As NATO defence ministers met in Brussels to clarify sending more heavy weapons to restock Kyiv’s diminished stocks, Ukraine rejected a Russian ultimatum to hand over the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk on Wednesday.
From Wednesday morning, Russia told Ukrainian forces locked away in a chemical factory in the destroyed city to halt “meaningless resistance and lay down weapons,” extending its lead in the fight for supremacy of eastern Ukraine.
Russian-backed separatists were quoted saying that Ukrainian shelling disrupted Moscow’s plans to open a humanitarian corridor for civilians trapped in the plant. Separatists intended to transport civilians to territory under their control.
Ukraine claims that more than 500 civilian population, including 40 children, are stuck inside the Azot chemical factory, where its militaries have resisted weeks of Russian bombardment, leaving most of Sievierodonetsk in ruins.
After the early morning deadline had passed, the mayor of Sievierodonetsk, Oleksandr Stryuk, reported that Russian forces were attempting to storm the city from various areas. Still, Ukrainian soldiers continued to defend it and were not entirely cut off.
Without mentioning the ultimatum, he added on television that “we are trying to force the enemy towards the city center. It’s a never-ending battle with partial victories and tactical retreats.”
“There are various escape ways, but they are perilous,” he remarked.
Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, which includes Sievierodonetsk, claimed the army was protecting the city and keeping Russian soldiers out of Lysychansk, Ukraine’s twin city on the other side of the Siverskyi Donets river.
“However, the Russians are close, the populace is suffering, and homes are being demolished,” he wrote just before Russia’s ultimatum of 8 a.m. Moscow time (0500 GMT).
Moscow claims Luhansk as one of two eastern provinces on behalf of separatist proxies. After failing to conquer Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in March, Russia has focused its assault on the Donbas, a Ukrainian industrial region where Russia has focused its assault.
According to British intelligence, the rebels in the chemical facility could live underneath, and Russian forces would likely remain engaged with them, stopping them from striking anywhere.
On the other hand, Ukrainian forces on the eastern front were fatigued and outmanned, according to British Defence Minister Ben Wallace.
The bombardment of Azot is reminiscent of the earlier siege of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol’s southern harbor when hundreds of combatants and civilians sought refuge from Russian artillery. In mid-May, those on the inside surrendered and were taken into Russian custody.
Under Soviet leader Josef Stalin, the giant ammonia factory was established. Those inside were surviving on well water, generators, and food supplies brought in, according to the city’s mayor, Stryuk, but the situation was severe.
Sievierodonetsk, which had roughly 100,000 people before the war, has become the focal point of the Donbas fight.
In some of the deadliest fighting since Russia’s incursion on February 24, Kyiv claims 100-200 of its soldiers are killed daily, with hundreds more wounded.
We must remain steadfast… The opposition will have less strength to pursue its assault if it suffers more casualties.” Late Tuesday, Zelenskiy gave a speech. He advocated for tougher European sanctions against Russia on Wednesday.
WE ARE WAITING IN BRUSSELS.’
NATO-standard weapons have been promised by the West, including advanced U.S. missiles. However, deploying them takes time. Zelensky stated that Ukraine doesn’t have enough anti-missile systems and that there is no reason to delay.
Mykhailo podolyak, his advisor, stated that the defenders in Sievierodonetsk wanted information about when the weapons would arrive. He wrote, “Brussels. We are waiting for a determination.”
“We are extremely focused upon stepping up support,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated before the meeting in Brussels, which U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin led. This is the third meeting of the nearly 50 nations involved in coordination assistance to Ukraine.
IN MAY, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to provide additional assistance to Ukraine of $40 billion. It also promised drones, longer-range rocket systems, and advanced artillery.
‘UNABLE to LEAVE’
Russia does not provide regular numbers of its losses. Still, Western countries claim they are huge as President Vladimir Putin seeks to take complete control over the Donbas and large swathes of southern Ukraine. Putin describes the war as a military operation against Ukrainian nationalists.
Ukraine claims that Russia plans to attack Sloviansk in the Donbas from the north, along a front close to Bakhmut to its south. You could hear shelling 40km (25 miles) south of Bakhmut, near Niu-York. There, Ukrainian forces claimed that Russia was throwing all its weight into the fight.
“For three and half months, we have been standing up against the largest country in the world,” said a 22-year-old Ukrainian soldier nicknamed “Viking.” They have suffered heavy casualties in personnel and vehicles, but they won’t retreat.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the United Nations, said that Donetsk’s homes, schools, and hospitals have been attacked in the last week, causing water shortages and making it “almost unbearable.”
Grain prices have soared due to the conflict, while sanctions against Russia by Western countries have pushed up oil prices. According to Ukraine’s agriculture minister, the invasion would cause a shortage of wheat in the world for at least three years. This was due to the fact that much of the crop from Ukraine is not available on the markets.