Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said no one knows how long the war in his country will last, but Ukrainian troops have prevented Russian troops from taking control of eastern Ukraine, where the fighting is fierce for weeks. , Against expectations.
In a nightly video speech, Zelenskyy was able to prevent Ukrainian defenders from advancing Russia in the Donbus region, which bordered Russia and was dominated by Moscow-backed separatists for eight years. He said he was proud of that.
“Remember that in Russia, at the beginning of May, they wanted to occupy all of Donbus?” The president said late Saturday. “It’s already the 108th day of the war and it’s already June. Donbus holds.”
After failing to occupy the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, early in the war, Moscow focused on occupying part of Ukraine’s predominantly Russian-speaking Donbus and the south coast of the country. I guessed. However, instead of ensuring a swift and decisive takeover, Russian troops were drawn into a long and painstaking battle, partly because Ukrainian troops used weapons supplied from the West.
Ukrainian and Russian officials said Sieviero Donetsk, an eastern city with a prewar population of 100,000, is still in dispute. Lysychans’k, adjacent to the city, is the last major region of Luhansk Oblast in Donbus, which is not under the control of pro-Russian rebels.
Leonid Paseknik, head of the People’s Republic of Luhansk declared by the separatists, said Ukrainian fighters remained in the city’s industrial areas, including chemical plants where civilians had been evacuated since the time of Russian artillery. He said he was.
“Severodonetsk is not completely liberated,” Pasechnik said on Saturday, claiming that Ukrainians were bombarding the city from the Azoth factory. “So it is impossible to call the situation in Sieviero Donetsk calm because it is entirely ours.”
Governor Luhansk Serhii Haidai reported on Saturday that a major fire broke out at the factory during the hours of the Russian bombardment.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, according to Zelenskyy, counterattacks have expelled Russians from parts of the southern Kherson region taken early in the war. Moscow has set up local governments in Kherson and other occupied coastal areas, providing Russian passports to residents, broadcasting Russian news broadcasts and taking steps to introduce a Russian school curriculum. ..
Zelensky did not see the end of the war, but said Ukraine had to do everything it could. Then the Russians “regret everything they did and answer all the killings and all the strikes against our beautiful nation.”
Ukrainian leaders claimed that Russia had killed about three times as many military casualties as the Ukrainian side estimated, adding, “For what? Russia, for what?” So far, there is no reliable and independent estimate of the number of deaths from war.
China’s Defense Minister Wei Feng was at a defense conference in Singapore on Sunday, Beijing continued to support peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, and the United States and its NATO allies had talks with Russia, “early ceasefire. I hope to create the conditions for. ” .. “
“China will continue to play a constructive role, relieving tensions and contributing our share to achieving a political solution to the crisis,” Wei said.
He suggested that the countries supplying Ukraine were hindering peace by “adding fuel to the fire” and that China did not provide material support to Russia during the war. Was emphasized.
“Growth of relations between China and Russia is a partnership, not an alliance,” Mr. Wei said.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said in a recent assessment that Ukrainian intelligence suggests that Russian troops are planning to “fight a longer war.”
The institute said the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Agency said Moscow would extend the timeline of the war to October and make adjustments in response to its success in Donbus.
Intelligence is likely to indicate that the Kremlin is at least admitting that it cannot quickly achieve its objectives in Ukraine and is further adjusting its military objectives to correct the initial flaws in the invasion of Ukraine. “The think tank said.
Rodion Miloshnik, Russian ambassador to the People’s Republic of Luhansk, said on Saturday that 300 to 400 Ukrainian troops remained blocked within the Sieviero Donetsk chemical plant with hundreds of civilians.
Russians have established contact with Ukrainian troops to arrange the evacuation of civilians, but the troops are only allowed to leave if they lay down their arms and surrender, Miloshnick said.
A similar situation existed for several weeks at a steel mill in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, after which civilian evacuation was arranged and defense forces were ordered to evict from the commander of the Ukrainian army. A fighter from the Mariupol factory was captured by a Russian.
The unrecognized separatist leader of the Republic of Luhansk, Paseknik, said Ukrainians running for Sieviero Donetsk should save their problems.
“If I were them, I would already make a (surrender) decision,” he said. “We will achieve our goals in any case. We will release the industrial zone in any case. We will release Sieviero Donetsk in any case. Lysychans’k will in any case me. It will be ours. “