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Fierce battles in eastern Ukraine and Russian talk about the "priority of liberation"

Fierce battles in eastern Ukraine and Russian talk about the “priority of liberation”

Russian soldiers, backed by intense aerial bombardment, seek to secure a strategic foothold Eastern Ukrainewhile the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky A rare visit to the front lines of Kharkiv, in an effort to assess the country’s defenses.

Ukrainian officials said Russian forces stormed Severodonetsk. and describe Ukrainian President The situation there is “indescribably difficult”.

He added that relentless Russian artillery bombardment destroyed the city’s infrastructure and damaged 90 percent of its buildings.

He also said: “The capture of Severodonetsk was a primary goal of the occupying forces,” and that the Russians did not care about the loss of life.

The city’s mayor said the fighting had cut off electricity and mobile phone services, and forced the humanitarian relief center to close.

There were fears that Severodonetsk would turn to another Mariupol, which was under a three-month Russian siege before its fighters surrender.

‘Unconditional priority’

Meanwhile, the RIA news agency quoted the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov He said, on Sunday, that the “liberation” of Donbass in eastern Ukraine is an “unconditional priority” for Moscow, while other Ukrainian regions can decide their own fate.

According to the RIA news agency, Lavrov said in an interview with the French TV station TF1: “The liberation of my region Donetsk and Luganskwhich are recognized by the Russian Federation as independent states, is an unconditional priority.

As for the rest of Ukraine, he added, “people have to decide their fate in those regions.”

Zelensky in Kharkiv

In another development, Zelensky visited the battlefront in Kharkivthe country’s second largest city, where Ukrainian fighters were expelled Russian forces From her nearby sites a few weeks ago.

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“I feel infinitely proud of our defenders. They risk their lives daily and fight for Ukraine’s freedom,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram after the visit.

Governor Oleh Sinihopov said, Russia She continued her bombardment of the city, and explosions were heard shortly after his visit Zelensky.

It is noteworthy that the bombing and air strikes destroyed more than 2,000 apartment buildings in the city since Russia’s attack on Ukraine on February 24, according to Sinihopov.

In a teleconferenced speech broadcast later on Sunday, Zelensky praised Kharkiv officials, but said he had fired the region’s security chief because of his “poor performance”.

He added that Russian forces still control about a third of the territory Kharkiv region the broadest.