Lare worried Ukrainians. According to Volodymyr Zelensky, it is to be expected “that Russia will intensify its attacks this week”, he warned on Sunday, June 19, in the evening. And this, a few days before the discussions of the Twenty-Seven on a candidacy of kyiv to the EU. This Monday “opens a truly historic week”, proclaimed Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday evening in his daily video address, “we will have the European Union’s answer on Ukraine’s candidate status”. “Since 1991, there have been few decisions as fateful for Ukraine as the one we are awaiting today”, he added, saying he was “convinced that only a positive response is in the interest 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 intensify its attacks this week,” warned the president. “We are ready,” he added.
According to Zelensky, the Russians are “regrouping their forces in the direction of Kharkiv (northeast) and in the Zaporizhia region (south), and are still bombing the fuel infrastructure”. But “we will respond to these attacks”, he assured, while conceding “significant losses”, without quantifying them. “Our army is holding up,” he said again. The 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,” said Sergiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province. , which constitutes, with that of Donetsk, the Donbass.
Fighting rages in the south
Toshkivka lies south of Lyssychansk, itself separated from Sievierodonetsk by the Donets River alone. In Lysychansk, there are signs of preparation 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. The governor also denied Sunday on Telegram the total capture of Sievierodonetsk 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 Sievierodonetsk. Fighting is raging around this key agglomeration to gain control over the whole of Donbass, which has been partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014. On the southern front, the Ukrainian army assures that the Russian forces, “unable to advance on the ground”, proceed by bombardment. The Russian ministry assured on Sunday that it had hit a factory in Mykolaiv (South) with cruise missiles, and destroyed “10 155 mm M777 howitzers and up to twenty armored vehicles supplied to the kyiv regime by the West during of the past ten days. Statements impossible to verify from an independent source.
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.
A war that could last for years
This war could last “for years”, estimated Sunday in the German daily Picturethe Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, calling on Western countries to support kyiv in the long term. Facing 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, you need to use less gas to generate electricity. Instead, coal-fired power plants will have to be used more,” the German Economy Ministry said on Sunday, as Olaf Scholz’s coalition government promised to abandon this energy source by 2030. “It’s bitter, but it’s essential to reduce gas consumption,” said the Ecologist Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Habeck. “There should be no 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 group Italian ENI, also very dependent on deliveries from Moscow, was chosen on Sunday by Qatar to join French TotalEnergies in the North Field East (NFE) project, which aims to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) production by 60%. of the Gulf countries by 2027.