Eastern Ukraine’s focus on new Russian attacks

  • Russian attacks in the east repulsed
  • Rockets destroy Dnipro airport
  • Austria’s Nehammer is due to meet Putin in Moscow on Monday
  • The World Bank predicts a 45% decline in Ukraine’s GDP production

LVIV, Ukraine, April 11 (Reuters) – Ukrainian troops have repulsed several Russian attacks in the eastern part of the country, in focus of a new offensive by invading forces, the British intelligence service said on Monday, while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said this week will be crucial to the course of the war.

Austrian leader Karl Nehammer planned to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday and will call for an end to the conflict. It would be Putin’s first face-to-face meeting with an EU leader since Russia’s invasion began on 24 February. Read more

Russian forces also pressed on their offensive to establish control of the southern port city of Mariupol, a key target whose conquest would connect areas of Russian control to the west and east.

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The Russian invasion has left a trail of deadly destruction that has drawn condemnation from Western countries and sparked concern over Putin’s broader ambitions.

About a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people have been forced from their homes, cities have been turned into rubble, and thousands of people have been killed or injured – many of them civilians.

Russian forces have abandoned their attempts to capture the capital Kiev, but are doubling their efforts in the eastern part of Ukraine. The British Ministry of Defense said Russian shelling continued in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Ukrainian forces had repulsed several attacks and destroyed Russian tanks, vehicles and artillery equipment, according to its regular intelligence bulletin.

The report also said that Russia’s continued dependence on unmanned aerial vehicles greatly increased the risk of further civilian casualties.

Heavy explosions shook cities in the south and east, and airstrikes erupted over Ukraine early Monday.

“IT SHOULD STOP”

President Zelenskiy continued his tireless campaign to create international support and rally his compatriots, warning that the coming week would be important and tense.

“Russian troops will move to even larger operations in the eastern part of our state. They can use even more missiles against us, even more air bombs. But we are preparing for their actions. We will respond.” he said in a late night video address.

He was to speak to the South Korean parliament on Monday via video link.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said it was likely that the Russians would try to cut off supply lines and attack the transport infrastructure.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said high – precision missiles had destroyed Ukraine’s Dnipro battalion headquarters in the town of Zvonetsky. Read more

Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said he would meet with Putin on Monday in Moscow.

“We are militarily neutral, but (have) a clear stance on the Russian war of aggression against #Ukraine,” Nehammer wrote on Twitter. “It must stop! It needs humanitarian corridors, a ceasefire and a full investigation into war crimes.”

Since Russia invaded, Zelenskiy has appealed to Western powers to provide more defense assistance and punish Moscow with tougher sanctions, including embargoes on its energy exports.

Zelenskiy said he had confidence in his own armed forces, but “unfortunately I do not trust that we will receive everything we need” from the United States.

CIVIL GUIDANCE

Several civilian casualties have triggered widespread international condemnation and new sanctions.

Ludmila Zabaluk, head of the Dmytriv Village Department, north of Kiev, said dozens of civilian bodies were found in the area.

“There were more than 50 dead people. They shot them at close range. There is a car in which a 17-year-old child was burned, only bones left. A woman had half of her head blown off. A little further away lay a man near his car was burned alive. “

Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

Moscow has denied allegations of war crimes from Ukraine and Western countries. It has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in what it calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its southern neighbor. Ukraine and Western nations have rejected this as an unfounded pretext for war.

ECONOMIC COSTS

The French bank Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) became the latest company to withdraw from Russia, agreeing to sell its stake in Rosbank and the Russian lender’s insurance subsidiaries to Interros Capital, a firm linked to billionaire Vladimir Potanin.

The Russian invasion has triggered a barrage of economic sanctions from the United States, Europe and Britain, prompting Western companies to sell their Russian assets.

SocGen had been under increasing pressure to cut off ties with Russia and end its more than 15-year investment in Rosbank.

The World Bank predicted on Sunday that the war would cause Ukraine’s economic production to collapse by 45% this year, with half of its stores closed, grain exports mostly cut off by Russia’s naval blockade and destruction, making economic activity impossible in many areas. Read more

The bank predicted that Russia’s GDP would fall by 11.2% this year due to punitive Western sanctions.

(This story was re-archived to the correct date line.)

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Reporting from Reuters agencies and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Author of Lincoln Feast and Angus MacSwan, edited by Stephen Coates and Nick Macfie

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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