Fighting in a key town in eastern Ukraine remained intense, with street fighting erupting for every home and Russian shelling on the outskirts of Ukraine’s second-largest city hospitalizing at least two civilians, officials said Friday.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Friday that Ukrainian troops were holding an industrial zone in the city of Sievierodonetsk, which remains largely under Russian control.
“Battles are going on for every house and every street,” he told The Associated Press.
While Russian troops have most of the city, they have made “little progress in attempts to encircle the wider area from the north and south”. according to an intelligence update on fighting from the British Ministry of Defence.
After the shelling of Derhachi, less than 10 miles northwest of Kharkiv, fires broke out in residential buildings and emergency crews searched for other victims.
The Kharkiv region continues to be the target of regular strikes and Mayor Ihor Terekhov has accused Russia of sabotaging the city’s ability to recover.
“The intensity of the shelling…has become a little less, but higher-powered bombs and rockets are being used in the city of Kharkiv. The destruction we see today is very, very severe,” Terekhov said during a televised briefing.
JOIN USA TODAY ON TELEGRAM: Find our Russia-Ukraine war channel for updates
►Mykhaylo Podolyak, senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told the BBC that Ukrainian forces were losing between 100 and 200 soldiers a day.
►Supply disruptions due to the war in Ukraine could increase the number of “acutely food insecure people” by 47 million people this year, the United Nations has warned in a new report.
►Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that foreign companies that left Russia will “regret” their decision.
►Vadym Danylkiv, the CEO of a Ukrainian regional electricity company, accused Russian troops of deliberately destroying energy infrastructure in the southern region of Mykolaiv.
►Intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine is causing hundreds of people to flee further west.
Hundreds flee eastern Ukraine as forces battle for control of key towns
About 300 people left eastern Ukraine on Friday on a special evacuation train heading for towns further west.
Most women, children and the elderly were forced to leave as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled for control of key towns and villages.
The majority of the evacuees come from areas where Russian forces are concentrating their offensive to seize the whole of Donbass, a historical and economic region in southeastern Ukraine.
The CEO of a Ukrainian regional electricity company has accused Russian troops of deliberately destroying energy infrastructure in the southern region of Mykolaiv.
“Electricity for the population, industry and agriculture is a basic good, without which a normal life is impossible. Therefore, energy facilities become a target for enemy troops,” Vadym Danylkiv, CEO of regional monopoly Nikolaevoblenergo, said in a statement.
Since early June, Russian shelling has destroyed 14 overhead power lines and 377 transformer stations, and damaged a key 40 MVA transformer, the company said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace in Kyiv, the British Ministry of Defense announced on Friday.
Wallace told Zelenskyy that “British support will continue to meet Ukraine’s needs as the conflict enters a different phase.” according to a press release from the British Ministry of Defence. Wallace also met his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy also appeared via video at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit and called for putting Ukraine on track for European Union membership.
Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was in a “grey area”, which encouraged Russian aggression, and that he wanted to see the EU act so that “its words about the Ukrainian people doing part of the European family are not an empty sound”.
Zelenskyy adviser wants ‘de-imperialization’ after Putin’s comparison with Peter the Great
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says it’s time to talk about ‘immediate de-imperialization’ after Russian President Vladimir Putin compared himself to Peter the Great, the Russian leader of the late 17th and early 18th centuries who founded St. Petersburg.
“What was (Peter the Great) doing? Pick up and reinforce. That’s what he did. And it looks like it’s incumbent on us to pick up and strengthen as well,” Putin said.
Mykhaylo Podolyak, Zelenskyy’s adviser, respondedasserting that one should not speak of “saving face” of Russia, but rather of “its immediate de-imperialization”.
UK says death sentences for British prisoners of war came in ‘mock trial’
The British government said on Friday that Russia must take responsibility for the “mock trial” of two Britons sentenced to death for fighting Russian forces in Ukraine.
Two Britons and a Moroccan were sentenced to death by firing squad on Thursday after the Supreme Court of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic found the men guilty of plotting a violent overthrow of power. These men were also found guilty of mercenary activities and terrorism.
Prosecutors claimed that the three fighters are “mercenaries” who are not entitled to the protections given to prisoners of war. The families of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner said the men had lived in Ukraine since 2018 and were “longtime” members of the Ukrainian military.
UK government minister Robin Walker said it was ‘an illegal tribunal in a fictitious government’ but the UK would use ‘all diplomatic channels to argue that this is prisoners of war who should be treated accordingly”. Foreign Minister Liz Truss called the rulings a “flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention” after speaking with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.
Contribute: The Associated Press