Ukraine's troops defying Russia's expectations, says proud Zelensky
A Ukrainian serviceman sits inside a tank at a position in Donetsk region, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine June 11, 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says there is no end in sight to the war but he has praised his military forces for defying expectations and preventing Russian troops from overrunning eastern Ukraine. In his nightly video address, Mr Zelensky said he was proud of the Ukrainian defenders managing to hold back the Russian advance in the eastern Donbas region, which borders Russia and where Moscow-backed separatists have controlled much of the territory for eight years. “Remember how in Russia, in the beginning of May, they hoped to seize all of the Donbas?” the president said. After failing to capture Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, early in the war, Moscow has focused on seizing the parts of the largely Russian-speaking Donbas still in Ukrainian hands, as well as the country’s southern coast. Sievierodonetsk, an eastern city with a pre-war population of 100,000, is still being hotly fought over, according to both sides yesterday. Leonid Pasechnik, the head of the separatist-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, said Ukrainian fighters remained in an industrial area of the city, including a chemical plant where civilians had taken shelter during a weeks-long Russian bombardment. “Sievierodonetsk is not completely 100pc liberated,” Mr Pasechnik said, claiming that Ukraine was shelling the city from the Azot plant. He added that the Ukrainians making a stand in Sievierodonetsk should save themselves the trouble.
“If if I were them, I would already make a decision (to surrender),” he said. Luhansk governor Serhii Haidai reported at the weekend that a big fire broke out at the plant on Saturday during Russian shelling. A Luhansk People’s Republic’ official, Rodion Miroshnik, said that 300 to 400 Ukrainian troops remained blockaded inside the Sievierodonetsk chemical plant along with several hundred civilians. To the north of the city, Russian shelling of settlements in the Kharkiv region killed three people, area governor Oleh Syniehubov has said. Meanwhile, the Russian military claimed it destroyed a large depot filled with western-supplied weapons in Ukraine. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said long-range, sea-based Kalibr missiles had hit “a large depot of anti-tank missile systems, portable air defence systems and shells supplied to the Kyiv regime by the US and European countries” near the city of Chortkiv in the western Ukrainian region of Ternopil. Ternopil governor Volodymyr Trush said missile strikes on Chortkiv injured 22 people, including seven women and a 12-year-old boy. Elsewhere in Ukraine, a counter-offensive pushed Russians out of parts of the southern Kherson region they took early in the war, according to Mr Zelensky. Moscow has installed local authorities in Kherson and other occupied coastal areas, offering residents Russian passports, airing Russian news broadcasts and taking steps to introduce a Russian school curriculum.
Mr Zelensky said that while it was unknown how long the war would last, Ukraine should do everything it could so the Russians “regret everything that they have done and that they answer for every killing and every strike on our beautiful state. The Ukrainian leader claimed that Russia has so far suffered about three times as many military casualties as the number estimated for the Ukrainian side, adding: “For what? What did it get you, Russia?” Speaking at a defence conference in Singapore yesterday, Chinese Defence Minister Gen. “China will continue to play a constructive role and contribute our share to easing tensions and realising a political resolution of the crisis,” Mr Wei said. He suggested that nations supplying weapons to Ukraine were hindering peace by “adding fuel to the fire” and stressed that China had not provided any material support to Russia during the war. The Institute for the Study of War, a think-tank based in Washington, said Ukrainian intelligence suggested the Russian military was planning “to fight a longer war. It cited the deputy head of Ukraine’s national security agency as saying that Moscow had extended its war timeline until October. The intelligence “indicates the Kremlin has, at a minimum, acknowledged it cannot achieve its objectives in Ukraine quickly and is further adjusting its military objectives in an attempt to correct the initial deficiencies in the invasion,” the think tank said.
Read full article at Independent.ie