Ukraine stands for air defense while Russia targets Lysychansk – Reuters.com

  • Ukraine needs a modern air defense system, Zelenskiy says
  • G7 leaders hope to emphasize unity
  • Russian forces attacked Lisichansk

Kyiv, June 27 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday called on Western leaders to supply air defense systems to his warring country as Russian forces attacked Lysychansk, the last major city still held by Ukrainian troops in the eastern province of Luhansk.

Addressing the Group of Seven summit in the Bavarian Alps via video link, Zelensky also asked for aid for grain exports from Ukraine and additional sanctions against Russia, a European official said.

As leaders met, Russian forces bombed Lysychansk, the Kremlin’s immediate target on the battlefield after the fall of neighboring Sierodonetsk over the weekend.

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Lugansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said the city was suffering “catastrophic” damage from the shelling and called on civilians to evacuate immediately.

“The situation in the city is very difficult,” Gaidai wrote in the Telegram messaging application.

Before addressing G7 leaders at a meeting at the Schloss Elmau resort, Zelenski stressed the urgency of the need for more weapons.

“Partners must move faster if they are really partners, not observers. Delays in the transfer of weapons to our country, any restrictions – this is actually a call to Russia to strike again and again,” he said in a recent daily message with which he gathers his compatriots.

A senior U.S. official said the G7 countries would commit to a new package of coordinated actions to boost pressure on Russia and finalize plans to limit the price of Russian oil.

The European official said that, like air defense systems, Zelenski sought security guarantees in his address to the G7.

Leaders will make a long-term security commitment to provide Ukraine with financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support, “as long as necessary,” including advanced weapons, the White House said.

The United States is likely to announce this week the purchase of advanced medium-and long-range ground-to-air defense for Ukraine, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Read more

U.S. President Joe Biden previously told allies that “we must stay together” against Russia facing its attack on Ukraine, which is now in its fifth month.

Sanctions have effectively excluded Russia from the global financial system, but the war has created difficulties for countries far beyond Russia’s borders, and reduced food and energy supplies are hitting the global economy. Read more

It also includes Ukrainian grain exports, which are now trapped in ports, which normally feed millions of people across the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin showed no signs of changing course as his troops battled to conquer another Ukrainian city.

HORROR

The headquarters of the Ukrainian armed forces said Monday that Russian forces are using artillery to try to cut off Lysychansk from the south. Russian warplanes also struck near the city, the General Staff said in its daily update.

The Tass news agency on Sunday quoted a Moscow-backed separatist official as saying Russian forces had entered Lysychansk from five directions and were isolating Ukrainian defenders.

Reuters could not confirm the report, and the update of the General Staff did not mention the entry of separatists into the city.

“Lysychansk, it was a horror, last week,” said Elena, an elderly woman from the city who was among dozens of evacuees who arrived in the Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk by bus from the battlefield area.

“I already told my husband that if I died, please bury me behind the house,” she said.

In a failure for Ukraine, Russian forces took full control of Sievierodonetsk, the twin city of Lysychanska on the east bank of the Siversky Donets River, over the weekend as Ukrainian troops withdrew after weeks of bombing and street fighting.

Luhansk and the neighboring province of Donetsk form the eastern region of Donbass – the industrial heart of the country.

Donbass became the Kremlin’s main target after Russian troops failed to capture the capital Kyiv in the early stages of the war.

Russian forces also control part of the territory in the south, including the port city of Mariupol, which fell after weeks of siege war that left it in ruins.

Russian missiles also hit Kyiv for the first time in weeks on Sunday.

Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” to free the country from far-right nationalists and ensure Russian security.

Kyiv and the West dismiss it as an unfounded excuse for an aggressive war that has killed thousands, sent millions to flee Ukraine, destroyed cities and raised food and energy prices.

DO NOT DIVIDE

Western countries gathered around Kiev when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but that unity is now being put to the test as rising inflation and energy shortages return to their own citizens.

At the summit, Biden stressed the need for unity amid concerns that there are differing opinions in European capitals on how to deal with the situation.

“Putin counted from the beginning that NATO and the G7 would somehow split. But we did not and we will not,” the American president said.

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Reuters office reporting; Written by Angus MacSwan; Editing Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: Principles of trust of Thomson Reuters.

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