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Home » TOP Stories » President Zelensky defiant as Russia intensifies attacks on eastern cities, seizes territory.
President Zelensky defiant as Russia intensifies attacks on eastern cities, seizes territory.

President Zelensky defiant as Russia intensifies attacks on eastern cities, seizes territory.

Ukraine on Monday acknowledged difficulties in fighting in the east of the country as Russian forces captured territory along a frontline river and intensified pressure on two key cities ahead of an EU summit expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.

Volodymyr Zelensky had warned on Sunday that Russia was likely to intensify its “hostile activity” this week, as Kyiv awaits a historic decision from the European Union on its membership application.

Despite the heavy influx of weapons from the West, Ukrainian forces are outgunned by the Russians in the battle for the eastern Donbas region, where the fighting is largely being carried out by way of artillery exchanges. While the Russians can keep up heavy, continuous fire for hours at a time, the defenders can’t match the enemy in either weapons or ammunition and must use their ammo more judiciously.

At the outpost in eastern Ukraine, dozens and dozens of mortar shells are stacked up. But the troops’ commander, Mykhailo Strebizh, who goes by the nom de guerre Gaiduk, lamented that if his fighters were to come under an intense artillery barrage, their cache would, at best, amount to only about four hours’ worth of return fire. In his customary night time address to the nation on Monday, Mr. Zelensky was defiant, while also referring to “difficult” fighting in Luhansk for Sievierodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk.

“We are defending Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” Mr. Zelensky said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”

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