Home WORLD EUROPA Ukrainian forces cede the strategic lock of Sievierodonetsk | War in...

Ukrainian forces cede the strategic lock of Sievierodonetsk | War in Ukraine

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In the south under Russian control, an official of the occupation administration was killed in an attack, according to the pro-Russian authorities. This is the first time that they have announced the death of one of their own in this type of attack, which is on the increase.

On Friday morning, Sergei Gaïdaï, governor of the province of Luhansk, where Sievierodonetsk is located, announced on Telegram that the Ukrainian armed forces had received the order to withdraw from the city.

Sievierodonetsk has been bombarded for weeks by the Russian army.

Photo: afp via getty images / Aris Messinis

Bombarded by Russian forces for weeks, Sievierodonetsk is a crucial step in their plan to conquer all of Donbass, an industrial basin in eastern Ukraine already partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

It no longer makes sense to stay on positions that have been constantly bombarded for months [à Sievierodonetsk, alors que la ville a été] almost reduced to ruins by the continual bombardments. »

A quote from Sergey Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province

Sievierodonetsk and its twin city Lyssytchansk, located on the other side of the Donets river, are today almost surrounded by Russian forces, which nibble a little more territory around each day.

Mykolaivka, a town located about twenty kilometers south-west of Lyssytchansk, is lost and in the hands of the Russian army, Mr. Gaidai said, adding that the Russians were now trying to to conquer Girskéa neighboring town.

In the opposite camp, a representative of the pro-Russian separatists, Andrei Marochko, said on Telegram on Friday that all the villages in the Girské area were already under Russian or pro-Russian control.

Thursday, journalists from theAFP who had left Lysytchansk had to jump twice from their car and lie on the ground on the main access road to the city, bombarded by Russian forces with Grad missiles.

Many vehicles were then on the road: tractor-trailers transporting tanks, armored vehicles, jeeps and ambulances going back and forth.

Lyssychansk seemed to be preparing for the arrival of the Russians on Thursday. The main police station was closed, after being bombed on Monday. The entrance steps were full of debris, and the walls badly damaged. People say all the cops are gonetold theAFP a firefighter questioned in the main municipal barracks.

According to regional governor Sergey Gaidai, the continuous shelling of Lysychansk on June 20 destroyed 10 residential blocks and a police station.

Photo: Getty Images / ANATOLII STEPANOV

At the entrance to the city, partly deprived of water, gas and electricity, Ukrainian soldiers were digging trenches, apparently in preparation for a Russian assault.

Another sign of Ukrainian military difficulties, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk, the other province of Donbass, located further south, told theAFP what more no city of the area under his administration was not safe for its inhabitants, the fighting being too violent.

In Kherson, one of the few major cities in the country conquered by the Russians in this conflict, the head of the Department of Family, Youth and Sports, Dmitry Savlutchenko, is deadsaid on Telegram the deputy head of the pro-Russian administration, Kirill Stremoussov, denouncing, like Moscow, an act of terrorism.

According to the local administration, the official, killed in the explosion of his car, was the victim of an attack targeted.

In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have returned to the offensive in the area in an attempt to retake territories lost since the February 24 invasion. And the attacks targeting occupation officials, several of whom were injured, multiplied in parallel in the region of Kherson and the neighboring region of Zaporizhia.

A man examines a building at the Kharkiv Polytechnic Sports Complex hit by a missile.

Photo: Getty Images / SERGEY BOBOK

Russia has also intensified its offensive on the large city of Kharkiv in the northeast for several days.

A team ofAFP on the spot heard strong explosions in the city center in the night, then noted Friday morning that the Polytechnic Institute of Kharkiv had been hit by several missiles. All the windows of the Soviet building were shattered and a huge reinforced concrete gymnasium was destroyed. Its roof partially collapsed. According to a soldier present, there were no casualties.

Russians thought there might be something military in it, but there wasn’the said.

The Russian army claimed on Friday to have killed with high precision weapons more than 200 foreign mercenaries and a hundred Ukrainian nationalists in the regions of Mykolaiv and Kharkiv.

Our file War in Ukraine

Undermined by Russian firepower, Ukrainian forces are now pinning their hopes on the arrival of heavy weapons relentlessly demanded from Western allies, such as the American Himars multiple rocket launchers, whose arrival kyiv announced on Thursday in predicting that the summer will be hot for the Russian occupiers.

At the border, the number of Ukrainians arriving in Poland this week exceeds that of returns, reversing the trend observed for more than a month, we learned from Polish border guards on Friday.

The development comes as Russian forces continue shelling major cities and the destruction of some major businesses, such as the Kremenchuk oil refinery, leaves thousands of people out of work, theAFP the leader of the Ukrainian organization in Poland Euromajdan WarsawNatalia Panchenko.

kyiv’s candidacy validated by theEU

Thursday in Brussels, the 27 countries of the European Union had endorsed Ukraine’s candidacy, a highly symbolic step after four months of Russian invasion.

We have a future togethersaid European Council President Charles Michel on Twitter, congratulating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The latter welcomed by videoconference a victoire policy, which he said his people had been waiting for since Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

In Maidan Square, in the center of kyiv, residents showed their joy. This is our first victory. A small one, before the big one. Our people fought and suffered for this, paying the price with blood, tears and livestold theAFP Darya Kostrova, 20 years old.

But the road to membership, which requires deep reforms for each candidate country, is still long for Kyiv: in May, French President Emmanuel Macron estimated that it would take decades.

The decision of the 27 is a European internal affairsreacted on Friday the spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitri Peskov, stressing that it is important for Moscow that all these processes do not bring more problems for Russia.

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