Day 94 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russian Forces continue their Offensive in Donbas
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Russian forces continue the offensive against Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in the Luhansk region
The Ukrainian army has lost control of the strategically important city of Lyman in the Donetsk region. According to the regional governor, Russian forces already control 95 percent of the Luhansk region.
The offensive of the Russian forces towards Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in the Luhansk region continues.
District Governor Serhiy Haidai acknowledged that Ukrainian troops may need to withdraw from the last resistance sites to avoid capture.
A car with humanitarian aid for the city was damaged as a result of the fighting. According to the head of the military administration in Sievierodonetsk, Alexander Stryuk, two-thirds of the city is already under siege, but its defenders continue to resist.
A Russian strike group has entered an outer neighborhood. About 90 percent of buildings in Sievierodonetsk have been damaged and 60 percent destroyed. Pro-Russian separatists say the city is completely surrounded.
Ukrainian police have evacuated 31 people from Lysychansk, including 13 children. A car with humanitarian aid for the city was damaged as a result of the fighting. During the last 24 hours, more than 40 homes in the Luhansk region were damaged in the shelling.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that the Russian units had suffered losses and had retreated in the battles on the border between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Russian forces are mobilizing brigades with specialized equipment to restore the railways from Russia to the Kharkiv region and south of Izyum, which are important for the supply of the Russian offensive.
The entire Kherson region in Ukraine is closed, its borders with neighboring areas controlled by the Kyiv authorities are blocked. The measure was imposed for security reasons, RIA Novosti reported.
The agency cites Deputy Chief of the Civil-Military Administration Kiril Stremousov. Travels are possible to the Crimean peninsula or through the southern part of the Zaporizhzhia region.
In Kherson, which is under the control of the Russian army, military-civilian rule has been introduced. Russian television channels and radio stations are being broadcast in the area, and communications and trade ties with the Crimean peninsula are being restored.
At the same time, in a video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his conviction that Donbas will remain Ukrainian:
"If the occupiers think that Lyman or Sievierodonetsk will be theirs, they are wrong - Donbas will be Ukrainian because this is us, this is our essence, and even if Russia brings destruction or suffering everywhere, we will rebuild every city and every settlement."
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has severed ties with Russia
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has decided on its full independence and autonomy. The Moscow branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has said it is severing ties with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, declaring "complete independence" in a historic move against Russia's spiritual authorities.
"We do not agree with the position of Moscow Patriarch Kirill on the war," the church said in a statement after holding a rally on Russia's "aggression" and declaring "full independence and autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."
The council said its relations with Moscow's leadership had been "complicated or absent" since the declaration of martial law in Ukraine. They also called on both Ukraine and Russia to "continue the negotiation process" and find a way to "stop the bloodshed".
Mass grave of the Ukrainian military in Mariupol
A mass grave with the bodies of Ukrainian servicemen was found in a park area in Mariupol, near the former Metallurg Stadium. The servicemen died in February and March this year, when this part of the city was under the control of Ukrainian troops, said Dmitry Kalashnikov, head of the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medicine at the DPR Ministry of Health.
According to him, 14 bodies have already been found, 10 have been processed, and according to external signs, there may be a total of up to 40 bodies of Ukrainian soldiers.
The ICC has called on Russia to co-operate in the investigation into Ukraine
Russia must co-operate with the International Criminal Court in investigating alleged war crimes committed during Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the tribunal's prosecutor told AFP.
"The invitation is there. My door is open and I will also continue to knock on the door of the Russian Federation," ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said in an interview with The Hague-based court. "If there are accusations that the Russian Federation has, if it has information at its disposal, if it conducts its own investigations or prosecutions, or if it has information that is relevant, share it with us."
S&P downgrades Ukraine's credit rating
The rating agency S&P Global Ratings downgraded Ukraine's credit rating and said the outlook was negative due to the continuing effects of the Russian invasion.
The agency downgraded Ukraine's long-term and short-term foreign currency credit rating from "B- / B" to "CCC + / C" due to "expectations of a long period of macroeconomic instability in the country."
More heavy weapons from the United States to Ukraine
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said today after a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that more heavy weapons were arriving in Ukraine.
"Heavy weapons are at the top of Kyiv's agenda and more deliveries are pending," Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
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