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Russia burns a bridge over a Ukrainian river, severing a means of egress

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  Local sources reported on Sunday that Russian soldier s blew up a bridge connecting the besieged Ukraini...


Image: Reuters


Berita 24 English -  Local sources reported on Sunday that Russian soldiers blew up a bridge connecting the besieged Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk to a city across the river, cutting off an evacuation route for people.

Sievierodonetsk has become the focal point of the struggle for sovereignty over the eastern Donbas area of Ukraine. Since the Kremlin launched its invasion on February 24, parts of the city have been obliterated by some of the deadliest fighting.

"The key tactical objective of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, and fierce fighting is ongoing there - literally for every metre," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his nightly video address, adding that Russia was attempting to deploy reserve forces to the Donbas.

The image of a 12-year-old boy hurt by a Russian strike, according to Zelenskiy, is now the enduring global image of Russia. "These same facts will reinforce how the rest of the world views Russia," he said.

"Not Peter the Great, not Lev Tolstoy, but youngsters maimed and died in Russian attacks," he stated, an apparent allusion to Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments last week comparing Moscow's military campaign to Peter the Great's 18th century seizure of Swedish-held territory.

According to Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the province of Luhansk, on Sunday, Ukrainian and Russian soldiers were still fighting street-by-street in Sievierodonetsk.

The majority of the city has been captured by Russian forces, but Ukrainian troops still control an industrial district and the Azot chemical factory, where hundreds of civilians are sheltering. "About 500 civilians, including 40 children, remain on the Azot plant site in Sievierodonetsk. Sometimes the military is able to evacuate an individual "Gaidai stated.

Gaidai stated that the Russians had destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River that connected Sievierodonetsk to its twin city, Lysychansk.

This left only one of the three bridges standing.

"If the bridge falls after additional shelling, the city would be completely cut off. There will be no vehicle exits from Sievierodonetsk "Gaidai stated that there was no cease-fire agreement or agreed-upon evacuation channels.

According to Gaidai, Russian shelling in Lysychansk killed a six-year-old.

Reuters was unable to independently verify this account.

STRATEGIC CONSEQUENCES

Moscow has shifted its focus to the Donbas, where pro-Russian rebels have occupied territory since 2014, after being forced to scale back its initial objectives following its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The collapse of Sievierodonetsk, the final Ukrainian enclave in the key Luhansk area, would bring Putin's "special military operation" one step closer to achieving one of its stated objectives.

According to Interfax, Russian cruise missiles damaged a significant arsenal of U.S. and European weapons in the western Ukrainian region of Ternopil.

The governor of Ternopil stated that rockets fired from the Black Sea at the city of Chortkiv damaged 22 people and partially destroyed a military complex. A local authority stated that no weapons were kept there.

Reuters was unable to independently authenticate the contradictory accounts.

Moscow has criticised the United States and other countries for delivering weaponry to Ukraine, threatening to attack new targets if the West provides long-range missiles.

Recently, Ukrainian leaders have reiterated their requests for additional heavy weapons. General Valeriy Zaluzhny, the leader of the Ukrainian armed forces, spoke with General Mark Milley, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer, on Sunday and renewed his request for additional heavy artillery weapons.

According to the Ukrainian military staff, Russian soldiers were firing mortars and artillery south and southwest of Sievierodonetsk. However, it was reported that Ukrainian soldiers had repelled Russian attempts to advance on certain communities.

The battlefield accounts could not be independently verified by Reuters.

Putin asserts that Russia intends to disarm and "denazify" Ukraine. Kyiv and its supporters refer to it as an unprovoked invasion of territory.

Also on Sunday, the commander of the rebel Donetsk region in the Donbas, which is supported by Russia, stated that there was no reason to pardon two British nationals who were condemned to death last week after being seized while fighting for Ukraine.

Thursday, a court in Donetsk found Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, and Brahim Saadoun guilty of "mercenary activities" aimed at overthrowing the republic.

According to the United Kingdom, Aslin and Pinner were regular soldiers exempt from punishment for participating in hostilities under the Geneva Conventions. According to Aslin's family, he and Pinner "are not and have never been mercenaries."

Separately, the family of a former British soldier named Jordan Gatley announced on social media that he was murdered fighting for Ukraine near Sievierodontsk.


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