Last city to be conquered for the Russian army in the region of Lugansk, Lysytchansk is struggling to contain the assault and could fall in the coming days. Moreover, Russia continues to sow terror in Ukraine, with, for two latest examples, the bombardments of civilian buildings in Odessa and with phosphorus on Snake Island, just taken over by the Ukrainian army.

At least 21 people were killed in strategic bomber strikes on buildings in the Odessa region of southern Ukraine, kyiv said on Friday. According to the Ukrainian command of the southern front, it was Tupolev Tu-22, planes dating from the Cold War and designed to carry nuclear charges, which dropped missiles from the Black Sea against civilian buildings in a small town coast south of Odessa. “The enemy hit the village of Sergiyivka with three missiles. A large building was destroyed as well as a tourist complex,” regional governor Maksym Marchenko said on Telegram.

“This is deliberate Russian terror and not a few mistakes or an accidental missile strike,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in the evening. “I call on our partners to provide Ukraine with missile defense systems as soon as possible. Help us save lives,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter, calling Russia a “terrorist state”.

At the same time, the Pentagon announced a new contribution of 820 million dollars, including missiles, shells and sophisticated air defense equipment, which will allow the fight against Russian aviation, including drones, as well as against cruise missiles. Norway has, for its part, decided to send aid of 10 billion crowns, nearly one billion euros, to Ukraine, with a payment spread over a period of two years.

The Ukrainian army, which regained control of Serpents’ Island on Thursday, located in front of the mouth of the Danube, affirmed, with supporting video, that the Russian army had bombarded twice, Friday evening, the islet with phosphorus bombs. On Wednesday, the Russian army had however indicated that it had withdrawn from this symbolic territory “as a sign of goodwill”, after having “accomplished” the “set objectives”. “The only thing in which the enemy is consistent is their constant precision in striking,” said the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian forces.

The video shows a plane flying over Serpents’ Island and dropping at least two bombs which hit their target, leaving faint white streaks appearing in the sky, a hallmark of phosphorus bombs. Phosphorus bombs are incendiary weapons whose use is prohibited against civilians, but not against military targets, under a Convention signed in 1980 in Geneva.

Fighting continues around Lyssytchansk, the last major city yet to be conquered by the Russians in the Lugansk region, one of the two provinces of the Donbass industrial basin, which Moscow intends to fully control. According to the British Ministry of Defence, Russian forces “claim to have seized the village of Pryvillia”, northwest of Lyssychansk. “Intense fighting continues, probably to seize the high ground around the oil refinery,” London added. The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) shares the same analysis of the situation, estimating that Russian troops were trying “to cross the northeast corner of the refinery in order to advance towards Lysichansk.”

The Ukrainian embassy in Ankara asked Turkey on Friday to stop a Russian ship arriving near its coast from the Ukrainian port of Berdiansk, under Russian occupation. The boat, named “Zhibek Zholy”, is a 140 m long freighter flying the Russian flag. It anchored about a kilometer from the port of Karasu, on the Turkish coast east of Istanbul, according to the Marine Traffic site, which tracks boat movements.

Although it does not specify what the cargo is on board, the Ukrainian message suggests that it contains Ukrainian cereals. In early June, Ukraine accused Russia of stealing the grain and exporting it to Turkey and other countries.

Ukraine’s reconstruction plan, which will be discussed next Monday and Tuesday in Switzerland, will have to include an environmental component with a view to restoring ecosystems ravaged by war, said European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, who had spoken of “ecocide”. during a recent visit to this war-torn country.

Massive destruction of forests, agricultural land mined and polluted by chemical substances spread by armaments and ammunition, waterways and contaminated soil around bombed industrial sites… In addition to the human toll and devastated infrastructure, the environment is paying a heavy price in Ukraine, and pollution levels are rising. The Lugano conference should outline the outlines of a “Marshall plan” for reconstruction.