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Kyiv said it was pushing back Russian troops in Sievierodonetsk as intense fighting raged around the industrial city, the focus of a Russian offensive to take the eastern Donbas region.

Ukraine says it pushes back Russian troops in battlefield city

Fighting

  • Russian forces are blowing up bridges across the Siverskyi Donets River to prevent Ukraine's bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in the town of Sievierodonetsk, the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Gaidai, said.

  • The governor said Ukrainian forces had recaptured around one-fifth of the territory they had lost in the city.

  • Russian defence ministry said on its Telegram channel that Ukrainian forces were retreating toward the city of Lysychansk after suffering "critical losses" of up to 90% in some units during fighting for nearby Sievierodonetsk.

  • Russia's defence ministry said its forces shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane carrying weapons and munitions near the Black Sea port of Odesa.

  • Reuters could not independently verify battlefield reports.

Diplomacy

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss the war in an interview due to be broadcast on national television on Sunday. In a brief excerpt, Russia's RIA news agency quoted him as saying that Moscow was easily coping with US weapons systems sent to Ukraine and had destroyed dozens of them.

  • Ukraine rebuked French President Emmanuel Macron for saying it was important not to "humiliate" Russia, a position Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said "can only humiliate France".

  • Finland and Sweden's joining NATO would put Russia in a difficult military position in the Baltic Sea, top US General Mark Milley said during a visit to Stockholm ahead of a military exercise.

Economy

  • Russia's foreign minister on Saturday said Western sanctions would have no effect on the country's oil exports and predicted a big jump in profits from energy shipments this year.

  • A ship sent to load metal and ship it to Russia has entered the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, TASS news agency reported, the second vessel to arrive in the southeastern city since Russia completed its capture last month.

  • Putin denied on Friday that Russia was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting grain, saying the best solution would be to ship it through Belarus if sanctions on that country were lifted.

Quotes

  • Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Saturday said that while it was impossible to predict when the war would end, "my optimistic prognosis is that it is realistic to achieve this as early as this year," the defence ministry said.

  • The terrible consequences of the war could be stopped at any moment, if one person in Moscow gave the order, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in apparent reference to Putin. "And the fact that there is still no such order is obviously a humiliation for the whole world."

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