On the 68th day of the war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities hope for further evacuations of civilians in Mariupol. Hundreds were picked up on Sunday and brought from the Azovstal Steelworks. At the same time, the bombings in the east of the country continue, killing at least eight civilians. The point to remember this Monday.
- Civilian evacuation operations must resume in Mariupol after a hundred civilians were taken care of from the Azovstal factory on Sunday
- At least eight civilians were killed in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions
- EU energy ministers meet in Brussels over Russian gas
- Russian teams will be banned from next season’s European competitions, including the Champions League
- Listen to Radio France’s daily podcast on the situation in Ukraine here
The situation on the military front
The Russian army is gaining ground in the east
The east of the country is facing a slow advance of Russian forces, outnumbered and better equipped with heavy weapons, although the Russian army has not “No significant territorial gains recorded” according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
So the Russians are pursuing “Frontier Advances” towards the city of Lyman in the Donetsk region, but are blocked by their opponents “before February 24 at the front”so the ISW.
Eight civilians killed
Eight civilians were killed in bombings in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions on Sunday, including four alone in the town of Lyman, near the front lines and under direct threat from the Russian advance, regional governors said. “Russian shelling in Donetsk region: four civilians killed, all from Lyman”, The governor of Donetsk region Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram, adding that seven civilians were injured in the city, from which the Ukrainian army was recently forced to withdraw.
A senior Ukrainian military official stressed “The Difficult Situation” in the east of the country, especially in the Izium and Sieverodonetsk regions, “where the enemy has concentrated most of his efforts and his most combat-ready troops”.
In the south, evacuations must resume in Mariupol
Ukrainian authorities on Monday planned fresh evacuations of Mariupol residents after a first operation left first civilians of the Azovstal factory under siege by Russian forces in this strategic port in south-eastern Ukraine.
“More than a hundred civilians have already been evacuated, mostly women and children,” said the President. These civilians were expected in Zaporijjia, a city some 200 km northwest of Mariupol that is still under Ukrainian control even as the front line draws closer.
“For the first time since the beginning of the war, this vital humanitarian corridor has started to function. For the first time in this area there has been two days of real ceasefire.” of the steel complex, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message on Sunday evening. “Last but not least!”
Two Russian patrol boats destroyed, according to Ukraine
Also to the east, the Ukrainian army claimed to have destroyed two Russian Raptor patrol boats near Snake Island in the Black Sea, which has become a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance since Moscow forces’ invasion began on February 24. The Russian Raptor-class patrol boats are among the fastest shuttles in the Russian Navy, reaching almost 90 km/h at full speed. They can carry up to 20 soldiers in addition to the crew of three.
No end of war on May 9th
As May 9 approaches, the date when Russia commemorates with great fanfare the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, the governor of the Lugansk region said he had been expecting it “an intensification of bombing”. But for those who predicted a special military action for May 9, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seemed to dismiss the matter.
“Our military will not artificially adjust its actions to any date, including VE Day”Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Italian television Mediaset broadcast on Sunday. “The pace of the operation in Ukraine depends, first of all, on the need to minimize possible risks to the civilian population and the Russian military,” he added.
The diplomatic situation and international reactions
Israel criticizes Lavrov’s statements about Hitler
Asked, in this same interview with Italian TV Mediaset, about Russian claims the war is aimed at “denazify” Ukraine, when President Zelenskyi is Jewish, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov caused an outcry by saying: “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood”.
His Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid assessed these statements “Scandalous, unforgivable and a horrific historical error‘ and summoned the Russian ambassador “Clarification”.
Urgent meeting on Russian gas
The energy ministers of the countries of the European Union will hold an emergency meeting on the issue of Russian gas on Monday. The first step is to agree on a common position on Russia’s demand to pay for its gas supplies in rubles, under threat of disruption. Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, last week halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland after the two European countries refused to make payments on the terms demanded by Moscow.
Ahead of this crisis meeting, French Minister for Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili said that European countries would continue to pay for Russian gas supplies in euros and dollars, according to the signed contracts.
Deliveries of Russian gas to European Union countries and Turkey fell sharply between January and April compared to the same period in 2021, Gazprom also said. while the ones exploded to Chinaup 60% in a year, states the gas giant.
The EU completes a phased embargo on Russian oil
The European Commission will complete a sixth round of sanctions against Russia on Tuesday. In particular, this new package of sanctions must include a ban on the purchase of Russian gas. “There is political will to halt oil purchases from Russia and we will have action and a decision on a phased withdrawal next week.”said a European official involved in the discussions on Sunday, without hiding that the decision was not taken “not easy to implement”.
Two landlocked European countries, Hungary and Slovakia, depend on Russian pipelines. They have no ports and are not connected to any European pipeline. The European Union also wants to avoid a global increase in oil prices.
Russia excluded from the next European Cup
UEFA has announced that next season no Russian club will take part in European competitions, namely Champions League, Europa League or Europa League Conference. Russia is also excluded from the next women’s European Championship. There it is replaced by Portugal.
Denmark and Sweden reopen embassies in Kyiv
Denmark announced the reopening of its embassy in Kyiv as a show of support for Ukraine during a surprise visit by its Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod. “To reopen the doors of the Danish embassy today is a very strong symbol of Danish support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”he said in a statement.
“On Wednesday the Swedish embassy in Kyiv will reopen (…) Sweden will continue to stand by Ukraine”Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde then announced on Twitter.
The humanitarian situation and solidarity with Ukrainians
Sylvie Vartan releases a record in support of Ukraine
77-year-old singer Sylvie Vartan says she’s releasing a record, all proceeds of which will be donated to Unicef in aid of Ukraine. “When I saw the pictures of these Ukrainian people under the bombs trying to flee, it was a shock. it brought back a lot of pictures for me and intense feelings of my childhood”, confides Sylvie Vartan in a press release. A story that mirrors his own. When she was 8 years old, she fled Bulgaria, then under Soviet occupation, with his parents and his brother Eddie. It was 1952. “We have the same DNA. Even though the situation was very different, because we were fleeing not from a war but from a brutal dictatorship, I understand the feelings of the Ukrainian people,” says the singer. To be found in this article.