After EU backing, Ukraine vows to prevail over Russian attacks

With a boon to its ambitions to join the European Union and the promise of continued strong backing from United Kingdom, Ukraine he vowed on Saturday to prevail against Moscow as he fought off Russian assaults on a key eastern city and communities hit by more intense bombardment.

At a summit next week, EU leaders are expected to grant Ukraine candidate status, following Friday’s recommendation from the bloc’s executive, putting kyiv on a path to realizing an aspiration seen as outside its reach. scope before the invasion, even if actual membership could take years.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who paid a surprise visit to kyiv on Friday and offered training to Ukrainian forces. Back in Britain he stressed on Saturday the need to continue supporting the country and avoid “Ukrainian fatigue” after nearly four months of war.

“The Russians are advancing inch by inch and it is vital for us to show what we know to be true, that Ukraine can and will win,” Johnson told reporters on his return to Britain from kyiv. “When Ukraine fatigue is setting in, it is very important to show that we are with them for the long term,” he said.

In an op-ed for London’s Sunday Times newspaper, Johnson said this meant making sure “Ukraine receives weapons, equipment, ammunition and training more quickly than the invader.”

On the battlefields on Saturday, the industrial city of Severodonetsk, a main target in Moscow’s offensive to seize full control of the eastern Luhansk region, remained under heavy Russian artillery and rocket fire, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday. .

A Russian-backed official said a huge explosion rocked the Severodonetsk area on Saturday and a large orange cloud could be seen rising into the air. Rodion Miroshnik, of the self-styled separatist administration of the Luhansk People’s Republic, posted a video on Telegram of what he said was the cloud, adding that he could not say whether the blast occurred in the city or nearby.

Lugansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian attacks on towns south of Severodonetsk were repulsed by Ukrainian forces, although the situation in satellite villages was “difficult”.

“The Russians have thrown all their reserves in the direction of Severodonetsk and Bakhmut,” he said in an online post. “They are trying to establish full control over the regional center and cut off the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway. They are not succeeding, they are dying en masse.”

Gaidai said the city of Lysychansk was under constant shelling but remained fully in Ukrainian hands, although a “quiet” evacuation was taking place and humanitarian convoys were brought in daily. He claimed that a key road outside the city was now impassable due to Russian bombing.

To the northwest, several Russian missiles hit a gas plant in the Izium district, and Russian rockets rained down on a suburb of Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city, hitting a municipal building and setting a block of flats on fire. , but caused no casualties, authorities said.

Local authorities reported nightly shelling of multiple locations in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Kharkiv and further west in Poltava and Dnipro. On Saturday they said three Russian missiles destroyed a fuel storage depot in the city of Novomoskovsk, wounding 11 people, one of them seriously.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the battlefield reports.

Zelensky, defiant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose defiance inspired Ukrainians and earned him global respect, said on Saturday that he had visited soldiers on the southern front line in the Mykolaiv region.

“Our brave men and women. Every single one of them is working flat out,” he said on Telegram. “We will definitely hold on! We will definitely win!”

A video showed Zelensky in his trademark khaki shirt handing out medals and posing for selfies with servicemen. He did not say when the trip took place.

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