December 7, 2022

War in Ukraine: Latest developments

Ukraine says it is doing 'everything' to defend Donbas

Ukraine says it is doing ‘everything’ to defend Donbas – Copyright AFP ISHARA S. KODIKARA

Here are the latest developments in the war in Ukraine:

– Zelensky visits Ukraine’s east – 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visits the country’s war-ridden east for the first time since the Russian invasion, on a trip to Kharkiv region, from where Moscow has retreated in recent weeks. 

Zelensky’s office posted a video on Telegram of him wearing a bullet-proof vest and being shown heavily destroyed buildings in Kharkiv and its surroundings. 

– Russian onslaught in eastern Ukraine –

Russia says it has captured the strategic town of Lyman and claims to have surrounded the urban centre of Severodonetsk, as it wages an all-out war for the eastern Donbas — Ukraine’s industrial heartland.

But a Ukrainian official denies the claim that Severodonetsk has been encircled, saying government troops had repelled Russian forces from the outskirts of the key city.

– ‘Constant shelling’ in Severodonetsk –

In Severodonetsk, where an estimated 15,000 civilians remain, a local official says “constant shelling” has made it increasingly difficult to get in or out.

Evacuation is “very unsafe”, with priority given to the wounded and those in need of serious medical assistance, says Oleksandr Stryuk, head of the city’s military and civil administration.

The water supply is also increasingly tenuous, as a lack of electricity means the pumps at city wells no longer function, and residents have gone more than two weeks without a cellphone connection, he says.

– Situation ‘very difficult’, says Zelensky –

In his daily address to the nation, Zelensky says the situation is “very difficult, especially in those areas in the Donbas and Kharkiv regions, where the Russian army is trying to squeeze at least some result for itself”.

He says Ukraine is doing “everything” to defend Donbas.

– Lithuanians raise millions for Ukraine drone –

Lithuanians have donated more than five million euros to a public fundraising campaign designed to buy a combat drone for Ukrainian forces fighting Russia’s invasion.

The money needed to buy a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone was raised in three-and-a-half days in the country of 2.8 million people. 

– Serbia signs gas deal with Russia –

Serbia, which has been trying to tread a delicate balancing act between East and West since Moscow invaded Ukraine, says it has secured a new long-term contract with Russia to ensure that it has sufficient gas supplies next winter.

As energy prices soar across the globe, the exact terms of the deal — which will ensure Serbia has “a safe winter when it comes to gas supply” — will be announced in the coming days, President Aleksandar Vucic says.

The deal comes as the European Union is trying to reduce its dependence on Russia for energy following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and is scheduled to discuss a possible embargo on Russian oil at an emergency summit on Monday.