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91st day of hostilities: Ukraine says Russia is trying to take the city in Donetsk

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says Russian forces are conducting heavy attacks to control the city of Lyman in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.

Ministry of Defense Spokesperson Ukraine Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said on May 25 that Russia’s efforts to “complete control” of the city Lyman in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, was unsuccessful. However, images on social media the same day showed Russian soldiers appearing in residential areas north of Lyman.

“The enemy is conducting offensive operations, trying to encircle our units near Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk and access to the administrative border of Lugansk,” added spokesman Motuzyanyk.

Ukrainian soldiers near Lyman, in the east of the country, on April 28.  Photo: AFP.

Ukrainian soldiers near Lyman, in the east of the country, on April 28. Image: AFP.

Lyman is home to an important railway line. If the force Russia control Lyman, they could easily target the nearby city of Sloviansk, and the Ukrainian army southeast of Lyman would also be at greater risk of encirclement.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War assessed in a May 24 report that Russian forces will continue to prioritize control of Lyman over Sloviansk. Pavlo Kyrylenko, Governor of Donetsk Oblast, on the same day described the situation as “very difficult” in Lyman.

The Ukrainian side also announced on May 25 that it was fighting to maintain control of an important highway leading to the city Sievierodonetsk, Donbass. Sievierodonetsk is said to be surrounded on three sides by Russian forces.

The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces have continuously launched mortar attacks on Sievierodonetsk since the early morning of May 25. Lugansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said six civilians were killed and at least eight wounded in Sievierodonetsk, most of them near bomb shelters.

Russia has taken control of one more town in the east. Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Donetsk province, said Russian forces entered Svitlodarsk and raised the Russian flag on the town administration building while the Ukrainian defense forces withdrew from the town. According to Kyrylenko, the town of Svitlodarsk fell after many days of being surrounded by Russian forces on three sides, but was not heavily shelled, so it did not affect the people much.

Lyman's location.  Graphics: BBC

Lyman’s location. Graphics: BBC

In southern Ukraine, Russia is increasing its activities to strengthen its presence. An official Mariupol MOSCOW, May 25 (Reuters) – A cargo ship carrying some 3,000 tons of metal bound for Rostov-on-Don, Russia, will depart in the coming days, the first ship to leave the port city since Russia, the Russia-backed government said on May 25. complete control of Mariupol.

President Vladimir Putin on May 25 signed a decree simplifying the process of granting Russian citizenship to residents in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Russia has taken full control of Kherson since March and partially controlled Zaporizhzhia.

According to the decree, naturalization aspirants are not required to live in Russia, prove financial or pass a Russian language test. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry later issued a statement condemning Russia’s move as “a violation of international law, a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the norms and principles of international humanitarian law”. .

The West continues to seek to put pressure on Russia, when the 11-nation Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) issued a statement that Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine “is completely inconsistent with the model of cooperation”. international relations in the Baltic Sea region and cause long-term negative impacts on regional security”.

CBSS in March suspended Russia’s membership. Moscow, meanwhile, announced it was leaving CBSS, saying that the European Union (EU) and NATO member states were trying to use the group as a tool against Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia has a new domestic move when it passes the bill remove age limit with enlisted people to become professional soldiers. Under current law, only Russians between the ages of 18-40 and foreigners between the ages of 18-30 can enlist as professional servicemen. When the new rule was introduced, the only age requirement for recruits was over 18 years old.

President of Russia Putin May 25 visit for the first time wounded soldiers during the military operation in Ukraine. “These are people who are risking their health and lives for the sake of the people and children of Donbass. They are all heroes,” the Russian president said as he arrived at the Mandryka military hospital in Moscow.

President Putin visits wounded soldiers

Russian President Putin visits wounded soldiers at the Mandryka military hospital in Moscow, May 25. Video: AFP.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has so far recorded more than 6.6 million Ukrainians leaving the country after February 24, when Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) on May 25 estimated the fighting in Ukraine had left at least 3,974 civilians dead and 4,654 injured, but warned the actual number could be higher.

The British Ministry of Defense on May 23 said that Russian forces are stepping up their attacks with the goal of controlling the entire Lugansk province, east of Ukraine. The agency assessed that Ukraine’s military continues to be strongly defensive, but that Russian forces “have made some small strides” in the region.

However, the British Ministry of Defense said that if the Donbass frontline were to move further to the west, this would strain Russia’s lines of communication and could make British forces face more difficulties in terms of supplies, after need.

Ngoc Anh (According to AFP/Reuters/AP)

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