Russia advances in battle for eastern Ukraine city as NATO warns of long war

  • Few changes to front lines, Britain says
  • Ukraine admits setback near Sievierodonetsk
  • Russia tries to get closer to Kharkiv: Ukraine official

KYIV, June 19 (Reuters) – Russia said on Sunday it had seized a village near the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk in Ukraine, a main target in Moscow’s drive to control the country’s east as the NATO chief predicted it would the war could last for years.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it had won Metyolkine, a settlement of fewer than 800 people before the war began. The Russian state news agency TASS reported that many Ukrainian fighters had surrendered there.

Ukraine’s military said Russia had “partial success” in the area, which is about six kilometers (four miles) southeast of Sievierodonetsk.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said supplying Ukrainian troops with state-of-the-art weaponry would increase the possibility of liberating the eastern Donbas region from Russian control, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported. read more

After failing to take the capital Kyiv earlier in the war, Russian forces have focused on trying to take full control of Donbas, parts of which were already in the hands of Russian-backed separatists before the invasion. of February 24.

“We must prepare for the fact that it could take years. We must not give up supporting Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

Russia said on Sunday that its offensive to conquer Sievierodonetsk was succeeding. read more

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television that the fighting made evacuations from the city impossible, but “all Russian claims that they control the city are lies. They control the main part of the city, but not all of it.” the city”.

Among the communities around Sievierodonetsk, Gaidai told Ukrainian television that a Russian attack on Toshkivka, 35 km (20 miles) to the south, “had a certain degree of success.”

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the battlefield accounts.


Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that both Russia and Ukraine have continued heavy bombardment around Sievierodonetsk “with little change on the front line.”

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, wrote in a note that “Russian forces will probably be able to seize Sievierodonetsk in the coming weeks, but at the cost of concentrating most of their available forces in this small area.”

The British military assessment said that the morale of the Ukrainian and Russian combat units in Donbas was probably “variable”.

“Ukrainian forces have likely suffered from desertions in recent weeks, however, it is very likely that Russian morale remains particularly concerned. Cases of entire Russian units refusing orders and armed clashes between officers and their troops continue to occur,” said the British Ministry of Defense on Twitter.

In Sievierodonetsk’s twin city of Lysychansk, Russian shelling destroyed residential buildings and private homes, Gaidai said. “People are dying on the streets and in bomb shelters,” he added.

He later said that 19 people had been evacuated on Sunday. “We are managing to bring in humanitarian aid and evacuate people as best we can,” Gaidai said.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, northwest of Lugansk, Russia’s Defense Ministry said its Iskander missiles had destroyed weapons recently supplied by Western countries.

Russian forces were trying to move closer to Kharkiv, which experienced heavy shelling earlier in the war, and turn it into a “front-line city”, a Ukrainian Interior Ministry official said. read more

In southern Ukraine, Western weaponry had helped Ukrainian forces advance 10 km (6 miles) into Russian-occupied Melitopol, its mayor said in a video posted on Telegram from outside the city.


Russia has said it has launched what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor and protect Russian-speakers from dangerous nationalists. Kyiv and its allies dismissed it as a baseless pretext for aggressive war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who rallied citizens with filmed messages every day, said he had visited forces in the southern Mykolaiv region, some 550 kilometers (340 miles) south of Kyiv.

“His mood is assured: everyone has no doubts about our victory,” he said on Sunday in a video that appeared to have been recorded on a moving train. “We will not give the south to anyone, and all that is ours we will take back.”

In the Mykolaiv and Odessa regions, Zelenskiy said he had heard reports of destruction from Russian strikes.

“The losses are significant. Many houses have been destroyed; civilian logistics have been disrupted,” he said.

Germany on Sunday announced measures that would prepare it to end deliveries of Russian natural gas. The country, which is seeking to phase out Russian energy imports and fears Moscow could halt deliveries before it is ready, is building gas storage inventories and plans for coal-fired power plants to produce more. read more

(This story corrects the spelling of Sievierodonetsk in paragraphs 3, 7, 9, 12)

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Reuters bureau reports; Written by David Brunnstrom, Clarence Fernandez, Aidan Lewis, and Cynthia Osterman; Edited by Grant McCool, William Mallard, and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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