The Russian advance continues. Russian troops continue to advance towards Sloviansk, in the Donbass, the new main target. After taking Lysytchansk on Sunday, they control almost all of the Lugansk region and turn to the Donetsk region, with a view to controlling the entire territory of Donbass, which Moscow has partially ruled since 2014 and the Russian separatist offensive. On Tuesday, the soldiers of the Russian army were about fifty kilometers from Sloviansk.
Beyond curbing the onslaught of the invader, the challenge for the Ukrainian army is now to break the bridges that Russia is trying to establish between the two regions. “Heavy fighting is taking place (…) near Lysytchansk (…). Russian forces are constantly trying to build passages to transfer even more material”, warned Tuesday evening the governor of the Lugansk region, Serguiï Gaïdaï .
Faced with the threat of the arrival of Russian forces, the authorities of the city of Sloviansk ordered the evacuation of the city populated before the war by nearly 100,000 people. They fear in particular the increasingly repeated and insistent indiscriminate bombings. “My main advice: evacuate!” Donestk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told residents on Tuesday evening, adding that “during the week, there was not a day without a bombardment”.
Strikes targeting a city market left two dead and seven injured a few hours earlier. “Once again, the Russians are intentionally targeting places where civilians congregate. This is pure and simple terrorism,” commented Pavlo Kyrylenko.
At the same time, Moscow announced on Tuesday that it had launched an investigation into the torture that its soldiers, captured by Ukrainian forces and then released during an exchange of prisoners with kyiv, say they suffered. For several weeks, the two armies involved in this war have been accusing each other of ill-treatment and torture of prisoners.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has also accused “Ukrainian nationalists” of dumping large quantities of chlorine in a mined filtration station in the Donetsk region. He was quick to claim that kyiv was basing its men and weapons in chemical infrastructure creating “the preconditions for accidents that could lead to the death of thousands of civilians”.
Tuesday evening ended the international conference in Lugano, Switzerland, preparing the reconstruction of Ukraine, the cost of which kyiv today estimates at 750 billion dollars. At the end of this summit, which lasted two days, the allied countries, several international institutions and the private sector pledged “fully to support Ukraine throughout its journey” in a joint declaration.
In a country plagued by corruption, the massive injection of funds worries some observers. In its report published in 2021 on corruption, the NGO Transparency International ranked Ukraine 122nd out of 180 countries on the subject. In this context, the members of the Lugano conference who signed the declaration called for a “transparent and responsible recovery process”.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday denounced the “intolerable” civilian toll of the conflict. Nearly 5,000 civilians were killed in the fighting, including 335 children, an estimate probably well below the actual toll. The United Nations was also moved by the numerous human rights violations targeting the population. “In the name of each victim of this absurd war, the executions, torture and arbitrary detentions must end”, launched Michelle Bachelet before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.