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Russia pushes to block the second city in eastern Ukraine

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

David Keyton And John Lester

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) —Russian troops are trying to block cities in eastern Ukraine, the regional governor said on Saturday A relentless attack on a nearby city withdrew Ukrainian troops after several weeks of fierce fighting.

Russia has also launched missile attacks in areas far from the center of the eastern battle.

Luhansk Governor Serhii Haidai said on Facebook that Russian troops are trying to block the city of Lysychansik from the south. The city is next to Severodonetsk, which has endured weeks of relentless assault and urban warfare.

After Haidai said Friday that Ukrainian troops had begun to withdraw from Severodonetsk, military analyst Oleg Zudanov said some troops were heading to Lysychans'k. rice field. But Russia's move to cut off Lysychans'k will give the retreating troops a little rest.

Russian bombardment has destroyed most of Severodonetsk and reduced its population from 100,000 to 10,000. Part of the Ukrainian army, along with about 500 civilians, is trapped in a huge Azoth chemical factory on the edge of the city.

Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk were the focus of Russia's offensive aimed at occupying the entire Donbas region in eastern Ukraine and destroying the Ukrainian troops that defended it. This is the most capable and combat-enhanced part of the country's army. The two cities and their surrounding areas are the last major pockets of Ukrainian resistance in the Luhansk region, 95% of which are under the control of Russian and local separatists. Russians and separatists also dominate about half of the Donetsk region, the second province of Donetsk.

About 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west, four Russian rockets collided with "military objects" in Lviv, said Maksym Kozytskyy, Governor of Lviv. He did not reveal the details of the target, but Jarobib has a considerable military base used to train fighters, including foreigners who volunteered to fight for Ukraine. The base was attacked by a Russian rocket in March, killing 35 people.

The Lviv region is far from the front line, but was hit by other rockets during the war, destroying the fuel storage area.

On Saturday morning, about 30 Russian rockets were launched in the Zhytomyr region of central Ukraine, killing one Ukrainian soldier, said regional governor Vitaliy Buchenko.

In the north, about 20 rockets were launched from Belarus into the Chernihiv region, Ukrainian troops said.

U.S. senior defense officials speaking in Washington on condition of anonymity called the Ukrainian move from Severodonetsk "tactical retrograde" on Friday and called the military. Integrated in a better position. Protect yourself. This will add to Ukraine's efforts to keep Russian troops in small areas longer, officials said.

In the early stages of the invasion, which began on February 24, Russian troops shifted their focus to Donbus following a failed attempt to occupy the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Since 2014.

Four medium-range American rocket launchers arrived after Ukrainian troops repeatedly demanded heavier weapons from their Western allies to counter Russia's firepower dominance.

US defense officials are training more Ukrainian troops to use the High Mobile Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) outside Ukraine on Friday, mid-July. .. The rocket can travel about 45 miles (70 kilometers). Eighteen US coastal and river patrol boats will also be sent.

Officials said there was no evidence that Russia had succeeded in blocking the steady flow of military aid from the United States and other countries to Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly threatened to strike or actually strike such cargo.