Russia is causing ‘catastrophic destruction’ with heavy shelling in eastern Ukrainian city


Russia is causing ‘catastrophic destruction’ in the Donbas after bombarding an eastern city with heavy shelling.

Lysychansk has suffered from constant Russian strikes which have demolished ten residential blocks and a police station.

The Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said: ‘Fighting in the Severodonetsk industrial zone and catastrophic destruction in Lysychansk.’

Gaiday said that one person had been confirmed killed in the ‘heavy shelling’ that had persisted all day Monday.

‘We are determining the final number of victims, because yesterday it was almost impossible to move inside the city safely,’ he said.

Lysychansk, which had a pre-war population of around 100,000 people is just adjacent to Severodonetsk where Russian and Ukrainian troops have been fighting intensely for control of the city.

Flames rise from a structure after it was hit by a projectile in Druzhkivka in Ukraine as Russia concentrates its firepower on the Donbas region

An administrative building in Lyubotyn in Kharkiv region is reduced to rubble after it was exploded by a Russian rocket

An administrative building in Lyubotyn in Kharkiv region is reduced to rubble after it was exploded by a Russian rocket

Russia is continuing to focus on the east of Ukraine, with air strikes and shelling hitting Severodonetsk. Odesa and Crimea are also continuing to see attacks

Russia is continuing to focus on the east of Ukraine, with air strikes and shelling hitting Severodonetsk. Odesa and Crimea are also continuing to see attacks

Rescuers try to extinguish a fire after a shelling in one of industrial areas in the region of Kharkiv

Rescuers try to extinguish a fire after a shelling in one of industrial areas in the region of Kharkiv

A woman reacts while speaking on the phone outside a damaged residential building located in Vannikova in Donetsk

A woman reacts while speaking on the phone outside a damaged residential building located in Vannikova in Donetsk

Russian forces are also suffering heavy losses, with Ukraine estimating the Kremlin death toll has now reached 34,100

Russian forces are also suffering heavy losses, with Ukraine estimating the Kremlin death toll has now reached 34,100

Conditions are grim for civilians left in Lysychansk, who have no mobile phone connections, running water or power. They cook on campfires and shelter in cellars.

Gaiday said that ‘fierce fighting’ was ongoing at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are believed to be sheltering.

He added, without elaborating, that Russian forces had been tasked with capturing the entire Lugansk region by June 26, claiming that, ‘they won’t make it in five days’.

But Russian forces are also suffering heavy losses, with Ukraine estimating the Kremlin death toll has now reached 34,100.

Elsewhere, Ukraine said it had lost control of the village of Metyolkine. 

The settlement is adjacent to Severodonetsk, which has been the focus of fighting for weeks and is now largely under Russian control.

The frontline village of Toshkivka near the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk has also been captured.

‘As of today, according to our information, Toshkivka is controlled entirely by the Russians,’ Roman Vlasenko, the head of the Severodonetsk district told Ukrainian television, adding that the battle for Donbas is ‘now in full swing’.

Toshkivka, with a pre-war population of around 5,000 people, is approximately 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Severodonetsk, where Russian troops and have been battling for weeks against Kyiv’s army.

‘The entirety of the Lugansk region is now the epicentre of fighting between Ukraine and the Russian army,’ he said.

Onlookers watch as firefighters attempt to put out a fire allegedly caused by shelling in the Nemyshlianski district

Onlookers watch as firefighters attempt to put out a fire allegedly caused by shelling in the Nemyshlianski district

A local resident removes debris from a courtyard of an apartment building located in Vannikova street following recent shelling

A local resident removes debris from a courtyard of an apartment building located in Vannikova street following recent shelling

Ukrainian soldiers ride on a tank as it is hauled down the highway near Bakhmut as Russia continues to bombard the Donbas

Ukrainian soldiers ride on a tank as it is hauled down the highway near Bakhmut as Russia continues to bombard the Donbas

A man stands outside a damaged residential building located in Panfilova street following recent shelling

A man stands outside a damaged residential building located in Panfilova street following recent shelling

A Russian missile in found in the Donbas, eastern Ukraine, where Putin is focusing his forces after he was forced to retreat from major cities

A Russian missile in found in the Donbas, eastern Ukraine, where Putin is focusing his forces after he was forced to retreat from major cities

Locals clean debris after rockets hit the professional lyceum of railway transport in the small city of Lyubotyn in Kharkiv

Locals clean debris after rockets hit the professional lyceum of railway transport in the small city of Lyubotyn in Kharkiv

A chemical plant in Severodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are said to be sheltering was being shelled ‘constantly’, Ukraine said.

Three people were injured and seven more missing after Ukrainian forces attacked oil drilling platforms in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, Moscow-backed Crimea leader Sergey Aksyonov said.

It was the first reported strike against offshore energy infrastructure in Crimea since Russia launched its invasion.

In the southern Kherson region – which borders Crimea, and was occupied by Russian forces in the early days of the Kremlin’s offensive – Russian television was now broadcasting, the Russian army said.

Moscow has already introduced the ruble and begun distributing Russian passports in the territory, and a pro-Moscow official said Tuesday it could join Russia ‘before the end of the year’.

The city of Kramatorsk, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Severodonetsk, is yet to experience the intense battles seen closer to the frontline but residents are worried the conflict will reach them.

Russia's blockade of Ukrainian grain exports sparked fresh tensions with Europe as fears grow of a global food crisis

Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports sparked fresh tensions with Europe as fears grow of a global food crisis

Three people were injured and seven more missing after Ukrainian forces attacked oil drilling platforms in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea

Three people were injured and seven more missing after Ukrainian forces attacked oil drilling platforms in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv was engaged in 'complex negotiations' to unblock grain exports, although he cautioned that there was no progress as yet

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv was engaged in ‘complex negotiations’ to unblock grain exports, although he cautioned that there was no progress as yet

A chemical plant in Severodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are said to be sheltering was being shelled 'constantly'

A chemical plant in Severodonetsk where hundreds of civilians are said to be sheltering was being shelled ‘constantly’

‘People worry a lot about the war, everyone is stressed,’ Valentina, a 57-year-old food vendor at a market, told AFP.

Another food seller, Sofiya, 16, said it was ‘frightening’ being so close to the frontline.

‘But we are trying to hold on,’ she said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports sparked fresh tensions with Europe as fears grow of a global food crisis.

Its navy is blockading ports, which Ukraine says is preventing millions of tonnes of grain from being shipped to world markets, contributing to soaring food prices.

Prior to the war, Ukraine was a major exporter of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the Russian blockade ‘a real war crime’, which was happening ‘while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger’.

Moscow denies responsibility for the disruption to deliveries and, following Borrell’s comments, took aim at the ‘destructive’ stance of the West for surging grain prices.

Growing concerns about a food crisis are ‘the fault of Western regimes, which act as provokers and destroyers’, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv was engaged in ‘complex negotiations’ to unblock grain exports, although he cautioned that there was no progress as yet.

In an address to the African Union, he also warned that the continent was a ‘hostage’ of the conflict, and rising food prices ‘have already brought (the war) to the homes of millions of African families’.

With the European Union set to decide at a summit this week on whether to grant Ukraine candidate status – allowing it to vie for membership – Kyiv has warned that attacks are escalating.



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