Millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes since the invasion started, Zelensky says


The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Friday that at least five Russian attacks have been “repulsed” over the past 24 hours in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of eastern Ukraine.

The military said that Russian forces “tried to engage in clashes and storm operations” with the “help of separate units and sabotage and reconnaissance groups” in two areas around Donetsk. It added the attack was unsuccessful, and the Russians troops “retreated to [their] previous positions.”

Ukraine’s military said some units of Russia’s 150th Motorized Rifle Division “suffered significant losses [of] at least 50% of the personnel, weapons and equipment” in the area around Popasna, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Severodonetsk.

It said that it believed “the personnel of the enemy is demoralized” due to the “constant postponement of their rotation.”

In the Sloviansk area to the west of Severodonetsk, Russia was “unsuccessful” in carrying assault operations in two areas and “withdrew after losses,” the military said.

Russia also “conducted unsuccessful assault operations” in the Bakhmut area.

But despite the losses highlighted by the Ukrainian military, Russia continued with heavy shelling across the east.

A separate update from Ukraine’s Joint Forces Task Force on Friday said Russian forces were attacking 28 areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions over the past day.

At least seven civilians were killed and eight others injured, the task force said. Further 1,472 people have been evacuated from the areas of hostilities in the past day, the statement added.

Around 80 buildings were destroyed or damaged, including factories, three fire stations, and residential properties. Five large fires were caused by Russian shelling in the region, and “in a number of cases, fire and rescue units came under fire and were forced to return to their locations,” the task force said.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces said fighting continued in the center of Severodonetsk. Around 80% of the city is now under the control of Russian forces.

In the northeast, a missile strike was launched on civilian infrastructure in Sumy, and shelling hit three residential areas, the military said.

The military also said that Russian forces “continue to prepare for an offensive” in Kharkiv, firing artillery and multiple rocket launchers in five areas.

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