These images purport to show how the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic is “knocking” Ukrainian forces out of an industrial zone in the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk.
The images appear to show heavy fighting in the city, with smoke billowing from what appears to be a factory. Other images show soldiers taking shelter as explosions and gunfire can be heard in the background.
An unnamed member of the pro-Russian militia of the separatist Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine can be heard saying in the footage, which was obtained from the LPR militia on the evening of Monday, June 13: “The fighting for Sievierodonetsk continues. Ukrainian ‘Nazis’, who have settled in the industrial zone of the city, are gradually losing their positions and retreating.
“Ukrainian artillery covers the flight of the punishers, mercilessly striking at the already liberated residential part of the city.”
Russian and pro-Russian forces regularly refer to Ukrainian forces as “Nazis,” in reference to Russia’s stated aim to “denazify” Ukraine, one of its justifications for the invasion.
The unnamed spokesperson continues: “The People’s Militia unit and the soldiers of the Akhmat special forces regiment are systematically knocking the enemy out of the industrial zone.
“They have to work carefully, because there are tanks with chemicals at the Azot plant, damage to which can be fatal.
“The defense of the Ukrainian militants crumbles, the enemy, under the onslaught of the People’s Militia and Chechen special forces, leaves their positions and retreats to Lisichansk.”
We have not been able to independently verify the footage or the claims made by the LPR.
It was reported two days ago that Russian shelling had caused a fire at the Azot chemical plant, in which an unknown number of civilians are said to have taken shelter, during what has been described as some of the most intense bombardments of the war, according to the Ukrainian Governor of the Luhansk Oblast region, Serhiy Haidai, 46.
All the bridges to the besieged Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk have reportedly been destroyed, Haidai said. Ukrainian forces there are now cut off from any possible retreat and fierce street-to-street fighting is taking place in the city, which has been the focus of Russian artillery fire for weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian attacks on the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk have turned them into “dead cities.”
Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation.” June 15 marks the 112th day of the campaign.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and June 14, Russia had lost 32,500 personnel, 1,434 tanks, 3,503 armored fighting vehicles, 721 artillery systems, 229 multiple launch rocket systems, 97 anti-aircraft systems, 213 warplanes, 179 helicopters, 2,473 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, 13 warships/boats, 588 drones, 54 pieces of special equipment and 125 cruise missiles.
An aide to President Zelenskyy has said that Ukraine is losing up to 200 troops a day. President Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked for additional weapons from Ukraine’s allies.
The United Kingdom and the United States have said they are sending long-range missile systems to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of more attacks in Ukraine if the West sends long-range weapons.
Ukrainian officials have said that weapons are not arriving fast enough. An adviser to President Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podolyak, has said that to end the war, they need “1,000 howitzers caliber 155 mm; 300 [Multiple Launch Rocket Systems]; 500 tanks; 2000 armored vehicles; 1,000 drones”.
Podolyak added: “Contact Group of Defense Ministers meeting is held in Brussels on June 15. We are waiting for a decision.”
President Putin has said that the West will not be able to wean itself off from Russian oil and gas for years.
On June 8, the European Parliament adopted a resolution recommending that the European Union grant Ukraine the status of candidate country for EU membership. In the balloting, 438 members of the European Parliament voted in favor of the resolution, with 65 voting against and 94 abstaining.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this week that Turkey has raised legitimate concerns in its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining the alliance and that talks to find a solution would continue.
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