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Russians take control of key city center

Russian forces have stepped up a sustained artillery assault on the beleaguered city of Sievierodonetsk and pushed Ukrainian troops out of central neighborhoods, the Ukrainian military said on Monday.

The town is one of only two towns in the Lugansk region of the Donbass that Russia does not fully control. Regional Governor Serhiy Haidai said the Russians aimed to encircle Sievierodonetsk, destroying the bridges that connect the city center. He said mass evacuations are impossible due to the shelling and the army only manages to evacuate a few people a day.

“The Russians are doing everything possible to cut off Sievierodonetsk,” Haidai said. “The next two or three days will be significant.”

Leonid Pasechnik, leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, said Ukrainians taking a stand in Sievierodonetsk should save themselves trouble.

“If I were them, I would already make the decision” to surrender, he said. “We will achieve our goal in any case.”

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Latest developments

►China has overtaken Germany as the top buyer of Russian energy exports. The Center for Energy and Clean Air Research said on Monday that Russia had received around 93 billion euros in revenue from the sale of oil, natural gas and coal since the February 24 invasion – 12 .1 billion euros from Germany, 12.6 billion euros from China.

►Andriy Pokrasa, 15, and his father, Stanislav, are hailed in Ukraine for their volunteer aerial reconnaissance work after using their small drone at the start of the Russian invasion, pinpointing coordinates and quickly sending valuable information to the Ukrainian army.

Russia may need reinforcements to take Donbass: British army

The Russians have relied on their troop and artillery superiority to make significant progress in the industrial Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, but will likely need to rebuild their forces, according to an assessment by British intelligence.

“Russia will likely have to rely on new recruits or mobilized reservists to deploy these units to Ukraine,” said Sunday’s assessment, tweeted before the ministry released a map of Ukraine highlighting the territory. controlled by Russia to the east and south. much of it, including most of Donbass, where the sides continue to fight a fierce battle for the crucial city of Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk province.

British and Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia is using inaccurate weapons that can cause mass casualties as they try to gain ground in an area that could provide them with a land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which they have illegally annexed in 2014.

An adviser to the Ukrainian president says his country needs 1,000 155mm howitzers, 300 multiple rocket launchers, 500 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles and 1,000 drones to win its war against Russia. Mykhailo Podolyak declared that his country “awaits a decision” from the NATO defense ministers who met on Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels. Ukrainian cities have been pounded by Russian rockets and mortars for months, killing thousands of civilians and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.

“I will be frank. To end the war and expel Russia from Ukraine, we need parity in heavy weapons,” Podolyak said on Twitter.

The Ukrainian Security Service has arrested a spy who it says leaked to the Russians the position of the Ukrainian army in the Kharkiv region. The spy, detained in the suburbs of Kharkiv, is a local resident who was recruited via the Internet.

The government says the man, on instructions from his Russian handler, recorded the location of Ukrainian military units and other military formations in the area. Among other intelligence, the Russians were interested in the coordinates of Ukrainian checkpoints and military fortifications, according to the government. If found guilty, the man faces 12 years in prison.

McDonald’s restaurants reopened in Moscow on Sunday, without the American name and ownership, but with the same menu that drew large crowds at 850 outlets across Russia.

“I am delighted to present our new name, Vkusno & tochka,” general manager of the fast-food chain Oleg Paroev told reporters hours before the reopening of the first store in Moscow’s Pushhin Square. The name translates to “Tasty and That’s It” or “Tasty, Period”.

McDonald’s suspended operations at its 850 restaurants in Russia on March 14, less than three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine. Two months later, McDonald’s announced it was pulling out of Russia, 32 years after opening its first location in Pushkin Square. McDonald’s sold the company to Russian businessman Alexander Govor.

The chain kept the previous workers and menu but changed the names. Fifteen restaurants have reopened in Moscow and around 200 will be open by the end of the month, Govor said.

“It’s a historic place – the flagship of McDonald’s,” Govor told reporters. “I’m sure it will be the flagship product for us.”

contributing; The Associated Press

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Post expires at 12:58pm on Thursday June 23rd, 2022