Zelensky pledged no complacency as Ukraine says troops are crossing the Uskil River in the country’s northeast

  • Russia steps up strikes on Ukrainian civilian targets
  • Ukraine says its forces have advanced to the east bank of the Oskil River
  • Biden urges Putin not to use tactical nuclear and chemical weapons

Kyiv (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed not to stop fighting to reclaim lands lost to Russia as Kyiv said its forces had advanced to the eastern bank of the Oskil River, threatening Russian occupying forces in the region. Donbass.

The crossing of the Oskil River is another important milestone in Ukraine’s counterattack in the northeastern Kharkiv region as it flows south into the Siversky Donets, which passes directly through Luhansk, one of two districts in the Donbas region.

Ukraine’s armed forces wrote on Telegram late Sunday that Ukrainian forces “have moved across the Oskil River. Since yesterday, Ukraine is in control of the eastern bank.”

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Serhi Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, wrote on Telegram: “The Luhansk region is completely adjacent. Not far from the collapse.”

Zelensky vowed to keep up the pressure on Moscow after Ukraine’s rapid gains in Kharkiv this month.

“It may seem to some of you that after a string of victories we now have a lull of some sort,” he said in his usual evening address on Sunday. “But there will be no calm. There are preparations for the next series … Ukraine should be free. All that.”

US President Joe Biden also said that Ukraine’s victory would mean the removal of Russian forces from the entire country, and pledged to provide US support for as long as needed.

“Winning the war in Ukraine is getting Russia completely out of Ukraine and recognizing sovereignty. They are defeating Russia,” he said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

“It turns out that Russia is not as qualified and capable as many people think they would be.”

Ukrainian officials said Russian artillery bombed towns and villages across front lines in the east and south on Sunday, including civilian infrastructure in the city of Zaporizhzhya.

Britain said Russian forces had expanded their strikes on civilian infrastructure following battlefield setbacks and were likely to expand their targets further.

“While facing setbacks on the front lines, it is possible that Russia has expanded the positions it is preparing to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government,” the MoD said.

On Monday, Ukraine’s Southern Command said strikes were also launched on a radar station near Kherson and on a pontoon crossing near Nova Kakhovka east of Kherson, where a Ukrainian counterattack focused on destroying bridges across the Dnipro and Inholets rivers.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield reports.

Putin and Biden’s warnings

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ignored Ukraine’s rapid counter-attack, and said Moscow would respond more forcefully if its forces came under more pressure. Read more

Such frequent threats have raised fears that Putin could, at some point, switch to small nuclear weapons or chemical warfare.

US President Joe Biden was asked what he would say to Putin if he considered using such weapons, to which he replied in the “60 Minutes” interview on CBS: “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. It will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II.” the second “. Read more

Some military analysts said Russia may also stage a nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is controlled by Russia but operated by Ukrainian employees.

Moscow and Kiev accused each other of bombing around the plant, destroying buildings and disrupting power lines needed to keep it cool and safe. Read more

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for vigilance Sunday after visiting a base in Poland to aid the Ukrainian war effort.

“The war is not going well for Russia at the moment, so we all have to maintain high levels of preparedness and vigilance,” he said after his trip to the base, asking not to be named by reporters traveling with him. Read more

As its losses on the battlefield mount, the Russian military is looking for contract soldiers for what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, offering nearly $3,000 a month as an incentive.

A special unit was stationed in a recruiting truck in the southern city of Rostov at the weekend and masked soldiers distributed pamphlets titled “Military Service under Contract – The Choice of a Real Man”. Read more

Mass graves

On Saturday, Zelensky said that the authorities found a mass grave containing the bodies of 17 soldiers in Izyum, and said that some of them bear signs of torture.

Izium residents search for their dead relatives in a forest cemetery where workers began exhuming bodies last week. Ukrainian officials said last week they had found 440 bodies in a forest near Izyum. They said that most of the dead were civilians, and the cause of death had not been established.

The Kremlin has not commented on the discovery of the graves, but in the past Moscow has repeatedly denied deliberately attacking civilians or committing atrocities.

In the village of Kozacha Luban, 45 km north of Kharkiv and close to the Russian border, a Reuters reporter was taken to a squalid basement with rooms fitted with iron bars that officials said served as a makeshift prison during the occupation. .

The region’s mayor, Vyacheslav Zadorenko, said the rooms were used as a “torture basement” to detain civilians.

Reuters was unable to verify those accounts.

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by David Bronstrom and Stephen Coates; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Shri Navaratnam

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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