Russian forces continue to ‘raise true hell’ in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, governor says

Ukrainian soldiers ride atop a tank through a street in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian soldiers ride atop a tank through a street in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on Friday.
(Nariman El-Mofty / Associated Press)

Russian forces are managing to “raise true hell” in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland despite reports of them taking an operational pause, a regional governor said Saturday as the Ukrainian government urged people in Russian-occupied areas in the south to evacuate “by all possible means.”

Deadly Russian shelling was reported in Ukraine’s east and south.

The governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, said Russia launched more than 20 artillery, mortar and rocket strikes in the province overnight and its forces were pressing toward the border with neighboring Donetsk.

“We are trying to contain the Russians’ armed formations along the entire front line,” Haidai wrote on Telegram.


Last week, Russia captured the last major stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk, the city of Lysychansk. Analysts predicted Moscow’s troops likely would take time to rearm and regroup.

The governor of Luhansk province says Severodonetsk, overrun by Russian forces two weeks ago, is without water, power or a working sewage system.

July 8, 2022

But “so far, there has been no operational pause announced by the enemy. He is still attacking and shelling our lands with the same intensity as before,” Haidai said.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, appealed to residents of Russian-held territories in the south to evacuate so the occupying forces could not use them as human shields in the event of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Speaking at a news conference late Friday, Vereshchuk said a civilian evacuation effort was underway for parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. She declined to give details, citing safety considerations.

Putin’s declaration came as Russian forces tried to press their offensive deeper into eastern Ukraine after the Ukrainian military confirmed that its forces had withdrawn from Lysychansk.

July 4, 2022

It was not clear how civilians were expected to safely leave Russian-controlled areas while missile strikes and artillery shelling continue in surrounding areas, or whether they would be allowed to depart or even hear the government’s appeal.

The war’s death toll continued to rise.

Five people were killed and eight more wounded in Russian shelling Friday of Siversk and Semyhirya in Donetsk province, its governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, wrote on his Telegram channel Saturday morning.


After declaring victory over Ukraine’s Luhansk province, Moscow has switched its sights to Donetsk province in a bid to capture all of the Donbas.

July 6, 2022

Russian missiles killed two people and wounded three others Saturday morning in the southern city of Kryvyi Rih, according to regional authorities.

“They deliberately targeted residential areas,” Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, asserted on Telegram. Kryvyi Rih’s mayor, Oleksandr Vilkul, asserted in a Facebook post that cluster munitions had been used, and he urged residents not to approach unfamiliar objects in the streets.

Another mayor, in the southern city of Mykolayiv, said explosions were heard there on Saturday. In a Telegram post, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych blamed an ongoing Russian missile attack. He did not mention any casualties.

The British Defense Ministry reported Saturday that Russian forces in Ukraine were now being armed with “obsolete or inappropriate equipment,” including MT-LB armored vehicles taken out of long-term storage.

The MT-LB entered service in the Soviet military in the 1950s and does not provide the same protection as modern armored vehicles.

“While MT-LBS have previously been in service in support roles on both sides, Russia long considered them unsuitable for most frontline infantry transport roles,” the British ministry said on Twitter.


The Russians also have brought Cold War-era tanks out of storage.