Fighting rages in and around Ukraine's eastern Donbass region as Russian troops try to maintain a series of battlefield gains in the military conflict — now in its 133rd day.

The eastern Donbass is mainly comprised of Luhansk, which Russian forces have almost entirely captured, and Donetsk to its southwest — the current focus of Moscow's attack.
The eastern Donbass is mainly comprised of Luhansk, which Russian forces have almost entirely captured, and Donetsk to its southwest — the current focus of Moscow's attack. (AFP)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Evacuations on as Russia presses eastern offensive

The evacuation of civilians from Sloviansk is continuing as Russian troops are pressing towards the eastern Ukrainian city in their campaign to control the Donbass region. Sloviansk has been subjected to heavy bombardment in recent days.

Mayor Vadym Lyakh said around 23,000 people out of 110,000 were still in Sloviansk but claimed Russia had been unable to surround the city. "Since the beginning of hostilities, 17 residents of the community have died, 67 have been injured," he said.

"Evacuation is ongoing. We take people out every day," he added. Many of the evacuees were taken by bus to the city of Dnipro, further west. "The city is well fortified. Russia does not manage to advance to the city," the mayor said.

Russian tanks damaged in Ukraine on display in Warsaw

Two Russian armoured vehicles, battered, charred and dented, provide a dramatic sight for visitors arriving at Warsaw's historic Castle Square.

The T-72 tank and 2S19 self-propelled howitzer could almost be mistaken for museum pieces were it not for the mud and grass still stuck to their tracks. The two vehicles were hit and then captured by the Ukrainian army near Kiev and the northern city of Kharkiv.

Now they have been put on show in the Polish capital, under a joint initiative of the Polish and Ukrainian governments entitled "For Your Freedom and Ours". The display's message is that Ukrainians are not just defending freedom and democracy in their own country but for Europe as a whole.

Russia votes to create patriotic youth movement

Russian lawmakers have approved legislation to create a patriotic youth movement in a move reminiscent of Soviet-era youth organisations. The bill was passed on the 133rd day of Russia's military intervention in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin will be asked to head the supervisory board of the movement which will seek to streamline and champion government efforts to enhance patriotic and Russian values among children and the youth.

In the USSR, children were taught Soviet values through three main youth organisations — the Little Octobrists, Young Pioneers, and the Komsomol.

Putin's aide warns US against pressing for 'war crimes' court

A top Kremlin official has warned the US that it could face the “wrath of God” if it pursues efforts to help establish an international tribunal to investigate Russia's action in Ukraine.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, denounced the US for what he described as its efforts to “spread chaos and destruction across the world for the sake of 'true democracy'."

“The entire US history since the times of subjugation of the native Indian population represents a series of bloody wars,” Medvedev said on his Telegram channel, pointing out the US nuclear bombing of Japan during World War II and the war in Vietnam. “Was anyone held responsible for those crimes? What tribunal condemned the sea of blood spilled by the US there?”

Responding to the US-backed calls for an international tribunal to prosecute what the US and the West describe as “war crimes” by Russia in Ukraine, Medvedev rejected it as an attempt by the US “to judge others while staying immune from any trial.”

Russia says it destroyed two US HIMARS in eastern Ukraine

Russia's armed forces have destroyed two advanced US-made HIMARS rocket systems and their ammo depots in eastern Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry has said.

The ministry said Russia destroyed two launchers for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that the US and its allies have been supplying to Kiev. There was no immediate response from Ukraine. Kiev has received only four HIMARS systems as of early July. The US has pledged to deliver eight by mid-July.

The ministry also said Russian forces destroyed two ammunition depots storing rockets for the HIMARS near the frontline in a village south of Kramatorsk in Ukraine's Donetsk region, the main focus for Russian troops following the capture of Luhansk over the weekend.

Ukraine says 'serious' about reforms after Lugano conference

A top Ukrainian official has told AFP news agency that his country is committed to far-reaching reforms following a reconstruction conference in Switzerland for the conflict-hit country.

The conference in the southern Swiss city of Lugano drew a large, high-level delegation from Ukraine, along with representatives from dozens of other countries. It was not a pledging conference, but concluded on Tuesday with commitments to support Ukraine over what is expected to be a long and expensive recovery.

"We're going to be very serious about rebuilding Ukraine, reforming Ukraine," Alexander Rodnyansky, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told AFP on the sidelines of the conference.

We're serious about showing the world that we have a roadmap and a plan that's manageable and that can be executed, and implemented at some stage

Alexander Rodnyansky, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Russia introduces heavy prison terms for calls to act against security

Russia's parliament has toughened legislation on state treason and espionage and introduced harsh prison terms for calls to act against national security.

"The changes are an adequate and timely response to the challenges that our country is currently facing," senior lawmaker Vasily Piskarev said in a statement released by the lower house of parliament.

Public calls to act against Russia's security will be punished by up to seven years in prison.

Norway says 'solution' found to allow Russian cargo to Svalbard: Ministry

Norway's foreign ministry says it has found a "solution" to allow Russian cargo, which was blocked due to sanctions, to reach the Arctic archipelago Svalbard, easing a dispute with Moscow.

The ministry said cargo containers had been blocked since they were transported on Russian vehicles, which were banned from bringing cargo over the border, but now containers would instead be brought using Norwegian vehicles.

"It is positive that this matter has now found a solution," the ministry said in a statement.

11 killed in Ukraine as Russia pounds rebel-claimed province

Russian shelling has killed at least seven civilians in Ukraine over the past 24 hours and wounded 25 more, Ukrainian officials have said. Pro-Russia separatists said attacks by Ukrainian forces killed four civilians.

The Ukrainian presidential office said Russian forces targeted cities and villages in the country’s southeast, with most civilian casualties occurring in Donetsk province, where Russia stepped up its offensive in recent days.

Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a Telegram post that two people died in the city of Avdiivka, which is located in the centre of the province, and the Donetsk cities of Sloviansk, Krasnohorivka and Kurakhove each reported one civilian killed.

Evacuation calls as Russians advance in Ukraine's Donbass

Ukrainian officials have called on civilians to urgently evacuate the city of Sloviansk as Russian troops press towards it in their campaign to secure the Donbass region. 

Sloviansk has been subjected to "massive" Russian bombardment in recent days, with at least two people killed and seven others wounded in an attack on a marketplace on Tuesday.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, which includes Sloviansk, told Ukrainian media his "main advice is evacuate!" "This week there hasn't been a day without shelling," he said, adding that the city was now within range of Russian multiple-rocket launchers.

US, allies urge suspension of Russia from sport federations

The United States and a range of allies have called for Russian and Belarusian national governing bodies of sports to be suspended from international sport federations, due to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.

The Russian embassy in the United States described the move as "Russophobic" and said "sports should stay out of politics."

The Russian response came hours after the US State Department issued the joint statement with allies, in which they also urged sports organisations to consider suspending the broadcasting of competitions into Russia and Belarus.

Russia's Lavrov calls for efforts to protect international laws

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called on all parties in the world to make efforts to protect international laws as "the world is evolving in a complicated manner."

Lavrov was speaking through a translator at a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son in Hanoi.

His comments come as Russia has been accused by Western countries of breaching international law through its offensive in Ukraine. European Union leaders have urged Moscow to abide by an order by the international court of justice telling Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

Regional official: Russians moving into Ukraine's Donetsk

Russian troops are engaged in heavy fighting and making their way into Ukraine's Donetsk region after taking control of the last two towns in neighbouring Luhansk, the regional governor of Luhansk has said.

Sergei Gaidai said the Russian troops had sustained heavy losses in the long process of capturing the twin towns of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, but were channelling their efforts into moving southward.

"Heavy fighting is going on at the edge of Luhansk region... All the forces of the Russian army and reserves have been redirected there... They are sustaining heavy losses," Gaidai told Ukrainian television.

"A large quantity of equipment is being sent towards Donetsk region. Of course, after the Luhansk region, Donetsk is at the top of their list."

For live updates from Tuesday (July 5), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies