Ukraine, U.K. say Russia using mass-casualty weapons
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian and British officials warned Saturday that Russian forces are relying on weapons able to cause mass casualties as they try to make headway in capturing eastern Ukraine and fierce, prolonged fighting depletes resources on both sides. Russian bombers have likely been launching heavy 1960s-era anti-ship missiles in Ukraine, the U. Both sides have expended large amounts of weaponry in what has become a grinding war of attrition for the eastern region of coal mines and factories known as the Donbas, placing huge strains on their resources and stockpiles. As Russia also sought to consolidate its hold over territory seized so far in the 108-day war, U. “It’s what happens when big powers decide that their imperial appetites matter more than the rights of their peaceful neighbors,” Austin said during a visit to Asia. A Ukrainian governor accused Russia of using incendiary weapons in a village in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk province, southwest of the fiercely contested cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. While the use of flamethrowers on the battlefield is legal, Serhii Haidai, governor of Luhansk province, alleged the overnight attacks in Vrubivka caused widespread damage to civilian facilities and an unknown number of victims. “At night, the enemy used a flamethrower rocket system – many houses burnt down,” Haidai wrote on Telegram on Saturday. Sievierodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk are the last major areas of Luhansk province remaining under Ukrainian control. The Ukrainian army said Saturday that Russian forces also were to launch an offensive on the Donetsk province city of Sloviansk. Moscow-backed rebels have controlled self-proclaimed republics in both provinces since 2014, and Russia is trying to seize the territory still in Ukrainian hands. During a visit to Kyiv by the European Union’s top official, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky called for a new round of “even stronger” EU sanctions against Russia. Zelenskyy called for the new sanctions to target more Russian officials, including judges, and to hamper the activities of all Russian banks, including gas giant Gazprom’s bank, as well as all Russian companies helping Moscow “in any way.
He spoke during a brief press appearance with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the heavily guarded presidential office compound in Ukraine’s capital. “Russia wants to divide Europe, wants to weaken Europe,” he said. Von der Leyen said the EU’s executive arm was “working day and night” on an assessment of Ukraine’s eligibility as an EU candidate. Zelensky and some EU supporters want Ukraine admitted to the EU quickly. She praised Ukraine’s “strength and resilience” in the face of Russia’s “horrible and atrocious” invasion and said the EU would assist with the country’s reconstruction. Russian-installed officials in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region have set up a company to buy up local grain and resell it on Moscow’s behalf, a local representative told the Interfax news agency on Saturday. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of stealing Ukraine’s grain and causing a global food crisis that could cause millions of deaths from hunger. Yevgeny Balitsky, the head of Zaporizhzhia’s pro-Russian provisional administration, said the new state-owned grain company has taken control of several facilities. He said “the grain will be Russian” and “we don’t care who the buyer will be. It was not clear if the farmers whose grain was being sold by Russia were getting paid. The head of Ukraine’s presidential office accused Russia’s military of shelling and burning grain fields ahead of the harvest. “Our soldiers are putting out the fires, but (Russia’s) ‘food terrorism’ must be stopped,” Yermak wrote Saturday on Telegram. The accuracy of his and Balitsky’s claims could not be independently verified.
Russian forces occupying parts of southern Ukraine began handing out Russian passports to local residents Saturday. In the Kherson region, 23 residents accepted Russian passports, including the new Moscow-installed governor, Russian state news agency its Moscow-installed governor, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Russian forces also started awarding passports in the occupied city of Melitopol, according to Russian state news agency TASS agency. It did not specify how many residents had requested or received Russian citizenship. Melitopol is located outside of the Donbas in the region of Zaporizhzhia, which is still held partly by Ukraine. Nearly 800 children have been killed or injured in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian authorities said Saturday. According to a statement by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, at least 287 children died as a result of military activity, while at least 492 more have been injured. The office said children in Ukraine’s Donetsk province suffered the most, with 217 reported killed or injured, compared with 132 and 116, respectively, in the Kharkiv and Kyiv regions. Officials in the city of Odesa said Saturday that a man was killed by an explosion while visiting a beach on the Black Sea, where mines are a growing concern. The city council said via Telegram that the man was there with his wife and son, despite warnings to stay away from beaches in the area. Russia and Ukraine each have accused the other of laying mines in the Black Sea.
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