Moscow continues to step up its firepower in the Donbass. There are, according to Sergei Gaïdaï, governor of the Lugansk region, the units withdrawn from the Kharkiv region (north-east), the attackers of the siege of Mariupol (south-east), the militias of the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk , Chechen forces and troops mobilized as reinforcements from Siberia and the Russian Far East.

“All Russian forces are concentrated in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions,” Gaidai said on Telegram. Same with armament. “Everything is concentrated here,” added the governor, including the famous anti-aircraft and anti-missile complexes S-300 and S-400, equivalent to the American Patriots.

Crucial point of this battle of Donbass, Severodonetsk, in the region of Lugansk, is under fire from Moscow “24 hours a day”, was indignant Mr. Gaïdaï.

“They are using scorched earth tactics, they are deliberately destroying the city” with aerial bombardments, multiple rocket launchers, mortars or tanks firing at buildings, he added.

The Ukrainian army announced on Facebook on Sunday at least seven civilians killed and eight others injured in bombings in 45 municipalities in the Donetsk region.

The fate of Severodonetsk resembles that of Mariupol, which today presents an apocalyptic landscape after several weeks of siege. Several neighborhoods are nothing but a tangle of sheet metal and debris, bars of buildings ripped open by missiles and shells.

Hundreds of thousands of residents fled. Others died. An unknown but undoubtedly enormous balance sheet.

– Verdict – 

“What can I still hope for? What to say when the house is destroyed, when life is destroyed?”, said Angela Kopytsa, a 52-year-old former childcare worker met by AFP during a press trip organized by the Russian ministry. of the defense.

In kyiv, the verdict in the first war crimes trial is due on Monday. A 21-year-old Russian soldier is accused of killing a 62-year-old civilian who was pushing his bike while on the phone.

During the trial last week, Vadim Chichimarine said he was “sincerely sorry” and “asked forgiveness” from the victim’s widow, justifying his act by the “orders” received at that time. The prosecutor requested life imprisonment.

According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office, the country has opened more than 12,000 war crimes investigations since February 24, the start of the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian president is continuing his videoconference tour with world leaders. Volodymyr Zelensky will speak on Monday at the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is meeting again in Davos after two years of suspension due to the pandemic. He should take advantage of this platform to call for more aid, financial and military.

If this intervention will be on screen, several Ukrainian leaders will be present in the Swiss station, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kouleba or the mayor of kyiv Vitali Klitschko.

These Ukrainians will not meet Russians, excluded from the WEF. The “Russian house” usually open in the city during the Forum will be replaced by a “Russian war crimes house”, where various support events with Ukrainian personalities will be organized.

Faced with the gratin of the world economy, Mr. Zelensky could also evoke kyiv’s desire to join the European Union, a subject that divides the members of the EU.

– Negotiation table –

Polish President Andrezj Duda indeed supported Ukraine’s candidacy on Sunday during his speech to the Ukrainian Parliament, the first for a head of state since the war.

“We must respect” the peoples who “shed their blood” to belong to Europe, he launched, targeting French President Emmanuel Macron and his proposal for a “European Political Community”, as well as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opposed to granting Ukraine a “short cut” in EU membership.

The French Minister Delegate for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, defended these positions again on Sunday, stressing that Ukraine’s accession to the EU would take “probably 15 or 20 years”.

The Russians say they are ready to return to the negotiating table, placing the responsibility for the cessation of talks on kyiv.

“For our part, we are ready to continue the dialogue,” Vladimir Medinski, Kremlin adviser in charge of negotiations with kyiv, said on Sunday in an interview with Belarusian television. “The freezing of the talks was entirely an initiative of Ukraine”, he added, believing that the ball was “in their court”.

The two belligerents had started discussions after Moscow’s failure to take kyiv. However, these had fizzled out, despite several meetings in Turkey.