Russia said his strength captured a village near the Ukrainian industrial city of Severodonetsk, a major target in Moscow’s campaign for control of the country to the east.
The defense ministry said Sunday it had won Metolkin, a village of less than 800 before the war. Russia’s state news agency TASS reported that many Ukrainian fighters had surrendered there.
The Ukrainian military said Russia had “partial success” in the area, about 6km (4 miles) southeast of Severodonetsk.
After failing to capture the capital Kyiv at the start of the war, Russian forces focused on trying to take full control of the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, which together make up the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Some parts of Donbass were already held by Russian-backed separatists before the February 24 invasion.
Moscow said on Sunday that its offensive to win over Severdonetsk was successful.
Luhansk Governor Sergei Haidai told Ukrainian television that the fighting made evacuation from the city impossible, but that “all Russian claims that they control the city are lies. “They control most of the city, but not the whole city.”
Among communities around Severodonetsk, Haidai told Ukrainian television that Russia’s attack on Toshkivka, 35km (22 miles) south, “has some success”.
Last update of the Defense Intelligence on the situation in Ukraine – June 19, 2022
Learn more about the UK response: https://t.co/79ub72nmeH
– Ministry of Defense @ (@DefenceHQ) June 19, 2022
The UK Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that both Russia and Ukraine continued the heavy bombing around Severodonetsk “with a slight change of the front line”.
According to the United Kingdom’s military assessment, the morale of Ukrainian and Russian troops in Donbass is likely to be “variable”.
“Many Russian officials of all ranks are also likely to remain confused about the goals of the war. “The morale problems in Russian forces are probably so significant that they limit Russia’s ability to achieve operational goals,” the ministry tweeted.
Russia continues bombing
In the twin city of Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, residential buildings and private houses have been destroyed by Russian shelling, Haidai said. “People are dying in the streets and in bomb shelters,” he added.
He later said 19 people had been evacuated on Sunday. “We are managing to bring in humanitarian aid and evacuate people as much as we can,” Haidai said.
In Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, northwest of Luhansk, Russia’s defense ministry said its Iskander missiles had destroyed weapons recently delivered from Western countries.
Russian forces were trying to get closer to Kharkiv, which had come under heavy fire earlier in the war, and turned it into a “front-line city,” a Ukrainian Interior Ministry official said.
In southern Ukraine, Western weapons have helped Ukrainian forces advance 10km (6 miles) to Russian-occupied Melitopol, the mayor said in a video posted on the Telegram outside the city.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged Western countries on Sunday to be ready to offer long-term militarypolitical and economic support for Kyiv during a severe war that could last for years.
“We must not weaken our support for Ukraine, even if the costs are high – not only in terms of military support, but also because of rising energy and food prices,” Stoltenberg told the German daily Bild.
Germany is gradually stopping gas from Russia
Meanwhile, Germany’s economy minister said the country would turn to coal limiting the use of gas for electricity production amid fears of a possible shortage caused by reduced gas supplies from Russia.
Germany is trying to fill its gas storage facilities to capacity before the cold winter months.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Germany would try to compensate for this move by increasing coal burning, a more polluting fossil fuel. “It’s bitter, but in this situation it’s just necessary to reduce gas consumption,” he said.
“It’s obvious that [Russian President] “Putin’s strategy is to upset us by raising the price and dividing us,” Habek said. “We will not allow this to happen.”
Russian gas giant Gazprom said exports to non-Soviet countries fell 28.9 percent between January 1st and June 15th compared to the same period last year.
Separately on Sunday, Italy’s state energy exchange revealed that Gazprom had said it would only partially comply with Italy’s Eni’s request for gas supplies on Monday, signaling a sixth consecutive daily deficit.
The head of Italian energy giant ENI said on Saturday that with additional gas purchased from other sources, Italy would have to survive next winter, but he warned Italians that “restrictions” on gas use could be needed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the cut in deliveries was not intentional and was linked to maintenance problems. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi dismissed the explanation as a “lie”.