KYIV, UKRAINE: Russian forces pushed deeper into Donbas Tuesday with Ukraine announcing the capture of the frontline village of Toshkivka near the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, the site of fierce weeks-long fighting.
“As of today, according to our information, Toshkivka is controlled entirely by the Russians,” Roman Vlasenko, the head of the Severodonetsk district told Ukrainian television, adding that the battle for Donbas is “now in full swing”.
Toshkivka, with a pre-war population of around 5,000 people, is approximately 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Severodonetsk, where Russian troops and have been battling for weeks against Kyiv’s.
“The entirety of the Lugansk region is now the epicentre of fighting between Ukraine and the Russian army,” he said.
‘SERIOUS’ CONSEQUENCES OVER LITHUANIA RAIL TRANSIT BAN
Russia’s security council chief Nikolai Patrushev on Tuesday warned EU and NATO member Lithuania of “serious” consequences over restrictions on the rail transit of EU-sanctioned goods to Moscow’s exclave of Kaliningrad.
Moscow accused the Baltic nation of banning the rail transit of goods subject to sanctions imposed by the European Union over Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.
“Russia will certainly respond to such hostile actions,” Patrushev said at a regional security meeting in Kaliningrad, a Russian region bordering Lithuania and Poland.
He added that “appropriate measures” are in the works and they “will be taken in the near future”.
“Their consequences will have a serious negative impact on the population of Lithuania,” he said in remarks reported by Russian news agencies.
Also on Tuesday, Russia’s foreign ministry summoned the EU ambassador to Moscow, Markus Ederer, over the “anti-Russian restrictions” on cargo transit between Kaliningrad and mainland Russia.
“The inadmissibility of such actions, which violate the relevant legal and political obligations of the European Union and lead to an escalation of tensions, was pointed out,” the ministry said in a statement.
Speaking after the meeting, Ederer said he called on the Russian side to “remain calm” and “resolve this issue diplomatically”, TASS news agency reported.
Moscow has demanded that Lithuania immediately lift the restrictions, which Vilnius says were taken in compliance with European sanctions over Ukraine.
Wedged between EU and NATO members Lithuania and Poland, the heavily militarised exclave of Kaliningrad does not share a land border with Russia.
The region on the shores of the Baltic Sea is the base of Russia’s Baltic Fleet and Moscow says it has deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles there.