March 21, 2023

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Ukraine says its forces have regained control of Russian territory in the eastern city

Ukraine says its forces have regained control of Russian territory in the eastern city

  • Ukraine says it is taking back lands in Severodonetsk
  • Putin blames the West for high grain prices
  • Ukraine official says Putin is still seeking to subjugate the country
  • The United Nations and Russia discuss Ukraine’s grain exports

Severodonetsk, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine said it had recaptured much of the industrial city center of Severodonetsk in a battle that on Saturday appeared to impede a Russian campaign to seize the devastated city, which was the center of Moscow’s offensive to seize control of the east of the country. Donbass region.

Sergei Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, told national television that Ukrainian forces had regained 20% of the land they lost in Severodonetsk.

On Friday, he said it was “not realistic” that the city would fall in the next two weeks despite the deployment of Russian reinforcements.

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Once we have enough long-range Western weapons, we will push their artillery away from our positions. “Believe me, Russian infantry, they will just run,” said Geday.

The war that Western governments believed Russia planned to win within a few hours of its February invasion entered its 100th day on Friday. Thousands have died, millions have been uprooted from their homes and the global economy has been disrupted since Russian forces were expelled from Kyiv in the first months of the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied Moscow had banned Ukrainian ports from exporting grain, blaming the West for high global food prices.

“Now we are witnessing attempts to transfer responsibility for what is happening in the world food market and the problems arising in this market to Russia,” he said on national television.

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He said the best solution would be to lift Western sanctions on Russia’s ally Belarus and for Ukraine to export grain through that country. Read more

Ukrainian officials are relying on the advanced missile systems that the United States and Britain have recently pledged to steer the war in their favour, and Ukrainian forces have already begun training for them.

While the Ukrainian resistance forced Putin to narrow his immediate goal of invading the entire Donbass region, Ukrainian officials said he remained intent on subjugating the entire country.

“Putin’s main goal is the destruction of Ukraine. He does not retreat from his goals despite the fact that Ukraine has won the first stage of this all-out war,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar told national television on Friday.

Moscow poured its forces and equipment into the Battle of Severodonetsk, which Russia would have to sweep to capture all of Luhansk, one of the two provinces that make up the eastern Donbass region that the Kremlin announced it intended to capture.

Reuters reached Severodonetsk on Thursday and was able to verify that the Ukrainians still controlled part of the city.

Separately, two Reuters journalists were injured and a driver was killed on Friday after their car came under fire as they tried to reach Severodonetsk from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Read more

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The Ukrainian Army’s General Staff said that Russian soldiers tried to advance towards Lyschansk across the Seversky Donetsk River from Severodonetsk but were stopped.

The governor of neighboring Donetsk province told Reuters that Russian forces were only 15 km outside the city of Sloviansk.

Kirilenko said Donetsk will not fall quickly, but it needs more weapons to keep the attackers at bay. Read more

Moscow says it is not hampered by Western weapons

Moscow says Western weapons will “fuel the fire” but will not change the course of what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of dangerous nationalists.

Russia still controls about a fifth of the country, half of which was captured in 2014 and the other half since its invasion began on February 24.

For both sides, Russia’s massive offensive in the east in recent weeks has been one of the war’s bloodiest phases, with Ukraine saying it is losing between 60 and 100 soldiers a day.

Moscow made slow but steady progress, squeezing Ukrainian forces into an enclave in Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, but failing to encircle them.

Meanwhile, Kyiv hopes that the Russian advance will drain Moscow’s forces enough to regain control of the territory in the coming months.

The war had a devastating impact on the global economy, especially for poor food-importing countries. Ukraine is one of the world’s leading sources of grain and cooking oil, but those supplies have been cut off by the closure of its Black Sea ports, with more than 20 million tons of grain stuck in silos.

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UN aid coordinator Martin Griffiths on Friday concluded two days of “frank and constructive discussions” with Russian officials in Moscow on facilitating Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports, a UN spokesman said. Read more

The talks come as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tries to broker what he calls a “comprehensive deal” to restart Ukrainian food exports and Russian food and fertilizer exports.

Kyiv and its allies blame Moscow for blocking the ports from which Ukraine mined to prevent a Russian amphibious assault. Putin blamed Western sanctions.

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Reporting by a Reuters journalist in Severodonetsk, Natalia Zinets, Pavel Politiuk, Max Hunder and Conor Humphreys in Kyiv and Reuters offices; Written by Peter Graf, Frank Jack Daniel, and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Nick McPhee, Thomas Janowski and Cynthia Osterman

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.