The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Severodonetsk defenders holding out under merciless shelling, mayor says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met troops in the Zaporizhzhia region on June 5 and visited two towns near the front of battles against the Russian army. (Video: Reuters)

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Ukrainian soldiers in Severodonetsk, the eastern city under continuous Russian bombardment, are holding their positions despite relentless shelling, and troops are “doing their utmost to defend the city,” its mayor, Oleksandr Stryuk, said Tuesday. The situation remains “difficult,” he said, and “the fighting is not fading.”

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He issued the update a day after President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine has “every chance” of winning the battle for Severodonetsk, even though analysts and officials say Russia controls a significant part of the city. At the same time, Moscow is preparing to seize Zaporizhzhia, a major southeastern city that would give Russian troops better access to the heart of the country, Zelensky warned.

Here’s what else to know

  • Zelensky told his country to prepare for a brutal winter amid fuel shortages.
  • The global economy may be headed for years of weak growth and rising prices, the World Bank warned, with fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine aggravating the slowdown.
  • The Kremlin announced more travel bans targeting notable Americans, including several top airline executives and Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen. The measure is largely symbolic.
  • European Council President Charles Michel told the United Nations on Monday that Moscow was creating a global food crisis by weaponizing Ukraine’s grain exports, prompting the Russian ambassador to walk out of the meeting.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.
6:10 p.m.
Headshot of Reis Thebault
National and breaking news reporter
Zelensky warns of a harsh winter amid fuel shortages — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told his country to prepare for a brutal winter. Across most of the country, temperatures begin dropping in October and often sink below freezing during the harsh months that follow. In his evening address Tuesday, Zelensky said his government is “setting up a headquarters to prepare for the next heating season.”He said Ukraine will not sell its gas and coal abroad, instead saving it for domestic use, and he has directed his energy minister to prioritize the rebuilding of power plants damaged during Russia’s invasion. “In the current situation due to Russia’s aggression,” Zelensky said, “this will indeed be the most difficult winter of all the years of independence.”
4:40 p.m.
Headshot of Reis Thebault
National and breaking news reporter
No confirmation of cholera — A World Health Organization spokesperson told The Washington Post on Tuesday that it has not yet received word of a confirmed or suspected case of cholera in Mariupol. The organization has had difficulty getting into the city but is working with on-the-ground partners to gain access.Russian authorities now running the city recently imposed a quarantine, according to an exiled local official. He did not elaborate on the measures, and his statement could not be independently verified, but he said the humanitarian situation there was getting worse.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on Sept. 21, framing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Staged referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are set to take place from Sept. 23 to 27 in the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another staged referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson starting Friday.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can help support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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