clearn.png
Sunday September 25th, 2022 1:35AM

Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia pressed its offensive in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Poland’s president traveled to Kyiv to support the country’s European Union aspirations, becoming the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament since the start of the war.

Lawmakers gave a standing ovation to President Andrzej Duda, who thanked them for the honor of speaking where “the heart of a free, independent and democratic Ukraine beats.” Duda said that to end the conflict, Ukraine did not need to submit to conditions given by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Unfortunately, in Europe there have also been disturbing voices in recent times demanding that Ukraine yield to Putin’s demands,” he said. “I want to say clearly: Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future. Only Ukraine has the right to decide for itself.”

Duda’s visit, his second to Kyiv since April, came as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled along a 551-kilometer (342-mile) wedge of the country’s eastern industrial heartland.

After declaring full control of a sprawling seaside steel plant that was the last defensive holdout in the port city of Mariupol, Russia launched artillery and missile attacks to expand the territory that Moscow-backed separatists have held since 2014 in the region known as the Donbas.

To bolster its defenses, Ukraine’s parliament voted Sunday to extend martial law and the mobilization of armed forces for a third time, until Aug. 23.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stressed that the 27-member EU should expedite his country’s request to join the bloc. Ukraine’s potential candidacy is set to be discussed at a Brussels summit in late June.

France’s European Affairs minister Clement Beaune on Sunday told Radio J it would be a “long time” before Ukraine gains EU membership, perhaps up to two decades.

“We have to be honest,” he said. “If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you’re lying.”

But Poland is ramping up efforts to win over EU members who are more hesitant about accepting Ukraine into the bloc. Zelenskyy said Duda’s visit represented a “historic union” between Ukraine, which declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and Poland, which ended communist rule two years earlier.

“This is really a historic opportunity not to lose such strong relations, built through blood, through Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy said. “All this not to lose our state, not to lose our people.”

Poland has welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees and become a gateway for Western humanitarian aid and weapons into Ukraine. It is also a transit point for some foreign fighters who have volunteered to fight the Russian forces.

Duda credited the U.S. and President Joe Biden for unifying the West in supporting Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Moscow.

“Kyiv is the place from which one clearly sees that we need more America in Europe, both in the military and in this economic dimension,” said Duda, a right-wing populist leader who clearly preferred former President Donald Trump over Biden in the 2020 election.

On the battlefield, Russia appeared to have made slow, grinding advances in the Donbas in recent days. It intensified efforts to capture Sievierodonetsk, the main city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk province, which together with Donetsk province makes up the Donbas. The Ukrainian military said Sunday that Russian forces had mounted an unsuccessful attack on Oleksandrivka, a village outside of Sievierodonetsk.

Sievierodonetsk came under heavy shelling, and Luhansk Gov. Serhii Haidai said the Russians were “simply intentionally trying to destroy the city... engaging in a scorched-earth approach.”

Haidai said Moscow was concentrating forces and weaponry there to try to win control of Luhansk, bringing in forces from Kharkiv to the northwest, Mariupol to the south, and from inside Russia.

The sole working hospital in the city has only three doctors and supplies for 10 days, he said.

Ukrainian officials have said little since the war began about the extent of their country’s casualties, but Zelenskyy said at a news conference Sunday that 50 to 100 Ukrainian fighters were being killed, apparently each day, in the east.

In a general staff morning report, Russia said it was also preparing to resume its offensive on Slovyansk, a city in Donetsk province that saw fierce fighting last month after Moscow’s troops backed away from Kyiv.

The conflict was not confined to Ukraine’s east. Powerful explosions were heard early Monday, for example, in Korosten, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of Kyiv, the town’s deputy mayor said. It was the third straight day of apparent attacks in the Zhytomyr District, Ukrainian news agencies reported.

In Enerhodar, a Russian-held city 281 kilometers (174 miles) northwest of Mariupol, an explosion Sunday injured the Moscow-appointed mayor at his residence, Ukrainian and Russian news agencies reported. Ukraine’s Unian news agency said a bomb planted by “local partisans” wounded 48-year-old Andrei Shevchuk, who lives near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest.

With Russia claiming to have taken prisoner nearly 2,500 Ukrainian fighters from the Mariupol steel plant, concerns grew about their fate and that of the remaining residents of the city, now in ruins with more than 20,000 feared dead.

Relatives of the fighters have pleaded for them to be given rights as prisoners of war and eventually returned to Ukraine. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Ukraine “will fight for the return” of every one of them.

Denis Pushilin, the pro-Kremlin head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, vowed that the Ukrainian fighters from the plant would face tribunals.

The complete seizure of the Azovstal steel plant, a symbol of Ukrainian tenacity, gave Putin a badly wanted victory in the war he began nearly three months ago, on Feb. 24. Ukraine’s military had told the fighters their mission was complete and they could come out. It described their extraction as an evacuation, not a mass surrender.

Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko warned that the city faces a health and sanitation “catastrophe” from mass burials in shallow pits and the breakdown of sewage systems. An estimated 100,000 of the 450,000 people who lived in Mariupol before the war remain.

Ukrainian authorities have alleged Russian atrocities there, including the bombings of a maternity hospital and a theater where hundreds of civilians had taken cover.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian court was expected to reach a verdict Monday for a Russian soldier who was the first to go on trial for an alleged war crime. The 21-year-old sergeant, who has admitted to shooting a Ukrainian man in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region on Feb. 28, could get life in prison if convicted.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has said her office was prosecuting war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offenses that included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.

In other developments, Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, gave a rare interview to national broadcaster ICTV alongside her husband and said she has hardly seen him since the war began.

“Our family, like all Ukrainian families, is now separated,” she said, adding that she speaks to him mostly by phone.

“Unfortunately, we cannot sit together, have dinner with the whole family, talk about everything,” she said.

Zelenskyy called the interview itself “a date on air,” and the couple, who have two children, joked in front of the journalists.

“We are joking, but we are really waiting, like everyone else, to be reunited, like all families in Ukraine who are separated now, waiting for their relatives and friends who want to be together again,” he said.

___

Becatoros reported from Donetsk. Associated Press journalists Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv and other AP staffers around the world contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv
Polish President Andrzej Duda went to Kyiv to support Ukraine's goal of European Union membership and became the first foreign leader to address Ukraine's parliament since Russia invaded nearly three months ago
6:18PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Panthers face challenge of back-to-back on brink of sweep
The Florida Panthers are on the brink of getting swept out of the second round of the playoffs by the back-to-back defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning
5:57PM ( 28 minutes ago )
78,000 pounds of infant formula arrives in US
A military plane carrying enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles has arrived in Indianapolis, the first of several flights expected from Europe aimed at relieving a shortage that has sent parents scrambling to find enough to feed their children
5:29PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
‘Doctor Strange' remains atop box office as 'Top Gun' looms
Doctor Strange and his multiverse got to linger a little longer atop the weekend box office while Tom Cruise waits in the wings
4:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden says monkeypox cases something to 'be concerned about'
President Joe Biden says cases of monkeypox are “something that everybody should be concerned about.”
3:27PM ( 2 hours ago )
Man City clinches 6th Premier League title in 11 seasons
Manchester City clinched a sixth Premier League title in 11 seasons by scoring three times in five minutes to come from behind and beat Aston Villa 3-2 in the finale to avoid being toppled by challenger Liverpool
2:08PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP National News
Buffalo shooting's wounds need a strong salve, residents say
Long before an 18-year-old avowed white supremacist inflicted terror at a Buffalo supermarket, the city's Black neighborhoods had been dealing with wounds that are generations old
12:45PM ( 5 hours ago )
Pennsylvania's Fetterman released from hospital after stroke
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has been released from the hospital after a stay of more than a week following a stroke
12:19PM ( 6 hours ago )
WHO chief: The COVID pandemic is 'most certainly not over'
The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over” despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the omicron wave
12:17PM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
GOP candidate's security clearance becomes issue in SC
Republican Katie Arrington’s suspended security clearance is becoming an issue in her primary campaign against incumbent South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace
8:27AM ( 9 hours ago )
Texas race tests abortion's resonance with Democratic voters
One of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress is in the toughest reelection battle of his career in South Texas
8:08AM ( 10 hours ago )
Biden pushes economic, security aims as he ends SKorea visit
President Joe Biden tended to both business and security interests as he wrapped up a three-day visit to South Korea on Sunday
6:27AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
New maps create challenge for women seeking reelection
For some female incumbents running for reelection in Congress this year, holding their seats comes with a new challenge
7:49PM ( 22 hours ago )
Australian Labor topples conservatives; PM faces early tests
Australia’s center-left opposition party has toppled the conservative government after almost a decade in power
12:12PM ( 1 day ago )
Former Ohio prisons chief top contender to run US prisons
The former director of the Ohio state prison system has emerged as a leading contender to run the crisis-plagued federal Bureau of Prisons
11:59AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Average US gasoline price jumps 33 cents to $4.71 per gallon
The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline spiked 33 cents over the past two weeks to $4.71 per gallon
1:07PM ( 5 hours ago )
Consumers defy inflation to support economy. For how long?
With prices across the economy soaring at their fastest pace in decades, you might think Americans would tap the brakes on spending
9:40AM ( 8 hours ago )
DAVOS DIARY: Train, not plane means scenery, carbon cutting
The World Economic Forum is encouraging European attendees to come to its exclusive gathering in the Swiss Alps by train
8:39AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business
Panthers face challenge of back-to-back on brink of sweep
The Florida Panthers are on the brink of getting swept out of the second round of the playoffs by the back-to-back defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning
5:57PM ( 29 minutes ago )
78,000 pounds of infant formula arrives in US
A military plane carrying enough specialty infant formula for more than half a million baby bottles has arrived in Indianapolis, the first of several flights expected from Europe aimed at relieving a shortage that has sent parents scrambling to find enough to feed their children
5:29PM ( 57 minutes ago )
Cordero hits slam in 10th, surging Red Sox sweep Mariners
Franchy Cordero hit a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting the surging Boston Red Sox to an 8-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners
5:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
3 goals in 5-minute recovery wins Premier League for City
Manchester City has successfully defended its Premier League title by beating Aston Villa 3-2 on the final day of the season
5:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
Thiem out of sync, out of French Open with 10th loss in row
Two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem’s losing streak reached 10 matches with a first-round exit at Roland Garros as he works his way back from a torn tendon in his right wrist
5:11PM ( 1 hour ago )