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Ukraine announced Friday that it had recaptured a portion of the city of Sievierodonetsk and that it could retain control for up to two weeks as Russia’s war passes its 100th day.
Luhansk Oblast Gov. Sergiy Gaidai told national television Friday that the Ukrainian military had retaken 20% of the territory in Sievierodonetsk that it had previously lost to Russia.
The governor said it was “not realistic” that the city would fall in the next two weeks despite the deployment of Russian reinforcements.
“As soon as we have enough Western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery away from our positions. And then, believe me, the Russian infantry, they will just run,” Gaidai said.
Ukraine’s military claimed Saturday that Russia had reinforced its troops and had utilized artillery to carry out “assault operations” in Sievierodonetsk.
Russian troops had retreated after failing to advance in the nearby town of Bakhmut and cut off access to Sievierodonetsk, the Ukrainian military said, according to Reuters.
Friday marked 100 days since Russia’s war on Ukraine began in late February, causing tens of thousands of deaths, millions to be displaced from their homes and a disruption in the global economy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday rejected assertions that Moscow was stopping Ukrainian ports from exporting grain, instead attributing the rise in global food prices to the West.
“We are now seeing attempts to shift the responsibility for what is happening on the world food market, the emerging problems in this market, onto Russia,” he said on national television.
He suggested that Western nations lift sanctions on Russian ally Belarus and for Ukraine to export grain through that country.
And despite Ukrainian military resistance forcing Moscow to change its immediate objective to capturing the entire Donbas region, Russia maintains its goal of taking over the entire country.
“Putin’s main goal is the destruction of Ukraine. He is not backing down from his goals, despite the fact that Ukraine won the first stage of this full-scale war,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said Friday on national television.
A Russian government spokesman said “certain results have been achieved” in the war and Moscow will continue its invasion of Ukraine until all goals are achieved.