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Russia takes territory in eastern Ukraine; U.S. to send long-range rocket systems

Firefighters in Ukraine’s eastern town of Bakhmut were containing a fire in a warehouse hit by a missile on May 27. (Video: Reuters)

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Russian troops and allied forces made steady gains in eastern Ukraine Friday, seizing a strategic railway hub and advancing on other cities at the center of the contested Donbas region.

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The battlefield losses have raised concerns in Washington, where the Biden administration was preparing to send advanced long-range rocket systems to Ukraine, according to U.S. officials.

Russia’s progress, while incremental, has solidified its control over most of Luhansk, a key territory in the east. The moves also brought President Vladimir Putin closer to his stated goal of capturing both Luhansk and Donetsk, which together make up Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland.

Ukrainian officials vowed to thwart the Russian advance but acknowledged that some forces may need to retreat.

“Donbas will be Ukrainian,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an evening address Friday.

Here’s what else to know

  • Russian forces control more than 95 percent of the Luhansk oblast, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
  • The port of Mariupol will reopen to incoming ships by the end of the month, a Russia-backed separatist leader said Friday.
  • While Russian forces have made some gains in their attempt to entrap key areas in eastern Ukraine, several decisions revealed “tactical failures,” Britain’s Defense Ministry said Friday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for sending more weapons to Ukraine, including multiple launch rocket systems.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.