UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – As fighting escalates in the Donbass, the 27 EU members are divided over Ukraine’s bid for membership.
Ukraine’s request for candidate status for the European Union will soon be answered, the President of the European Commission promised on Saturday on a visit to kyiv, as Russian forces rage in eastern country. “Today’s discussions will allow us to finalize our assessment by the end of next week.“said Ursula von der Leyen, after an interview with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
SEE ALSO – EU accession: the European Commission will finalize its opinionnext weekon Ukraine’s ambitions
Ukraine demands alegal commitmentallowing him to obtain the status of official candidate for the European Union as quickly as possible, but the Twenty-Seven are very divided on the question. “We want to support Ukraine on its European journey“, assured Ursula von der Leyen. “We want to look to the future. You have done a lot, but there is still a lot to do, to fight corruption for example“.
For Ukraine, candidate status would be “a starting point“, with the key to a long process of negotiations and reforms, recognized Volodymyr Zelensky. Still, he said in a video message Saturday night, “we will work even more powerfully at all levels to get the right decision. She is very important to us“.
On the ground, the fighting in eastern Ukraine is intensifying, while the Russian army is still pounding the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. The area around Chortkiv in western Ukraine was also shelled in the evening, regional governor Volodymyr Trouch said. In a first report released on Sunday, the governor reports that a strike left at least 22 injured, including civilians. “At 7:46 p.m. yesterday, Chortkiv was hit by four missiles, all fired from the Black Sea“said Volodymyr Trouch during a press conference broadcast on Facebook, specifying that”there were 22 injured, all hospitalized“.
In a sign of Moscow’s determination to get its hands on what the Kremlin considers Russian land, the first Russian passports have been handed over to 23 residents of Kherson, a large city in southern Ukraine occupied and administratively managed by pro-Russian authorities. , according to the official Russian agency TASS. A hospital is also under construction by the Russian army in Lugansk (east). “Russia still has sufficient potential to wage a long war against our countrysaid the Military Intelligence Department (GUR) within the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
A pro-Russian separatist leader does not want to change the sentence of foreigners sentenced to death
A pro-Russian separatist leader in eastern Ukraine said on Sunday he did not want to change the sentence of the two Britons and the Moroccan who were sentenced to death for fighting with the Ukrainian army, finding it “just“. “They came to Ukraine to kill civilians for money. This is why I see no conditions for any mitigation or modification of sentenceDenis Pushilin, the leader of the separatist region of Donetsk, who condemned them, told reporters.
According to Denis Pushilin,the court imposed a perfectly just punishmentto the three fighters. He also accused the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, of not being concerned about their fate and of not having made contact with the separatist authorities. A friend of Moroccan Brahim Saadoun sentenced to death after being captured in Ukraine where he was fighting against Russian forces called on the British government on Sunday to “save“.
Towns “without electricity»
Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday accused Russia of wantingdevastate every city in the Donbass, every one, without exaggeration“. The battle for the key city of Sieverodonetsk and its twin Lisichansk looks increasingly violent. “In order to discourage our troops, the enemy is pounding our positions and trying to win the fight from artillery fire“, indicated in the night from Saturday to Sunday the Ukrainian operational command of the southern region. “Fierce street fighting continues in Sieverodonetsksaid President Zelensky on Saturday evening, while pointing out the recapture by Ukrainian forces of localities such as Tavriyské in the Kherson region, and in that of Zaporijzhya.
According to a member of the Donetsk military administration, “all major cities in the Free Territory“of the Donbass basin”are without electricity“Since Saturday early evening. On television, the governor of the Lugansk region Sergiï Gaïdaï described a situation “hardat Popasna, at Sieverodonetsk and near the Siversky Donets river, the level of which has dropped so much that he fears new Russian attempts to cross the river to establish a new bridgehead near Bilogorivka.
In Sieverodonetsk, the Ukrainian defense is entrenched on the site of an Azot chemical plant. “Constant fighting continues“Said Serguiï Gaïdaï. “The enclosure of the Azot factory is powerfully bombarded for hours, using large caliber weapons“, he detailed, referring to “street fights with guns“but also the destruction”floor by floorby Russian artillery from buildings used as shelters by Ukrainian forces.
Connection restored between the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and the IAEA
The connection between the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia (south), under Russian control since the beginning of March, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is restored, almost a month and a half after the loss of transmissions , announced the Ukrainian operator, Energoatom.
The connection had been lost on May 30, “when the Russians cut Ukrainian mobile operator Vodafone to Energodar“, site of the plant, “with which the IAEA has a data transmission contract“said Energoatom in a press release. Since the end of May, however,all data for this period had been stored on secure servers and transferred to the IAEA immediately after the connection was restored (Friday)“, specifies the press release.
Blockade of the port of Odessa
The Ukrainians are constantly asking their Western allies for new, more powerful weapons and ammunition. The delivery of multiple rocket launcher systems, including Himars with a range of about 80 km, slightly greater than Russian systems, was announced by Washington and London.
France has said it is ready to help lift the blockade of the port of Odessa, in order to get grain out of Ukraine, the blockage of which is causing a world food crisis. The announcement was made by an adviser to Emmanuel Macron, who received Senegalese President Macky Sall, also president of the African Union, on Friday. The latter had called on Thursday for the demining of the port of Odessa and indicated that he had received assurances from President Vladimir Putin that the Russians would not take advantage of it to attack, as the Ukrainians fear.
SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Zelensky calls for end to Russian blockade of Black Sea ports
According to the operational command, the Russians have expanded their fleet in the Black Sea by mobilizing “two large landing ships“. The Russian invasion launched on February 24 paralyzed grain exports from Ukraine, a major player in this sector, and caused a spike in grain and fertilizer prices, threatening a food crisis in many countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East. orientals. A crisis that will hang over the first ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization, the first in more than four years, which begins on Sunday.
McDonald’s rebranded asVkusno & tochka »
The former restaurants in Russia of the McDonald’s group, which announced its departure after more than 30 years of presence in reaction to the conflict in Ukraine, have been renamed “Vkousno i tochka” (Delicious. Point) by their new Russian owner.
This Sunday, 15 first establishments in Moscow will make this change. Then, fifty other restaurants will be open on Monday. The signs will not be the only ones to change their names, because the famous hamburgers will also be renamed. For his part, the owner of the group, Alexander Govor, assured that the 51,000 former employees of McDonald’s across Russia would keep their jobs.
SEE ALSO – Former McDonald’s restaurants in Russia rebranded as “Vkusno i tochka»