy Gaidai said Russia had sent thousands of troops to capture his entire region and that Severodonetsk was under massive attack, warning residents that it was too late to evacuate.
“At this point I will not say: Get out, evacuate. Now I will say: Stay in a shelter, because such a density of shelling will not allow us to calmly gather people and come for them,” Gaidai said on Telegram.
Residents of Bakhmut, a crucial junction that serves as a command center for much of the Ukrainian war effort, spoke of the aerial onslaught they had suffered.
“I looked up from my prayers and heard a frightening sound,” 82-year-old Maria Mayashlapak said next to the splintered remains of her home. “Every day I pray to God asking to avoid injuries. God heard me. God is watching over me.”
Zelenskiy said in his address that Russia had carried out nearly 1,500 missile strikes and more than 3,000 airstrikes against Ukraine in the first three months of the war.
The president earlier warned elites gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos — from which Russians have been barred this year — that slow-walking military aid was causing unnecessary deaths as Ukrainians are “paying dearly for freedom and independence.”
He said that 87 people had been killed in a Russian attack earlier this month on a military base in the north, in what would be one of the largest single recorded strikes of the war.
Western countries have sent huge amounts of weapons and cash to Ukraine to help it repel Russia’s assault, and punished Moscow with unprecedented economic sanctions.
However, Zelenskiy said via videolink that tens of thousands of lives would have been saved if Kyiv had received “100 percent of our needs at once back in February,” when Russia invaded.
He also ramped up his demands that Moscow be cut off from the global economy.
Meanwhile, Boris Bondarev, a counselor at Moscow’s mission to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, announced he was leaving his job after 20 years of diplomatic service in protest at Russia’s invasion.
In the letter circulated to a number of diplomatic missions in Geneva, he condemned the war as “not only a crime against the Ukrainian people but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia.”
“Never have I been so ashamed of my country,” he said.
Twenty-one-year-old Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin was on Monday found guilty of war crimes for killing an unarmed civilian and handed a life sentence by a Kyiv court, in the first verdict of its kind since the invasion began.
China is racing to quash a new COVID-19 flareup that risks spilling over into one of its most economically significant regions, raising the specter of disruptions that could roil global supply chains for solar panels, medicines and semiconductors. Infections have surged in Si County in the eastern province of Anhui, with officials reporting 287 cases for Sunday and nearly 1,000 since late last week. Authorities locked down Si and a neighboring county late last week to try and stop the virus from spreading to Jiangsu Province, the second-biggest contributor to China’s economic output and a globally important manufacturing hub for the
A flight test of a hypersonic missile system in Hawaii on Wednesday ended in failure due to a problem that occurred after ignition, the US Department of Defense said, delivering a fresh blow to a program that has experienced stumbles. It did not provide details of what took place in the test, but said in an e-mailed statement that “the department remains confident that it is on track to field offensive and defensive hypersonic capabilities on target dates beginning in the early 2020s.” “An anomaly occurred following ignition of the test asset,” Pentagon spokesman US Navy Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman said in
OPPOSITION PROTESTS: Many people in Myanmar suspect China of supporting the military takeover, while Beijing has refused to condemn last year’s army power grab China’s top diplomat on Saturday arrived on his first visit to Myanmar since the military seized power last year to attend a regional meeting that the Burmese government said was a recognition of its legitimacy and opponents protested as a violation of peace efforts. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) is to join counterparts from Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in a meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation group in the central city of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The grouping is a Chinese-led initiative that includes the countries of the Mekong Delta, a potential source of regional tensions
CERN UPGRADES: ompared with the collider’s first run that discovered the Higgs boson in 2012, this time around there would be 20 times more collisions Ten years after it discovered the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider is about to start smashing protons together at unprecedented energy levels in its quest to reveal more secrets about how the universe works. The world’s largest and most powerful particle collider started back up in April after a three-year break for upgrades in preparation for its third run. From today it will run around the clock for nearly four years at a record energy of 13.6 trillion electronvolts, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced at a news conference last week. It is to send two beams of protons