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Fighting rages in eastern Ukraine as NATO pushes expansion



Fighting broke out on Tuesday in and around the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas as Russian troops sought to build on recent battle gains, with NATO going ahead with significant offers of Finnish and Swedish membership.

With war well into its fifth month, Kyiv’s allies pledged on Tuesday to support Ukraine through a long and likely costly recovery, agreeing that far – reaching reforms were needed to strengthen and address transparency. the fraud.

From both days of talks in the Swiss city of Lugano, rebuilding the war-torn country is estimated to cost at least $ 750 billion.

But on the battlefield the conflict continued to wreak havoc, with the Ukrainian presidential office reporting Russian shelling and missile strikes in several regions overnight.

Kremlin forces were pushing their next target, the Slovenian city of Donetsk, with a “massive” shell, the city’s mayor said Tuesday.

At least two people have been killed and seven others injured in strikes targeting the city’s central market, authorities said.

Donetsk is the southwestern half of the Donbas which, unlike the northeastern half – Lugansk -, is almost completely not accepted by Russia.

The Russian bombing killed at least six people and injured 19 others since Sunday in Slovenia, which had a population of about 100,000 before the war.

In Moscow, the Ministry of Defense reported that Russian forces had targeted the city of Kharkiv with “high-precision” weapons in the past 24 hours, killing up to 150 Ukrainian soldiers.

Russia also said it was investigating the torture of recently released Russian soldiers imprisoned in Ukraine as part of a prisoner swap.

‘The fight continues’

In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers said Tuesday was “historic” when they began accession procedures for the two countries that will extend the military alliance to 32 members.

“Both the Finnish and Swedish membership will not only contribute to our own security but also to the collective security of the alliance,” said Pekka Haavisto of Finland, after protocols were signed at the launch of the necessary ratification process.

Both Sweden and Finland have announced their intention to reduce years of military non-alignment and become part of NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

After abandoning its initial war aim of capturing Kyiv after fierce resistance in Ukraine, Russia has since focused its efforts on gaining control of the Donbas.

Ukraine said its forces were still defending “a small part” of Lugansk province, despite Moscow saying that its troops were now in full command after capturing the strategic city of Lysychansk, near the Donetsk border.

Due to the fall of Lysychansk on Sunday, a week after the Ukrainian army also retreated from the neighboring city of Severodonetsk, Russian forces are released to advance on Kramatorsk and Slovenia in Donetsk.

“Fighting continues on the administrative borders of the region,” the office of the president of Ukraine said on Tuesday.

In a signal that Moscow was trying to consolidate supply lines for its continued pressure, the Ukrainian armed forces said Russian troops in Lugansk were “taking steps” to restore transport infrastructure behind the fighting lines.

‘Motivation’

Russian forces were also retreating into the small city of Siversk – located between Lysychansk and Slovenia – after days of mobilization.

Two Ukrainian Red Cross minibuses were going there to evacuate willing civilians, according to AFP reporters on the ground.

Southwest, in the Moscow-occupied Kherson region, Russian troops were deploying various helicopters and artillery to try to stop counter-attacks from Ukraine.

“Ukrainian aviation and missile and artillery units continue to attack enemy depots and invaders’ concentrations, especially in the Kherson region,” the Ukrainian armed forces said.

The fierce battles in southern Ukraine come after Kremlin-based authorities in Kherson announced that an official from the powerful security services of the FSB in Russia had taken control of the regional government there.

The city of Kherson, located near the Crimea annexed by Moscow, was the first major city to fall under Russian forces in February.

Moscow has since launched the so-called Russification campaign, seeking to introduce the Ruble, issue Russian passports and open the first Russian bank at the end of June.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is reiterating calls for more Western armies so that Kyiv can maintain its resistance and counter-attacks to regain lost territories.

Appearing in a video on Tuesday at an annual forum hosted by The Economist magazine, he predicted that Belarus – Moscow’s alliance – would not be drawn into the war but that “encouragement” from its northern neighbor was likely.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday that his missile army had intercepted his country by Ukrainian forces last week.

Meanwhile, as a meeting of Ukrainian allies in Switzerland concluded, leaders from about 40 countries signed the affirmative principles of the Lugano Declaration to rebuild Ukraine.

“Our work prepares for the post-war period even as the war weakens,” said Swiss President and co-host Ignazio Cassis.

Fighting rages in eastern Ukraine as NATO pushes expansion Source link Fighting rages in eastern Ukraine as NATO pushes expansion

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