Bitter milestone: Ukraine has had to defend itself against Russian attacks for 100 days. NATO fears that the war in Eastern Europe will continue for a long time. A bloody street fight is raging in Sievjerodonetsk. That happened in the night.
Despite fierce Russian attacks, the Ukrainian army does not want to admit defeat in the administrative center of Sievjerodonetsk. “The situation is difficult, but it’s better than yesterday. And it’s under control,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Hromow on Thursday. Ukrainian authorities had previously announced that the city was largely under the control of Russian troops.
There are very bloody street fights in the city, Hromow said. Sievjerodonetsk is considered the last Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk region. According to their own statements, pro-Russian troops and the Russian military are about to take power there. However, the Ukrainian head of administration in Luhansk, Serhiy Hajdaj, also reported on successful commando actions by the defenders in the city. Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych even said that the Ukrainian army had lured the Russians into a trap in Sieverodonetsk. This information could not be verified.
According to reports from both sides, civilians have been hiding in bunkers under the chemical plant Asot (nitrogen) in the city, Hajdaj spoke of around 800 people. “These are local people who have been asked to leave town but have refused. There are also children there, but not very many,” he told US broadcaster CNN. In the port city of Mariupol, Ukrainian soldiers and civilians held out for weeks in bunkers under the Azovstal steelworks.
The Washington Post reports that Russian soldiers killed nine workers and stole $135 million worth of equipment before withdrawing from Chernobyl in March. As a source, the newspaper cites the head of the administrative zone of the exclusion zone. Five workers were also kidnapped.
Russian troops marched into 3,620 towns in Ukraine, 1,017 of which were liberated, Zelensky said. “Another 2,603 will still be freed.” Twelve million Ukrainians are fleeing the country; five million abroad. Russia has lost over 30,000 soldiers, Zelenskyy claimed. Western experts also suspect heavy Russian losses, but consider the Kiev figures to be too high.
“Our resistance is unbroken after all these months. The enemy has not achieved the goals it set itself,” said Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar. “We are ready for a long-term war.” She praised the fact that “weapons supply momentum” from the West is picking up speed. For security reasons, she did not provide any information on the time and place of the deliveries. Ukraine wants to stop the advance of Russian troops and liberate occupied cities with heavy weapons from the USA and Germany, among others. Above all, Zelenskyy thanked the United States for its commitment to send state-of-the-art Himars multiple rocket launchers.
While there were still negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv in the first weeks of the war, these have been on hold since the atrocities committed against the civilian population in Bucha and other places near Kyiv. Selenskyj does not want to negotiate again until Russia withdraws to the February 23 borders.
“Wars are inherently unpredictable,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after a meeting with US President Joe Biden and his national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington. “That’s why we simply have to be prepared for a long journey.” become a war of attrition in which both sides paid a high price on the battlefield. Most wars ended at the negotiating table. That will probably happen in this case, too, said Stoltenberg. It is the task of the NATO allies to support Ukraine in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the country.
During the war weeks, Germany was repeatedly criticized by Ukraine, but also by its European allies, because they felt it was too hesitant to provide aid. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock promised Ukraine solidarity and more weapons on Friday. In a guest article for “Bild”, the Green politician wrote: “We will continue to support Ukraine. Until there are no more Butschas left. So that what we take for granted is normal again for the people in Ukraine: a life in freedom.” Peace does not come for free. “But every cent of our spending is an investment in security and freedom, in the freedom of Europe.” As long as Ukraine is not safe, Europe is not safe either.
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