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Ukraine war: EU makes more ammo, Zelenskyy meets nuclear chief, Russian bombing intensifies

An injured man stands next to the burned car after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2023.
An injured man stands next to the burned car after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2023. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AFP
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Multiple Russian bombings caused casualties and evacuations as Zelenskyy continued frontline visits on Monday.

Ukrainian town at the frontline of the war to evacuate municipal workers

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The city of Avdiivka announced on Monday the evacuation of its municipal employees, who are located on the front in eastern Ukraine. 

"Avdiivka looks increasingly like a place taken from post-apocalyptic films. Therefore, a difficult decision was made to evacuate municipal workers who at least tried to maintain the cleanliness and vitality of the city," Vitaliy Barabash, head of the local military administration, announced on social media.

He "strongly recommends leaving the city", adding that the Russian rockets and projectiles "spare nothing and no one".

Russian troops have been trying for months to take Avdiivka, which has been on the frontline since 2014 and the start of the war between Ukrainian forces and Kremlin-led separatists. As a result, the city is regularly bombarded by Russian forces.

In June, the Russians cut off one of the two main access roads to the city and positioned themselves to the east and south. In recent months, they have advanced and taken villages to the southwest and north, as if to take Avdiivka in a pincer movement, failing to be able to take it frontally.

Although only 13km from Donetsk, the Russian-controlled capital of the region, the city had 30,000 inhabitants when the Kremlin invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Pounded by artillery and more recently by the air force, it has only some 2,300 inhabitants, including 1,960 identified who receive humanitarian aid, Barabash added.

Avdiivka is currently one of the two most difficult theatres of combat on the front, with Bakhmut, located 60km further north.

Zelenskyy meets IAEA chief and frontline troops in Zaporizhia

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, met at a hydroelectric station in the Zaporizhia region on Monday.

"I had a rich exchange with Mr Zelenskyy on the protection of the site and its employees," Grossi wrote in a tweet, accompanied by a photo of the two men.

The two leaders visited the site of a hydroelectric plant in Dnieper responsible for supplying the nuclear power plant, occupied by the Russian army and regularly suffering from power cuts.

Earlier, Zelenskyy was in the region of Zaporizhia, "in the front line" on the southern front.

"Thank you for protecting our state (and) all of us. Thank you for protecting our homes, our territorial integrity and life in Ukraine," he told them, according to a statement from the Ukrainian presidency.

Last week, Volodymyr Zelenskyy moved to the southern Kherson region, which is partially occupied by Russia, after going near Bakhmut, the epicentre of fighting in the east, and in the northeast region of the Kharkiv region.

On Telegram, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was "certain" of a Ukrainian victory over Russia, after more than a year of war against Moscow's army.

According to the Ukrainian presidency, Zelenskyy visited the command post of the operational group of troops and held a meeting with the military officials of the Zaporizhia region on Monday.

Efrem Lukatsky/AP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with with U.N. atomic energy chief Rafael Mariano Grossi during a visit to Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Monday March 27, 2023.Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Two dead as Russian missiles hit multiple cities in Donetsk

A Russian bombardment in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk left at least two dead and 29 injured, the regional governor announced on Monday.

"There are two dead and 29 injured in Sloviansk, administrative buildings and offices have been damaged as well as five buildings and seven houses," Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Facebook, adding that Russian forces had "hit the centre of the city with two S-300 missiles".

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The governor added that another city in the Donetsk region, Druzhkivka, had also been targeted by an attack. 

"Two S-300 missiles hit the Druzhkivka orphanage and almost completely destroyed it," he said, adding that the strike had no casualties according to initial information.

"Another day that began with terrorism from the Russian Federation. The aggressor state struck our city of Sloviansk," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on social media.

"The enemy must know: Ukraine will not forgive the torture inflicted on our people, will not forgive these deaths and injuries," he added.

Russian forces have made capturing the Donetsk region their top military priority and announced last year that they had annexed it, although multiple reports rule out complete Russian control in the region.

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Kin Cheung/AP
Ukrainian soldiers fire an AS90 as they take part in a military exercise at a military training camp in an undisclosed location in England, Friday, March 24, 2023.Kin Cheung/AP

Poland and EU aim to boost munitions production for Ukraine

Officials from Poland and the European Union on Monday discussed artillery munitions manufacturing as part of a new, €2 billion program to supply Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces and to replenish Europe’s dwindling stocks.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton visited a munition plant in Nowa Deba, in southeast Poland, accompanied by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.

The visit came just days after Brussels announced a program to reimburse countries offering artillery ammunition to Ukraine from a €1 billion fund. The program also aims to spend an equal amount on increasing production in 11 countries with such manufacturing capacity.

Breton said the EU is “determined” to quickly do what is needed in light of a conflict that's expected to drag on. He also encouraged other EU countries to transfer ammunition to Ukraine as soon as possible.

Morawiecki said munitions are what's most urgent needed by Ukraine's armed forces with Kyiv slated to receive a million rounds later this year.

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He said Ukraine uses up to 6,000 artillery shells daily as opposed to Russian forces which use 50,000 rounds of various types of ammunition per day.

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