Al-Jazeera correspondent in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine reported that several fires continued to erupt inside the city of Lyschansk and a number of nearby villages, due to the continuous heavy Russian bombardment on the city and its surroundings for several days.

As powerful explosions rocked the city of Mykolaiv, the US government pledged a new aid package.

Al-Jazeera correspondent added that the civil defense crews are now unable to put out the fires.

And Ukrainian military sources have confirmed that the Russian forces have brought military reinforcements to the vicinity of Lysichansk, and the sources added that the Ukrainian forces are still preventing the Russian forces from advancing.

Fighting continues around Lysichansk, the last major city not yet captured by the Russians, in the Lugansk region, one of two Donbass industrial districts that Moscow seeks to fully control.

And the Russian Defense Ministry wrote - in a statement on Friday - that "the (Russian) forces have reached the gates of Lyschansk, and the Ukrainian army is suffering heavy losses."


Difficulties and pressures

And Sergei Gaidai, governor of the Lugansk region, confirmed that the Russians "are trying to encircle our army from the south and west" near this city.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that the situation was still "very difficult" in Lysekhansk.

This comes while the British Ministry of Defense stated that Russian forces "confirm that they have captured the village of Previlia" northwest of this city, and added that "the heavy fighting is continuing to seize the heights likely surrounding the oil refinery."

This reading of the situation was repeated by the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in Washington, and said that "the Russian forces are likely trying to cross the northeastern corner of the refinery to advance towards Lyschansk."

And the General Staff of the French armies considered that even if “Russian forces exerted severe pressure on Lyschansk”, they do not threaten “at this stage the general cohesion of the Ukrainian defense system in the Donbass”, but he also spoke of “a strengthening of Russian armored capabilities, an intensification of air support and strikes on the rear rows.” Ukrainian forces.

Previous Russian bombing of eastern Ukraine (Reuters)

disputed

As for the Kherson region (south), which is occupied by the Russians and their separatist allies, it is still - according to the same source - "the subject of a military and political conflict, and the Ukrainian armed forces continue to target Russian military sites there."

The Ukrainian army confirmed that it had struck a "crowd of enemy forces and military equipment" near the town of Belozerka, and announced the deaths of 35 Russian soldiers and the destruction of what it called the shields of the enemy.

In other field developments, the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevich, said - in a post on social media - that strong explosions were heard in the city in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"There are strong explosions in the city," he wrote on the Telegram messaging app. "Stay in the shelters," while the cause of the explosions is not yet known, and Reuters could not independently verify the news.

Sirens sounded throughout the Mykolaiv region before the explosions.


Raids and support

Earlier, the Ukrainian military said that two Russian "Sukhoi 30" planes carried out two air strikes with phosphorous bombs on Serpent Island in the Black Sea.

This bombing comes two days after the Ukrainian forces announced the recapture of the island from the Russian forces, who said they withdrew from it to prove that they do not impede the exit of grain ships from the ports of Ukraine.

In other developments, the US government pledged a new $820 million military aid package to Ukraine;

To strengthen its defense against the Russian invasion, as she put it.

The Pentagon announced that the aid package will include more ammunition for the HIMARS Rapid-Motion Artillery Missile System (HIMS), rocket launchers, two Nasmas surface-to-air missile defense systems, artillery ammunition, and artillery defense radar systems.

Much of the new assistance will not come from US stockpiles, the department said, but rather through an agreement with US arms companies.

According to Washington, it has pledged or already provided weapons to Ukraine worth nearly $7 billion, since the start of the war at the end of last February.

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