Russia continued its deadly assault in Ukraine’s east Saturday as the war stretched past the 100-day mark and experts warned of a grinding conflict with no end in sight.
Russia continued to strike areas in the Donbas region using both guided and unguided munitions, according to an assessment released Saturday by the United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry.
With its focus on the Donbas, Russia has combined airstrikes and massed artillery fires to bring its “overwhelming firepower to bear” and support its “creeping advance” in that region.
Meanwhile, the war’s impact on global food insecurity moved center stage, as the chairman of the African Union, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to discuss the effective blockade of Ukraine’s sea ports from exporting the country’s grain.
►The European Union on Friday formally approved an embargo on Russian oil and other sanctions targeting major banks and broadcasters. EU leaders say the move means that around 90% of Russia’s oil exports to Europe will be blocked by year’s end.
►Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week that Russia now controls almost 20% of the country’s territory. Before the war, Russia controlled 7%, including the Crimea Peninsula and parts of the Donbas
►In the Kherson region, the ruble is an official currency, and Russian passports are being offered to residents there and in the Zaporizhzhia region. But Russian forces continue to face challenges “establishing societal control over occupied territories,” according to a June 3 analysis by the Institute for the Study of War.
More than 127,000 explosives cleared by Ukraine, UN says
As of this week, Ukraine has cleared more than 127,000 explosives in and around the nation’s regional north and its capital, Kyiv, a United Nations group said in a situation report released Wednesday.
“The retreat of the Russian Forces has offered space for considerable explosive ordnance clear-up operations,” the UN Development Program report reads, noting that most clearance efforts have been focused in urban regions like Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Zhytomyr.
Ukraine’s State Emergency Services has cleared 127,393 explosive devices across 28,714 square kilometers, which is about 12% of Ukraine’s land. Ukraine hopes to ramp up efforts by adding 80 more teams to help sweep the land for explosives, the report says.
– She reads
Block-by-block fighting raged Friday in two key eastern Ukrainian cities Friday, the 100th day of Russia’s war, slowly grinding them to rubble.
Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said fierce battles continued in Sievierodonetsk, where about 13,000 remaining residents took shelter in basements to escape relentlessly Russian bombardment. Ukrainian forces reclaimed 20% of city terrain that had been taken by Russian troops, he added later.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that there had been “some progress” in the battle for Sievierodonetsk but gave no specifics.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a gathering of US mayors on Friday that they should sever “sister city” ties with Russian cities.
“We should not let tyrants exploit their connections with the free world,” Zelenskyy said, addressing the US Conference of Mayors’ annual meeting. “What do those ties give to you? Probably nothing. But they allow Russia to say that it is not isolated, even after the start of this war.”
Zelenskyy called out Chicago, Jacksonville, San Diego and Albany as some of dozens of US cities that have ties to Russian cities.
Some cities, including Chicago, have suspended but not permanently severed their relationships with their Russian sister cities since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February. Others, like San Jose, California, chose to continue their relationships; the San Jose Spotlight reported that the City Council chose to send a letter to its sister city Ekaterinburg, urging residents to stand against Vladimir Putin.
A former US Marshal said the United States’ asset forfeiture under orders of President Joe Biden and Task Force KleptoCapture is wreaking havoc on Russian oligarchs and their ill-gotten gains.
The most recent seizures include $1 billion worth of superyachts, tracked down in ports from Europe to Fiji.
“Really, the power of asset forfeiture is that allows us to hit them where it hurts the most, which is in the pocket, and not let them keep things that were otherwise illegally acquired,” said former US Marshal Jason Wojdylo. “A Russian oligarch yacht is certainly a new level of vessel we’ve never seized before.” Read more.
Contributing: Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism