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Explosions rock Ukraine’s capital as intense fighting continues in Donbass

Ukraine said on June 4 that its forces had regained 20% of the territory they had lost in the city of Syevyerodonetsk, at the center of a Russian offensive aimed at taking the eastern region of Donbass, and that they could do so. retain until two weeks, when more Western artillery should arrive.

Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said Ukrainian forces continued to hold their positions inside Syevyerodonetsk and were pushing back Russian troops in several places.

“As soon as we have enough long-range Western weapons, we will push their artillery back from our positions,” Hayday said. He described the situation in the region as “extremely difficult”, with Russia using all its available forces to capture the industry. town.

“The fighting is now concentrated in Syevyerodonetsk because, from what we understand, the Russian army is throwing all its power, all its reserves in that direction,” he said on June 4.

Hayday said Russian forces were blowing up bridges over the Severskiy Donets River to prevent Ukraine from bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in Syevyerodonetsk.

Hayday’s claim regarding Ukrainian advances could not immediately be verified. Ukraine’s military said Russia had reinforced its troops and used artillery to carry out “assault operations” in the city, which had been bombarded by forces from Moscow for weeks.

“The enemy is undertaking attacks on the city of Syevyerodonetsk with the support of artillery, he has reinforced his troops with the mobile reserves of the second army corps, the fighting in the city continues,” the army said. Ukrainian on June 4.

But he added that Russian forces withdrew after failed attempts to advance into the nearby town of Bakhmut and cut off access to Syevyerodonetsk.

British intelligence estimates that Russia now controls more than 90% of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine and is expected to gain full control of the area within the next two weeks.

In the neighboring region of Donetsk, heavy fighting also continued with several missiles hitting the city of Donetsk late on 4 June.

In the Odessa region of southern Ukraine, a missile hit an agricultural storage unit, injuring two people on the morning of June 4, the spokesman of the regional administration wrote on Telegram.

Ukraine announced on June 4 that four foreigners fighting for Kyiv had been killed in action.

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Russia has stepped up its offensive to gain ground in areas where Moscow-backed separatists already have a foothold as Western nations rush to supply arms to Ukraine, which lacks the firepower of the Russia.

Earlier this week, the United States approved an additional $700 million in military aid for Ukraine, including four powerful rocket systems capable of destroying heavy artillery up to 70 kilometers away.

Ukraine said on June 4 that Norwegian self-propelled howitzers had now been deployed to the front lines.

In an interview with state media on June 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed his military was “breaking” Western armaments like “crazy.”

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and one of Putin’s closest allies, warned the same day that Moscow could target Western cities if Ukraine uses US-supplied rocket systems to carry out strikes on Russian territory.

The Biden administration said on June 1 that it had received assurances from Ukraine that it would not use new US rocket systems to target Russian territory. The administration said it could send additional rocket systems if needed.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on June 4 that Western countries would discuss additional aid to Ukraine at a meeting in Brussels on June 15.

The UK Ministry of Defense said in its regular updates that Russian air activity remains high over Ukraine’s Donbass region, with Russian aircraft carrying out strikes using guided and unguided munitions.

The ministry said on June 4 that Russia had increased its use of tactical air to support its creeping advance, combining airstrikes and heavy artillery attacks to assert its firepower as its operational focus narrowed. is moved to the Donbass.

“The increased use of unguided munitions has led to widespread destruction of built-up areas in Donbass and has almost certainly caused significant collateral damage and civilian casualties,” he said.

But the bulletin warned that Russia’s recent tactical successes have come at a significant cost in terms of resources, and that trend is likely to continue.

Ukraine will soon receive additional anti-aircraft weapon systems from the West to help it combat Russian dominance from the skies, a key factor in its recent gains. Earlier this week, Germany promised to send air defense systems in the coming weeks.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Ukraine, more than 14 million have fled their homes and the global economy has been disrupted by Russia’s unprovoked war, which marked its 100th day on June 3.

With reporting from Reuters, Kyiv Independent and dpa