Ukraine: Continued Evacuation of Sloviansk in the Face of Russian Advances
The city of Sloviansk no longer has a central water supply network and a third of the city is regularly left without electricity, according to its mayor.
Civilians continued Wednesday to evacuate the bombed city of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine, the next objective of Russian forces in their plan to completely conquer the Donbass basin, their priority after four months and a half conflict.
Evacuation is underway. We take people out of the city every day, its mayor Vadim Liakh said in a video posted on YouTube.
There are currently 23,000 residents left in Sloviansk, which had been around 110,000 before the conflict, authorities said, he added. And 17 have died and 67 have been injured since the beginning of hostilities.
In this city that has been bombed for several weeks, essential infrastructure is still functioning, but there is no longer any no central water supply network for a month and a third of the city is regularly without electricity, the mayor pointed out.
My main advice: evacuate! Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told the people of Sloviansk on Tuesday evening, pointing out that during the week there was no a day without bombings.
The strikes there notably destroyed almost a third of a market. Residents went to see the extent of the damage amid the charred debris. A little further on, a few merchants continued to sell their fruits and vegetables.
Faced with the Russian advance, Sloviansk is emptying of its population.
On Tuesday, Pavlo Kyrylenko said that the latest Russian bombardments , including the one that hit the market, left two dead and seven injured.
Like other local officials, Liakh says Ukrainian forces are repelling Russian breakthrough attempts towards Sloviansk and its twin city of Kramatorsk, the administrative center of the kyiv-controlled part of Donbass.
Sloviansk is fortified and the Russians are unable to approach or encircle it, as they are blocked by Ukrainian soldiers some 40 kilometers away , he said.
With the fall of Lysychansk on Sunday, the Russians say they control almost all of the Luhansk region, which the Ukrainians continue to deny. There is still fighting in two villages, assured its governor, Serguiï Gaïdaï, on Wednesday on Telegram.
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The Russians are now seeking to conquer the second province of Donbass, that of Donetsk, to thus occupy the entire mining basin, which the pro-Russian separatists had partially controlled since 2014 .
But for that they need to take Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, its two largest cities under Ukrainian control. According to Mr. Gaïdaï, the Russian military is constantly trying to build passages to transfer even more material to the Donetsk region.
On Tuesday, Russian troops were about ten kilometers away from Siversk, which they have been pounding for several days, and therefore about fifty kilometers from Sloviansk.
The Russian Ministry of Defense also accused Ukrainian nationalists on Tuesday evening of preparing a provocation in the Donetsk region with the use of toxic substances including large quantities of chlorine brought to a mined filtration station.
He warned that the Ukrainian army was using chemical infrastructure to base its men and weapons there, creating the preconditions for accidents that could lead to the death of thousands of civilians.
The Russians are also still bombing the Mykolaiv region (south), strikes which caused the death of at least two people on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
The threat of missile strikes remains in the Mykolaiv region, as Russia maintains four ships equipped with high-precision weapons in the Black Sea, says the Ukrainian military.
For a week there has not been a day without shelling, according to Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke on Wednesday of the use of nuclear weapons, to better rule out any possibility of sanctions against Moscow by international justice, at a time when the International Criminal Court (ICC ) investigation of alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine.
The very idea of chastising a country that has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world is absurd in itself. And this potentially creates a threat to the existence of humanity, wrote on his Telegram account the current vice-president of the powerful Russian Security Council, before attacking in particular the United States.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin was visiting kyiv on Wednesday to show his country's support for Ukraine in this conflict, his services announced.
There he visited Borodyanka and Boutcha, two localities on the outskirts of kyiv partly destroyed by fighting in March, when Russian forces were at the gates of the capital, before withdrawing to concentrate their offensive on the east and southern Ukraine.
These two cities have become symbols of the alleged war crimes committed by the Russian military in this conflict and on which international justice has said it wants investigate.
As the population of Sloviansk left the city, Ukraine's Western allies were already thinking about rebuilding the country.
Tuesday evening in Lugano (Switzerland) ended a two-day international conference aimed at drawing the outlines of the reconstruction of Ukraine, the cost of which kyiv estimates at 750 billion dollars.
< p class="e-p">In their final declaration, allied nations, international institutions and the private sector pledged to fully support Ukraine along its journey, calling for a transparent and accountable recovery process .
The use of these billions of dollars worries in a state crippled by corruption.
In its 2021 report on corruption , the NGO Transparency International ranked Ukraine 122nd out of 180 countries, and Russia 136th.
We will take the reconstruction of Ukraine very seriously , Ukraine's reform, Zelensky's adviser Alexander Rodnyansky told AFP on the sidelines of the conference. This is the main message.