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Ukraine Fears Repeat Of Mariupol Horrors Elsewhere In Donbas

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Moscow-backed separatists pounded eastern Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region Friday, claiming to capture a railway hub, as Ukrainian officials pleaded for the sophisticated Western weapons they say they need to stop the onslaught.

The advance of Russian forces raised fears that cities in the region would undergo the same horrors inflicted on the people of the port city Mariupol in the weeks before it fell.

The fighting Friday focused on two key cities: Sievierodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk. They are the last areas under Ukrainian control in Luhansk, one of two provinces that make up the Donbas and where Russia-backed separatists have already controlled some territory for eight years. Authorities say 1,500 people in Sievierodonetsk have already died since the war’s start three months ago. Russia-backed rebels also said they’d taken the railway hub of Lyman.

The governor of Luhansk warned that Ukrainian soldiers may have to retreat from Sievierodonetsk to avoid being surrounded. But he predicted an ultimate Ukrainian victory. “The Russians will not be able to capture Luhansk region in the coming days, as analysts predict,″ Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram on Friday. “We will have enough forces and means to defend ourselves.”

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