Particularly intense fighting is raging in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. It is in this region that Moscow is concentrating without significant progress, while “very difficult” negotiations are taking place over the fate of the last defenders of the strategic port city of Mariupol.

“There is heavy fighting on the border with the Donetsk region, near Popasna”, commented on Friday May 13 on Facebook Serguiï Gaïdaï, Ukrainian governor of the Lugansk region, reporting numerous losses in equipment and personnel from the Russian side. A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the most significant Russian activity currently was taking place in the Donbass. “And basically we continue to see that the Russians are not making a significant hold” in this region, he said.

The authorities of the pro-Russian Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia announced on Friday that they would organize a referendum on July 17 on its integration into Russia. “President” Anatoli Bibilov “signed a decree on holding a referendum in the Republic of South Ossetia,” his office said in a statement, referring to the “historic aspiration” of the inhabitants of this small Caucasian territory. to join Russia, of which it is bordering.

“We are going home,” Anatoly Bibilov commented on Telegram messaging. “The time has come to unite once and for all”, “South Ossetia and Russia will be together. This is the beginning of a great new story”, he added. Anatoly Bibilov failed to seek re-election as ‘president’ earlier this month and Russia expressed hope that his successor in the post, Alan Gagloyev, would ensure ‘continuity’ in relations with Moscow .

South Ossetia was at the center of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war, following which the Kremlin recognized its independence as well as that of another Georgian breakaway region, Abkhazia, and set up bases there military.

Russia is suspending its electricity deliveries to Finland from this Saturday, May 14, due to unpaid bills, RAO Nordic Oy, 100% owned by the Russian company InterRAO, announced on Friday.

This announcement comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between Moscow and Helsinki, which has announced its desire to join NATO “without delay” under the influence of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. An intention seen with a very bad eye by Moscow which has already threatened a “military-technical” response.

Helsinki-based RAO Nordic Oy has not received payment for electricity supplied to Finland since May 6, the group said in a statement. “This situation is exceptional and takes place for the first time in more than 20 years,” the statement said. “We are therefore obliged to suspend the import of electricity from May 14,” explains the supplier. “We hope that the situation will soon improve” and deliveries from Russia will resume, adds the group. The company did not say whether these settlement issues were related to European sanctions targeting the Russian economy after the invasion of Ukraine.

The situation seems to have already reversed in Kharkiv, yet one of the priority targets for the Russians. “The main activity of the enemy in the Kharkiv region was the withdrawal of its units from the city of Kharkiv,” said the spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff.

“The gradual liberation of the Kharkiv region proves that we will leave no one to the enemy,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday evening in his daily message, announcing that the recovery of territories that fell into Russian hands was continuing. “As of today, 1,015 localities have been liberated, six more in the last 24 hours,” he said.

According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Vladimir Putin “probably intends to annex southern and eastern Ukraine to the Russian Federation in the coming months”. “Ukraine and its Western partners probably have only a reduced window of opportunity to support a counter-offensive in the territories occupied before” their annexation, according to this organization.

The tone is rising between Paris and kyiv even if the objective remains the same, to stop the war: Volodymyr Zelensky criticizes Emmanuel Macron for wanting to provide an “exit door” for Vladimir Putin and is reserved on his project for a “European political community “.

“We must not look for a way out for Russia, and Macron is doing it in vain,” he regretted in an interview with the Italian channel RAI 1, broadcast Friday on his Telegram channel. “I know he wanted to get results in the mediation between Russia and Ukraine, but he didn’t get any,” he said, referring to the French president’s many exchanges with his Russian counterpart. and himself just before the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine but also since.

The French president insisted for his part, Monday in Strasbourg, on the need to “never give in to the temptation or humiliation or the spirit of revenge”.