“With artillery support, the enemy carried out an assault on Severodonetsk, achieved partial success and pushed our units back from the city center. Hostilities continue,” the Ukrainian General Staff said in its update. morning posted on Facebook.

Sergei Gaïdaï, governor of the Lugansk region – of which Severodonetsk is the administrative center for the part controlled by the Ukrainian authorities – confirmed that the Ukrainian forces had been pushed back from the center of the city.

“The street fights continue (…) the Russians continue to destroy the city”, he wrote Monday morning on Facebook, posting photos of buildings in ruins or in flames.

Mr. Gaïdaï had warned Sunday that the situation was becoming “extremely difficult” in Severodonetsk for the defenders of the city.

“The enemy wants to completely isolate Severodonetsk by preventing any passage of men or ammunition,” he said, saying he feared that Russia would send “all its reserves to take the city” within 48 hours.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his evening video message, on Sunday called the latest fighting in Severodonetsk “very violent”, saying Moscow is deploying insufficiently trained troops and using them as “cannon fodder”.

The capture of this city would open up the road to another major city, Kramatorsk, in Moscow, a stage to conquer the entire Donbass basin, a mainly Russian-speaking region partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

On the diplomatic level, after promising kyiv the day before a response “by the end of next week” to Ukraine’s request to start a process of joining the European Union, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, acknowledged on Sunday that “the challenge (would be) to come out of the European Council (scheduled for June 23 and 24) with a united position that reflects the enormity of these historic decisions”.

For their part, the Member States of the World Trade Organization (WTO) met on Sunday in Geneva with the particular objective of helping to find a solution to the risk of a serious food crisis that the invasion by Russia from Ukraine, whose fertile lands traditionally feed hundreds of millions of people on the planet.

Tensions surfaced in a closed-door meeting where delegates took the floor to condemn Russian aggression. The Ukrainian delegate, who also spoke, was greeted with a standing ovation, according to WTO spokesman Dan Pruzin.

Then, just before Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Rechetnikov took the floor, around 30 delegates “left the room,” Pruzin said.

The sanctions imposed on Moscow did not prevent Russia from raking in 93 billion euros in revenue from the export of fossil fuels during the first 100 days of war, the majority of which went to the EU, according to the report of an independent research center published on Monday.

– Cluster bombs –

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it destroyed in Chortkiv, in a rare strike on western Ukraine, “a large warehouse of anti-tank missile systems, man-portable air defense systems and shells supplied to the kyiv regime by the United States and European countries”.

The strike on this town, located 140 km from the Romanian border, left 22 injured, according to the governor of this region.

In Mikolaiv, a major port on the Dnieper estuary in the south, the Russian advance has been stopped on the outskirts of the city, the fighting is turning into trench warfare and the authorities are taking the measure of the bombardment of infrastructure, according to a team of AFP journalists on site.

There, the Ukrainian army dug trenches facing the Russians. “The Russians are bluffing. There are many of them, they have a lot of weapons, old and new, but they are not soldiers,” Serguiy, 54, a Ukrainian brigade captain, said on Sunday as his comrades in arms fired. towards enemy positions.

On Monday, Amnesty International accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, saying hundreds of civilians had died in relentless attacks on Kharkiv, many carried out with cluster bombs.

After an in-depth investigation, the human rights NGO claims to have found evidence showing that in seven attacks on neighborhoods in Ukraine’s second largest city in the northeast of the country, Russian forces used 9N210 and 9N235 cluster munitions and cluster munitions, two categories prohibited by international treaties.

Ukrainian justice has opened more than 12,000 war crimes investigations in the country since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the prosecution.