As fighting rages in Ukraine’s east, the EU pledges more aid | Russia-Ukraine war News
The ongoing battles in eastern Ukraine could decide the fate of the country as Russian forces launch an all-out offensive to encircle the Ukrainian army in Russia, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said. two cities located between the River Siverskyi Donets in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said Russian forces did not give up their attempt to cross the river.
“We are now observing the most active phase of all-out aggression that Russia has unleashed against our country,” he told a televised news conference on Tuesday. “The above situation [eastern] The future is extremely difficult, because the fate of this country is probably being decided [there] right away.”
The easternmost part of the Donbas hollow held by Ukraine, the city of Severodonetsk on the river’s east bank and its twin Lysychansk on the west bank, became a key battleground there, with Russian forces advancing from three directions to surround them.
Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk province, said: “The enemy has concentrated his efforts on carrying out an attack to encircle Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.”
“The intensity of the fires in Severodonetsk has increased many times over, they are simply destroying the city,” he said on TV, adding that about 15,000 people were living there.
Farther west in Sloviansk, one of the largest Donbas cities still in Ukrainian hands, air raid sirens sounded Tuesday but the streets were still bustling, with a packed market , children riding bicycles and a street musician playing violin by the supermarket.
Haidai said Ukrainian forces had driven Russian troops out of the village of Toshkivka in the south of Severodonetsk. Russian-backed separatists say they have taken control of Svitlodarsk, south of Bakhmut. None of these reports can be independently verified.
The push to the east comes three months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine in what he described as a “special military operation” aimed at “denuclearizing” the country. Ukraine’s Western allies say the invasion is a war of aggression.
As well as the battles in the east, Ukraine’s southern region has become the focus of Russian forces, who control much of the territory including the city of Kherson.
Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Moscow, says recent developments in Kherson, where Russia has established a new administration and begun to introduce the Russian ruble as a currency, show a potential sign about “how things might look” in the future in other parts of the country occupied by Moscow’s forces.
“There is a request to place a regular Russian military base in that area,” Jabbari said, citing the deputy head of the Russian-backed administration that was made in Kherson. “[And] As of Monday, the Russian currency – the ruble – is currently in use in Kherson, Russian has been recognized as one of the official languages in the region, along with Ukrainian. ”
But while the offensive is now pushing deep to the east and south, it has also met with significant setbacks. In Ukraine’s biggest military success to date, Russian forces withdrew from the capital, Kyiv, in March. The country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, suffered one of the heaviest air raids. of the war, was slowly returning to normal operations after Russian troops were largely pushed out of artillery range.
EU pledges more aid but remains divided over oil embargo
Three months after a war that some Western experts predict Russia will win within days, Moscow is still reaping only limited gains that represent the worst military losses in decades, while much of Ukraine was devastated. About 6.5 million people fled abroad, thousands perished and cities were reduced to rubble.
Speaking Tuesday to global business leaders attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) is needed per months to rebuild the country, while calling on its audience to cut off trade with Russia altogether.
EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen pledged 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in microfinance support in what she said was “an economic relief operation without precedent in recent history “.
But the European bloc has not found a common voice regarding Russia’s oil embargo against Hungary and still expresses its opposition. In a letter signed May 23 and published Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban handle The president of the European Council says sanctions should not be discussed at next week’s summit of the bloc’s leaders. Earlier, von der Leyen said she hoped to secure an oil embargo within “a few days”.
The head of the EU commission also mentioned the great international divisions of the war, including growing food shortages and soaring prices in the developing countries that import Ukraine’s grain. She called for talks with Moscow on unlocking wheat exports that are currently stuck in Ukraine because of Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea.
“It is not for Russia’s sake, but for Russia’s sake that people are dying of hunger in the world,” von der Leyen told Reuters news agency of the WEF. “Therefore, I think first of all we should look at the dialogue with Russia, even if there is no agreement on this wheat being brought out of Ukraine.”