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Russian troops ‘encircled’ close to key Ukraine city in annexed area

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Ukrainian forces have been on the doorstep of Lyman city in Donetsk, which Moscow’s forces pummelled for weeks to seize this spring.

Ukrainian forces have been on the doorstep of Lyman city in Donetsk, which Moscow’s forces pummelled for weeks to seize this spring.

Ukraine mentioned Saturday it encircled a number of thousand Russian troops close to a key city in one of many 4 Moscow-held territories that President Vladimir Putin annexed a day earlier regardless of condemnation from Kyiv and the West.

Putin staged a grand ceremony within the Kremlin on Friday to have a good time the annexations of 4 territories managed by his military.

“I want to say this to the Kyiv regime and its masters in the West: People living in Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens forever,” Putin mentioned.

US President Joe Biden condemned Friday’s ceremony in Moscow as a “sham routine” and pledged to proceed backing Kyiv.

On Saturday, Ukrainian forces have been on the doorstep of Lyman city in Donetsk, which Moscow’s forces pummelled for weeks to seize this spring.

Ukraine’s military mentioned Saturday that it had “encircled” a Russian grouping close to the jap city, estimating it to be round 5,000 troops.

The governor of the neighbouring Lugansk area, Sergiy Gaiday, mentioned the surrounded troopers have three choices: “try to break through, all die together or surrender.”

The Kremlin-backed chief of Donetsk mentioned Friday that Russian troops and their allies have been holding on to Lyman with “their last strength”.

The 4 annexed territories create a vital land hall between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.

Together, the 5 areas make up round 20% of Ukraine, the place Kyiv in latest weeks has been clawing again territory.

‘Illegal annexation’

Washington introduced “severe” new sanctions towards Russian officers and the defence trade, and mentioned G7 allies help imposing “costs” on any nation that backs the annexation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky instantly urged the U.S.-led navy alliance NATO to grant his nation fast-track membership.

He additionally vowed by no means to carry talks with Russia so long as Putin was in energy.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg slammed the annexation as “illegal and illegitimate” however remained non-committal after Ukraine mentioned it was making use of to affix the Western alliance.

The United States and Canada voiced help for Ukraine’s membership however steered away from guarantees to fast-track it.

Turkey mentioned Saturday Russia’s annexation was a “grave violation of the established principles of international law”.

Despite warnings from Putin previous to the annexation that he may use nuclear weapons to defend the captured territories, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba mentioned Kyiv would “continue liberating our land and our people”.

Kuleba additionally mentioned Ukraine introduced the annexations to the International Court of Justice and urged the Hague-based court docket to listen to the case “as soon as possible”.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan mentioned Friday that Washington would announce an “immediate” new weapons cargo for Kyiv subsequent week.

Sullivan additionally mentioned that whereas there’s a “risk” of Putin utilizing nuclear weapons, there isn’t any indication he would accomplish that imminently.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s nuclear company mentioned a “Russian patrol” detained the director normal of the Moscow-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant.

Ihor Murashov was leaving the plant Friday when he was detained and “driven in an unknown direction” whereas blindfolded, Energoatom mentioned.

Zaporizhzhia — Europe’s largest nuclear power facility — has been on the centre of tensions in latest weeks after Moscow and Kyiv accused one another of strikes on and close to the plant, elevating fears of an atomic catastrophe.

Russia on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council decision condemning the annexation of the areas, whereas China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstained.

Although Russia’s veto was a certainty, Western powers had hoped to display Moscow’s rising isolation on the world stage and can now take the condemnation effort to the General Assembly, the place each nation has a vote and none can kill a decision.

At a UNESCO assembly Friday in Mexico City, representatives of dozens of nations walked out as Russia took the ground, symbolically condemning the invasion of Ukraine.

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