Ukraine says it will prevail against Russia as the battle rages on in the east

  • Russia targets Sievierodonetsk in easterly advance
  • Ukraine calls on the West to quickly deliver more heavy weapons
  • The war blocks key Ukrainian grain exports from the Black Sea
  • Separatists say they will try the South Korean militant

Kyiv, June 11 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday insisted Ukraine would win its nearly four-month war with Russia centered on a crunchy artillery barrage over an eastern Ukrainian city.

Russian forces attempted to capture Sievierodonetsk as they advanced east, making it one of the bloodiest battles to date. Neither side has achieved a KO blow in weeks of fighting that has reduced the city to rubble.

Ukraine has called for faster shipments of heavy weapons from the West to turn the tide in the war with Russian forces – which are said to have at least 10 times more artillery pieces than Ukrainian forces. However, even when outnumbered, the Ukrainian army has proved more resilient than expected in the early stages of combat.

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“We will definitely prevail in this war that Russia started,” Zelenskyy said via video link at a conference in Singapore. “The future rules of this world will be decided on the battlefields in Ukraine.” Continue reading

After Russia was forced to scale back broader campaign goals when it launched its invasion on February 24, Moscow has turned to expanding control in the east, where pro-Russian separatists had already occupied part of the territory since 2014.

The eastern region known as Donbass includes the provinces of Luhansk, in which Sievierodonetsk is located, and Donetsk.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said it was preparing a verdict on a captured South Korean “mercenary”, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported. Continue reading

The family of one of the two British militants sentenced to death in a brief court hearing last week said on Saturday they were “devastated and saddened by the outcome of the illegal show trial” and called for Shaun Pinner to be treated as a prisoner of war and released or exchanged. Continue reading

GLOBAL IMPACT

The conflict between the neighbors – two of the world’s largest grain exporters – has resonated well beyond Ukraine.

“If, due to Russian blockades, we are unable to export our food, which is so sorely lacking in world markets, the world will face an acute and severe food crisis and famine – famine in many countries of Asia and Africa,” he said Zelenskyj Shangri-La Dialogue Conference in Singapore.

The United Nations said on Friday that up to 19 million more people around the world could face chronic hunger over the next year due to reduced wheat and other food exports.

Turkey has been trying to reach an agreement to allow Ukraine to resume shipments from its Black Sea ports, which accounted for 98% of its grain and oilseed exports before the war. But Moscow says Kyiv must clear its ports of mines, and Ukraine says it needs security guarantees so it is not left unprotected. Continue reading

Ukraine has repeatedly called for more urgent Western aid.

“As Ukrainian forces use the last of their stockpiles of Soviet-era weapon systems and ammunition, they will need consistent Western support to transition to new supply chains for ammunition and key artillery systems,” the Institute for the Study of War said in a report on Friday .

Effective artillery will be of crucial importance in the “largely static fighting” in the east, it said.

The governor of Luhansk in Ukraine, Serhiy Gaidai, said that Russian forces controlled most of Sievierodonetsk after there was a back-and-forth in the battle for the city, but Ukraine still controlled the Azot chemical plant, where Hundreds of civilians seek refuge.

He denied a Separatist claim that 300 to 400 Ukrainian fighters were trapped there.

“Our forces are holding an industrial area of ​​Sievierodonetsk and destroying the Russian army in the city,” Gaidai said on the Telegram app.

The battle for Sievjerodonetsk and its destruction are reminiscent of weeks of bombing of the southern port city of Mariupol. It was reduced to rubble before Russian forces took control of the city last month, with the last Ukrainian defenders surrendering from their redoubt at the Azovstal Steelworks.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians, but both sides say they inflicted mass casualties on each other’s forces.

Reuters was unable to independently verify battlefield reports in the conflict.

Russia is calling its actions a “military special operation” to disarm and “denazify” Ukraine, while Kyiv and its allies are calling it an unprovoked war of aggression to seize territory.

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Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Max Hunder, additional reporting from Reuters offices, writing by Edmund Blair, editing by Frances Kerry and Angus MacSwan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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