KYIV, 21 June 2022, (TON): Ukraine acknowledged difficulties in fighting in the east of the country as Russian forces captured territory along a frontline river and intensified pressure on two key cities ahead of an EU summit expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.
The governor of the Luhansk region, scene of the heaviest Russian onslaughts in recent weeks, said the situation was extremely difficult along the entire front line there and the Russian army had gathered sufficient reserves to begin a large-scale offensive.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had predicted Moscow would escalate attacks ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. In his customary nighttime address to the nation, he was defiant, while also referring to difficult fighting in Luhansk for Sievierodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk.
He said “we are defending Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there.”
“But we have our strong guys and girls there.”
Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces controlled most of Sievierodonetsk, apart from the Azot chemical plant, where hundreds of civilians have been sheltering for weeks, and said “the road connecting Sievierodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk to the city of Bakhmut was under constant shell fire.”