“Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, and other towns in Donbass, which the occupiers now see as their targets, are holding their ground,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday evening. The first of the two, Severodonetsk, a strategic city for the control of this region of eastern Ukraine, has for many days been the scene of clashes between Russian attackers and Ukrainian defenders. Intense street fighting takes place there. The Ice Palace, one of the symbols of the city, was destroyed in a fire caused by Russian bombing, Sergei Gaïdaï, the governor of the Lugansk region, announced on Telegram on Friday. However, assures the same, Ukraine could retake Severodonetsk “in two, three days” as soon as it has “long-range” Western artillery.

The Ukrainians keep asking their Western allies for more powerful weapons. Volodymyr Zelensky made the request once again to French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, after having informed him of “the situation on the front”. During a telephone exchange, the two heads of state “discussed other military aid”, and “particular attention was devoted to the means of Ukraine’s accession to the EU”, indicated Volodymyr Zelensky. Emmanuel Macron assured that “France would remain mobilized to meet Ukraine’s needs, including heavy weapons”.

Because according to several American military sources, Ukraine has exhausted all its Russian and Soviet-made armament and depends exclusively on the weapons supplied to it by its foreign allies, in particular Western artillery. In this regard, the delivery of multiple rocket launcher systems, with a range of about 80 km, slightly greater than the Russian systems, has been announced by Washington and London, but it is not known when the Ukrainians will be able to start utilize.

kyiv deplores every day “up to 100 soldiers” killed and “500 injured” in the fighting, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov said on Thursday. Lyssychansk, a neighbor of Severodonetsk, remains entirely under Ukrainian control but is under “powerful” bombardment, according to the regional governor, who accuses Russian forces of “deliberately” targeting hospitals and humanitarian aid distribution centers.

The Russians are also bombing the Donetsk region, the other part of Donbass, “all along the front line”, including attacks on Sloviansk and Bakhmout, according to kyiv. According to a report by the Ukrainian army published on Facebook, the Russians bombed more than twenty localities in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Ukrainian forces repelled seven Russian attacks on Thursday, it added.

The rise in prices also affects Russia, where inflation had experienced a vertiginous rise in April to beat a twenty-year record. Despite a decline in May, it reached 17.1% over one year, according to official data. The Institute of International Finance (IFF) forecasts a contraction of the Russian economy by 15% this year and another 3% in 2023. For Ukraine, gross domestic product (GDP) has already fallen by 15.1 % in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of the previous year, according to official Ukrainian figures.

Due to the war, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), soaring cereal and fertilizer prices should result in a dramatic increase in the bill for importing countries in 2022. , who will pay “more for less”.

Ukrainian grain exports are crippled by the blockade of its ports by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. African and Middle Eastern countries are the first affected. Senegalese head of state Macky Sall, current chairman of the African Union, called on Thursday for the demining of the Ukrainian port of Odessa. He says he received assurances from President Vladimir Putin that Russia would not attack. Macky Sall is due to meet Emmanuel Macron in France this Friday. He intends to ask him for the lifting of European sanctions against Russia, in particular the exclusion of Russian banks from the Swift system, secure messaging and essential cog in international fund transfers.

Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, asked on Thursday for the exclusion of Russia from the FAO. When questioned, she did not immediately react to this call.

The Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and the Moroccan Brahim Saadoun, who will appeal their death sentence by the justice of the separatist authorities of Donetsk, are accused of having participated in the fighting as “mercenaries” alongside the Ukrainians, announced Russian official TASS news agency. London expressed its “serious concern”.

Four foreign volunteer soldiers, including a Frenchman, were killed fighting the Russian invasion in Ukraine, according to the International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine (LIDU), the official organization of foreign volunteer fighters. Russia claimed this week to have killed “hundreds” of foreign fighters since its invasion began on February 24 and to have stemmed the flow of new arrivals.

The exact number of these foreigners is not known. In early March, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion, President Zelensky claimed that 16,000 foreigners had volunteered, an unverifiable figure from independent sources.