Ukraine resisting in Lysychansk, Russian army turns attention to Sloviansk

Kyiv/Moscow, Jun 26 (EFE).- Ukrainian forces continued fighting on Sunday to contain the Russian army offensive targeting the city of Lysychansk, Kyiv’s last bastion in the eastern Luhansk region, while Moscow’s troops gathered to advance on Sloviansk, in the neighboring region of Donetsk.

“The adversary, with the support of artillery fire, is trying to blockade the city of Lysychansk from the south,” the Ukrainian Military Command said in its Sunday evening briefing.

According to the Ukrainian military leadership, Russian troops are stepping up the pressure on the Sloviansk zone, but Ukrainian forces have repelled their attacks in assorted areas.

“We’re observing a concentration of troops, armored vehicles and artillery in the direction of Sloviansk,” said the Ukrainian head of the Donetsk military administration, Pavlo Kirilenko, in remarks to Ukrainian television.

According to Kirilenko, Russian forces are approaching Ukrainian defensive lines to be able to employ – in addition to warplanes and missiles – their huge artillery forces to bombard the city.

“The Russians are not changing their tactics. We’ve already seen what happened in Mariupol and Severodonetsk, and so in Sloviansk we’re preparing for any development,” said the regional military chief.

Along with intensifying their offensive in Ukraine’s eastern regions, on Saturday and Sunday Russia launched missile attacks against several areas of Ukraine, including Kyiv, where on Sunday one person died and six others were wounded when a Russian rocket hit a residential building and a children’s daycare center, city authorities said.

“G7 summit must respond with more sanctions on Russia and more heavy arms for Ukraine. Russia’s sick imperialism must be defeated,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said in a Twitter message.

Ukraine’s top diplomat included a photo of a boy wounded in the attack on Kyiv in his Twitter post calling on the leaders of the world’s seven most industrialized nations, whose summit began on Sunday in Germany and will run until Tuesday, for greater efforts to hamper Russian initiatives and to send more armaments to Ukraine.

“No Russian rocket, no attack is able to break the spirit of the Ukrainians. Each (Russian) missile is an argument in the conversations with our partners,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday night in his daily message to his countrymen.

On Saturday, Russia launched a “massive attack” with missiles targeting three Ukrainian army training centers in northern and western Ukraine, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Ministry spokesman Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that the training centers that were attacked were located in the Chernihiv, Zhytomyr and Lviv regions.

“As a result of this attack, the Motorized 65th and 66th infantry brigades and the 46th airmobile brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces, which were receiving training at those sites completely lost their combat capabilities,” the Russian military spokesman claimed.

He emphasized that the attack “frustrated the sending of the said units into the combat zone.”

The intensification of the Russian attacks coincided with the announcement of an inspection visit by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to Russian forces deployed in Ukraine.

This is the first time in the four-month Ukrainian campaign – called by Moscow a “special military operation” – that a visit by Shoigu to the area of operations has been announced.

The minister, according to the Defense Ministry statement, received reports at local military headquarters and staging points “about the situation and the actions of the Russian armed forces” in the combat zone.

EFE int-mos/amg/bp

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