Russian forces on Wednesday pressed closer to the centre of an industrial city in a drive to grab a swathe of eastern Ukraine, while the United States said it would supply advanced rockets to Kyiv to help push Moscow to negotiate an end to the war.
Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian forces, now 98 days into their invasion, pounded infrastructure in eastern and southern regions, including the city of Sievierodonetsk, which they entered on May 27 and is the main focus of their ground offensive in the eastern Donbas region.
Reuters could not independently confirm the cause of the incident.
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US President Joe Biden said Washington would supply precision rocket systems and munitions as part of a $700 million weapons package expected to be formally announced on Wednesday.
“We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” Biden wrote in the New York Times.
A Biden administration official said the new supplies which comes on top of billions of dollars worth of equipment such as drones and anti-aircraft missiles included the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which Kyiv has said is “crucial” to counter Russian missile attacks.
Amid concerns that such weapons could draw the United States into direct conflict, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Ukraine has promised Washington it will not use the rocket systems to hit targets inside Russia.