Russian forces 'are afraid of us' says Ukrainian soldier
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The soldier, identified as Dmytro, claimed he had been attacked by Russian “tanks, hard artillery and helicopters” several days ago but had managed to escape the onslaught. He said his unit then “hit one of their helicopters”; he then broke out in an ear-to-ear smile. The claims, however, come as Russian forces begin to regain territory on the east and raze the city of Severodonetsk to the ground in the Donbas.
The Ukrainian soldier said: “Yesterday, and the day before yesterday, we were attacked by tanks, hard artillery and helicopters.”
Dmytro broke into a smile as he said: “We hit one of their helicopters and now they are afraid of us.”
When CNN’s Nick Patron Walsh asked if he was smiling at the idea of Russian troops being afraid of Ukraine, Dmytro said, “Yes”.
Mr Walsh went on to say, however, that there was “no room” for smiles elsewhere in Ukraine.
He said: “But there’s no room for grinning further north east where Ukraine is losing ground it won just days earlier.
“Russia has moved into the next town up, Rubizhne, in the hours before we arrive. The ruins are fresh, still smouldering.
“And here, that means the constant bewildering shelling has new ominous significance.”
Ukraine’s armed forces claimed today Russia bombed more than 40 towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region in renewed offensives.
The Joint Task Force of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook: “The occupiers shelled more than 40 towns in Donetsk and Luhansk region, destroying or damaging 47 civilian sites, including 38 homes and a school. As a result of this shelling five civilians died and 12 were wounded.”
It added that 10 Russian attacks had been repelled, four tanks and four drones destroyed, and 62 “enemy soldiers” killed.
Russia has poured thousands of troops into the eastern region, attacking from three sides in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces holding out in the city of Severodonetsk and its twin, Lysychansk.
Governor of the Luhansk region Serhiy Haidai said the Russians were trying to “erase Severdonetsk off the face of the Earth”.
Their fall would leave the whole of Luhansk province under Russian control, a main Kremlin war aim.
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Russia appears to have deployed higher quality troops from a so-called manoeuvre group to take over Severodonetsk, as they benefit from the proximity of eastern Ukraine to their homeland.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have pleaded more for western heavy weapons amid reports that Ukraine is struggling to get its weapons to the frontline in the east.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said weapons sent from Kyiv to the frontline had been delayed, leaving their defenders “catastrophically short of heavy weapons”.
And Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the conflict in Donbas “extremely difficult” in his latest address.
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