Ukraine takes back part of Severodonetsk; revered church engulfed in flames


Russian troops were destroying bridges Saturday to prevent Ukraine from moving in reinforcements to Severodonetsk, regional governor Serhiy Haidai said, as the battle for the strategic city dragged on. Nonetheless, he said Ukrainian forces were regaining land and now control about half of the city.
In the neighboring Donetsk province, Ukraine accused Russian forces of bombing a towering wooden monastery that is part of a revered centuries-old Ukrainian Orthodox Church site. Video showed the ornate building engulfed in flames. Before the war, the All Saints Monastery drew tourists and pilgrims. Moscow denied any involvement.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unsparing invasion grinds past the 100-day mark, calls for a negotiated settlement are growing. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres reiterated the need for an immediate cease-fire, urging diplomacy. But the head of Ukraine’s negotiating team, David Arakhamia, says Kyiv is awaiting the delivery of new weapons from Western countries before it engages in fresh peace talks with Moscow.