Shelling by Russian forces sparked a massive fire at a chemical plant in the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Syevyerodonetsk, the local governor said, as Ukrainian leaders continued to call for more weapons to fight the assault of the invading forces throughout the region.
Speaking on national television on June 11, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Hayday did not say whether the fire at the Azot chemical plant had already been extinguished, but said fighting continued. rage in the city, where Ukrainian forces were trying to push back Russian troops. lead a major offensive against the city.
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Hayday said Russian forces controlled about 90% of the strategic city, but Ukrainian troops were resisting the chemical plant.
Moscow-backed separatist fighters earlier said they had surrounded the site and the defenders were trapped.
“A small group of Ukrainian formations on the territory of the Azot chemical plant can no longer leave the plant. All escape routes are cut off for them,” wrote Rodion Miroshnik, a separatist official from the Lugansk region. , on Telegram. He acknowledged that civilians might also hold out in the factory.
The claims could not be independently confirmed.
The siege was reminiscent of what happened in the port city of Mariupol, where residents and fighters hid in and under the Azovstal steelworks before being surrounded and eventually surrendering to Russian forces after fighting brutal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, meanwhile, renewed his call for Western countries to step up arms deliveries as Russian forces pounded much of the country’s east.
Ukrainian troops “are doing everything to stop the offensive, as much as they can, as long as there are enough heavy weapons, modern artillery – everything we asked and continue to ask our partners” , Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on June 10.
Zelenskiy said “very difficult battles” were underway, including in the eastern Donbass region, where Moscow has concentrated its firepower.
Zelenskiy said that Russia wants to destroy all cities in Donbass.
“Each city is not an exaggeration. Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol. All these ruins of once happy cities, the black traces of fires, the craters of explosions – that’s all Russia can give to its neighbors , to Europe, to the world.”
The fiercest fighting is taking place around Syevyerodonetsk, a small industrial town that has become the center of Russia’s advance into eastern Ukraine.
The British Ministry of Defense said in its June 11 daily intelligence bulletin that the Russians had not advanced south of the city.
“Intense street-to-street fighting is ongoing and both sides are likely to suffer a large number of casualties,” the ministry said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.
The update says Russian bombers likely launched heavy anti-ship missiles dating back to the 1960s intended to destroy nuclear warhead aircraft carriers against ground targets in Ukraine. He added that Russia probably uses such weapons because it lacks more accurate modern missiles.
Also on June 11, the Ukrainian military said Russian forces were regrouping to launch an offensive on the city of Sloviansk in the eastern Donetsk region.
In its regular operational update, the Ukrainian General Staff said Moscow managed to gain a foothold overnight in the village of Bohorodyshne, 24 kilometers northwest of Sloviansk, and was preparing to attack the town .
The war in the east is now primarily an artillery battle in which Kyiv is severely outgunned, according to Ukrainian officials.
“It’s an artillery war now,” Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy military intelligence chief, told The Guardian.
“It all depends now on what [the West] gives us. Ukraine has one artillery piece against 10-15 Russian artillery pieces.”
Germany plans to revise its arms export rules to make it easier to arm democracies like Ukraine, Der Spiegel reported on June 10. Berlin has been one of the biggest arms suppliers since Russia invaded, but has been criticized for being slow to supply heavy weapons to Kyiv.
Another German publication, Bild am Sonntag, reported on June 11 that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz would visit Kyiv with Frenchman Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi sometime before the G-7 summit in late June.
German officials said they could not confirm the report.
Ukraine has also requested humanitarian aid to fight an outbreak of dysentery and cholera in the port city of Mariupol, which has been reduced to rubble.
Mayor Vadym Boychenko told state television that sewage systems were broken and corpses were rotting in the streets.
“Unfortunately… these outbreaks of infection will claim thousands more Mariupolites,” Boychenko said.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said on June 11 that it learned of the deaths of 24 more children in Mariupol as a result of shelling by Russian forces.
In total, the office said at least 287 children have died since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. More than 492 were injured, according to the count.
Meanwhile, on June 11, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reinforced Washington’s engagement in the region in light of the war.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is what happens when the oppressors trample on the rules that protect us all,” Austin told an Asian security forum in Singapore. “It’s a glimpse into a possible world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in.”