Heavy fighting as annexation vote in Ukraine enters final day

Content of the article

Kyiv – Ukrainian and Russian forces were locked in heavy fighting in different parts of Ukraine on Tuesday, while referendums organized by Russia in four regions that Moscow hopes to annex were closed.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the eastern Donetsk region remained his country’s and Russia’s top strategic priority as fighting engulfed several towns as Russian troops tried to push south and the west

Content of the article

There were also clashes in the northeastern Kharkiv region, the center of the Ukrainian counter-offensive this month. And Ukrainian forces continued a campaign to knock out four bridges and other river crossings to disrupt supply lines to Russian forces in the south.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

The Southern Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Tuesday that its counteroffensive in Kherson had resulted in enemy losses of 77 soldiers, six tanks, five howitzers, three anti-aircraft installations and 14 armored vehicles.

Reuters could not immediately verify reports from the battlefield.

Moscow hopes to annex Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia provinces in the east and south, which make up about 15 percent of Ukraine.

None of the provinces is fully under Moscow’s control, and fighting has continued along the entire frontline, with Ukrainian forces reporting further advances since defeating Russian troops in a fifth province, Kharkiv, in beginning of this month.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian soil, which would include the four provinces if annexed.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Voting on whether to join Russia began in the regions on Friday and is due to end on Tuesday, with the Russian parliament possibly approving the annexation within days.

Kyiv and the West have dismissed the referendums as a farce and vowed not to recognize the results.


In Russia, the call-up of some 300,000 reservists has sparked the first sustained protests since the invasion began, with a monitoring group estimating at least 2,000 people have been detained so far. All public criticism of Russia’s “special military operation” is banned.

Flights out of Russia have sold out and cars have clogged border checkpoints, with reports of a 48-hour queue on the only border road with Georgia, the rare pro-Western neighbor that allows Russian citizens to enter without visa

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Asked about the prospect of closing the border, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday: “I don’t know anything about that. So far, no decision has been made.”

Russia has millions of former conscripts as official reservists. Authorities have not specified precisely who is to be called, as that part of Putin’s order is classified.

The mobilization has also seen the first sustained criticism of the authorities within the state-controlled media since the war began.

But Sergei Tsekov, a senior lawmaker representing Russia-annexed Crimea in the upper house of the Russian parliament, told the RIA news agency: “Everyone of conscription age should be banned from traveling abroad in the current situation.”

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

Two exile news sites, Meduza and Novaya Gazeta Europe, reported that authorities planned to ban the men from leaving, citing unidentified officials.

Moscow says it wants to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Kyiv and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.

Late Monday, Zelenskiy described the military situation in Donetsk as “particularly severe.”

“We are doing everything we can to contain enemy activity. That is our No. 1 objective right now because Donbas remains the No. 1 objective of the occupiers,” he said, referring to the broader region encompassing Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia has carried out at least five attacks on targets in the Odesa region using Iranian drones in recent days, according to the regional administration.

Russian missiles hit the airport in Kriviy Rih, Zelenskiy’s hometown in central Ukraine, destroying infrastructure and rendering the airport unusable, Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, told Telegram.

More funding from the United States appears to be on the way as negotiators of an interim spending bill in Congress have agreed to include nearly $12 billion in new military and economic aid to Ukraine, sources said.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Michael Perry and Costas Pitas; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encouraging all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications: You’ll now receive an email if you get a reply to your comment, there’s an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *