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Ukraine: Explosions heard in Kyiv – Fierce fighting in Sheverodonetsk

Explosions were heard early this morning in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, said the mayor of the city Vitali Klitschko.

“Explosions in the Darnicki and Dniprovsky districts of the capital,” Klitschko wrote in the Telegram. “Services are already working on the spot. More details – later.”

A former eyewitness had told Reuters he saw smoke over the city after the blasts.

Earlier, air raid warning sirens sounded in most of Ukraine, including Kiev.

Fierce battles for control of Severodonetsk

“Street battles” are raging in the center of Sheverodonetsk, a strategically important city in eastern Ukraine, where Russian forces are concentrating their attack with the aim of controlling the entire Donbass Valley.

“The situation in Severodonetsk, where street fighting continues, remains extremely difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video broadcast Saturday night, in which he spoke of “air raids, artillery fire and continuous shelling.” .

The city remains at the center of a Russian offensive in the Donbass Valley in eastern Ukraine, which has been partly controlled by pro-Russian separatist rebels since 2014 and which Moscow wants to bring under its full control.

Information on the situation of the forces there remains confused.

According to Russia, the Ukrainian soldiers are withdrawing from the city. “Units of the Ukrainian army that have suffered heavy casualties during the battles for Sheverodonetsk (up to 90% in many units) are retreating to Lisichansk,” a neighboring city, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

For its part, Kyiv claims that it is fighting for the recapture of the city. The Russian forces “have managed to enter the city and occupy a large part of it, dividing it in two. But our soldiers managed to grow again, to create a line of defense. At the moment they are doing what is necessary to retake the “Sheverodonetsk has full control,” said Alexander Stryuk, the city’s mayor, referring to “street fighting.”

Earlier, the governor of Luhansk Oblast, Serverdonetsk, Sergei Gaidai, said: “The first information is that (the Russians) have managed to take control of much of the city. But now our forces are repelling them.” .

After all, the fighting continues on other fronts. According to the Ukrainian Defense Minister, “Russia is still trying to conquer our entire country.” the Baltic States, Slovakia and others “.

Crimea, Donbass, southern Ukraine: Overall, Russia has tripled the area under its control since the beginning of its invasion, reaching 125,000 square kilometers, or 20% of the country, according to Zelensky.

In southern Ukraine, in the Kherson region, Moscow “continues to bomb the occupied territories and positions of the Ukrainian army,” said the Ukrainian presidency, which expressed concern about the outbreak of a humanitarian crisis in Russian-controlled areas.

The Russian military says it has destroyed a “bridge from which foreign mercenaries were deployed” near Dathnoye in Odessa Oblast, and fired rockets at an artillery training center near Stetskovka in Sumy province, where “foreigners are training Ukrainians.” use of the M777 mortar ”.

Mykolaiv port was also hit by rockets, as was an agricultural operation in the large port of Odessa, where “warehouses were damaged” and two people were killed, according to Kyiv.

Kyiv has announced the deaths of four foreign fighters

Ukrainian authorities and the International Defense Legion of Ukraine, the official body of foreign fighters taking part in the war, announced the deaths of four foreign volunteers on Saturday.

The Legion released the names of a Dutchman, an Australian, a German and a Frenchman, without specifying the dates or the circumstances of their deaths.

“We lost our brothers in battle but their bravery, their memory and their legacy will inspire us forever,” the Legion said on its Facebook account, uploading photos of the four men in camouflage uniforms and light weapons.

The French Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday that a French “fighter who had volunteered” in Ukraine had been killed “in battle”.

The German Foreign Ministry said the country’s embassy in Kyiv was trying to clear up the situation and was “in contact with the Ukrainian authorities”.

French Agency journalists attended the funeral of the Dutchman Ronald Fochelar on May 21st. According to his colleagues who spoke during the ceremony, he was killed a few days earlier in an artillery bombardment.

The Australian was killed in May and his death was confirmed by a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Canberra.

Tasmania’s Mercury newspaper named him Michael Charles O’Neill, 47. According to his obituary on the social networking site Facebook, he was a carrier.

The Legion says on the website it has created that its ranks include citizens of countries such as Denmark, Israel, Poland, Latvia, Croatia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Canada.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the formation of this force when the war broke out. Ukrainian authorities say they have received about 20,000 applications.

The armed conflict, which has lasted more than a hundred days, also attracted large numbers of volunteers from Georgia, a former Soviet republic that experienced a lightning war with Russia in 2008, following Moscow’s recognition of two of its controlled areas. by pro-Russian separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said this week that “hundreds” of foreign fighters – “mercenaries” from its own point of view – had been killed since the invasion began on February 24 and that the flow of foreign fighters to Ukraine had doubled.

Ukraine and Russia handed over the bodies of about 320 people

Ukraine and Russia have exchanged the bodies of about 320 fallen soldiers, according to authorities in Kyiv.

The exchange took place on Thursday, June 2, at the front in the Zaporizhia region, with each side delivering about 160 bodies to the other, the Ukrainian government said on Saturday.

The Ukrainian side has repeatedly called on the Russian army to pick up the dead and has accused Moscow of treating its men as “cannon fodder” without ensuring a decent burial.

According to the authorities in Kyiv, the exchange was organized by the Ukrainian secret services and the General Staff.

Source: Capital

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