Ukraine will fight to reclaim all of its territory that was occupied by Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said as Ukrainian forces struggled to hold the eastern city of Syevyerodonetsk.
The Ukrainian army reported that on June 7 in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Russian troops fired on more than 16 settlements, killing one civilian and wounding six.
Ukrainian defenders repelled 11 enemy attacks and fighting continued in two locations, the military said. Ukrainian forces claims having destroyed three Russian tanks, five artillery systems, several vehicles and three ammunition depots.
Air defense units shot down two drones in the skies over Donbass, the Ukrainian military said. None of the claims could be independently verified.
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Zelenskiy said earlier that Ukrainian forces were still resisting Syevyerodonetsk despite being outnumbered and outgunned by the Russian military.
He said intense house-to-house fighting and indiscriminate shelling by the Russians had turned Syevyerodonetsk and its twin city of Lysychansk into “ghost towns”.
Regional leader Serhiy Hayday said on June 7 that Ukrainian forces were struggling to repel Russian attacks in central Syevyerodonetsk, but Moscow forces did not control the city. Hayday also said Russian troops were constantly shelling Lysychansk, which is across the Severskiy Donets River.
If captured, the two strategic targets that are still in Ukrainian hands would hand over the entire eastern region of Lugansk to Russian forces.
Ukraine’s armed forces said in a June 7 morning update that Russia’s “main efforts” remained focused on Syevyerodonetsk and nearby Bakhmut, where another counterattack had been launched.
The Russian advance last month towards Popasna, some 50 kilometers south of Syevyerodonetsk, stalled last week, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on June 7.
The newsletter said Moscow will “almost certainly” have to achieve a breakthrough either in Popasna or north of Syevyerodonetsk in the Izyum region if it is to achieve “success and progress towards its political goal of controlling all of Donetsk Oblast” .
Zelenskiy said in his June 6 evening speech that there may be more than 2,500 prisoners from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol currently being held by the Russians in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
Zelenskiy said Russian intentions regarding these prisoners are constantly changing. Moscow-backed separatist officials in Donetsk have spoken of bringing some of the Azovstal defenders to justice for alleged human rights abuses in Ukraine.
The bodies of some Ukrainian soldiers killed in the siege of Azovstal have been returned by Russian forces in Ukraine, the Association of Families of Defenders of Azovstal said.
The association said the forensic examination of the bodies could take up to three months. Relatives of the victims take part in the identification procedures.
The Ukrainian army said that the Russians had handed over 210 bodies of Ukrainian fighters, most of whom died defending the city of Mariupol against Russian forces in the vast steelworks.
Residents of Mariupol face a growing humanitarian crisis, compounded by severe food and water shortages.
A Ukrainian official said on June 6 that contamination from corpses and rotting garbage had sparked an outbreak of cholera, prompting a citywide quarantine.
“We are seeing the city shut down,” Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor, told media.
Zelenskiy also said the country hoped to create secure corridors that would allow its ships to export grain from Black Sea ports blocked by fighting.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Turkey on June 7 for talks on unblocking grain exports from Ukraine.
Turkey has offered to escort sea convoys from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which have been blocked by Moscow forces.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on June 7 that Poland was in the process of signing a far-reaching treaty for the delivery of arms to Ukraine.
The deal is “one of the biggest, if not the biggest, arms export deals of the past 30 years,” Morawiecki said after visiting a Polish arms company. He said the weapons would be essential to help Ukraine drive out the Russian invaders.
He did not provide details on the types of weapons to be transferred or other details of the deal, but during a presentation to the company, he and Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak posed in front of self-propelled gun systems.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said radiation detectors in the exclusion zone around Ukraine’s former Chernobyl nuclear power plant are back online for the first time since Russia seized power. of the area on February 24. Radiation levels are normal, the UN nuclear watchdog said.