Zelensky accuses Russia in Donbass of 'genocide.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, has accused Russia of "genocide" within the eastern Donbass.

Zelensky accuses Russia in Donbass of 'genocide.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, has accused Russia of "genocide" within the eastern Donbass. This is where Severodonetsk was under a flood of bombs.

On Thursday, Russian forces also shelled Kharkiv in Ukraine's northeast, the second-largest city. This was a blow to normal life that had been restored in recent weeks.

Volodymyr Zelensky, a Thursday night TV host, stated that the current offensive by the Donbass occupiers could make the region uninhabited. He also accused the invaders seeking to "burn down Severodonetsk" and other towns in this region.

Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces are engaged in "deportation" as well as "mass killing" of civilians in the Donbass. He also denounced "an obvious Russian policy of genocide." Volodymyr Zelensky’s accusations echo Moscow's, who justified its invasion with an alleged "genocide” by the Ukrainians against Russian-speaking people in the Donbass.

The Ukrainian parliament passed an April resolution calling the Russian military's actions "genocide". It also urged other countries and international organizations not to follow suit. This expression has been used by Joe Biden, the US president, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

After failing to seize Kharkiv and kyiv, the Russian army has refocused their efforts on the conquest of Donbass. This industrial region is already controlled partially by pro-Russian separatists. The Russian army is threatening Severodonetsk with bombs and support. It could be under siege just like Mariupol, a major port of the south-east that was largely destroyed during weeks of siege.

According to a Pentagon senior official, the Russian army wants to surround the city and Lysytchansk. He said that Russian forces had captured most of northeast Severodonetsk. However, fighting continues.

Alexander Stryuk (head of Severodonetsk's civil and military administration), stated that between 12,000 to 13,000 people still live in the city which was home to 100,000 residents before the war. According to Ukrainian media, he stated that "Sixty percent" of Severodonetsk’s housing stock was destroyed and that 85-90% of the city’s buildings were damaged. Major restoration is required.

At dawn on Friday, the air alert sirens were heard again in Kharviv. This is where bombings from the previous day left nine civilians dead and 19 others injured. According to the Ukrainian president, a 5-month-old boy and his father were both killed in the attack, while the mother sustained serious injuries. According to an AFP journalist, missiles struck the Pavlove pole district in the middle-north part of the city. He witnessed a young man being killed, and four others being injured. All were taken to the hospital, including an older man who had lost his leg and arm.

Russia had stopped its offensive against Kharkiv in May to concentrate more troops into eastern and southern Ukraine. The city has been making a slow but steady return to normal over the past few days, including reopening the metro's circulation. Russian forces are still based east of Kharkiv. In preparation for an attack, the Ukrainians set up new trenches around Kharkiv and constructed concrete blocks, sandbags, and road checkpoints.

Russia, analysts believe, wants to consolidate its territorial gains in the eastern and southern Ukraine prior to any negotiated solution. On Thursday, it rejected an Italian peace plan. Under the UN guarantee, this provided for a ceasefire, withdrawal of troops, entry of Ukraine to the EU, but not NATO, as well as a status for autonomy for the Donbass, which would remain under Ukrainian control.

The blockade at its ports means that Ukraine cannot export its grain. However, President Vladimir Putin said that he was ready to help overcome the "food crisis". This is provided that the sanctions against Moscow are lifted before this happens. To circumvent the blockade Germany established a "railway link" with Ukraine in order to allow kyiv to export its grain. This was stated by General Chris Cavoli, the next head US forces in Europe.

Russia continues to consolidate its control over the territory it has occupied for three months on the south front. She said that she would permit residents of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and other regions to apply for Russian passports through "a simplified process". Ukraine denounced the "forced" granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians, indicating Moscow's willingness for an outright annexation.

Mariupol's town hall official announced that children will now be able to take summer vacations and instead follow a program of de-Ukrainization and preparation for the Russian program. This includes language lessons and readings in literature and history.

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