On the 100th day after Russia’s invasion, battle raged across Ukraine’s east, as Moscow’s soldiers are extending their hold on the Donbas.
The sombre announcement came as Kyiv claimed that Moscow now controls a fifth of Ukrainian land, including Crimea and areas of the Donbas acquired in 2014.
President Vladimir Putin’s troops have set their eyes on seizing eastern Ukraine after being expelled from around the capital, prompting worries that the conflict could stretch on for a long time.
Following talks with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cautioned Ukraine’s allies to prepare for a gruelling “war of attrition.”
“We just have to be prepared for the long haul,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO does not wish to engage in direct combat with Russia.
Despite making slower headway than projected, Moscow’s soldiers are gaining progress; President Volodymyr Zelensky told Luxembourg parliamentarians that Russia currently controls around 20% of Ukrainian land.
Thousands of people have been slain and millions have been forced to flee since Russia’s incursion on February 24. According to Zelensky, up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers perish every day on the battlefield.
The industrial town of Severodonetsk in Lugansk, part of the Donbas, is raging with street fights.
Russia already controls nearly 80% of the vital city, but its defenders are fighting back, with Sergiy Gaiday, the regional governor of Lugansk, saying that Ukrainian soldiers will fight “to the end.”
Russian soldiers fired on one of Severodonetsk’s administrative buildings and a warehouse where methanol was stored, making it one of Europe’s largest chemical facilities.
According to Gaiday, Ukrainian troops were still holding an industrial zone, similar to the scenario in Mariupol, where a massive steelworks was the last holdout until Ukrainian troops eventually surrendered in late May.
Residents in Sloviansk, roughly 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Severodonetsk, said Russian military were constantly bombarding them.
“It’s incredibly difficult here,” said Ekaterina Perednenko, a 24-year-old paramedic who has only been back in the city for five days but knows she will have to leave again.
“Shooting is all around us, and it’s terrifying. There is no running water, power, or gas “she stated
According to Ukrainian military officials, Russian shelling in the southern city of Mykolaiv killed at least one person and injured several others late Thursday.
The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, asked for modern weapons, claiming that “the enemy has a decisive edge in artillery.”
“It will save our people’s lives,” he continued.
Western nations, led by the United States, have sent armaments and military supplies into Ukraine in order to assist it weather the attack.
After submitting her credentials to Zelensky, Bridget Brink, the incoming US ambassador to Kyiv, stated that the US would “help Ukraine win against Russian aggression.”
The US said earlier this week that it would provide more modern Himar multiple rocket launch systems to Ukraine.
Multiple precision-guided munitions can be fired against targets up to 80 kilometres away by the mobile units.
They’re part of a $700 million package that also includes radar, ammunition, helicopters, and vehicles.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, accused Washington of “throwing fuel to the fire,” despite the fact that US officials said Ukraine has committed not to use the missiles inside Russia.
In addition to delivering armaments to Ukraine, Western allies have attempted to cut off Russia’s financial lifeline in an effort to persuade Putin to alter course.
The US has banned Putin’s money manager and a Monaco company that delivers luxury yachts to Moscow’s elite, adding to an already long list of sanctions.
Across the Atlantic, EU countries agreed to further measures that would put a stop to 90% of Russian oil supplies to the bloc by the end of the year.
The oil price movement is disappointing.
Russia has warned that European customers will bear the brunt of the partial oil embargo.
In an effort to cool an overheated market and relieve inflationary pressures, major crude producers agreed to increase supply by around 50% every month.
However, investors were dissatisfied, and prices jumped as a result of the statement.
Because Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers, the conflict has the potential to spark a global food crisis.
It was already resulting in higher prices for staples such as grains, sunflower oil, and maize, with the poorest bearing the brunt of the impact.
Senegalese President Macky Sall, the chairman of the African Union, will visit Russia on Friday for discussions with Putin.
According to Sall’s office, the visit is aimed at “freeing up stocks of cereals and fertilisers, which are severely affected by the blockade in Africa,” as well as resolving the Ukraine issue.