Ukraine says its troops threaten Russians in Donbass
KYIV – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed there will be no respite in the fighting to regain territory lost to Russia as Kyiv announced his troops had advanced on the eastern bank of the Oskil River, threatening the Russian occupation forces in the Donbass.
Crossing the Oskil is another milestone in Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region as it flows south to the Siversky Donets River, which runs through Lugansk, the one of the two provinces of the Donbass region.
Ukrainian troops “crossed the Oskil. Since yesterday, Ukraine controls the eastern bank,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces wrote on Telegram on Sunday evening.
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk region, wrote on Telegram: “Luhansk region is right next to it. Disoccupation is not far away.
Zelenskyy vowed to keep the pressure on Moscow following Ukraine’s quick wins in Kharkiv this month.
“Perhaps it seems to some of you that after a winning streak we now have some kind of lull,” he said in his usual late-night address on Sunday. “But there will be no lull. There is preparation for the next series… Because Ukraine must be free. Everything.”
President Joe Biden also said Ukraine’s victory meant withdrawing Russian forces from across the country and pledged US support for as long as needed.
“Winning the war in Ukraine means taking Russia completely out of Ukraine and recognizing sovereignty. They beat Russia,” he said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday.
“Russia turns out not to be as competent and capable as many people thought it was going to be.”
Russian artillery pounded towns and villages across eastern and southern front lines on Sunday, including civilian infrastructure in the city of Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian officials said.
Britain said Russian forces had expanded their strikes against civilian infrastructure following battlefield setbacks and were likely to expand their targets further.
“As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely expanded the locations it is prepared to strike with the aim of directly undermining the morale of the Ukrainian people and government,” the ministry said. British Defence.
Ukraine’s Southern Command said on Monday that strikes were also launched on a radar station near Kherson and on a pontoon near Nova Kakhovka east of Kherson, where a Ukrainian counteroffensive has focused on the removal of bridges over the Dnipro and Inhulets rivers.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield reports.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed aside Ukraine’s swift counteroffensive and said Moscow would respond more forcefully if its troops came under additional pressure.
These repeated threats have raised fears that Putin might at some point turn to small nuclear weapons or chemical warfare.
Asked what he would say to Putin if he considered using such weapons, US President Joe Biden replied in the CBS “60 Minutes” interview: “No. Don’t. Don’t. It would change the face of warfare like never before since World War II.
Some military analysts have said that Russia could also stage a nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant owned by Russia but operated by Ukrainian personnel.
Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of bombing the plant which damaged buildings and disrupted power lines needed to keep it cool and safe.
U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged vigilance on Sunday after visiting a base in Poland helping Ukraine’s war effort.
“The war is not going too well for Russia at the moment, so it is incumbent on all of us to maintain a high state of readiness, alert,” he said after his trip to the base, which reporters traveling with him were asked not to identify.
With its battlefield losses mounting, the Russian military is looking for contract soldiers for what it calls “the special military operation” in Ukraine, and is offering nearly $3,000 a month as an incentive.
A special unit parked a recruitment truck in the southern city of Rostov over the weekend and masked soldiers handed out pamphlets titled ‘Military service under contract – a real man’s choice’.