Live updates of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis | Mayor says Ukrainian troops have ‘almost left’ Sievierodonetsk

Here are the latest developments in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict on June 25, 2022

Here are the latest developments in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict on June 25, 2022

After weeks of fierce fighting, Ukrainian forces have begun to withdraw from a beleaguered town in the east of the country to move to stronger positions, a regional official said on Friday, after four months of Russian invasion.

The planned withdrawal from Sievierodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, comes after relentless Russian bombardments reduced most of the industrial city to rubble and reduced its population from 100,0000 to 10,000. Ukrainian troops fought the Russians in house-to-house battles before retreating to the huge Azot chemical plant on the outskirts of the city, where they remain locked in its vast underground structures in which around 500 civilians have also taken refuge.

In recent days, Russian forces have made gains around Sievierodonetsk and the nearby town of Lysychansk, on a steep bank across a river, in an effort to encircle Ukrainian forces.

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Kyiv

Mayor says Ukrainian troops have ‘almost left’ Sievierodonetsk

The mayor of Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine, said Ukrainian troops had “almost left” the strategic frontline town after resisting advancing Russian forces for weeks.

Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk did not confirm whether a full withdrawal was in the works. On Friday, regional authorities said Ukraine was preparing to withdraw its troops there.

“Unfortunately, they almost left town,” Mr Stryuk told national television. – Reuters

Lysychansk

Russia pushes to block 2nd city in eastern Ukraine

Russian forces are trying to blockade a town in eastern Ukraine, the region’s governor said on Saturday, after their relentless assault on a nearby town forced Ukrainian troops to start withdrawing after weeks of fighting intense.

Russia also launched missile attacks on areas away from the heart of the eastern battles.

Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said on Facebook that Russian forces were trying to blockade the city of Lysychansk from the south. This town sits next to Sievierodonetsk, which endured relentless assaults and house-to-house fighting for weeks.

After Haidai said Friday that Ukrainian forces had begun to withdraw from Sievierodonetsk, military analyst Oleg Zhdanov said some of the troops were heading towards Lysychansk. But Russian measures to cut off Lysychansk will give little respite to these retreating troops.— PA

Kyiv

Ukraine reports ‘massive’ attack from Belarus

Ukraine said it suffered “massive bombing” on Saturday from neighboring Belarus, an ally of Russia not officially involved in the conflict, the day after the announcement of a withdrawal from the strategic city of Severodonetsk.

Twenty rockets targeted the village of Desna in the northern Chernigiv region, Ukraine’s northern military command said in a statement, adding that infrastructure had been hit but no casualties had yet been reported.

Belarus has provided logistical support to Moscow since the February 24 invasion, particularly in the early weeks, and as Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions – but is officially not involved in the conflict. – AFP

Kyiv

Ukraine already uses US-supplied rocket systems in conflict: General

US-provided HIMARS rocket systems are already operating and hitting targets in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, the country’s top general said on Saturday.

“The gunners of the Armed Forces of Ukraine skilfully hit some targets – military targets of the enemy on our territory, Ukrainian,” wrote Ukrainian Chief of Staff Valeriy Zaluzhnyi on the Telegram app. – Reuters

Moscow

Russian troops kill “up to 80” Polish fighters in Ukraine (Moscow)

Russia said on Saturday its troops had killed “up to 80” Polish fighters in “precision strikes” in eastern Ukraine.

“Up to 80 Polish mercenaries, 20 armored fighting vehicles and eight Grad multiple rocket launchers were destroyed in precision strikes on the Megatex zinc plant in Konstantinovka” in the Donetsk region, the Russian Ministry of Defense said. Defense in a statement that could not be independently verified. – AFP

Kyiv

Ukraine says Russia aims to drag Belarus into war

Ukraine’s intelligence services said on Saturday that Russia was aiming to drag Belarus into the war, after missiles were fired from Belarusian territory towards a northern border region.

“Today’s strike is directly linked to the Kremlin’s efforts to drag Belarus into the war in Ukraine as a co-belligerent,” Ukraine’s intelligence service, which is part of the Defense Ministry, said on Telegram. – AFP

Moscow

Russia fired several key generals from Ukraine: Britain

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Russia was likely to remove several generals from key command posts in the Ukraine conflict this month.

“Since the beginning of June, the Russian high command has most likely removed several generals from key operational command positions in the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said in its daily Twitter update. Reuters

Kyiv

Russian shelling hits chemical plant where civilians are trapped, Ukraine says

Russia launched artillery and airstrikes on the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk on Saturday, hitting a chemical plant where hundreds of civilians were trapped, a Ukrainian official said.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, said Russian forces attacked the Sievierodentsk industrial zone and also tried to enter and blockade Lysychansk.

“There was an airstrike in Lysytchansk. Sievierodonetsk was hit by artillery,” Gaidai said on the Telegram messaging app, adding that the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk and the villages of Synetsky and Pavlograd and others were shelled.- Reuters

Kigali

Britain’s Johnson says he fears Ukraine will be forced into a ‘bad peace’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday he feared Ukraine was coming under pressure to strike a peace deal with Russia that was not in its interest, due to the economic consequences of war in Europe.

“Too many countries are saying this is a European war that is not needed…and so the pressure will increase to encourage – coerce, perhaps – the Ukrainians into a bad peace,” Mr Johnson said. to broadcasters in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where he is attending a Commonwealth summit.- Reuters

Yavoriv

Russian missiles hit Ukrainian military base in Yavoriv – Regional Governor

A Russian strike on the Yavoriv military facility in western Ukraine left four injured, Lviv Governor Maxim Kozitsky said in a video post on Saturday.

Mr Kozitsky said six missiles were fired from the Black Sea, four of which hit the base and two were intercepted and destroyed before reaching the target. Reuters

Moscow

Russian military cargo plane crashes, killing 5 crew

A Russian military cargo plane crashed on Friday during a training flight after refueling about 200 km southeast of Moscow, killing five crew members and injuring several others, sources said. responsible.

The Il-76 heavy cargo plane crashed in the Ryazan region after suffering an engine problem that forced the crew of 10 to crash. The plane, carrying no cargo, was flying from Belgorod to Orenburg, Russian news agency Tass reported.

The regional administration first said four crew members died and five others were injured when the plane hit a power line and slammed into a field just outside the city of Ryazan after flying refuel at a local air base. Tass later reported that one of the injured had died. PA

Kyiv

Ukraine needs ‘fire parity’ with Russia to defend Luhansk region: Top General

Ukraine needs “parity of fire” with Russia in order to stabilize the difficult situation in the eastern region of Luhansk, the Ukrainian general-in-chief told his American counterpart in a phone call on Friday.

“We discussed the operational situation and the flow of delivery of international technical assistance,” Ukrainian General Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote on the Telegram app after a phone call with the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.- Reuters

Moscow

Russia says EU candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova will have negative consequences

Russia said on Friday that the decision by European Union leaders to accept Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for membership would have negative consequences and amount to “enslaving” neighboring countries of the EU.

Although it may take years for countries to join the European bloc, the decision to accept them as candidates is a symbol of the EU’s intention to penetrate deep into the former Soviet Union.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, called the move an attempt to encroach on Russia’s sphere of influence within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) made up of former Soviet states. Reuters

Kyiv

Ukraine set to leave ruined Sievierodonetsk as Russians close in

Ukraine was on the verge of withdrawing its troops from the ruined city of Sievierodonetsk after weeks of street fighting and shelling, the regional governor said, in a major gain for Russia as it continues its offensive in the east.

Russian troops also occupied a town about 10 km (6 miles) further south, the two sides said on Friday, as Moscow closed in on the last slices of territory under Ukrainian control in the industrial Lugansk region. Reuters

Christi C. Elwood