RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE

Russian forces leave Snake Island, keep up eastern assault

Jun 30, 2022, 5:45 AM | Updated: 9:07 am
Soldiers survey damage and salvage items after a projectile and subsequent fire destroyed a warehou...
Soldiers survey damage and salvage items after a projectile and subsequent fire destroyed a warehouse building the previous evening on June 21, 2022 in Druzhkivka, Ukraine. One person was reported to have been killed and several others injured in the attack. In recent weeks, Russia has concentrated its firepower on Ukraine's Donbas region, where it has long backed two separatist regions at war with the Ukrainian government since 2014. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SLOVIANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russia on Thursday pulled back its forces from a strategically placed Black Sea island where they have faced relentless Ukrainian attacks, but kept up its push to encircle the last bulwark of Ukraine’s resistance in the eastern province of Luhansk.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it withdrew its forces from the Zmiyinyy (Snake) Island off Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa in what it described as a “goodwill gesture.” Ukraine’s military said the Russians fled the island in two speedboats following a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov insisted that the withdrawal was intended to demonstrate that “the Russian Federation wasn’t hampering the United Nations’ efforts to establish a humanitarian corridor for taking agricultural products from the territory of Ukraine.”

Ukraine and the West have accused Russian of blockading Ukrainian ports to prevent exports of grain, contributing to the global food crisis. Russia has denied the accusations and charged that Ukraine needs to remove sea mines from the Black Sea to allow safe navigation.

Turkey has sought to broker a deal on unblocking grain exports from Ukraine, but the talks have dragged on without any sign of quick progress, with Kyiv voicing concern that Russia could use the deal to launch an attack on Odesa.

Russia took control of the island that sits along a busy shipping lane in the opening days of the war in apparent hope to use it as a staging ground for an attack on Odesa.

The island came to epitomize the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, when Ukrainian troops there received a demand from a Russian warship to surrender or face bombardment. “Russian warship,” the answer came back, “go (expletive) yourself.”

The Ukrainian defenders of the island were captured by the Russians but later freed as part of a prisoner exchange.

After the island was taken, the Ukrainian military relentlessly bombarded a small Russian garrison and air defense assets stationed there.

— In the east of Ukraine on Thursday, Moscow kept up its push to take control of the entire Donbas region. It is focused on the city of Lysychansk, the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in the Luhansk province. Russian troops and their separatist allies control 95% of Luhansk and about half of Donetsk, the two provinces that make up the mostly Russian-speaking Donbas.

The Ukrainian General Staff said that the Russian troops were shelling Lysychansk and clashing with Ukrainian defenders around an oil refinery on the edge of the city.

Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Russian reconnaissance units tried to enter Lysychansk Wednesday, but were repelled by Ukrainian forces. He said the Russians were trying to block a highway used to deliver supplies and fully encircle the city.

“The Russians have thrown practically all their forces to seize the city,” Haidai said.

— Speaking on a visit to Turkmenistan early Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his goals in Ukraine haven’t changed since the start of the war. He said they were “the liberation of the Donbas, the protection of these people and the creation of conditions that would guarantee the security of Russia itself.” He made no mention of his original stated goals to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

He denied Russia had adjusted its strategy after failing to take Kyiv in the early stage of the conflict. “As you can see, the troops are moving and reaching the marks that were set for them for a certain stage of this combat work. Everything is going according to plan,” Putin said at a news conference in Turkmenistan.

— Funerals were to be held Thursday for some of the 18 people confirmed killed by Monday’s Russian missile strike on a busy shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk. Crews continued to search through the rubble in search of another 20 people who remain missing.

Ukrainian State Emergency Services press officer Svitlana Rybalko told The Associated Press that along with the 18 bodies, investigators found fragments of eight more bodies. It was not immediately clear whether that meant there were more victims. A number of survivors suffered severed limbs.

— After the attack on the mall, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of becoming a “terrorist” state. On Wednesday, he reproached NATO for not embracing or equipping his embattled country more fully.

He asked for more modern artillery systems and other weapons and warned the NATO leaders they either had to provide Ukraine with the help it needed to defeat Russia or “face a delayed war between Russia and yourself.”

On Thursday, Sweden announced plans to send more military support to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, support weapons and demining equipment that it says Kyiv had requested. “It is important that the support to Ukraine from the democratic countries in Europe is continuous and long-term,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said, according to the Swedish news agency TT.

Hultqvist didn’t say when and how the equipment would be delivered . Sweden was invited at a NATO summit this week to join the Western military alliance.

— Russia, shunned by the West, has been intent on bolstering ties elsewhere. On Thursday, Iranian state media said that Iran has proposed expanding financial exchanges with Russia as well as cooperating in the energy field within a framework independent of the Western financial exchange system, while both countries are under heavy sanctions.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Putin met on the sidelines of a summit of the Caspian Sea Littoral States in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, state-run IRNA news agency reported Thursday.

Putin was quoted as saying that the volume of trade and overall economic relations between the two countries has increased in recent months and that this path should continue.

— The death toll from Wednesday’s Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the southern city of Mykolaiv has risen to six, according to Gov. Vitaliy Kim. Another six people were wounded. Mykolaiv is a major port and seizing it — as well as Odesa farther west — would be key to Russia’s objective of cutting off Ukraine from its Black Sea coast.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Russia invades Ukraine

...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah family takes in Ukrainian family fleeing war after meeting on social media

A family from southcentral Ukraine is now calling Utah their home after meeting a Utah couple online who were total strangers.
1 day ago
BUCHA, UKRAINE - AUGUST 11: Workers are placing a body of one of the unidentified persons who were ...
HANNA ARHIROVA Associated Press

Buried as numbers, more of Bucha’s victims are laid to rest

With graves marked only with numbers, not names, burial services were held Thursday for 11 more unidentified bodies found in Bucha
3 days ago
(Planet Labs)...
Brad Lendon and Paul P. Murphy, CNN

Seven Russian warplanes were destroyed in huge blasts at Crimean air base

At least seven Russian warplanes were destroyed after explosions rocked annexed Crimea on Tuesday, new satellite images show.
4 days ago
Natalia Popova, 50, pets a tiger at her animal shelter in Kyiv region, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2...
HANNA ARHIROVA Associated Press

Ukrainian risks her life to rescue wild animals from war

Natalia Popova has found a new purpose in life: Rescuing wild animals and pets from the devastation wrought by the war in Ukraine.
6 days ago
...
Ashley Moser

Idaho teens travel to Ukraine, gift families new homes amid war

Three Ukrainian families have new homes thanks to a group of Idaho teens who raised $50,000 for the humanitarian trip.
7 days ago
TROY, AL - MAY 03: Javelin anti-tank missiles serve as a backdrop for U.S. President Joe Biden's sp...
Associated Press

US pledges $1 billion more rockets, other arms for Ukraine

The Biden administration said Monday it was shipping its biggest yet direct delivery of weapons to Ukraine as that country prepares for a potentially decisive counteroffensive in the south against Russia, sending $1 billion in rockets, ammunition and other material to Ukraine from Defense Department stockpiles.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Russian forces leave Snake Island, keep up eastern assault