Fighting on the outskirts of the last Ukrainian city of Lugansk

Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has reached the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk, the last city of Luhansk under Ukrainian control. Much of the city was reduced to rubble, but the defense of Ukrainian forces slowed the Russian campaign in the Donbass region.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. After the failure of its first attempts to seize the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russia concentrated its firepower in the region of Donbass.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai, quoted by Reuters, reportedly said Russian troops had advanced to the southeastern and northeastern fringes of Sievierodonetsk.

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“They use the same tactic over and over again. They bomb for several hours – for three, four, five hours – in a row, and then attack,” Gaidai said. “Those who attack die. Then the bombardments and the attacks follow one another, and so on until they break through somewhere.”

He said that with the rising temperatures there was a “terrible smell of death” in the outskirts of the city.

But Ukrainian forces chased the Russians from the southern village of Toshkivka, he said, potentially frustrating Moscow’s efforts to encircle the area.

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Meanwhile, European Union (EU) countries have yet to agree on a ban on Russian oil imports.

The EU has rolled out five sanctions packages against Russia since its troops invaded Ukraine on February 24, but a deal on oil sanctions has proven elusive as many countries rely on Russian crude.

(With agency contributions)

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