Odessa port under missile attack as Russians advance into eastern Ukraine

  • EU takes choice on Ukraine’s membership bid
  • Zelensky says the battle for Donbass will intensify
  • Separatists demand the seize of Tochkevka
  • Russian missiles hit a warehouse within the port of Odessa

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian forces seized riverside territory alongside the entrance line in jap Ukraine on Monday, and President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted Moscow would step up assaults forward of a summit of European leaders anticipated to welcome Kyiv’s bid to hitch the European Union.

Moscow’s separatist brokers claimed to have captured Toshkivka, a city on the west financial institution of the Ukraine-controlled Seversky Donets River, south of Severodonetsk, which has develop into a significant battlefield metropolis in latest weeks.

Ukraine acknowledged that Moscow had had success at Toshkivka and mentioned the Russians had been attempting to realize a foothold there to make a breakthrough within the broader Ukrainian-controlled enclave within the jap Donbass area. It additionally confirmed a Russian declare that it had captured the jap suburbs of Severodonetsk.

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“It’s clear that this week we must always anticipate Russia to accentuate its hostile actions,” Zelensky mentioned in a video speech on Sunday night. “We’re making ready. We’re prepared.”

The Ukrainian navy mentioned in Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port on the Black Sea, a meals depot was destroyed in a Russian missile assault on Monday. There have been no studies of civilian deaths.

The town has been subjected to intermittent bombardment for the reason that starting of the battle, and the Russian navy has besieged it, whereas all sides accuses the opposite of planting mines within the sea.

The “South” Operations Command mentioned that the Russian forces fired 14 missiles at southern Ukraine throughout a three-hour barrage. The Russian navy has not commented on the studies.

The Russian chief of Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, mentioned Kyiv had bombed Black Sea drilling rigs owned by the Crimean Oil Firm. He mentioned on the messaging software Telegram that three individuals had been injured, and 7 employees are being looked for.

Russia’s RIA Novosti information company mentioned the 2 platforms had been 71 km from Odessa. Reuters couldn’t instantly confirm the information of the assault.

At a summit on Thursday and Friday, EU leaders are anticipated to bless Ukraine’s official accession candidate, a choice that will probably be seen as a victory in Kyiv.

“I feel it’s going to in all probability occur,” US President Joe Biden instructed reporters when requested if he felt Ukraine would develop into a member of the European Union.

Though Ukraine’s accession will take years, the bloc’s arrival deep into the center of the previous Soviet Union will result in one of many largest financial and social transformations in Europe for the reason that Chilly Battle. Ukraine utilized for membership simply 4 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to cross the border in February. Learn extra

Putin says the “particular navy operation” is aimed toward disarming a neighbor Russia sees as a menace and defending Russian audio system there. Kyiv believes that Moscow’s actual purpose is to regain management of Ukraine and erase its nationwide identification.

Toshkivka toes

Russian forces had been defeated in an assault on the capital, Kyiv, in March, however have since launched a brand new offensive to grab extra territory within the east and consolidate their maintain within the south.

The battle has entered a brutal attrition part in latest weeks, as Russian forces have centered their overwhelming artillery firepower on the Ukrainian-controlled enclave of Donbas, which Moscow claims on behalf of the separatists.

A lot of the combating happened alongside the Siverskyi Donets. Russia’s TASS information company quoted Vitaly Kiselev, assistant inside minister within the Russian-backed separatist Luhansk Folks’s Authorities, as saying on Monday that Toshkevka had been “liberated”.

The town is positioned on the west financial institution of the river, south of the dual metropolis of Lysychansk in Sievierodonetsk, a Ukrainian stronghold.

The governor of the Luhansk area, Serhiy Gaidai, acknowledged that the Russian assault on Tochkevka had “achieved a level of success”. He mentioned Russian forces had been attempting to interrupt by way of and acquire a foothold there and close to the small village of Ustinovka additional north alongside the river. The Russians had been bringing in an enormous quantity of heavy tools together with tanks.

He additionally confirmed Russia’s declare that it had captured Metyolkin within the jap outskirts of Severodonetsk. “Sadly, we don’t management Metyolkine in the present day,” he mentioned.

The mayor of Severodonetsk, Oleksandr Stryuk, mentioned that Russian forces took management of about two-thirds of town, together with a lot of the residential areas, and Moscow continued to throw its forces on the Ukrainians in an try to realize full management.

Worldwide consideration has centered on attempting to revive Ukrainian exports of meals, which at the moment are closed by a de facto Russian blockade. Ukraine is without doubt one of the world’s main sources of grain and edible oils, which has led to fears of world shortages and starvation.

The European Union’s international coverage chief, Josep Borrell, described the grain blockade as a “actual battle crime”. It was “unbelievable…. that tens of millions of tons of wheat ought to stay withheld in Ukraine whereas individuals in the remainder of the world go hungry.”

Russia blames the meals disaster on Western sanctions that prohibit its exports.

The battle has additionally disrupted international vitality markets, together with Russian oil and fuel shipments to Europe, which stays the continent’s predominant supply of vitality and Moscow’s major supply of revenue. Moscow blames European Union sanctions for the decline in fuel volumes, saying the sanctions prevented it from recovering pipeline pumping tools.

In the meantime, Moscow has threatened retaliation in opposition to EU member Lithuania for banning the transport of important items to Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost on the Baltic Sea surrounded by EU territory. The Lithuanian ban, which took impact on Saturday, blocks shipments of coal, minerals, constructing supplies and superior expertise to the outpost.

The Russian Overseas Ministry summoned the highest Lithuanian diplomat and demanded that Vilnius instantly retract the “overtly hostile” step, in any other case Russia “reserves the appropriate to take measures to guard its nationwide pursuits.” Lithuania mentioned it was required to implement the ban below EU sanctions.

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(Reporting from the Reuters places of work; written by Peter Graf and Angus McSwan; Modifying by Mark Heinrich and Thomas Janowski

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