As Russia consolidates gains in the east, Ukraine raises the flag on the recaptured island CB News

Bradchuk said two more Russian missiles hit and destroyed two grain stores in his region containing 35 tons of grain.

In Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry said several Ukrainian troops landed on the island at dawn and took pictures with the flag.

“The aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces immediately launched an attack on Snake Island with high-precision missiles, which resulted in the destruction of a part of Ukrainian military personnel,” said ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

Snake Island became a symbol of Ukraine’s refusal to bend to Russia’s will early in the war after Ukrainian forces stationed there provided a salt leak when the commander of a Russian ship asked to surrender.

‘Process suspended?’

Meanwhile, Russian forces in eastern Ukraine continued to press Ukrainian troops, attempting to hold the line along the northern borders of the Donetsk region, in preparation for a wider new offensive against it.

After seizing the city of Lysychansk on Sunday and effectively asserting its full control over Ukraine’s Luhansk region, Moscow has made it clear that it plans to seize parts of the neighboring Donetsk region that it has yet to capture. Kiev still controls some major cities.

Complaining about intense Russian shelling in recent days, Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrilenko wrote in a Telegram that seven civilians had been killed by Russia in the past 24 hours.

Reuters could not independently verify his claim and Russia’s Defense Ministry says it does not target civilians and uses high-precision weapons to eliminate military threats.

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said Russian forces were moving more units into the Luhansk region to consolidate Moscow’s control.

Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday that fighting was ongoing as Russian forces tried to make new incursions along the northern border between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

But a full-scale offensive has yet to materialize after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to rest troops working to capture the Luhansk region.

Russia does not appear to have gained any new ground since Sunday’s capture of Lisicang, the US-based Institute of War Research said.

It assessed that “Russian forces are conducting an operational pause while engaging in limited ground offensives to set the conditions for more significant offensive operations.”

Putin launched his invasion on February 24, calling it a “special military operation” to militarize Ukraine, root out what he said were dangerous nationalists and protect Russian-speakers in the country.

Ukraine and its allies say Russia has launched an imperialist-style land grab, triggering the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II.

After failing to preemptively capture the capital Kiev, Russia is now waging war for Ukraine’s Donbas region, which includes the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Russia says it wants to seize control of the eastern and heavily industrialized region on behalf of Moscow-backed separatists in two self-proclaimed people’s republics.

Ukraine has repeatedly pleaded with the West to send more weapons to end a conflict that has killed thousands, displaced millions and leveled cities.

In his nightly video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces now had some of what they needed.

“Finally, Western artillery is starting to work powerfully and we are receiving weapons from our partners. Their accuracy is exactly what is needed,” he said.

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