To the fortified positions the Ukrainian army left the city under attack

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – After weeks of fierce fightingUkrainian forces have begun to retreat from the besieged city in the east of the country to move to stronger positions, a regional official said Friday, marking the four-month mark of Russia’s invasion.

The planned withdrawal from the Luhansk region’s administrative center, Siverodonetsk, reduced most of the industrial city to ruins and reduced its population to 100,0000 after the relentless Russian bombings. Up to 10,000. Ukrainian troops fought house-to-house with the Russians and then retreated to the large Azote chemical plant on the outskirts of the city, where they took refuge with 500 civilians in its vast underground structures.

In recent days, Russian forces have been victorious In an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces, Siverodonetsk and the neighboring city of Lyczynsk, on a steep bank across the river.

Sivirodonetsk and Lyczynsk were the focal points of the Russian offensive, aimed at capturing all of the Donbass and destroying the Ukrainian army – the most efficient and combat-hardest division of the country’s armed forces. The two cities and surrounding areas were the last major areas of Ukrainian resistance in the Luhansk region – 95% of which are controlled by Russian and local separatist forces. The Russians and separatists control half of the Donetsk region, the second province of Donbass.

While Ukraine was clamoring for better and more weapons from its Western allies, Russia used its numerical advantage in its troops and weapons to attack Siverodonetsky. The bridges to the city were destroyed, slowing down the Ukrainian military’s resilience, reinforcement and evacuation of wounded and others. Much of the city’s electricity, water and communications infrastructure has been destroyed.

Luhansk Governor Sergei Haidoi said Ukrainian troops had been ordered to leave Siverodonetsk to prevent large casualties and move to better fortified positions. The head of the regional administration, Roman Vlachenko, said the withdrawal had already begun and would take several days.

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“For now, the Ukrainian army is still in Siverodonetsk,” Vlachenko told CNN. “They are currently being withdrawn from the city. It started yesterday. ”

Ukraine’s military spokesman declined to confirm the withdrawal order, saying government policy was blocking comments on the movements of Ukrainian troops.

“Unfortunately, we have to withdraw our troops from Siverodonetsk,” Haido told the Associated Press. “There is no point in staying in destroyed conditions. The number of active killers is increasing.”

A senior U.S. defense official, speaking anonymously in Washington on Friday, called the Ukrainian move “tactical reaction.” The official said that this would increase Ukraine’s efforts to keep Russian forces behind for a long time in a small area.

While the retreat was underway, some Ukrainian troops were stationed in Siverodonetsk, and Haidoi noted that 80% of the buildings had been destroyed in the face of the Russian bombing.

“As of today, the opposition in Siverodonetsk continues,” Haidoi told the AP. “The Russians are constantly shelling Ukrainian positions and burning everything.”

Haidoi said Russian intelligence had carried out attacks on the city’s outskirts but had been chased by its guards. The governor added that the bridge leading to the city of Lysyansk was badly damaged in the Russian airstrikes and was unusable for lorries. Ukrainian military analyst Oleg Zhdanov told the AP that some troops withdrawing from Siverodonetsk were fighting in Lysychansk.

In other war reports, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday that four Ukrainian battalions and a unit of “foreign mercenaries” had “completely blocked” a total of 2,000 troops near Hirske and Zolote, south of Lysychansk. The claim could not be verified independently.

In the early stages of the invasion, a failed attempt was made to seize the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Beginning on February 24, Russian forces have shifted their focus to Donbass, where Ukrainian forces have been battling pro-Moscow separatists since 2014.

Four medium-range US rocket launchers Four more have arrived. A senior U.S. defense official said Friday that more Ukrainian forces outside Ukraine are being trained to use high-mobility artillery rocket systems or Himas, and are expected to return to their country armed in mid-July.

Rockets can travel about 45 miles (70 kilometers). A further 18 U.S. Coast Guard and river patrol boats are to be sent. The official said there was no evidence that Russia had succeeded in stopping the continued flow of military aid into Ukraine from the United States and other countries. Russia has repeatedly threatened to strike, or actually strike, such exports.

Among other improvements:

The day after being recognized as Ukraine’s candidate to join the EU, Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians not to focus on all the things that still need to be done before the country is accepted into the EU, but to quietly celebrate this moment and be proud of how far Ukraine is. Already its Soviet past has come a long way.

“Do not be glad that it slapped Moscow in the face, but be proud that it was an applause for Ukraine,” he said in his nightly video speech. “Let it inspire you. We deserve it. Please smile and may God bless us all with a peaceful night. Then tomorrow, war again. With new strength, with new wings.

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Thousands of people rallied on Friday in Tbilissi, another former Soviet republic that had applied to join the European Union, demanding the resignation of the prime minister over his government’s failure to implement the reforms needed to annex Georgia to Ukraine. Candidate for EU membership. This week the European Council said there was still a lot of work to be done before Georgia could be granted candidate status.

Zelenskyy addressed the rally via video, expressed his support for Georgia and thanked the Georgians who came to Ukraine to join the struggle against Russia. Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and now effectively controls the two divided territories.

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Gelensky urged music fans at the Glastonbury Festival to “spread the truth about Russia’s war.” Speaking to the crowd through a British music extravaganza Friday before The Liberty’s compilation, Zhelensky said, “We in Ukraine also want to live the old-fashioned way and enjoy freedom and this wonderful summer, but we can not do that. Because the worst happened – Russia stole our peace.

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An official of the pro-Moscow administration was killed in an explosion on Friday in the southern city of Kherson, which was captured by Russian troops at the start of the invasion. The pro-Russian regional administration in Kherson said Dmitry Savlyuchenko had died in an explosion in his vehicle, which he described as a “terrorist attack”. Not immediately responsible.

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Reported by Euras Karmanov LV.

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Follow AP’s War Coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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