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Battle for Snake Island control continues, Ukraine seeks to evacuate Azovstal fighters

According to Kyiv, a Russian navy logistics ship near Snake Island, a small but strategic outpost in the Black Sea, has been damaged, while relatives of Ukrainian soldiers holed up in Mariupol’s besieged steelworks pleaded for them to be saved, Reuters reported.

Renewed fighting around Snake Island in recent days is considered by some Ukrainian officials a battle for control of the western Black Sea coast. Meanwhile, Russian forces struggle to make headway in Ukraine’s north and east.

Another Russian ship damaged

“Thanks to the actions of our naval seamen, the support vessel Vsevolod Bobrov caught fire – it is one of the newest in the Russian fleet,” Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odesa regional military administration said.

⚡️Official: Another Russian ship hit by Ukrainian navy near Zmiinyi Island.

As a result of the attack, Vsevolod Bobrov, one of the newest ships of the Russian Navy, caught fire, according to Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odesa regional military administration.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) May 12, 2022

Satellite imagery provided by Maxar, a private US-based company, showed the aftermath of what probably were missile attacks on a Russian Serna-class landing craft near the island, close to Ukraine’s sea border with Romania.

Images also showed recent damage to buildings on the island, which became famous for the bold refusal of its Ukrainian defenders to surrender to a Russian warship, early in the invasion.

Russian forces strugling

Russia faced further setbacks on the battlefield as Ukraine drove Moscow’s troops out of the region around the second-largest city Kharkiv, the fastest advance since forcing the Kremlin’s forces 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 Siverskiy Donets River, around 40 km east of Kharkiv.

Footage released by Ukrainian Airborne Forces Command appeared to show several burnt military vehicles and segments of a bridge seemingly destroyed and partially submerged in a river.

Even the US Defence Secretary mentioned Ukrainian’s successes on the eastern front.

Today, I had another phone call with my 🇺🇦 counterpart @oleksiireznikov. We discussed the situation in eastern Ukraine, and we coordinated U.S. and intl. security assistance efforts to ensure the Ukrainians have the capabilities they need to keep countering Russia's aggression.

— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) May 12, 2022

Azovstal steelworks defenders still trapped

In the capital Kyiv, wives and relatives of Ukrainian fighters holed up in the Mariupol steel plant marched and chanted for their rescue. Russian forces have been bombarding the steelworks, the last bastion of Ukrainian defenders in a city almost completely controlled by Russia after a siege of more than two months.

“I want all the defenders who are there to return home so that they can live a normal life with their children and relatives,” said Maria Zimareva, whose brother is inside the steelworks. “Why nobody helps them?” she asked.

Kyiv said it was working on a rescue of the servicemen, many badly injured.

“We have started a new round of negotiations around a road map for an (evacuation) operation. And we will start with those who are badly wounded,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told 1+1 television channel.

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