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A fierce battle is going on for Ukraine's east

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  In the battle for the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, Russian and Ukrainian troops fought fiercely i...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  In the battle for the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, Russian and Ukrainian troops fought fiercely in the streets. This happened as Moscow's forces pushed to take over Ukraine's eastern Donbas, looking for a decisive win more than 100 days into the invasion.

It wasn't clear which side was winning because "the situation changes every hour," Oleksandr Stryuk, the head of administration in Sievierodonetsk, said on TV.

The city is now the main target of the Russian offensive in the Donbas, which is made up of the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk. The Kremlin's invasion is still going on, and cities have been destroyed by artillery barrages as part of a war of attrition.

In his nightly video address on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, "In the city, fierce street fighting is still going on." "The Russian army is trying to send more troops to the Donbas region."

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the province, said earlier on Monday that things had gotten worse since Ukrainian defenders had pushed back the Russians over the weekend when it looked like they were about to win.

On Monday, two civilians were killed by Russian shelling in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Ukrainian military said that Russian forces had fired on more than 20 communities.

The reports from the battlefield could not be checked by Reuters on their own. Russia says it is not trying to hurt civilians in the war.

"We are giving people the chance to leave," Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of the Donetsk region, said on TV.

"Since last week, more than 100 people have been taken out of Sloviansk. About 24,000 residents remain. People are now realizing that it's time to leave, even though it's late."

In the early stages of the war, Russia was pushed out of Kyiv and Kharkiv. Now, it says it is on a mission to "liberate" the Donbas, which has been partly held by separatists since 2014. It is doing this through a "special military operation" to disarm and "denazify" its neighbor.

Ukraine and its allies say that this is just an excuse for a war that has killed thousands of people, flattened cities, and forced millions of people to leave their homes and go live somewhere else.


Zelenskiy thanked Britain for giving them multiple-launch rocket systems that can hit targets up to 80 km (50 miles) away. This gave them the more accurate, long-range firepower they needed to reach Russian artillery batteries, which were a key part of Moscow's battle plans.

"I'm thankful to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for fully understanding our needs and being willing to give Ukraine the exact weapons it needs to protect our people's lives," he said.

Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, said that if the West sent long-range weapons, Moscow would push Ukrainian forces farther away from Russia's border.

Sunday, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would attack new targets if the West gave Russia missiles with a longer range. For the first time in more than a month, Russian missiles hit Kyiv the same day.

Ukraine's defense ministry said that Russian forces were also moving toward Sloviansk, which is about 85 km (53 miles) west of Sievierodonetsk.


Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, said that there are "credible reports" that Russia is "pilfering" Ukraine's grain exports to sell for profit as the global food crisis gets worse.

Blinken said that the alleged theft was part of a larger set of actions taken by Russia during its war in Ukraine that have made it harder for Ukraine to sell its wheat crop abroad.

Since the invasion on February 24, prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel, and fertilizer have gone up a lot.

Nearly a third of the world's wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine. Russia also exports fertilizer, and Ukraine sends out corn and sunflower oil.

Monday, Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's U.N. Ambassador, stormed out of a U.N. Security Council meeting after European Council President Charles Michel said that Russia was making a food crisis worse.

Nebenzia told Reuters, "Charles Michel came here to spread lies, and I couldn't stay."

Over Russia's invasion, the West has also put sanctions on it that have never been seen before.

On Monday, Russia's foreign ministry said that it had put personal sanctions on 61 U.S. officials, including the treasury and energy secretaries and top defence and media executives.

It said that the move was a response to "constantly growing U.S. sanctions."

When asked about the move during a briefing, Karine Jean-Pierre, who is in charge of press for the White House, did not say anything.

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