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Russian assaults intensify in eastern Ukraine Updated: 2022-05-26 17:10:01 KST

Battling is intensifying in the city of Sievierodonetsk in the eastern Luhansk region of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian presidential administration on Wednesday reported constant mortar shelling in the area.
Serhiy Haidai, the head of the region's military administration, said the shelling had "increased exponentially."
The Russian offensive has also intensified in the city of Lyman in the Donetsk region.
That's according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry on Wednesday.
If Russian forces take control of Lyman, an important rail hub, it would allow them to encircle nearby regions more easily.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Wednesday that Russia was trying to "blackmail" the international community by saying it will unblock Black Sea ports in return for lesser sanctions.

“Now today which we saw the statement by the Russian official from the Russian I think deputy foreign minister, who said, for example, Russia will unblock Ukrainian ports to allow exports of Ukrainian agricultural products to the global market if sanctions imposed against Russia are lifted. So this is a clear blackmail, you could not find a better example of a blackmail in international relations."

Kuleba added that if Russia does not lift its blocking of Ukrainian crop exports, it could cause a multi-year food crisis.
He also encouraged more sanctions to be made on Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at a State Council meeting on Wednesday that the country's state pension and minimum wage will rise substantially from June 1st.

"We had a long discussion with our government about it, there were arguments inside the government too but decisions have been made. And today I want to announce it: I suggest to increase pensions by 10 percent from June 1st."

Pensions were already raised by 8.6 percent at the beginning of the year, but Putin says that inflation in Russia has risen sharply in 2022to 17.5 percent.
However, he denied that the rise is related to the war in Ukraine.
Lee Shi-hoo, Arirang News.
Reporter : slee@arirang.com
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