Live Updates | Ukraine: Russia vying for control of the East

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Ukrainian soldiers walk across a destroyed bridge in Irpin, on the outskirts of kyiv, Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

PA

KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s General Staff said in its morning update on Thursday that Russian forces are continuing the offensive in the east of the country in a bid to establish full control over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. .

Ukrainian forces in both regions have repelled nine Russian attacks in the past 24 hours, destroying a tank, 10 armored units and two vehicles, an artillery system, two special engineer units, an anti-aircraft missile system and an ammunition depot, according to the update posted on the General Staff’s Facebook page.

The Russian military also continues “to launch missile and bomb strikes on military and civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine”, the General Staff said.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is bombed and partially blocked.

In the southern region of Kherson, which Russia claims to fully control, the Russian army “plans to organize the forced mobilization of the population for the war with Ukraine”, as well as to cut “humanitarian support to the region from Ukrainian authorities”. said the staff.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— Relentless attacks hit the last entrenched defenders in Mariupol

– China’s Xi calls for dispute settlement, opposes sanctions

– Biden set to announce new military assistance to Ukraine

– AP-NORC poll: Many say Biden isn’t tough enough on Russia

— More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the UN

Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to announce Thursday his intention to send additional military aid to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion, according to a U.S. official.

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Biden would deliver a speech Thursday morning at the White House detailing his plans to rely on military aid from Israel. about $2.6 billion that the administration has already approved for Ukraine. .

The new package is expected to be similar in size to the $800 million package announced by Biden last week. It includes heavy artillery and ammunition essential to Ukrainian forces in the escalating battle for the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said his country would send heavy artillery to Ukraine. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the Netherlands would send more heavy weapons, including armored vehicles.

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Aamer Madhani and Darlene Superville contributed to this report from Washington.

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LVIV, Ukraine — The governor of Luhansk said Russian forces now control 80% of the region, which is one of two regions that make up Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

One of Russia’s stated goals is to expand Donbass territory under the control of Moscow-backed separatists.

Before the Russian invasion on February 24, the kyiv government controlled 60% of the Lugansk region.

Governor Serhiy Haidai said the Russians, who renewed their offensive this week in eastern and southern Ukraine, stepped up their attacks in the Lugansk region.

After taking Kreminna, Haidai said the Russians were now threatening the towns of Rubizhne and Popasna and he urged all residents to evacuate immediately.

The Donetsk region, which is also part of Donbass, has also seen extremely heavy fighting, particularly around the port city of Mariupol.

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KHARKIV, Ukraine — Some residents of the eastern city of Kharkiv have been living in basements for weeks, hoping to stay safe from Russian bombardment. Without running water, gas or electricity, they collect rainwater and cook on open fires, burning the debris of wooden buildings destroyed by the bombardments.

In the Saltivka neighborhood, some sought refuge in a school basement, where they used desks, tables and chairs to make beds. Over 300 people slept in the shelter in the early days of the war, but most moved on to safer places. Today, only a few dozen remain.

As she stirred a large pot of thin vegetable soup, a woman said volunteers brought them canned cabbage, beets and beans.

“We mixed everything together and made borsht,” said Natasha, who only gave her first name.

Another woman pointed to her damaged apartment. “All the windows and doors were blown out, but the walls held,” said the woman, who gave only her first name, Larisa. “It’s impossible to stay there because it’s on the eighth floor and when the bombing starts it’s not for the faint-hearted.”

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