Ukraine vows to prevail against Russian assaults

  • Britain’s Johnson pledges support, warns of ‘Ukraine fatigue’
  • EU summit expected to support Ukraine’s candidate status
  • The Battle of Sievierodonetsk continues
  • Zelenskiy visits troops in the south
  • More rocket fire and shelling in eastern and central Ukraine

KYIV, June 18 (Reuters) – With a blessing for its European ambitions and a pledge of unwavering support from Britain, Ukraine vowed on Saturday to prevail against Moscow as it battles against the Russian assaults near a key eastern town and that several places were under shell and missile attack.

European Union countries are expected at a summit next week to grant Ukraine EU candidate status following a recommendation from the bloc’s executive on Friday, putting Kyiv on track to realizing an aspiration considered out of reach before the February 24 Russian invasion, even though actual membership could take years. Read more

On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid a surprise visit to Kyiv and offered enhanced training to Ukrainian forces. read more Back in Britain on Saturday, he stressed the need to avoid “Ukrainian fatigue” after nearly four months of war.

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“The Russians are moving forward bit by bit and it is vital for us to show what we know to be true, which is that Ukraine can and will win,” he told reporters. Read more “As Ukraine fatigue sets in, it is very important to show that we are with them for the long haul and that we are giving them the strategic resilience they need.”

In an op-ed in the London-based Sunday Times newspaper, Johnson said that meant ensuring “Ukraine gets arms, equipment, ammunition and training faster than the invader”.

“Time is the vital factor,” he said. “Everything will depend on Ukraine’s ability to build up its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its ability to attack.”

On the battlefields on Saturday, Sievierodonetsk, prime target of Moscow’s offensive aimed at taking full control of the eastern Luhansk region, was again the target of heavy artillery and rockets as Russian forces attacked areas outside the industrial city, the Ukrainian military said.

A Russian-backed official said a large explosion rocked the Sievierodonetsk region on Saturday and a large orange-colored cloud could be seen rising into the air.

Rodion Miroshnik, of the self-proclaimed separatist Luhansk People’s Republic administration, posted a video on Telegram of what he said was the cloud, adding that he could not say whether the explosion occurred in or near the city.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian attacks on towns just south of Sievierodonetsk had been repelled by Ukrainian forces, although the situation in satellite villages was “difficult”.

“The Russians threw all their reserves in the direction of Sievierodonetsk and Bakhmut,” he said in an online message. “They are trying to establish full control over the regional center and cut off the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway. They have no success, they are dying en masse.”

Gaidai said the town of Lysychansk was under constant bombardment but remained entirely in Ukrainian hands, although a “silent” evacuation was underway and humanitarian convoys were brought in daily. He said a key highway out of town was now impassable due to Russian shelling.

In the northwest, several Russian missiles hit a gas plant in Izium district, and Russian rockets rained down on a suburb of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, hitting a municipal building and starting a fire in an apartment building, but no casualties, the Ukrainian said the authorities.

Further northwest, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said Russian troops on a reconnaissance mission near the town of Krasnopillya were repelled with heavy casualties on Saturday.

Ukrainian authorities also reported nighttime shelling of locations further west in Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk, and on Saturday said three Russian missiles destroyed a fuel storage depot in the town of Novomoskovsk, injuring 11 people, including one seriously. Read more

Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield accounts.


Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskiy, whose challenge inspired Ukrainians and won him global respect, said on Saturday he visited soldiers on the southern frontline in the Mykolaiv region.

“Our brave men and women. Each one of them is working hard,” he said on Telegram. “We will definitely hold on! We will definitely win! »

A video showed Zelenskiy in his trademark khaki t-shirt handing out medals and posing for selfies with the military. He did not say when the trip took place. Read more

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated goals when he ordered his troops into Ukraine was to halt the eastward expansion of the NATO military alliance and keep the neighbor of south of Moscow outside the Western sphere of influence.

But the war, which has killed thousands, turned cities to rubble and forced millions to flee, has had the opposite effect: convincing Finland and Sweden to seek to join NATO and help open the way for Ukraine’s application for EU membership.

“The Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, while announcing her decision to recommend Ukraine and its neighbor Moldova as candidates for membership of the European Union. the EU.

“We want them to live the European dream with us,” she said, wearing a yellow blazer over a blue blouse, the colors of Ukraine.

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Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Tomasz Janowski and David Brunnstrom Editing by Frances Kerry and Paul Simao

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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