Ukraine expects Moscow to ‘step up attacks’ ahead of EU decision
We must expect ” for Russia to step up its attacks this week », warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday evening (June 19), a few days before the discussions of the Twenty-Seven on a candidacy for kyiv to join the EU.
This Monday ” opens a truly historic week Mr. Zelensky proclaimed Sunday evening in his daily video address, “ we will have the answer of the European Union on the status of candidate of Ukraine “.
“ Since 1991, there have been few decisions as fateful for Ukraine as the one we await today “, he added, saying to himself “ convinced that only a positive response is in the interests of all of Europe “.
After a positive recommendation from the European Commission last Friday, the member countries of the EU meet on Thursday and Friday to decide whether to officially grant kyiv the status of candidate for membership. A green light requires unanimity of the 27.
Until then, “ obviously we expect Russia to step up its attacks this week “warned the Ukrainian president. ” We are ready “, he added.
According to Mr. Zelensky, the Russians “ regroup their forces in the direction of Kharkiv (north-east) and in the region of Zaporizhya (south), and still bombard our fuel infrastructures “. But ” we will respond to these attacks “, he assured, while conceding “ significant losses “.
” Our army is holding on “, he still welcomed.
Russians “ attempted a breakthrough in the Toshkivka area, they were partially successful, but our artillery worked and we can say that the breakthrough attempt was not successful “, reported Serguiï Gaïdaï, governor of the province of Lugansk, which constitutes, with that of Donestk, the Donbass.
Toshkiva lies south of Lyssychansk, itself separated from Severodonetsk by the Donets River alone.
In Lysychansk, there are signs of preparations for street fighting: soldiers are digging holes and putting up barbed wire, and police are placing burnt-out vehicles across the streets to slow traffic.
Mr. Gaïdaï also denied Sunday on Telegram the total capture of Severodonetsk by the Russians, acknowledging however that they ” control the majority “.
The Russian Ministry of Defense for its part claimed the capture of Metolkine, in the south-eastern outskirts of Severodonetsk.
Fighting is raging around this key agglomeration to gain control over the whole of Donbass, partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
On the southern front, the Ukrainian army ensures that the Russian forces, ” unable to advance on the ground », Proceed by bombing.
The Russian ministry said on Sunday that it had hit a factory in Mykolaiv (south) with cruise missiles, and destroyed “ ten 155 mm M777 howitzers and up to twenty armored vehicles supplied to the kyiv regime by the West in the past ten days “. Statements impossible to verify from an independent source.
Return of coal
This port and industrial city of almost half a million inhabitants before the war is still under Ukrainian control, but it is close to the Kherson region, almost entirely occupied by the Russians.
It remains a target of Moscow, as it lies on the road to Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port, 130 km to the south-west near Moldova, also still under Ukrainian control and at the center of discussions on blocked export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain.
This war could go on years “, Estimated Sunday in the German daily Picture NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, calling on Western countries to support kyiv over time.
Faced with the EU, Moscow holds the weapon of hydrocarbons. Countries like Germany are seeking to compensate for the declines in Russian gas deliveries, even if it means resorting to less ecological solutions.
“ To reduce gas consumption, less gas must be used to generate electricity. Instead, coal-fired power plants will have to be used more “, said Sunday the German Ministry of Economy, while the coalition government of Olaf Scholz had promised to abandon this source of energy by 2030.
” It’s bitter, but it’s essential to reduce gas consumption “, advanced the Ecologist Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Habeck. “We shouldn’t have any illusions, we are in a showdown with Putin”.
Austria also announced on Sunday the reactivation of a coal-fired power plant closed in the spring of 2020 by a government wanting to eliminate this polluting source of energy and produce 100% electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
As for the Italian group ENI, also very dependent on deliveries from Moscow, it was chosen on Sunday by Qatar to join the French TotalEnergies in the North Field East (NFE) project, which aims to increase the production of liquefied natural gas by 60%. (LNG) of the Gulf countries by 2027.