A woman sits with some belongings in front of her apartment building destroyed by Russian strikes, in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, July 10, 2022 (AFP/Anatolii Stepanov)
Ukraine warned on Monday that the Russian army was preparing to launch a new offensive on key towns in eastern Donbass, while President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Canada of undermining sanctions against Russia.
Europe, for its part, has entered a period of great uncertainty regarding the continuation of gas deliveries by Russia, the Russian giant Gazprom starting maintenance work on the two Nord Stream 1 gas pipelines, which supply Germany. and other western European countries.
This stop for ten days was in theory only to be a technical formality, but, with the war in Ukraine and the showdown between Moscow and the West on energy, no one can bet on the future.
And so as not to give Moscow any additional pretext, Germany obtained from Canada the return of turbines under maintenance for the same gas pipeline, which on Monday aroused the ire of Volodymyr Zelensky who announced the summons of the Canadian ambassador to Kyiv “due to an absolutely unacceptable exception to the sanctions regime against Russia”.
This decision “will be perceived in Moscow only as a sign of weakness”, he warned, believing that Russia could in any case, if it wished, “completely cut off the gas supply to Europe at the moment most acute”.
The turbines were undergoing maintenance at a Canadian site belonging to the German group Siemens, and Russia blamed their absence for the reduction in deliveries via the gas pipeline.
On the ground, the Ukrainians anticipate fierce fighting to come in the Donetsk region (east), which has become the main objective of Russian troops.
“There are signs that enemy units are preparing to intensify combat operations in the direction of Kramatorsk and Bakhmout,” the Ukrainian forces’ general staff warned in the morning.
Rescuers on site after a deadly strike on a building in Chassiv Iar, eastern Ukraine, on July 10, 2022 ( AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA )
Kramatorsk, the administrative center of Donbass still under Ukrainian control, and its neighbor Sloviansk are considered to be the next targets of the Russian military in their plan to completely conquer Donbass, four and a half months after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
This mining basin has been partially controlled since 2014 by separatists supported by Moscow after the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
– 33 dead in Chassiv Iar, six in Kharkiv –
Meanwhile, the death toll from Sunday’s shelling of an apartment building in Chassiv Yar, another locality in the Donetsk region, has risen to 33, the Ukrainian Emergency Situations Service announced late Monday. emergency.
“The bodies of 33 people, including a child” about ten years old were cleared from the rubble and nine people were saved, detailed the service on Facebook.
A teacher cleans rubble after a gymnasium was destroyed by Russian fire, in Kharkiv on July 10, 2022 (AFP / SERGEY BOBOK)
AFP journalists saw dozens of rescuers working in the ruins of this partially destroyed building on Monday, helped by a mechanical digger.
The spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense, Igor Konashenkov, for his part assured that “more than 300” Ukrainian fighters had perished near Chassiv Iar, without however saying when.
In Kharkiv, in the northeast, “civilian buildings – a shopping center and housing – came under enemy fire in the morning. Several missiles hit houses. Garages and cars were also destroyed”, declared the head of its administration, Oleg Synegoubov.
According to the regional prosecutor’s office, “31 people were injured, including two children aged four and 16. Six civilians, including a 17-year-old boy and his father, were killed”.
Russian planes also fired four missiles at the region of Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea (south), and there is no information for the moment on possible victims, underlined kyiv.
Rescuers evacuate a body after a Russian strike on a building in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine, on July 10, 2022 (AFP/Anatolii Stepanov)
According to Serguii Khlan, an adviser to the head of the military administration loyal to the Ukrainian government in the Kherson region (south), a Russian military command center, radars and air defense systems were destroyed overnight by the Ukrainian army in Tavryisk, a locality occupied by the Russians located about sixty kilometers east of Kherson.
– The morale of the Ukrainian command –
While the Ukrainian army has reported numerous bombardments throughout eastern Ukraine, it sees a pause in Russian ground attacks.
“The enemy in our operational area remains behind the lines of defense, does not advance by land, does not have the possibilities and capabilities to create new strike groups,” the Southern Operational Command commented on Monday.
“The quantitative advantages of the Russian army are offset by the precision of the missiles and artillery available to Ukraine,” said the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiï Danilov.
“Western weapons delivered to the Ukrainian Armed Forces are already changing the course of the war. And we haven’t even started!” he added.
“The Ukrainian army is holding firm”, had hammered Sunday evening Volodymyr Zelensky.
Map of the front line in eastern Ukraine locating a deadly strike in Chassiv Iar on the night of Saturday to Sunday (AFP / )
“This war could last longer than we had planned or hoped for (…) We must stay focused and continue to support Ukraine in every way possible,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the next day in kyiv. .
– A leader of the occupying forces assassinated –
At the same time, the occupation authorities announced that a bomb attack had claimed the life of the head of the administration installed by the Russians in Veliki, in the Kharkiv region, partially conquered by Moscow.
This “terrorist act” was committed, on an unspecified date, by a group of Ukrainian saboteurs who infiltrated behind Russian lines, according to these sources.
The occupation authorities of the Kherson region also assured Monday that they had foiled an attempted attack against their leader in this territory that Ukrainian soldiers are trying to retake.
In recent weeks, attacks against officials put in place by Moscow have multiplied in the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia, also in southern Ukraine. At the end of June, an official of the occupation administration had been killed in Kherson.
Evolution of gas reserves communicated by the main operators in the EU, which represented 52% of reserve capacity on June 15 (AFP / )
In this context, Russia has made it known that, through a decree by Vladimir Putin made public on Monday, it wanted to facilitate access to Russian nationality for all Ukrainians.
A measure that the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs soon after “firmly” condemned as constituting “a new encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, incompatible with the norms and principles of international law”.