Russian shelling triggers fire in eastern city of Svyarodonetsk: Governor

Russian shelling at the Azot chemical plant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Svyarodonetsk sparked a massive fire after a ton of oil spilled on Saturday, the regional governor said, as battles continue for the city.

The Russian army’s bid to seize Svyarodonetsk has become one of the bloodiest battles since the February 24 invasion, with neither side dealing a knock-out blow in weeks of fighting that shattered parts of the city. has been crushed.

Serhi Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk province, did not say whether the fire at the plant, where hundreds of civilians are taking refuge, was extinguished. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.

Speaking on national television, Gaidai said fighting was going on non-stop in Svyarodonetsk, a small town in Luhansk that has become the center of Russia’s progress in eastern Ukraine. He said earlier on Saturday that Russian forces had controlled much of the city but Ukraine Azot chemical plant controlled.

Ukraine has appealed for rapid deliveries of heavy weapons from the West to turn the tide of the war, saying the Russian military has at least 10 times more artillery pieces than Ukrainian forces. Yet even when shot down, Ukraine’s forces have proved more resilient than expected in the early stages of the fighting.

President Volodymyr Zelensky struck a defiant note on Saturday.

“We are definitely going to win the war that Russia has started,” Zelensky said at a conference in Singapore via video link. “It is on the battlefield in Ukraine that the future rules of this world are being decided.”

After forcing Russia to reduce its initial more broad campaign goals, Moscow has begun expanding control to the east, where pro-Russian separatists had already occupied the area since 2014.

The eastern region known as Donbass includes Luhansk province, where Svyarodonetsk is located, and Donetsk.

Russian strikes snapped power supplies in the two largest Ukrainian-controlled cities of Donetsk on Saturday, regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko wrote on the Telegram app.

Later speaking on national television, he said the move was part of a deliberate strategy to cut power to towns in Donetsk that remain in Ukraine’s hands. “The enemy understands where he is hitting, and for what purpose,” he said.

grain shortage

The conflict between the neighbors – the world’s two biggest grain exporters – has resonated well beyond Ukraine.

“If, because of the Russian blockade, we are unable to export our food items, which is so badly missing from global markets, the world will face an acute and severe food crisis and famine – many in Asia and Africa. in famine,” said Zelensky. Shangri-La Dialogue Conference in Singapore.

The United Nations said on Friday that 19 million more people in the world could face chronic hunger next year due to a reduction in wheat and other food exports.

Ukraine’s deputy agriculture minister said on Saturday that up to 300,000 tonnes of grain stored in warehouses in the Black Sea port of Mikolaiv that Kyiv says was destroyed by Russian shelling last weekend.

Turkey is trying to secure a deal so Ukraine can resume shipments from its Black Sea ports, which accounted for 98% of its grain and oilseeds exports before the war. But Moscow says Kyiv should clear the mines’ ports and Ukraine says it needs security guarantees so it can’t be uncovered.

Ukraine has repeatedly called for more Western weapons and closer engagement with the West.

The Institute for the Study of War said in a report, “As the Ukrainian military uses Soviet-era weapon systems and its last stock of weapons, they need to transition to new supply chains of ammunition and major artillery systems.” Continued Western support will be needed.” on Friday.

“Effective artillery will be increasingly decisive in largely stable fighting in eastern Ukraine,” it said.

The Battle of Svyarodonetsk and its destruction commemorates the weeks of the bombing of the southern port city of Mariupol. Before Russian forces took control of the city last month, it was reduced to ruins, with the last Ukrainian defenders surrendering from their redoubt at the Azovstal steel plant.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians, but both sides say they have inflicted massive casualties on each other’s forces.

Reuters has not been able to independently verify reports of the battlefield in the conflict.

Russia calls its actions a “special military operation” to disarm and “deny” Ukraine, while Kyiv and its allies call it an unprovoked war of aggression to capture the region.

read all breaking news , today’s fresh news watch top videos And live TV Here.