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Russia announced the destruction of a warehouse of Western weapons in Ukraine According to Reuters

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© Reuters. Smoke rises after a military attack on a complex of the Azot Chemical Plant of Sievierodonetsk, during Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine June 10, 2022. Photo taken June 10, 2022. REUTERS / Oleksandr Ratushniak

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By Natalia Zinets and Max Hunder

KYIV (Reuters) – Russian forces fired cruise missiles to destroy a large stockpile of American and European weapons in the Ternopil region of western Ukraine, Interfax reported on Sunday, amid street fighting took place in the city of Sievierodonetsk, eastern Ukraine.

The governor of the Ternopil region said that a missile attack on the city of Chortkiv fired from the Black Sea partially destroyed a military facility, injuring 22 people. A local official said no weapons were stored there.

Reuters could not confirm the different accounts independently.

Moscow has repeatedly criticized the United States and other countries for supplying arms to Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Russia would strike new targets if the West provided Ukraine with longer-range missiles for use in high-precision mobile missile systems.

Ukraine’s leaders in recent days have continued to demand that Western countries speed up the supply of heavy weapons as Russian forces attack the east of the country with artillery.

Sievierodonetsk has become the focus of the battle for control of the industrialized Donbas region to the east, which includes the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Portions of the city have been crushed in some of the bloodiest skirmishes since Moscow began its invasion on February 24.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai on Sunday said Ukrainian and Russian forces were still fighting street by street in Sievierodonetsk. He said that while Russian forces had taken over most of the city, the Ukrainian army still controlled an industrial park and chemical factory where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

After being forced to downsize its initial campaign objectives, Moscow has moved to expand its control in the Donbas, where pro-Russian separatists have held territory since 2014.

Ukraine says about 800 people are hiding in bomb shelters under the Azot plant, including employees and city residents.

“No one can say how many victims there have been in the last 24 hours in Sievierodonetsk, where intense fighting continues,” Gaidai said on the Telegram messaging app on Sunday.

“No doubt everyone would like to evacuate now, but so far it has not been possible,”

In Lysychansk – Sievierodonetsk’s twin city across the Donets river – a woman was killed in Russian shelling, while four houses and a shopping mall were destroyed, Gaidai said.

To the south and southwest of Sievierodonetsk, Russian forces fired mortars and artillery around several settlements, according to daily updates from the Ukrainian General Staff. But it said Ukrainian forces repelled Russian efforts to advance in some communities.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the battlefield reports.

UKRAINE RESILIENT, NEED SUPPORT

Ukrainian forces have proven more resilient than expected, but the US-based Institute for the Study of War says that when they use the last of Soviet-era weapons and ammunition, they will need support. Western consistency.

The Interfax report on Sunday said that Russian forces used Kalibr cruise missiles to attack the large depot. It also said Russian forces shot down three Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jets near Donetsk and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.

Russian news agencies reported that Russian authorities have started delivering Russian passports in two occupied Ukrainian cities – Kherson and Melitopol. It is not known how many were distributed.

Putin called the invasion a “special military operation” aimed at disarmament and “denuclearization” of Ukraine. Kyiv and his allies call it a war of gratuitous aggression for territory.

Ukraine has sought to deepen its relationship with the West as a result of the war. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday that the EU moderator’s opinion on Ukraine’s request to join the EU would be ready next week.

All 27 EU governments will have to agree to grant Ukraine candidate status, followed by extensive negotiations on the necessary reforms before the country can be considered for membership.

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