After 100 days of war, Russia claims to have fulfilled some of the objectives of the “special military operation” it launched to “denazify” Ukraine and protect its Russian-speaking population. “Victory will be ours”, however, retorted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday June 3 in a video where he appears in front of the presidential administration building in kyiv with several of his collaborators.
Three months after the start of the Russian invasion, the military and humanitarian toll is heavy. For his part, Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had made “a historic and fundamental error” by attacking Ukraine.
The French president considered that his Russian counterpart had made “a historic and fundamental error” by attacking Ukraine and that he was today “isolated”. “I think, and I told him, that he made a historic and fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history,” said Emmanuel Macron, on the 100th day of conflict, in an interview with the French regional press.
“I think he isolated himself. Locking himself in isolation is one thing, knowing how to get out of it is a difficult path”, also underlined Emmanuel Macron. The French president repeated that we must “not humiliate Russia” – remarks very badly perceived in eastern Europe – “so that the day the fighting stops, we can build a way out through the diplomatic channels”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that his country would emerge victorious from the war against Russia, on the 100th day of the conflict, as the EU tightened its sanctions against Moscow, with a gradual oil embargo. Moscow, for its part, claims to have already achieved “some” of its objectives.
Since the invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24 by Vladimir Putin, his army has tripled the portion of Ukrainian territory it controls: with the Crimean peninsula and the occupied territories of Donbass and southern Ukraine, the Russia now controls almost 125,000 km2, according to Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ukraine claims to have pushed back Russian forces in Severodonetsk, a key city in the Donbass region where Moscow is concentrating its offensive in the hope of taking full control.
After being defeated in front of kyiv, the Russian army is now concentrating its efforts in the Donbass, in eastern Ukraine, relentlessly pounding certain cities including Severodonetsk, the subject of a fierce battle for weeks. It is in this region that a long-term “war of attrition” is now being played out, warned NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
According to the Ukrainian presidency, the fighting raged Friday morning in the city center. “The Russian invaders continue to bomb civilian infrastructure and the Ukrainian army in the areas of Severodonetsk, Borivsky and Lyssychansk,” she said.
The driver of a vehicle carrying two journalists from the international news agency Reuters in eastern Ukraine was killed on Friday, while the two reporters suffered minor injuries, the news agency said.
“During a report, two Reuters journalists were slightly injured when they were fired upon while en route to Severodonetsk”, the administrative capital of the Lugansk region which, together with Donetsk , form the Donbass, a Reuters spokesman said.
“They were traveling in a vehicle provided by (pro-Russian) separatists and driven by a driver provided by the separatists. The driver was killed,” he added. No other details were given on their identity, their state of health or the circumstances of these shootings.
Switzerland insisted on Friday on the prohibition of the transfer of Swiss war material to Ukraine via a third country, in accordance with its doctrine of military neutrality. The delivery of war material in the form of assembly elements or spare parts to European armament companies will however remain possible, even if the manufactured war material is likely to be sent to Ukraine, the Federal Council has decided .
Switzerland has received requests from Germany and Denmark to send war material to Ukraine, the government in Bern said in a statement.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara on Friday accused Russia of “stealing” and exporting Ukrainian grain, particularly to Turkey. “Russia shamelessly steals grain from Ukraine and exports it from Crimea abroad, especially to Turkey,” Vasyl Bodnar denounced in a message on Twitter.
“We asked for Turkey’s help to solve the problem,” he added. The representative of kyiv, who was speaking on the occasion of the 100th day of the invasion of his country by Russia, drew up a general assessment of the losses suffered by his country and the damage caused by the Russian army. Ukraine was on the way just before the war to becoming the world’s third largest exporter of wheat and alone accounted for half of the world’s trade in sunflower seeds and oil.
“No problem”: Vladimir Putin on Friday proposed several solutions to export cereals blocked in Ukraine because of the conflict, the current president of the African Union Macky Sall saying he was “reassured” after a meeting with the head of the Russian state.
The offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine has paralyzed the food exports of these two agricultural giants, raising fears of a global food crisis, particularly in Africa. Faced with growing concerns, Senegalese President Macky Sall spoke for three hours on Friday in Sochi (southwest of Russia) with Vladimir Putin.