Russians assault Severodonetsk, hit Slovyansk with rockets

31 May, 10:47 AM
A Ukrainian soldier in Novomykhailivka, Donetsk Oblast (Photo:REUTERS/Anna Kudriavtseva)

A Ukrainian soldier in Novomykhailivka, Donetsk Oblast (Photo:REUTERS/Anna Kudriavtseva)

Today, May 31, is the 97th day of Ukraine's defense against a full-scale Russian invasion.

6:53 pm: Berlin will transfer APCs to Greece in order to allow Greece to send Ukraine its old Soviet stocks

This was confirmed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"The Ministry of Defense is working on the details and will quickly implement this agreement," the Chancellor noted.

5:41 pm: Four bodies have been recovered from under the ruins of an apartment building in Kharkiv

Видео дня

Rescuers in Kharkiv are continuing to search for survivors amid the ruins of a 16-story apartment building, hit by Russian shelling.

5:07 pm: Canada has implemented sanctions against Putin's mistress Kabaeva and daughters of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman

A new list of sanctions from Canada has affected 22 Russian citizens, including Putin's mistress, former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, and two daughters of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, who is currently living in exile in London.

4:42 pm: Ukraine has seized the property of the Russian state-owed Tatneft fossil fuel company

According to the State Bureau of Investigations, the seized property includes:

  • oil depots,
  • gas stations,
  • commercial facilities,
  • land,
  • 118 fuel trucks and automobiles

3:37 pm: The EU's oil embargo will have a carve-out for Bulgaria

The EU's sixth sanctions package against Russia will allow Bulgaria to continue importing oil until the end of 2024.

3:04 pm: Ukraine's parliament has fired human rights ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova from her post

2:22 pm: Severodonetsk mayor says that the city is divided nearly in half

The mayor, Oleksandr Stryuk, commented that the city is defending itself and is still Ukrainian, and that the Armed Forces are maintaining their defense.

He noted that evacuations out of the city had been paused, the city is cut off from mobile communications, and food supplies will last for a few days.

12-13,000 residents remain in the city, which had a pre-war population of about 100,000. Stryuk believes that nearly 1,500 residents have been killed by Russian attacks.

1:07 pm: Hayday admits that Ukrainian forces may withdraw from Severodonetsk

In response to a journalist's question about whether Severodonetsk can fall, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Hayday replied that this is war, and predicting its course is impossible.

"But if (the Ukrainian military) will need to withdraw past the river, to Lysychansk, in order to save their soldiers, then they may do so," he added.

11:37 am: Invaders have shelled Kharkiv oblast, casualties include children

Over the past day, Russian forces shelled the city of Kharkiv itself, as well as many of the surrounding regions. Three people were killed and another 14 wounded, including children.

10:44 am: Half of Severodonetsk has fallen under Russian control, combat ongoing in the city center

"The first storming attempt by (the Russian forces) was unsuccessful, and they were pushed out of the city," said head of the Severodonetsk regional administration Roman Vlasenko.

"The second time they came to the outskirts, they managed to fortify and create a foothold. Geographically, along the perimeter (of the city), they managed to attack from three directions at once."

10:35 am: Total Russian losses in their war against Ukraine:

According to data provided by the General Staff of the Armed Forces, over the past day, the enemy took their greatest losses in the Kryvyi Rih and Zaporizhzhya directions.

  • Manpower — 30500 (+150)
  • Tanks — 1358 (+9)
  • AFVs — 3302 (+20)
  • Artillery systems — 649 (+6)
  • Multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) — 207 (+2)
  • Anti-air defense systems — 93 (+0)
  • Airplanes — 208 (+1)
  • Helicopters — 174 (+0)
  • UAVs — 515 (+8)
  • Cruise missiles — 120 (+2)
  • Boats/cutters — 13 (+0)
  • Motor vehicles — 2275 (+11)
  • Specialized equipment — 48 (+0)

9:27 am: Parts of Severodonetsk have been seized by Russian forces, but there's no risk of encirclement

"Street fighting continues in Severodonetsk, our defenders are trying to beat the orcs into the outskirts," said Hayday.

"The only ones that can feel free in the oblast capital are Russian corpses."

9:13 am: The storming of Severodonetsk continues, and street fighting is widespread

The current number of casualties is currently unknown.

"The districts where street fighting is occurring in Severodonetsk is hard to track, which is why we don't know the number of victims," explained regional governor Serhiy Hayday.

8:13 am: Russian forces shell Slovyansk early this morning

At least three people have been killed and six others wounded, reports the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, stated on Facebook. Ukrainian authorities are still processing the available information.

8:03 am: Russia has again shelled Dnipropetrovsk Oblast

The enemy continues to shell the town of Zelenodolsk, reported regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko.

"The enemy continues to shoot at Kryvyi Rih region. Once again hit the Zelenodolsk community. No one harmed."

Morning Digest

Here's what you may have missed overnight:

The Battle for Donbas is continuing in full force, as the Russian military attempts to make good on its stated war goals of taking the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, As a result, the city of Severodonetsk, one of the last Ukrainian holdouts in Luhansk Oblast, is seeing incredibly heavy fighting, including artillery, aviation, and street-to-street urban combat.

In his nightly address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Russian military has brought its full might onto the Donbas, but added that Ukraine's defenders are holding the line.

The president added that the Russians have already stolen at least 500,000 tons of grain from Ukraine, and is attempting to sell it on the world market. If successful, this would let Russia profit off Ukrainian goods, and at the same time, ensure the global grain deficit stays in place.

Meanwhile, in the rest of Europe, the EU did manage to decide on at least a partial embargo on Russian oil during a leader's summit on Ukraine, according to European Council president Charles Michel – despite doom-and-gloom pronouncements from various European leaders yesterday.

This act will cut Europe's dependence on Russian oil by 90%, said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen. On top of that, the EU agreed to provide Ukraine in EUR 9 billion ($9.7 billion) in reconstruction financing, alongside G7 commitments.

EU leaders also signaled their readiness to examine whether Ukraine can gain EU candidate status in June.

Back on the war front, the Russians shelled 46 settlements in Donbas yesterday, killing three people, reported Joint Forces Command. Some of those settlements may have been those previously occupied by Russian forces, noted Kryvyi Rih military administration head Oleksandr Vilkul.

In total, Ukrainian forces repelled eight enemy attacks on the Donbas front over the past day, destroying 1 tank, 4 artillery systems, 5 armored fighting vehicles (AFVs), and two enemy motor vehicles. Anti-air defenses shot down an Kh-59MK cruise missile.

  • In the Slovyansk direction, the enemy has focused his efforts on holding the borders of their occupied territory and establishing supply lines to lay the groundwork for further offensives.
  • The Russians attempted to storm the village of Dovhenke, but failed.
  • On the Donetsk axis, the enemy is conducting mass fire against Ukrainian positions with artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, and mortars. The enemy's efforts here are focused on subjugating the city of Severodonetsk.
  • On the Lyman front, the Russians are currently regrouping in preparation for a fresh offensive. They attempted to conduct reconnaissance of Ukrainian supply lines around Lyman, but sustained losses and fell back.
  • In the Severodonetsk area, the Russians continue to storm the city. Combat there is ongoing.
  • Russian attempts to storm numerous settlements in the Bakhmut direction failed. However, combat there is ongoing.

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