Ukrainian forces thwart Russian river crossing, hit naval ship

Reuters :
Ukrainian forces destroyed a pontoon bridge and parts of a Russian armoured column as it tried to cross a river in the Donbas region, video released by Ukraine’s military showed on Friday, and a Russian naval ship was set afire in the Black Sea.
Ukraine has driven Russian troops back from the second-largest city of Kharkiv in the fastest advance since Kremlin forces pulled away from Kyiv and the northeast over a month ago.
Reuters journalists have confirmed Ukraine is now in control of territory stretching to the banks of the Siverskyi Donets River, around 40 km (25 miles) east of Kharkiv. The city, which had been under fierce bombardment, has been quiet for at least two weeks but fighting continued to the north.
Firefighters doused the smouldering wreckage of the House of Culture in Dergachi, 10 km (six miles) north of Kharkiv, after what local officials said was an overnight Russian missile attack on the building used to distribute aid. Volunteers inside were trying to salvage packages of baby diapers and formula.
“I can’t call it anything but a terrorist act,” the mayor, Vyacheslav Zadorenko, told Reuters. “They wanted to hit the base where we store provisions and create a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Another missile had slammed into the building on Thursday and Russian shelling had wounded a staff member at a clinic and killed a young couple in their home, he said.
Russia, which denies targeting civilians, said its forces had shot down a Ukrainian Su-27 aircraft in the Kharkiv region and disabled the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine.
It was not immediately possible to verify the reports.
Southeast of Kharkiv, Britain said Ukraine had stopped Russian forces crossing the Siverskyi Donets river west of Severodonetsk. Footage released by Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command appeared to show several burnt out military vehicles and segments of a bridge partially submerged in the river and many other damaged or abandoned vehicles, including tanks, nearby.
Reuters could not immediately verify the report, or when or where the clash took place.
The British defence ministry said Russia was investing significant military effort near Severodonetsk and Izium, and trying to break through towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk to complete their takeover of Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region.
Russian-backed separatists said they had taken the Zarya chemical plant in Rubizne near Severodonetsk.
The Kremlin calls its Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to demilitarise a neighbour threatening its security. Ukraine says it poses no threat to Russia and that the deaths of thousands of civilians and destruction of cities and towns show that Russia is waging a war of aggression.

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