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Ukraine fights to hold off Russian advances


Nepalnews
2022 Apr 30, 10:36,
People fleeing the village of Ruska Lozova waits at a screening point in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 29, 2022. Photo: AP

Ukrainian forces fought to hold off Russian attempts to advance in the south and east, where the Kremlin is seeking to capture the country’s industrial Donbas region, and a senior U.S. defense official said Moscow’s offensive is going much slower than planned.

While artillery fire, sirens and explosions were heard Friday in some cities, the United Nations sought to broker an evacuation of civilians from the increasingly hellish ruins of Mariupol, where the mayor said the situation inside the steel plant that has become the southern port city’s last stronghold is dire.

Citizens are “begging to get saved,” Mayor Vadym Boichenko said. “There, it’s not a matter of days. It’s a matter of hours.”

Getting a full picture of the unfolding battle in the east has been difficult because airstrikes and artillery barrages have made it extremely dangerous for reporters to move around. Both Ukraine and the Moscow-backed rebels fighting in the east also have introduced tight restrictions on reporting from the combat zone.

But so far, Russia’s troops and the separatist forces appear to have made only minor gains.

In part because of the strength of Ukrainian resistance, the U.S. believes the Russians are “at least several days behind where they wanted to be” as they try to encircle Ukrainian troops in the east, said the senior U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the American military’s assessment.

As Russian troops try to move north out of Mariupol so they can advance on Ukrainian forces from the south, their progress has been “slow and uneven and certainly not decisive,” the official said.

In the bombed-out city of Mariupol, around 100,000 people were believed trapped with little food, water, or medicine. An estimated 2,000 Ukrainian defenders and 1,000 civilians were holed up at the Azovstal steel plant.

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Ukrainian forces Donbas U.S. defense United Nations Russians airstrikes
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