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Iran Press TV

Zelensky: Ukrainian forces 'holding on' to key frontline cities in Donbas

Iran Press TV

Friday, 10 June 2022 3:44 PM

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the country's forces have kept up resistance in the flashpoint eastern city of Severodonetsk and other cities in the breakaway Donbas region amid fierce fighting with Russian troops over the past few weeks.

Zelensky made the comment in a televised address on Friday, saying the situation in the key frontline cities in the Donbas region is the same "without significant changes."

"Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, and other cities in Donbas, which the occupiers now consider key targets, are holding on," the Ukrainian president said.

"We have a certain positive in the Zaporizhzhia region, where we manage to thwart the plans of the occupiers. We are gradually moving forward in the Kharkiv region, liberating our land. We are keeping defense in the direction of the southern city of Mykolaiv."

Over the past several days, fierce clashes have been taking place in Ukraine's strategic city of Severodonetsk as Russia is pushing to completely bring the eastern Donbas region under its control.

Oleksandr Striuk, the Severodonetsk mayor, said the situation in the city was changing from time to time but there were enough forces to repel the attacks, pledging that no one was going to abandon the city.

Striuk said the Ukrainian forces were holding out in the strategic industrial hub in the east and had not surrendered.

According to Ukraine's Defense Ministry, the Russian military is reinforcing its troops and equipment in Severodonetsk, which is one of the several urban hubs that lie on Russia's path to capturing Luhansk in the Donbas region.

NATO cannot dictate Europe's fate

In a separate development on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it is "clear" that NATO is in no position to decide Europe's fate as tensions between Moscow and the US-led military alliance peak over Russia's months-long military operation in Ukraine.

Lavrov said the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia, now acts as a balancing factor for the "illegitimate" actions of NATO.

The Russian diplomat reiterated that Russia is still "open to dialogue" with the West, however, he accused the latter of making all the decisions on its own, without engaging with Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a military campaign against Ukraine in late February, accusing Kiev of failing to implement the terms of a peace agreement for the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. At the time, Putin said one of the goals of what he called the "special military operation" was to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

Ever since, the US and its Western allies have been sending heavy weaponry to Ukraine and sharing intelligence with the government in Kiev, while imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russian officials and entities.

European Union leaders agreed last week to effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the continent by the end of the year.

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