Live: Ukraine's Lysychansk under 'massive' Russian bombardment

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Ukrainian forces are facing “massive” and relentless artillery attacks in the strategic eastern city of Lysychansk, Kyiv warned on Wednesday, as Russian troops gained ground throughout the Donbas region. Follow FRANCE 24’s liveblog for all the latest developments. All times Paris time (GMT+2).

8:55am: Ukrainian journalist and soldier were ‘coldly executed’, Reporters Without Borders says

A Ukrainian photojournalist and a soldier who was accompanying him when they were killed in the first weeks of Russia’s invasion were “coldly executed” as they were searching Russian-occupied woodlands for the photographer’s missing image-taking drone, Reporters Without Borders has said, citing its findings from an investigation into their deaths.

The press freedom group said it went back to the spot where the bodies of Maks Levin and serviceman Oleksiy Chernyshov were found on April 1 in woods north of the capital, Kyiv. The group said it counted 14 bullet holes in the burned hulk of their car still at the scene.

The group said disused Russian positions, one of them still booby-trapped, were found close by. Also found were the remains of food rations, cigarette packets and other litter seemingly left by Russian soldiers. Some of Levin and Chernyshov’s belongings, including the soldier’s ID papers and parts of his bulletproof vest and the photographer’s helmet, were also recovered, Reporters Without Borders said.

A Ukrainian team with metal detectors also uncovered a bullet buried in the soil where Levin’s body had lain, it said. The group said that finding suggests “he was probably killed with one, perhaps two bullets fired at close range when he was already on the ground”.

6:50am: Russian forces pound strategic Donbas city

Ukrainian forces defending Lysychansk are facing “massive” artillery attacks in the battleground eastern city, Kyiv has warned, as Russian troops continue their advance throughout the Donbas region.

Moscow’s troops have been pummelling eastern Ukraine for weeks and are slowly advancing, despite fierce resistance from the outgunned Ukrainian military. 

With President Vladimir Putin’s forces tightening their grip on nearby Severodonetsk in the Donbas, its twin city of Lysychansk is now coming under heavier bombardment.

“The Russian army is massively shelling Lysychansk,” Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, which includes both cities, wrote on Telegram. “They are just destroying everything there … They destroyed buildings and unfortunately there are casualties.”

3:20am: The Chechens fighting on Ukraine’s side

Although militia under Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov are operating in Ukraine in support of the Russian invasion, hundreds of other Chechens have joined the fight on the side of Ukraine, risking not only their lives but the prospect of torture and imprisonment if they are captured, according to the fighters. FRANCE 24’s Sam Ball has the story.

Mansur, a Chechen commandant fighting in Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
Mansur, a Chechen commandant fighting in Ukraine against the Russian invasion. © AFP

2:05am: Zelensky says Luhansk region is the ‘toughest spot’

Ukrainian and Russian forces remained entrenched in eastern Ukrainian battlegrounds going into Wednesday, a day of commemoration in both countries to mark the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Fighting in the months-long war has favoured Russia in recent weeks because of its huge edge in artillery firepower, a fact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged in a late Tuesday night address.

“Thanks to tactical manoeuvres the Ukrainian army is strengthening its defences in the Luhansk region,” he said. “That is really the toughest spot. The occupiers are also pressing strongly in the direction of Donetsk.”

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)


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