The Russians concentrate their firepower to seize 2 villages in eastern Ukraine

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KYIV, Ukraine (TSTIME) — The Russian military extended its grip on eastern Ukrainian territory on Thursday, capturing two villages and vying for control of a key highway in an offensive that could sever lines of communication. supply and encircle some Ukrainian, British and Ukrainian frontline forces. the military leaders said.

The British Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from certain areas near the town of Lysychansk, the last major battleground in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, to avoid the possibility of to be surrounded as the Russians sent in reinforcements and concentrated their firepower in the area. .

The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces had taken over the villages of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka and were trying to capture Syrotyne outside Sievierodonetsk.

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For weeks, Russian forces pounded Sievierodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, with artillery and air raids, and fought the Ukrainian army house to house. Ukrainian forces remain entrenched at the Azot chemical plant on the outskirts of town, where around 500 civilians were also sheltering.

The Russians were also pushing their offensive on Lysychansk, which is located on a steep bank facing Sievierodonetsk.

The British Ministry of Defense noted in its intelligence assessment on Thursday that Russian forces have likely advanced more than five kilometers (three miles) towards the southern approaches to Lysychansk since Sunday.

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“Some Ukrainian units withdrew, probably to avoid being surrounded,” the statement said. “Russia’s improved performance in this sector is likely the result of recent unit build-ups and heavy fire concentration.”

The Ukrainian military said the Russians were also moving to overtake the hills overlooking a highway linking Lysychansk to Bakhmut in the southwest in a bid to cut off supply lines for Ukrainian forces.

After a failed attempt to capture the Ukrainian capital at the start of the February 24 invasion, Russian forces have focused on eastern Ukraine’s industrial heartland, Donbas, where Ukrainian forces are fighting separatists backed by Moscow since 2014.

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The Russian military currently controls around 95% of the Lugansk region and around half of the neighboring Donetsk region in the Donbass.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

– A Ukrainian politician and TV personality says an online fundraising pitch to help Ukraine buy three offensive drones has already raised $10.4 million – in just 24 hours.

Serhiy Prytula credited the ‘incredible’ support of Ukrainians after his charitable foundation appealed for $15 million a day earlier for the purchase of Bayraktar drones like those Ukrainian forces have previously used to defend against the Russian invaders.

He tweeted: “$4.6 million takeaway. The People’s Bayraktar project is already a nationwide crowdfunding. Let’s make it international!

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