Sun, 03 Jul 2022

Ukrainian forces are facing "massive" and relentless artillery attacks in the strategic eastern city of Lysychansk, Kyiv warned on Wednesday, as Russian troops gained ground throughout the Donbas region. Follow FRANCE 24's liveblog for all the latest developments. All times Paris time (GMT+2).

6:50am: Russian forces pound strategic Donbas city

Ukrainian forces defending Lysychansk are facing "massive" artillery attacks in the battleground eastern city, Kyiv has warned, as Russian troops continue their advance throughout the Donbas region.

Moscow's troops have been pummelling eastern Ukraine for weeks and are slowly advancing, despite fierce resistance from the outgunned Ukrainian military.

With President Vladimir Putin's forces tightening their grip on nearby Severodonetsk in the Donbas, its twin city of Lysychansk is now coming under heavier bombardment.

"The Russian army is massively shelling Lysychansk," Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, which includes both cities, wrote on Telegram. "They are just destroying everything there ... They destroyed buildings and unfortunately there are casualties."

3:20am: The Chechens fighting on Ukraine's side

Although militia under Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov are operating in Ukraine in support of the Russian invasion, hundreds of other Chechens have joined the fight on the side of Ukraine, risking not only their lives but the prospect of torture and imprisonment if they are captured, according to the fighters. FRANCE 24's Sam Ball has the story.

2:05am: Zelensky says Luhansk region is the 'toughest spot'

Ukrainian and Russian forces remained entrenched in eastern Ukrainian battlegrounds going into Wednesday, a day of commemoration in both countries to mark the anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Fighting in the months-long war has favoured Russia in recent weeks because of its huge edge in artillery firepower, a fact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged in a late Tuesday night address.

"Thanks to tactical manoeuvres the Ukrainian army is strengthening its defences in the Luhansk region," he said. "That is really the toughest spot. The occupiers are also pressing strongly in the direction of Donetsk."

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

Originally published on France24

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