Ukraine-Russia War Update: Dozens killed in Russian artillery strikes; EU pushes for more sanctions

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Russian forces killed and wounded dozens of Ukrainians overnight as they unleashed artillery fire on several towns in eastern Ukraine, according to an Associated Press report. They also continued storming the bombed-out steel mill in Mariupol, the city’s last pocket of resistance.

Over 100 civilians, including infants, were bussed out of the sprawling facility through U.N.-led evacuation efforts over the weekend. The U.N.’s evacuation coordinator for Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, expressed hope that more evacuations could take place today but said none have been worked out thus far. 

Many of the evacuees were in tears when they arrived at Zaporizhzhya, about 140 miles northwest of Mariupol, where humanitarian aid workers provided them with food, diapers, and medical aid. Some described what they had endured for the past two months.

“You can’t imagine how scary it is when you sit in the bomb shelter, in a damp and wet basement, and it is bouncing and shaking,” said 54-year-old evacuee Elina Tsybulchenko.

Meanwhile, the outlook is grim for the remaining civilians and troops still trapped inside the steelworks factory as Russian forces close in. Russia estimates that 2,000 Ukrainian troops are still inside the roughly four miles of tunnels and bunkers beneath the plant, 500 of whom they said are wounded.  

The deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment said the plant was struck by multiple airstrikes and artillery fire overnight, killing two civilian women and wounding 10 others. 

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of violating agreements for safe evacuations when they began storming the plant Sunday, though he added, “I believe there’s still a chance to save other people.”

10 civilians killed in Russian strikes 

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Kremlin forces continued attacks in Donetsk on the eastern front, killing 10 chemical plant workers in the city of Avdiivka.

“The Russians knew exactly where to aim — the workers just finished their shift and were waiting for a bus at a bus stop to take them home,” Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post, calling the attack “another cynical crime by Russians on our land.”

The governor of Luhansk said Russian attacks intensified in the region overnight, killing another two civilians. The British Defense Ministry reported that Russia deployed 22 battalion tactical groups near Izyum, a strategic junction city, in their efforts to advance in Donbas. Ukrainian fighters have managed to slow their progress with the use of long-range weapons, including howitzers supplied by the U.S.

Explosions also rocked Lviv in Ukraine’s west, near its border with Poland, which is the gateway for shipments of NATO-supplied weapons. The strikes took out two power stations, fuel and ammunition depots, and Ukrainian command posts, among other targets. Ukrainian authorities said the Russians also bombed at least six railroad stations around the country.

EU pushes for more sanctions 

The European Union’s top official Wednesday called on the 27-nation bloc to impose a sixth round of sanctions on Moscow and ban Russian oil imports.

“We will make sure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimizes the impact on global markets,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. 

She also urged European allies to cut three Russian banks off from the SWIFT international banking system, including Sberbank, Moscow’s largest financial institution.