May 29, 2024

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Severodonetsk: Zelensky ties fate of east Ukraine to battle for city

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has stated that the battle for Severodonetsk could determine the result of the country’s eastward conflict.

“The fate of the Donbas is being decided there in many ways,” he added as fighting raged in the industrial region between Russian and rebel forces.

According to Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region (which, along with the neighbouring Donetsk region, forms the Donbas), special forces withdrew after Russia “began levelling the area with shelling and air strikes.”

According to the governor, some 15,000 inhabitants remained in Severodonetsk and the adjoining city of Lysychansk.

Russia claimed on Wednesday that Ukraine is losing “substantial people, weaponry, and military equipment” in the Donbas.

After Russian soldiers withdrew from the territory surrounding Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the war’s attention shifted to the east at the end of March. Since the 2014–15 war, large swaths of the Donbass have been under the control of Russian-backed rebels.

In other news, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world’s response to Russia’s invasion was deteriorating, with 1.6 billion people affected.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, cautioned in an interview that if no action is taken, the food crisis might linger for years.

She warned that wheat and fertiliser shortages might be particularly damaging to African countries.

Because of the war, millions of tonnes of grain are lying in warehouses and Ukrainian ports, unable to be exported.

Because of Western sanctions, a major exodus of enterprises, and a drop in exports, global financial experts think Russia’s GDP will shrink by 15% by the end of the year and a further 3% by 2023.

The estimates could get considerably worse if Europe completely abandons Russian energy, according to the Institute of International Finance.

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine, claiming to be trying to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” the country – a claim that has been extensively debunked.

According to the UN, 4,253 civilians have been killed and 5,141 injured since the war began, along with thousands of soldiers on both sides, and over 14 million people have fled their homes.