KYIV: Russian forces on Friday pounded the final Ukrainian strongholds in a separatist-controlled jap province of Ukraine, together with a metropolis the place authorities mentioned 1,500 folks have been killed and 60% of residential buildings destroyed for the reason that begin of the struggle. Ukraine’s international minister warned that with out a new injection of international weapons, Ukrainian forces wouldn’t be capable to cease Russia from seizing Sievierodonetsk and close by Lysychansk, places which are essential to Russia’s aim of capturing all of Ukraine’s industrial Donbas area. The cities are the final areas below Ukrainian management in Luhansk, one among two provinces that make up the area. Russian forces have made sluggish however persistent advances as they bombarded and sought to encircle each Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk. “The Russians are pounding residential neighborhoods relentlessly,” regional governor Serhiy Haidai wrote in a Telegram put up Friday. “The residents of Sievierodonetsk have forgotten when was the final time there was silence within the metropolis for at the very least half an hour.” Russian shelling killed 4 folks within the metropolis over the previous 24 hours, he mentioned. Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk mentioned late Thursday that at the very least 1,500 folks have been killed in Sievierodonetsk since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. About 12,000 to 13,000 stay within the metropolis – down from a pre-war inhabitants of about 100,000 – and 60% of residential buildings have been destroyed, he mentioned. Stryuk mentioned a Russian reconnaissance and sabotage group entered a metropolis lodge, and that the primary highway between neighboring Lysychansk and the town of Bakhmut to the southwest stays open, however journey is harmful. He mentioned solely 12 folks have been in a position to be evacuated Thursday. In Donetsk, the Donbas area’s different province, Russia-backed rebels claimed Friday to have taken management of Lyman, a big railway hub north of two extra key cities that remained below Ukrainian management. There was no quick affirmation from Ukrainian officers. With Ukraine’s hopes of stopping the Russian advance fading, Ukrainian Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba pleaded with Western nations to supply his nation with extra weapons so its defenders have been outfitted to “push (the Russian forces) again.” “We’d like heavy weapons. The one place the place Russia is healthier than us, it’s the quantity of heavy weapons they’ve. With out artillery, with out a number of launch rocket methods we received’t be capable to push them again,” Kuleba mentioned in a video posted on Twitter Thursday night time. He mentioned the state of affairs within the east was “even worse than folks say. … If you happen to actually take care of Ukraine, weapons, weapons and weapons once more.” In his nightly handle to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had some harsh phrases for the European Union, which has not agreed on a sixth spherical of sanctions that features an embargo on Russian oil. “After all, I’m grateful to our pals who’re selling new sanctions,” the Ukrainian chief mentioned. “However the place did those that block the sixth package deal get a lot energy? Why are they nonetheless allowed to have a lot energy, together with in intra-European procedures? Zelenskyy additionally spoke bluntly about what’s at stake within the battle for jap Ukraine. “Stress on Russia is actually a matter of saving lives,” he mentioned. “And day by day of delay, weak spot, numerous disputes or proposals to ‘appease’ the aggressor on the expense of the sufferer is new killed Ukrainians. And new threats to everybody on our continent.” Moscow pressed the West on Thursday to carry sanctions already imposed over the struggle, searching for to shift the blame for a rising world meals disaster that has been worsened by Kyiv’s incapability to ship tens of millions of tons of grain and different agricultural merchandise whereas below assault. Britain instantly accused Russia of “making an attempt to carry the world to ransom,” insisting there can be no sanctions reduction, and a high US diplomat blasted the “sheer barbarity, sadistic cruelty and lawlessness” of the invasion.