The Twenty-Seven are considering Thursday its candidacy for Ukraine to join the European Union, a highly symbolic milestone nearly four months after its invasion by the Russian army. Meanwhile, Russian forces continue to tighten their grip in the Donbass on the twin cities of Lysytchansk and Severodonetsk.
Information to remember:
- The Twenty-Seven are considering Thursday its candidacy for Ukraine to join the European Union
- The European executive issued a favorable opinion on Ukraine’s candidacy a few days ago
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on Wednesday from Berlin to set up “a Marshall plan”
- The food crisis will make “millions of victims” due to infectious diseases
- More than 150 cultural sites have been damaged or destroyed
The pocket of Ukrainian resistance around these two strategic industrial cities is increasingly tightly surrounded by the Russians, in this region of Lugansk destroyed by artillery battles.
“As actively as we are fighting for a positive decision by the European Union on Ukraine’s candidacy, we are fighting daily to obtain deliveries of modern weapons,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted on Wednesday evening. participate virtually in the European Council summit in Brussels.
“We expect a key European decision in the evening,” said the man who has been repeating for weeks that his former Soviet republic belongs to the “European family”. He was to continue Thursday his “telephone marathon” with European leaders to snatch a consensus in favor of yes.
The EU executive has issued a favorable opinion on Ukraine’s candidacy
He can count on the support of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who called on European leaders to “rise to the occasion” by acceding to kyiv’s request.
The European executive also issued a favorable opinion on Ukraine’s candidacy a few days ago and on Tuesday, France, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, indicated that a “total consensus” between the Twenty-Seven had emerged on this issue.
“Lyssychansk is under fire from artillery fire and air attacks”, according to the last point Wednesday evening from Serguiï Gaïdaï, the governor of the Lugansk region. “They want to destroy all of Donbass, step by step. Entirely. Lysytchansk, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk… They want to transform all the cities into Mariupol”, a city martyred by the war, President Zelensky declared on the night of Wednesday to Thursday. .
The two cities of Lyssytchansk and Severodonetsk are a key step for the Russians in their plan to conquer the entire Donbass, a mainly Russian-speaking basin and partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014. In Lyssytchansk, an AFP team has saw Ukrainian soldiers digging a trench to serve as a firing post in a central street on Wednesday, and erecting barricades with barbed wire and branches.
Kharkiv emptied of its inhabitants
Further north, Kharkiv, the second city of Ukraine, held by the Ukrainians and bombarded daily, the streets seemed emptied of their inhabitants on Wednesday, according to another AFP team on the spot. “So many people have left. There are only grannies left”, testifies Roman Pohuliay, 19, pink Hello Kitty sweatshirt and diamond in his ear, in a street of this city located 50 km from the Russian border.
And two grain storage terminals were hit by Russian shelling on Wednesday in the port city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine, their operators told AFP. “The occupiers hit Mykolaiv with seven missiles,” President Zelensky confirmed in his last video message overnight Wednesday to Thursday, reporting five injuries.
According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian forces have likely retaken the eastern bank of the Inhoulets River, located between Mykolaiv, still held by the Ukrainians, and Kherson, further east, occupied by the Russians.
The ports of Mykolaiv and Odessa have been blocked since the beginning of the conflict, which has paralyzed the maritime transport of agricultural raw materials, the main export route for Ukraine until then.
The German chancellor calls for the establishment of a “Marshall plan”
The European summit must be followed by another of the G7 and a third of NATO, in which the American president Joe Biden will participate. The question of financial aid to kyiv should be at the heart of the discussions of these three meetings. The G7 summit in Germany this weekend will produce “a set of concrete proposals to increase pressure on Russia and show our collective support for Ukraine,” a senior White House official promised on Wednesday. The White House stressed that Volodymyr Zelensky would intervene, virtually, during these two meetings.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Wednesday from Berlin to set up “a Marshall plan” for the reconstruction of Ukraine, with a budget of several billion euros.
In addition, the journalists’ defense organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) will file a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) after its publication on Wednesday of an investigation according to which the Ukrainian photo-reporter Maks Levin and a soldier who accompanied him were “executed”, and probably tortured, by Russian soldiers in March.
The food crisis will make “millions of victims” due to infectious diseases
The global food crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine will claim millions of victims by making large populations more vulnerable to infectious diseases, at the risk of triggering a new health crisis, warned the head of the Global Fund, an organization that fights against AIDS , malaria and tuberculosis.
Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports has halted grain exports from the world’s 4th largest exporter of wheat and corn, threatening food supplies in many countries.
However, these food shortages risk not only leading to famines but also weakening the resistance of populations exposed to infectious diseases because of deficient nutrition, underlined Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to AFP this week. .
More than 150 cultural sites damaged or destroyed
More than 150 cultural sites have been partially or totally destroyed in nearly four months of war in Ukraine, the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (Unesco) announced on Thursday. “According to the verifications carried out by its experts, 152 cultural sites have been partially or totally destroyed due to the fighting, including 70 religious buildings, 30 historic buildings, 18 cultural centers, 15 monuments, 12 museums and 7 libraries”, indicates Unesco in a press release.
Three regions have concentrated three-quarters of the damage since February 24, the date of the start of the Russian invasion: those of Donetsk (45 sites affected), Kharkiv (40) and kyiv (26), specifies the UN organization.