Moscow warned Lithuania of “serious” consequences on Tuesday over its restriction of rail traffic to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, as Kremlin forces made gains in Ukraine’s strategic Donbas region.
Kremlin troops were causing “catastrophic destruction” in Lysychansk, an industrial city at the forefront of clashes in the eastern Donbas, the region’s governor said. Ukraine confirmed Russia had taken frontline village Toshkivka.
Governor Sergiy Gaiday said “every town and village” in Ukrainian hands in Lugansk region was “under almost non-stop fire”.
Since being repelled from Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine following its invasion in February, Moscow is focusing its offensive on the strategic Donbas region.
In the eastern town of Sloviansk, which could become a flash point as Russian troops advance from the north, local people were preparing to withstand attack and the authorities said the community would defend itself.
“We believe they’ll beat the Russian scum,” resident Valentina, 63, said of local Ukrainian forces.
The stakes are high. The town was seized by Russia-backed separatists in 2014 and then retaken by Ukrainian forces after a lengthy siege.