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Ukraine fights back in key city of Severodonetsk, also known as ‘the new Mariupol’

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Ukraine fights back in key city of Severodonetsk, dubbed ‘the new Mariupol’, in another potential battle for Vladimir Putin

  • Ukrainian army poised to retake key city of Severodonetsk, a blow to Putin
  • More than 70 percent of the city in Donbas was taken by Russian troops
  • But counteroffensive stormed through again with western long-range weapons

Ukrainian troops stood ready last night to retake the main city of Severodonetsk in what would be another blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

More than 70 percent of the city was taken by Russian troops when the Kremlin attempted to control the industrial heart of Donbas in Ukraine’s disputed eastern eastern region.

But in another sign that the war is not going according to Putin’s plans, a Ukrainian counter-offensive stormed back through Severodonetsk. Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Donbas region of Luhansk, ushered in the advance, saying: ‘Once we have enough western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery away from our positions. And then, believe me, the Russian infantry, they run away.’

Ukrainian soldiers stand along a road in the city of Severodonetsk . in April

CLOSE-UP: Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles Destroyed Yesterday on Display in Saint Michael's Square, Kiev

CLOSE-UP: Russian Tanks and Armored Vehicles Destroyed Yesterday on Display in Saint Michael’s Square, Kiev

But following the bitter siege of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, about 800 people — including children — are hiding in Soviet-era air raid shelters beneath the Azot chemical plant in the city.

Severodonetsk – a central part of the strategically important Donbas region – has been bombed for weeks and the fate of the residents who chose to stay is unknown.

Ukraine’s advance came when foreign minister reprimanded Emmanuel Macron for suggesting it was important not to “humiliate” Moscow. In an interview, the French president had said: “We must not humiliate Russia so that on the day the fighting ends we can build an exit by diplomatic means.”

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard in the city of Severodonetsk, six weeks after the Russian invasion

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard in the city of Severodonetsk, six weeks after the Russian invasion

Ukrainian soldiers march in the city of Severodonetsk in April with weapons as they appear ready to take the city back

Ukrainian soldiers march in the city of Severodonetsk in April with weapons as they appear ready to take the city back

But Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: ‘Calling to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and any other country that asks. “Because it is Russia that humbles itself. We’d all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives.’

The number of Russian airstrikes in the Donbas has increased as the Kremlin wants to fend off the Ukrainian advance, the British Defense Ministry said last night.

More than 70 percent of the city was taken by Russian troops when the Kremlin attempted to control the industrial heart of Donbas in Ukraine's disputed eastern eastern region.  Pictured: Solider in April

More than 70 percent of the city was taken by Russian troops when the Kremlin attempted to control the industrial heart of Donbas in Ukraine’s disputed eastern eastern region. Pictured: Solider in April

Residents talk in front of a destroyed building in Borodianka as Russian attacks on Ukraine continue

Residents talk in front of a destroyed building in Borodianka as Russian attacks on Ukraine continue

A 500-year-old monastery in the region went up in flames last night after it was reportedly hit by Russian artillery. Russia blamed Ukrainian “nationalist” troops. Photos show the Sviatohirsk Lavra Monastery, made almost entirely of large logs, in flames. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the shelling and said 300 people, including the elderly, the disabled and 60 children, were hiding inside.

A Ukrainian army officer posted a photo on social media with the caption: “Another crime by Russian barbarians for whom there is nothing sacred.”

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