Street fights rage in Sievierodonetsk, eastern Ukraine

  • Russia focuses its efforts on the last towns of Luhansk held by Ukraine
  • Ukraine claims advances in southern Kherson region
  • Separatist region of Donbass sentences Britons and Moroccans to death
  • Growing concern over food crisis as Russia blocks ports

KYIV/SLOVIANSK, Ukraine, June 9 (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces held their positions during intense street fighting in the eastern town of Sievierodonetsk, where Russians were “dying like flies”, said Thursday the governor of the region. catastrophic” lack of artillery.

The battle amid the ruins of Sievierodonetsk, a small industrial town, became one of the bloodiest of the war, with Russia concentrating its invasion force there. Both sides say they inflicted massive casualties.

In the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), one of Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine, a court has sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan man captured while fighting for Ukraine to death, Russian news agencies reported.

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Britain criticized the court’s decision as a “fictitious judgment” without any legitimacy. Read more

In the south, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said it captured new ground in a counterattack in Kherson province, targeting most of the territory Russia has seized since its invasion.

Thousands of people have been killed and millions have fled since Moscow launched its “special military operation” to disarm and “denazify” its neighbor on February 24. Ukraine and its allies call the invasion a war of unprovoked aggression.

Speaking in Moscow to mark the 350th anniversary of the birth of Russian Tsar Peter the Great, President Vladimir Putin drew a parallel between what he described as their historic quests to reclaim what he called Russian lands . Read more


Sievierodonetsk and its twin city Lysychansk on the opposite bank of the Siverskyi Donets river are the last Ukrainian-controlled parts of Luhansk province, which Moscow is determined to seize as one of its main war targets.

“They (the Russians) are dying like flies … heavy fighting continues inside Sievierodonetsk,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said in an online post.

Gaidai predicted that the Russians would try to take advantage of low water levels to cross the Siverskyi Donets River. “We are monitoring and if anything happens we will act proactively.”

Russian forces are concentrating all their power in the region, Ukrainian Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov told Reuters on Thursday.

“They don’t spare their people, they just send men in as cannon fodder,” he said. “They are bombing our military day and night.”

Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said Thursday that around 10,000 civilians were still trapped inside the city, about a tenth of its pre-war population.

In a rare update from Sievierodonetsk, the commander of the Ukrainian Svoboda National Guard Battalion, Petro Kusyk, said the Ukrainians were drawing the Russians into street fighting to neutralize the Russian artillery advantage.

“Yesterday was a success for us – we launched a counter-offensive and in some areas we managed to push them back a block or two. In others they pushed us back, but just a building or two,” he said in a TV interview.

But he added that his forces suffered from a “catastrophic” lack of counter-battery artillery to retaliate against Russian guns, and that obtaining such weapons would transform the battlefield.

Reuters could not independently verify the situation on the ground in the city.

West of Sievierodonetsk, Russia pushed from north to south, trying to trap Ukrainian forces in the Donbass region including Lugansk and the neighboring province of Donetsk.

In Soledar, a mining town near Bakhmut near the frontline, buildings had been blown into craters.

The remaining residents, mostly elderly, sheltered in a crowded cellar. Antonina, 65, had ventured into her garden. “We stay. We live here. We were born here,” she sobbed. “When is it all going to end?”


Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of grain and edible oil, and international attention has focused in recent weeks on the threat of international famine caused by Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports. .

“Millions of people could starve to death if the Russian blockade of the Black Sea continues,” Zelenskiy said in televised remarks on Thursday.

Moscow blames the food crisis on Western sanctions limiting its own grain exports. He says he is ready to open Ukrainian ports to exports if Ukraine clears the mines and meets other conditions. Kyiv calls these offers empty promises.

Turkey, a NATO power with good relations with Kyiv and Moscow, attempted mediation.

Russia has also attempted to sell grain from seized areas of Ukraine, an activity Kyiv and the West call looting. When asked if a deal had been reached to sell grain from southern Ukraine to Turkey or a Middle Eastern country, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Until now no agreement has been reached, the work continues”.

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Additional reports by Reuters offices; Written by Peter Graff, Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Alex Richardson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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