Civilians urged to evacuate town in eastern Ukraine after deadly Russian artillery strikes

The head of the Donetsk regional military administration has urged civilians to evacuate the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk after an artillery strike hit the central market.

Pavlo Kyrylenko said at least two people were killed and seven injured as a result of the July 5 bombardment. He posted a video on social media showing smoke rising from a shopping area and photos of firefighters extinguishing the flames.

“The Russians are again deliberately hitting places where civilians are gathered. This is pure terrorism. The terrorist state must be brought to justice,” Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram.

The attacks on Sloviansk come after Ukrainian forces on July 5 took new defensive lines in Donetsk, where they still control major cities, after withdrawing from Lysychansk.

The withdrawal prompted Russia to claim full control of the eastern Luhansk region, although Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has vowed to regain lost ground.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on July 4 that Russian forces must continue to advance in the Donetsk region “as happened in Luhansk”.

an intelligence report of the British Ministry of Defence, on July 5, said that the battle for Donbass “has been characterized by slow rates of advance” and the heavy use of artillery by Russia, razing towns and cities in the process.

“Fighting in Donetsk Oblast will almost certainly continue in this way,” the intelligence report said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke by phone with Zelenskiy on July 5, telling him he believed Ukraine could retake territory recently captured by Russia.

Johnson reiterated Britain’s commitment to helping Kyiv defend and rebuild, and Zelenskiy thanked him for additional support of 100 million pounds ($119 million).

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the Prime Minister had also briefed Zelenskiy on the latest British military equipment, including 10 self-propelled artillery systems, which would arrive in the coming days and weeks.

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British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on July 5 that the first group of Ukrainian soldiers had recently arrived in Britain as part of a program to train up to 10,000 new Ukrainian recruits.

Wallace said the week-long courses, based on basic training for British soldiers, include weapons training, battlefield first aid, patrol tactics and training in the law of armed conflict.

Zelenskiy said earlier that Kyiv’s armed forces were undeterred in their efforts to ‘break’ Moscow’s will to continue the war against his country hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his army to pursue his offense.

Zelenskiy said in his July 4 night video message that despite Ukraine’s withdrawal from Lysychansk, which allowed Russia to claim full control of the eastern Luhansk region, his troops continued to fight.

“We have to break them,” he said. “It is a difficult task. It requires superhuman time and effort. But we have no alternative.”

The Ukrainian army said it withdrew from the bombed town of Lysychansk late on July 3 to save the lives of its soldiers, while Zelenskiy vowed to retake the town “thanks to the increased supply in modern weapons.

“This is Russia’s last victory on Ukrainian territory,” Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Zelenskiy, said in a video posted online.

Arestovych said that besides the Battle of Donetsk, Ukraine hopes to launch counter-offensives in the south of the country.

“Taking the cities to the east means that 60% of Russian forces are now concentrated in the east and it is difficult for them to be redirected to the south,” he said.

“And there are no more forces that can be brought in from Russia. They paid a big price for Syevyerodonetsk and Lysychansk,” he said.

Early on July 5, Russian rockets hit the southern town of Mykolaiv, on the main road between Kherson and Odessa, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said.

With reports from Reuters and dpa

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