Members of a foreign volunteers unit which fights in the Ukrainian army take up positions in Sievierodonetsk. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Ukraine said it had recaptured a chunk of the factory city of Sievierodonetsk, the focus of a Russian offensive to take the eastern Donbas region, and could hold it for up to two weeks as fighting raged on Saturday.
Sergiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, told national television on Friday that Ukrainian troops had retaken 20% of the territory they had lost in Sievierodonetsk.
It was "not realistic" that the city would fall in the next two weeks even though Russian reinforcements were being deployed, he said.
"As soon as we have enough Western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery away from our positions. And then, believe me, the Russian infantry, they will just run," said Gaidai.
A man sits at the debris of a destroyed house after a missile strike in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. AFP
Earlier, Russian forces tried to ford a river from the ruined eastern factory city of Sievierodonetsk but Ukrainian troops were still holding out there as Russia’s assault on its neighbour reached its 100th day on Friday.
Ukraine’s defence minister said his soldiers were already training in Europe to operate new, advanced missile systems pledged this week by the United States and Britain, which Kyiv hopes will help swing the battle in its favour.
Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 20% of the territory they lost in the city of Sievierodonetsk during fighting with Russia, the head of the eastern region of Luhansk said on Friday.
A man walks past a fire after a shelling, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv. File / Reuters
"Whereas before the situation was difficult, the percentage (held by Russia) was somewhere around 70%, now we have already pushed them back by approximately 20%," Serhiy Gaidai told national television.
A war that Western countries believe Russia planned to win within hours has ground on for more than three months, with Moscow having been driven back from the capital launching a huge new assault in the east at a cost of thousands of lives and disruption to the global economy.
Volodymr Zelensky and newly appointed US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink (L) take part in a credential ceremony in Kyiv. AFP
Rejecting Western criticism that the war is to blame for rising global food prices hurting poor countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Moscow was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting cereals.
Reuters reached Sievierodonetsk on Thursday and was able to verify that Ukrainians still held part of the city. Troops drove towards a plume of black smoke at high speed over roads littered with wrecked armoured vehicles. One soldier sat in the back seat, his face streaked with blood from injuries. At another location in the city, Ukrainian troops, including foreign volunteers, unloaded weapons from a truck.
“We’re gonna push the Russians back. It will take a day, a month, or a year it does not fucking matter. We are on the right side of history,” said Zurab Kakalidze, a Georgian who described himself as “just a 22-year-old kid.”
On average, every day over the last 20 days in Ukraine, more than 70,000 children have become refugees," James Elder, spokesman for the UN children's agency UNICEF, told reporters in Geneva.
President Zelensky said conditions in Mariupol, which has seen the worst fighting of the nearly eight-week long war, continued to worsen, though Reuters witnesses said a few dozen civilians managed to leave the city on Wednesday in a small bus convoy.
Jill Biden called the show of solidarity "amazing" but also "just the beginning.” She said it was inspiring for Romanians "to welcome all these refugees into their homes and offer them food and clothing and shelter and give them their hearts.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a message of condolences to Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, on the death of Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The two-day event will bring together over 3,000 distinguished attendees including influential media personalities, ministers and heads of leading local, Arab and international media organisations, as well as thought leaders, intellectuals and writers.
Murshid, (35), is an accomplished rider, race promoter, a social media influencer promoting responsible biking and an entrepreneur who shuttles between Dubai and Thrissur.