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Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - Ukraine claims to have retaken territory from Russia in the eastern city of Donetsk. Ukraine's SIEVIE...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - Ukraine claims to have retaken territory from Russia in the eastern city of Donetsk.
Ukraine's SIEVIERODONETSK (Source: Reuters) Ukraine said it reclaimed a portion of the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk in a battle that appeared to stymie a Russian effort to recapture the destroyed city, which is at the center of Moscow's offensive to retake the eastern Donbas area, on Saturday.

According to Sergiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk region, Ukrainian army have retaken 20% of the territory they lost in Sievierodonetsk.

Even though Russian reinforcements were being deployed, he stated on Friday that falling the city in the next two weeks was "not conceivable."

"We'll push their artillery away from our positions as soon as we have enough Western long-range weaponry." The Russian infantry, believe me, will then just flee "Gaidai stated. Reuters was unable to confirm his assertion of Ukrainian advances right away.

On Friday, the conflict that Western leaders thought Russia would win within hours of its February invasion entered its 100th day. Since Moscow's forces were driven back from Kyiv in the early months of the conflict, many have perished, millions have been uprooted from their homes, and the global economy has been rocked.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that Moscow was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting grains, instead blaming the West for rising global food prices.

On national television, he stated, "We are now seeing attempts to shift responsibility for what is happening on the world food market, the rising problems in this market, onto Russia."

He believes that lifting Western sanctions on Russia's partner Belarus and allowing Ukraine to export grain through Belarus is the best answer.

Ukrainian leaders are banking on upgraded missile systems pledged by the US and the UK to tip the conflict in their favor, and Ukrainian troops have already begun training on them.

Despite the fact that Ukraine's resistance has pushed Putin to reduce his immediate goal to winning the entire Donbas region, Ukrainian officials claim he still wants to take the entire country.

"Putin's primary purpose is to destabilize Ukraine. Despite the fact that Ukraine won the first stage of this full-scale conflict, Putin is not backing down from his aims," Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on national television on Friday.

Moscow has poured troops and equipment into the war for Sievierodonetsk, which Russia has to win in order to seize all of Luhansk, one of two provinces in the eastern Donbass that the Kremlin has indicated it wants.

On Thursday, Reuters arrived in Sievierodonetsk and confirmed that Ukrainians still controlled a portion of the city.

Separately, two Reuters journalists were injured and a driver was killed on Friday as they attempted to reach Sievierodonetsk from a region controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

Russian troops attempted to bridge the Siverskyi Donetsk River from Sievierodonetsk but were prevented, according to Ukraine's military general command.

Russian troops were only 15 kilometers (9 miles) outside the city of Sloviansk in neighboring Donetsk province, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Reuters.

Donetsk will not fall fast, but more armaments are needed to keep the assault at bay, according to Kyrylenko.


The Western armaments, Moscow claims, will "add fuel to the fire," but will not change the course of a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and cleanse it of dangerous nationalists.

Russia still controls around a fifth of the country, with half of it seized in 2014 and the other half captured after the invasion began on February 24.

The enormous Russian onslaught in the east in recent weeks has been one of the deadliest episodes of the war for both sides, with Ukraine reporting daily losses of 60-100 soldiers.

Moscow has made gradual but steady progress, confining Ukrainian forces to an enclave in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk but failing to encircle them.

Meanwhile, Kyiv is hoping that the Russian advance would deplete Moscow's forces enough for Ukraine to reclaim territory in the coming months.

The war has wreaked havoc on the world economy, particularly in poor food-importing nations. Ukraine is one of the world's largest producers of grain and cooking oil, but the blockade of its Black Sea ports cut off both supplies, leaving more than 20 million tonnes of food stranded in silos.

According to a U.N. spokeswoman, UN assistance director Martin Griffiths concluded two days of "frank and fruitful conversations" with Russian authorities in Moscow on Friday about enabling Ukraine grain exports from Black Sea ports.

The meetings took place as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tries to broker a "package solution" that would allow both Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer exports to restart.

Ukraine has mined the ports to thwart a Russian amphibious attack, and Kyiv and its supporters blame Moscow for the blockade. Putin criticized sanctions imposed by the West.

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