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Pounded by Russian offensive in the east, Ukraine rules out ceasefire

Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow while Russia stepped up its attack in the eastern Donbas region and stopped sending…

Ukraine ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow while Russia stepped up its attack in the eastern Donbas region and stopped sending gas to Finland in its latest response to Western sanctions and its deepening international isolation.

Polish President Andrzej Duda told lawmakers in Kyiv that the international community had to demand Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukrainian territory and that sacrificing even an inch of it would be a “huge blow” to the entire West.

“Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to (President Vladimir) Putin’s demands,” Duda said, the first foreign leader to address Ukrainian lawmakers in person since Russia’s February 24 invasion.

“Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future.” Shortly after he finished speaking, an air raid siren was heard in central Kyiv, a reminder that the nation remained at war even as the front lines have shifted hundreds kilometres to the south and east.

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After ending weeks of resistance by the last Ukrainian fighters in the strategic southeastern port of Mariupol, Russia is waging a major offensive in Luhansk, one of two provinces in Donbas.

Russian-backed separatists already controlled parts of Luhansk and the neighbouring Donetsk province before the invasion, but Moscow wants to seize the remaining Ukrainian-held territory in the region.

The Russian defence ministry said on Sunday its forces pounded Ukrainian command centres, troops and ammunition depots in Donbas and the Mykolayiv region in the south with air strikes and artillery.

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