Ukraine War Update: Zelenskyy says Donbas likely to fall to Moscow; Russia launches test hypersonic missile

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine appears likely to fall to Russian forces, as the Kremlin has focused its attacks on securing the region.

In a video address over the weekend, Zelenskyy said that conditions in the Donbas and Kharkiv have grown “indescribably difficult,” adding “but our defense holds on,” the Epoch Times reported

Russian forces continue to try to encircle Sievierodonetsk, which has become a major focus of Moscow’s offensive in the industrial Donbas region. Intense shelling over the weekend knocked out power and cell phone service in the city as civilians were forced to risk their lives to get water from local wells. Meanwhile, residents of nearby Lysychansk tried to flee to safety amid near-constant shelling. The two eastern cities are the last significant areas that remain under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk province. 

Understaffed hospitals

Russian attacks on civilian populations across eastern Ukraine have put an immense strain on the region’s hospitals. Many workers have fled to safety, while those who remain struggle to deal with an influx of injured civilians, the Associated Press reported

A Doctors Without Borders surgeon in the eastern city of Kramatorsk said medical workers are facing “the most terrible nightmare” of treating civilians who have been seriously wounded in Russian attacks, including children whose limbs have been blown off.  

Hypersonic missile test

Russia claims it conducted another test launch of a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile on Sunday in the White Sea, according to Reuters.  Kremlin state-run media said the 3M22 Zircon cruise missile was launched from a Russian warship, traveling over 500 miles before successfully striking its target. The rocket is remarkably fast, can be steered remotely to evade missile defense systems or change targets, and has the ability to hit targets anywhere in the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously described the Zircon as part of a new generation of unrivaled arms systems.

The U.S. does not currently possess missile defense technology capable of stopping Zircon cruise missiles. In fact, according to a Hot Air report, America has fallen significantly behind in the hypersonic weapons race. Two different models of scramjet missiles are said to be in development, but full production capability is reportedly a long way off.

EU to block Russian energy imports

Following several rounds of intense negotiations, the European Union has finally agreed to ban almost all Russian oil imports in its most significant punishment on Moscow to date over the war in Ukraine. Such a move was previously thought to be impossible since Europe gets 40% of its natural gas and 25% of its oil from Russia. Nonetheless, European leaders agreed late Monday to cut off roughly 90% of all Russian oil imports over the next six months, which is likely to lead to an increase in already-ballooning energy costs.

In response to the EU’s decision, Mikhail Ulyanov, Moscow’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, said “Russia will find other importers” in a Twitter post, according to the Associated Press

Despite the economic fallout, Russian energy giant Gazprom has already withheld gas supplies from some European countries, including Bulgaria, Finland, and Poland. The company on Tuesday announced plans to also halt supplies to Dutch trader GasTerra and is reportedly considering halting exports to Denmark. 

Two Russian soldiers sentenced in latest war crimes trial 

Two Russian soldiers have been convicted of war crimes in a Ukrainian court for the shelling of residential buildings in the Kharkiv region. Both men were sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison in Ukraine’s second war crimes trial since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. 

Earlier this month, a 21-year-old Russian soldier was sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting an unarmed Ukrainian civilian.

All three men pleaded guilty to the charges against them.