Pro-Russia Militia Says It's Taking Control of Ukrainian Trenches

Images purport to show pro-Russia combatants taking control of trenches held until recently by Ukrainian soldiers.

The images were obtained Wednesday from the People's Militia of the pro-Russia, so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), who said that the footage shows how they "liberated the village of Metelkino."

Metelkino, also known as Metiolkine, is a settlement in the Severodonetsk Raion area in the Luhansk Oblast region of eastern Ukraine.

LPR forces take Ukrainian trenches
Images obtained Wednesday from the People's Militia of the pro-Russia, so-called Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), purport to show how they "liberated the village of Metelkino." @millnr/Zenger

An unnamed LPR spokesperson said: "The armed forces of the [People's Militia of the] LPR continue to liberate their cities in the Donbas from the occupation of the Ukrainian nationalist army and Western mercenaries.

"After fierce fighting near Sievierodonetsk, the [People's Militia] fighters liberated the village of Metelkino.

"Retreating, Ukrainian militants fired at them with heavy weapons, hitting residential buildings where civilians still live."

The spokesperson also accused the Ukrainian military of using "weapons prohibited by the Vienna Convention on Warfare."

Zenger News has not been able to independently verify the images or the claims.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what the Kremlin is still calling a "special military operation." Thursday marks the 120th day of the invasion.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between February 24 and June 23, Russia had lost about 34,430 personnel, 1,504 tanks, 3,632 armored combat vehicles, 756 artillery units, 240 multiple launch rocket systems, 99 air defense systems, 216 warplanes, 183 helicopters, 620 drones, 137 cruise missiles, 14 warships, 2,548 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 60 units of special equipment.

The Ukrainian military said it has launched airstrikes on Zmiinyi Island, which is also known as Snake Island, causing "significant losses" to Russia's forces there in an operation it says is ongoing.

Russia conducted an anti-ship missile exercise this week in the Baltic Sea amid escalating tensions with NATO member Lithuania after the latter country blocked the transit of goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russian Foreign Ministry press secretary Maria Zakharova said that Moscow's response to Lithuania banning the transit of goods, sanctioned by the EU, to Kaliningrad will not only be diplomatic but also practical.

Ukrainian forces have said that they have been successfully thwarting fresh Russian attempts to advance in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, but Russian forces have captured several settlements near Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, with 568 civilians believed to still be sheltering in Severodonetsk's Azot chemical plant.

The city of Lysychansk, in the Luhansk Oblast of eastern Ukraine, is now said to be under siege from Russian and pro-Russian forces.

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine's deputy prime minister and minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, has urged locals in the Kherson region to evacuate, to help Ukrainian forces "de-occupy" the area.

British intelligence has claimed that the pro-Russia, so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) may have lost about 55 percent of its original forces.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said that this is a "historic week" as Kyiv awaits a decision from Brussels regarding its EU candidate status, with the EU expected to approve the application at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution June 8 recommending that the European Union grant Ukraine the status of candidate country for EU membership. In the motion, 438 Members of the European Parliament voted in favor of the resolution, with 65 voting against and 94 abstaining.

Zelensky, speaking to the African Union on Monday, accused Russia of holding Africa "hostage" over grain and fertilizer shortages.

The head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, has warned that Russia may stop supplying gas to Europe this winter. Several European countries have already received less Russian gas than expected in the last few weeks, with European imports of natural gas from Russia dropping from approximately 40 percent before the war began to 20 percent.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

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