Russia Says It Advances Near Chasiv Yar in Eastern Ukraine 

A Ukrainian tank of the 17th Tank Brigade fires at Russian positions in Chasiv Yar, the site of fierce battles with the Russian troops in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP)
A Ukrainian tank of the 17th Tank Brigade fires at Russian positions in Chasiv Yar, the site of fierce battles with the Russian troops in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP)
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Russia Says It Advances Near Chasiv Yar in Eastern Ukraine 

A Ukrainian tank of the 17th Tank Brigade fires at Russian positions in Chasiv Yar, the site of fierce battles with the Russian troops in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP)
A Ukrainian tank of the 17th Tank Brigade fires at Russian positions in Chasiv Yar, the site of fierce battles with the Russian troops in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP)

Russia said on Sunday its forces had advanced towards the town of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine and seized control of the settlement of Bohdanivka, as Kyiv said it urgently needed promised US support to fend off a full-scale offensive.

"Units of the Southern grouping group of forces have fully liberated the settlement of Bohdanivka ... and have improved the situation along the front line," Russia's defense ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Control of Bohdanivka, located just to the west of the Russian-held city of Bakhmut, has been in doubt for some time.

The village lies some 5 kilometers (3 miles) east of Chasiv Yar, a heavily fortified hilltop town and forward artillery base for the Ukrainian army, providing protection for some of the area's largest cities including Kramatorsk and Slaviansk.

The Russian report could not be independently verified and there was no comment from Ukraine regarding Bohdanivka.

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces, in its daily report, mentioned Bohdanivka as one of a series of villages where it said Ukrainian forces repelled 13 enemy attacks. But it gave no specific details.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his daily video address that he held talks on Sunday with army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi and Defence Minister Rustem Umerov about Chasiv Yar and other hot spots on the frontline.

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press", aired on Sunday, Zelenskiy urged Washington, where the US House of Representatives has approved a $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, to quickly turn the bill into law and proceed with the transfer of weapons ahead of an anticipated Russian offensive.

"We are preparing (for an offensive)," Zelenskiy said, reiterating Syrskyi's warning that Russia aims to capture the Chasiv Yar by May 9, one of Russia's largest public holidays and which marks Moscow's victory over Nazi forces in World War II.

"I hope we will be able to stay, and the weapons will come on time, and we will repel the enemy, and then we'll break the plans of the Russian Federation with regards to this full-scale offensive."

Ukraine says it expects Russia to launch a broad offensive in spring and summer after capturing the town of Avdiivka, east of Chasiv Yar, during the winter.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry denied last week that Russia had captured all of Bohdanivka, while acknowledging it had lost some positions in the village in eastern Donetsk region.



Putin Warns West Not to Let Ukraine Use Its Missiles to Hit Russia

 Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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Putin Warns West Not to Let Ukraine Use Its Missiles to Hit Russia

 Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that NATO members in Europe were playing with fire by proposing to let Ukraine use Western weapons to strike inside Russia, which he said could trigger a global conflict.

More than two years into the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two, as the West considers what to do about Russian military advances, Putin is increasingly evoking the risk of a global war, while Western leaders play it down.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with Western weapons, a view supported by some European members of the transatlantic alliance but not the United States.

Russian forces have advanced into Ukraine's Kharkiv province safe in the knowledge that Ukraine cannot attack missile launchers being fired deep inside Russia because it cannot use the Western missiles that have the required range.

Meanwhile, Western-made air defenses cannot attempt to down Russian rockets until they cross the Ukrainian border, only 25 km (15 miles) or so from Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv.

"Constant escalation can lead to serious consequences," Putin told reporters in Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

"If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the United States behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons?"

"It's hard to say - do they want a global conflict?"

Putin said Ukrainian strikes with long-range weapons would need Western satellite, intelligence and military help - so the West would have to be directly involved in such attacks.

He said sending French troops to Ukraine would also be a step towards global conflict and that smaller countries considering deeper involvement "should be aware of what they are playing with" as they had small land areas and dense populations.

"This is a factor that they should keep in mind before talking about striking deep into Russian territory. This is a serious thing, and we are of course watching it very closely," Putin said.

RUSSIAN ADVANCES TRIGGER DEBATE IN WEST

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 touched off the worst breakdown in relations with the West for 60 years.

The invasion has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians, driven millions to flee abroad, and reduced neighborhoods and whole cities to rubble.

Putin casts the war as part of a struggle with the West, which he says is exploiting Ukraine as part of a wider plan to encroach on what he considers Moscow's sphere of influence.

The West and Ukraine cast the attack as a simple land grab: Russia controls 18% of Ukraine, and the crisis is now escalating into what diplomats say is its most dangerous phase.

Russian officials say Moscow's patience is wearing thin after Ukrainian attacks on Russian cities, oil refineries and elements of its nuclear early-warning system.

Putin said Kyiv and its Western backers had provoked Russia's offensive on the Kharkiv region by ignoring repeated warnings not to let Ukraine attack the adjacent Russian region of Belgorod.