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Russia says forces seize part of key Ukraine town of Chasiv Yar as deadly airstrikes continue
Posted by Temmy
Thu, July 04, 2024 3:02pm


Russia says forces seize part of key Ukraine town of Chasiv Yar as deadly airstrikes continue
Medics help a wounded Ukrainian serviceman at a triage station of the 5th Separate Assault Kyiv Brigade, amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, near the town of Chasiv Yar, in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, July 1, 2024. ALINA SMUTKO/REUTERS

Russia said Wednesday its forces had captured a district in the key hilltop town of Chasiv Yar near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has been pressing for months. The claim from Moscow came just after Kyiv said Russian strikes on the industrial city of Dnipro had killed five people and wounded nearly three dozen more, including a 14-year-old girl.

The Russian defense ministry said its troops had "liberated" the Novy district of Chasiv Yar, but it was unclear if it was claiming its forces had crossed a canal which runs through the eastern part of the town.

The capture of Chasiv Yar — a prized military hub once home to some 12,000 people — would pave the way for Russian advances towards the last Ukrainian-controlled civilian centers in the Donetsk region.

Russia's capture of the district was also reported by the DeepState military blog, which has links to the Ukrainian army. It said the area had been flattened by Russian bombardments, and that withdrawing was "a logical, albeit difficult decision."

There was no immediate reaction from officials in Kyiv.

CBS News senior foreign correspondent Charlie D'Agata was in Chasiv Yar in February, for the second time in the space of a few months, and even then he found it ravaged by artillery fire and defended by exhausted Ukrainian troops, who were pleading for help. On one bombed-out building, someone had spray painted a message: "We are not asking too much, we just need artillery shells and aviation — the rest we'll do ourselves."

It was written in English. Ukraine's forces knew exactly who to aim both their dwindling bullets, and their words at.

"We are counting on our American partners to help us with weapons, so that our guys do not have to sacrifice their lives," Reuben Sarukhanian, a soldier with Ukraine's 5th Assault Brigade, told D'Agata at the time.

Since then, the U.S. government has committed more hardware to Ukraine's war effort, including another aid package announced Wednesday by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken said the $150 million package authorized by President Biden — the seventh since the president signed a massive, long-delayed international aid bill at the end of April — included missiles for air defense systems, artillery rounds, mortars, anti-tank missiles, and a wide range of other weapons and equipment.

Blinken said the supplies would "help strengthen Ukraine's air defenses against Russian attacks and reinforce Ukraine's capabilities across the front lines," and while he provided no specific timeline, he said the U.S. would "move this new assistance as quickly as possible to bolster Ukraine's defense of its territory and its people."

The announcement from Blinken came hours after the Russian attack on Dnipro prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to call yet again on his Western partners to bolster his country's air defenses and provide more long-range weapons to thwart Russian strikes.

"As of now, five people have been killed. My condolences to the families and friends. Thirty-four people were wounded, including a child," Zelenskyy said in a post on social media.

Russian forces have targeted Dnipro and the surrounding region persistently since they launched their full-scale invasion two and a half years ago.

The regional governor Sergiy Lysak described the attack as "vicious" and said a 14-year-old girl was among those wounded in the attack. Amateur video of the attack published by Ukrainian media showed a huge plume of black smoke rising over the city and drivers speeding from the scene.

Ukraine's air force said its air defense systems had downed six drones and five of seven missiles that had targeting the region, mostly aimed at Dnipro.

"The world can protect lives, and it requires the determination of leaders, determination that can and must make it the norm to protect against terror again," Zelenksyy said in his online post.

Dnipro had a pre-war population of around one million people and lies about 62 miles from the nearest point along the southern front line.

More than 40 people were killed in a Russian strike on Dnipro in January 2023, in one of the worst single aerial bombardments by Russian forces.

Separately, officials in Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Kharkiv said two civilians had been killed in overnight Russian attacks.

A girl affected by a recent Russian missile attack holds a dog as she speaks with journalists in Dnipro, east-central Ukraine, July 1, 2024
A girl affected by a recent Russian missile attack holds a dog as she speaks with journalists in Dnipro, east-central Ukraine, July 1, 2024. MYKOLA MIAKSHYKOV/UKRINFORM/FUTURE PUBLISHING VIA GETTY





 

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