“Our heroes are holding their positions in Severodonetsk. Intense street fighting continues,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his final video address on Monday evening.
“In the Donetsk region, in addition to artillery fire, the enemy fires from planes and helicopters,” according to the first bulletin of the Ukrainian army general staff on Tuesday morning, confirming that Severodonetsk remains ” the enemy’s core target”.
kyiv is struggling to cope with the influx of Russian troops into Severodonetsk, the largest city still in Ukrainian hands in the Lugansk region.
The Russians “are in the process of destroying the city… As they have not managed to take it in one or two days, they are using air strikes, heavy artillery”, testified Monday evening Oleksandr Striouk, responsible for of the administration of Severodonetsk, worrying about an evacuation of civilians made “virtually impossible” now.
The mayor of Severodonetsk, Oleksandre Striouk, confirmed on Monday that “the situation was changing every hour” and that “intense street fighting” was taking place in his city, under the spotlight for several days as the clashes took place there. concentrate.
For Russia, getting hold of this city would be decisive in order to conquer the entire vast coal basin of Donbass, already partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
– Wheat blackmail –
The other major battle, an economic one, is that of the wheat resources of the cereal superpower that is Ukraine.
The head of the American diplomacy Antony Blinken thus accused Monday Moscow of “blackmail” with the lifting of the international sanctions by its blocking of wheat exports from Ukraine.
He also considered “credible” the information according to which Russia “steals” tons of cereals, “to sell them for its own profit”, with its naval blockade of Ukrainian ports, which prevents the export of cereals and raises fears of food crises, particularly in Africa.
According to the New York Times, Washington warned 14 countries, mainly in Africa, in mid-May that Russian cargo ships were carrying “stolen Ukrainian grain”. Antony Blinken referred to this article from the American daily, without however directly confirming the alert addressed to African countries.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Ankara had accused Russia on Friday of “stealing” and exporting Ukrainian cereals, in particular to Turkey.
“It is important for us to be ready to export our cereals. Russia says that the food shortage is incumbent on Ukraine… This is not true,” President Zelensky insisted on his side on Monday.
The quantity of cereals intended for export and blocked in Ukraine by the Russians could triple by “by the fall” to reach 75 million tonnes, warned Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We need maritime corridors and we are discussing this with Turkey and the United Kingdom” as well as with the UN, continued the Ukrainian president. kyiv is also discussing this subject with Poland and the Baltic States to export small volumes by rail.
– Black Sea –
In the Black Sea, the Ukrainian army assured on Monday that it had largely pushed back the Russian fleet, more than one hundred kilometers from the coast, said the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
In Moscow, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov for his part warned on Monday Western countries against deliveries to kyiv of long-range weapons.
This did not prevent London from announcing the delivery of M270 MLRS rocket launchers with a range of 80 kilometers, in addition to the Himars of the same range promised last week by Washington.
Military experts point out that this range is slightly greater than that of similar Russian systems, which would allow Ukrainian forces to strike enemy artillery from out of reach.
The United States and Europe have also called on Russia to stop the alleged sexual violence committed by its army and its proxies in Ukraine, while Moscow denounced baseless accusations during a meeting of the Council UN security.
The United States also accused Russia of “intimidating” American media correspondents in Moscow, summoned by Russian diplomacy who threatened them with reprisals because of American sanctions.
Meanwhile, in kyiv, Ukrainians flock to observe helmets, food rations and missiles recovered following the withdrawal of the Russian army from occupied areas and displayed in an exhibition called “Ukraine – Crucifixion”.
“Here you can see and touch the war with your finger,” Commissioner Yuri Savtchouk told AFP. “That’s also the goal: to shock people so that they realize what’s going on.”