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Russia attacks villages in eastern Ukraine, killing numerous people. Conor Humphries and Pavel Polityuk

Images: Reuters Berita 24 English - KYIV/SLOVYANSK, Ukraine As Russia focuses its attack on the industrial Donbas region, Russian soldiers ...

Images: Reuters

Berita 24 English - KYIV/SLOVYANSK, Ukraine As Russia focuses its attack on the industrial Donbas region, Russian soldiers launched offensives on towns in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, according to Ukrainian officials, with incessant mortar fire demolishing multiple buildings and killing residents.

Russia is seeking to conquer the two provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, which are claimed by separatists, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front.

The city of Sievierodonetsk, on the east bank of the Siverskiy Donets River, and its twin Lysychansk, on the west bank, have become important battlefields in the easternmost region of the Ukrainian-held Donbas pocket. To encircle them, Russian forces advanced from three directions.

Russian soldiers launched an onslaught on Sievierodonetsk early Wednesday, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's administration, and the town was under incessant mortar fire.

Six civilians were murdered and at least eight were injured in Sievierodonetsk, according to Serhiy Gaidai, the regional governor of Luhansk.

"At the present, the Russian occupants are striking Sievierodonetsk with artillery support," Gaidai added.

Ukraine's military said it repelled nine Russian attacks in the Donbas on Tuesday, in which Moscow's troops used planes, rocket launchers, artillery, tanks, mortars, and missiles to kill at least 14 civilians.

The information regarding the fighting was not immediately verified by Reuters.

Authorities in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, reopened the subterranean metro, where tens of thousands of citizens had sought refuge for months under continuous shelling.

The reopening came after Ukraine, like the capital, Kyiv, pushed Russian forces out of artillery range of the northern city in March.

Three months into the invasion, Russia has only modest gains to show for its worst military casualties in decades, while the worst attack on a European state since 1945 has devastated most of Ukraine.

Over 6.5 million people have fled to other countries, thousands have died, and towns have been reduced to ruins.

Due to sanctions and supply chain disruption, the war has resulted in mounting food shortages and skyrocketing costs. Ukraine and Russia are both important grain and commodity exporters.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission's chief, accused Russia of using food as a weapon.

Also speaking in Davos, billionaire investor George Soros suggested that Russia's invasion of Ukraine may have triggered World War Three.

"Beating Putin as soon as possible is the greatest and perhaps only way to save our culture," he stated.

Jailed On Tuesday, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny slammed President Vladimir Putin, portraying him as a doomed crazy who is slaughtering the people of Ukraine and Russia.

"This is a ridiculous war that your Putin initiated," Navalny said via video link from a correctional penitentiary camp before a Moscow appeals court. "This war was founded on deception."

As US President Joe Biden visited Tokyo on Tuesday, major US ally Japan scrambled fighters after Russian and Chinese airplanes approached its airspace, underscoring the war's global concerns.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration stated that it would not extend a waiver that allows Russia to pay US bondholders that was slated to expire on Wednesday, potentially pushing the country closer to default.

Russia had been allowed to continue paying interest and principal on its national debt in order to avoid default.

According to a government internet portal, Russian MPs have given their initial assent to a bill that would empower Russian businesses to take over international companies that have left the country in protest of Moscow's actions in Ukraine. [nL5N2XG5UG}

Starbucks Corp became the latest Western company to declare its exit from Russia on Monday, following McDonald's decision. On Monday, the "Golden Arches" of the hamburger company were dropped in Moscow.


Senior Russian officials suggested on Tuesday that the conflict, which Russia refers to as a "special operation," could drag on.

The director of Putin's security council, Nikolai Patrushev, said Russia would combat "Nazism" in Ukraine for as long as it took, a rationale for the conflict that the West dismisses.

Russia is moving carefully to avoid civilian casualties, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Such claims were denied by Zelenskiy as "totally unreal."

Hundreds of people were living underground in trains and stations in Kharkiv before officials ordered them to leave on Tuesday.

"Everyone is terrified since there is ongoing shelling," said Nataliia Lopanska, who spent the most of the fighting in a metro train.

Following Russia's largest triumph in months, Ukraine's military in the port of Mariupol surrendered last week following a siege in which Kyiv thinks tens of thousands of civilians were slaughtered.

The corpses were laying in the ruins, according to Petro Andryushchenko, a former adviser to Mariupol's Ukrainian mayor who now works outside the city.

He stated there were perhaps 200 decaying remains hidden under debris in the basement of one high-rise building. Residents had refused to pick them up, and Russian authorities had left the area.

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