The Russian army tightened, Thursday, June 2, its hold on the strategic city of Severodonetsk, in the Donbass, on the 99th day of a war which could last “many months”, warns Washington. After the failure of their lightning offensive to bring down the kyiv regime, the Russian forces are concentrating on the conquest of the Donbass region, where a war of attrition is now being played out after nearly three months of conflict.

And the steamroller tactic applied by Moscow to slowly nibble away at the Donbass seems to be paying off. In Severodonetsk, the administrative capital of the Lugansk region, now “80% of the city is occupied” by Russian forces and street fighting is raging, said the governor of the Lugansk region, Serguiï Gaïdaï, in the night. from Wednesday to Thursday.

Ukrainian forces seemed on Wednesday close to losing Severodonetsk, a strategic city in Donbass, as they await the arrival of new American weapons in a conflict that could last “many months” according to Washington.

“It could end tomorrow, if Russia ends its aggression”, but “we see no sign in this direction at this stage”, estimated, Wednesday, the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a conference meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Washington. This assessment of the duration of the war was confirmed by a Western security official on condition of anonymity: “the conflict should last until the end of this year, and probably beyond”.

The United States will send four Himars (multiple rocket launchers mounted on light armor), 1,000 additional Javelin anti-tank missiles and four Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine as part of a new package of military aid, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl said Ukrainian forces needed about three weeks of training to use the Himars, highly mobile guided-missile rocket launchers that could give the Ukrainians a distance advantage and precision in the Battle of Donbass.

Carrying six rockets at a time with ranges of more than 70 kilometers, twice that of US howitzers already in battlefield use, the Himars system “will provide Ukraine with additional precision in targeting from a distance”, Colin Kahl assured reporters.

The Ukrainian journalist-translator who accompanied the French journalist Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, killed Monday in Ukraine, assured that their team had taken all possible precautions in such circumstances.

In a post on her Facebook account on Wednesday evening, Oksana Leuta wrote: “I am asked if all the safety rules had been respected (…) We followed an officially established route, with support, respecting all the rules”. “We wore bulletproof vests and helmets, we were equipped with first aid kits and tourniquets, in an armored humanitarian vehicle which had to evacuate civilians”, adds the fixer.

Between 60 and 100 Ukrainian soldiers die every day in combat and some 500 others are injured, assured the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the American media Newsmax. “The situation in the east is really difficult,” said the 44-year-old leader, who spoke through an interpreter. This high number of casualties comes as Ukrainian troops are fighting fiercely against a powerful concentration of Russian forces trying to take control of the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine.

Three months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a majority of Danes – around 67% – voted on Wednesday to join European Union defense policy, by a near-complete tally. The victory of the “yes” to this Danish referendum comes in the wake of Finnish and Swedish applications for NATO membership, the war in Ukraine prompting several European countries to modify their defense policy.

“Denmark tonight sent an important signal. To our allies in Europe and NATO, and to (President Vladimir) Putin. We are showing that when Putin invades a free country and threatens stability in Europe, the rest of us we bring together,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told supporters. “There was a Europe before February 24, before the Russian invasion and there is a Europe after,” she added.

Brazilian football legend Pelé asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to “stop the invasion” of Ukraine, in a letter posted on Instagram ahead of the 2022 World Cup play-off match between Ukraine and Scotland. “I want to use today’s match as an opportunity to make a request: stop the invasion. There is absolutely nothing that justifies such violence,” wrote ‘King’ Pele in the letter to Vladimir Poutine.

“Today, Ukrainians try to forget, at least for 90 minutes, the tragedy that still affects their country. Trying to qualify for a World Cup is already an arduous task. It is almost impossible with so many lives at stake,” added Pelé, who is undergoing chemotherapy for a colon tumor detected in September. “I have lived eight decades, during which I have seen wars and hate speeches by leaders in the name of the security of their people. We cannot go back to this time, we must evolve”, insisted Pelé, 81 years old, for whom the conflict in Ukraine is “perverse” and “unjustifiable”.