Russia-backed separatists claimed to have captured a railway city in eastern Ukraine. Moscow’s forces tried to gain ground Friday by pounding another Ukrainian-held region where 1,500 people have been killed since the beginning of the war.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was making slow, but tangible, progress in the Donbas, despite the cost of the Russian military. Meanwhile, pro-Russian separatists claim they have taken Lyman, a strategic town.

Friday Updates

Ukraine fears the worst as Russia’s offensive in eastern Donbas makes significant progress during intense fighting.

Boris Johnson said that Russia is making “palpable” progress in eastern Ukraine, even though it comes at a cost to its military. British PM Boris Johnson stated that it was vital to continue supporting the Ukrainian military.

Friday’s announcement by the Moscow branch of Ukraine Orthodox Church that it would be breaking with Russia was historic. It declared its “full independenceā€ from Russian spiritual authorities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Ukraine should remove seamines from areas around its ports in order to ensure safe shipping. The statement was made in a Friday phone call with Karl Nehammer, the Austrian Chancellor.

Putin used the same call to reject accusations that Russia’s blocking of Ukrainian ports was preventing agricultural exports and driving up global food prices.

According to UNHCR, almost 3 million Ukrainian refugees fled the Ukraine-bordering countries to seek refuge in other European countries.

As the Donbas offensive intensifies, Ukraine fears a repeat of Mariupol’s horrors

Moscow-backed separatists attacked eastern Ukraine’s industrial Donbas on Friday. They claimed the capture of a railway station hub. This was in response to growing concerns that other cities in the region might be subject to the same horrors as Mariupol’s people in the weeks preceding the port’s capture.

Officials from Ukraine renewed their calls for sophisticated Western-supplied weaponry. They stated that without it, Ukrainian forces would not be able stop Russia’s offensive.

Friday’s fighting was focused on two cities, Sievierodonetsk (nearly Lysychansk). These are the last areas that Ukraine has taken control of in Luhansk. This is one of the two Donbas provinces where Russia-backed separatists hold some territory for the past eight years. According to authorities, 1,500 people have died in Sievierodonetsk since the war began three months ago.

According to Oleksandr Striuk, Sievierodonetsk Mayor, “Massive artillery bombardment does not stop day and night.” “The city is being destroyed in a systematic manner – 90% of its buildings are damaged.”

Striuk described the conditions in Sievierodonetsk as resembling the battle for Mariupol in Donetsk, another province of the Donbas. The port city is now in ruins and was under constant attack by Russian forces for nearly three months. Russia finally won its capture last week. It is believed that more than 20,000 civilians have been killed.

Around 100,000 people lived in Sievierodonetsk before the war. Striuk estimated that between 12,000 and 13,000 people remain in the city. They are huddled in shelters, cut off from the rest Ukraine. The war is now in its 93rd year and has claimed the lives of at least 1,500 people. This includes those killed in shelling, fires from Russian missile strikes, and those who died due to shrapnel wounds or untreated diseases.

Striuk stated that an assault took place in the city’s northeastern district, where Russian reconnaissance and sabotage teams tried to capture Mir Hotel and the surrounding area.

Mariupol is a key location for Russia’s strategy for the Donbas. Moscow is consolidating control by means of state-controlled broadcast programming, and overhauled school curricula according to an analysis of the Institute for the Study of War (a Washington think tank).