As fighting rages in Donbass and southern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky urges Westerners to send him “modern” weapons to stem the “terrifying” human cost inflicted by Russian troops, as the Key city of Severodonetsk was cut off from the rest of Ukraine on Tuesday after the last bridge connecting it there was destroyed.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected in kyiv, is going to Romania and Moldova on Tuesday, June 14, to greet the 500 French soldiers who are deployed on a NATO base. In addition, Lithuania would like to acquire 18 French Caesar self-propelled guns.

“The Battle of Donbass will surely go down in military history as one of the most violent battles in Europe,” the Ukrainian president said in his daily address Monday evening. “The human cost of this battle (of Severodonetsk) for us is very high. It is just terrifying”, he added, insisting on the desperate need to receive these armaments, while kyiv reports 100 to 300 of his men killed every day.

“Only modern artillery will ensure our advantage,” added the 44-year-old president, saying he was confident in the ability of his army to “liberate the territory”, “including Mariupol and Crimea”. “We just need enough weapons to ensure all of this. Our partners have them,” he said. This appeal comes at a time when the allies are already supplying ammunition, spare parts and light armament to kyiv and when the Contact Group for Ukraine, created by the American Minister of Defense Lloyd Austin, is due to meet on Wednesday in Brussels.

Ukraine has exhausted its Russian and Soviet-made weaponry and now depends exclusively on arms supplied to it by foreign allies, including Western artillery, according to US experts. Washington began handing over to Ukraine heavy equipment such as Howitzer howitzers at first, then advanced equipment such as Himars rocket launchers, high-precision artillery pieces with a range greater than those of the Russian army.

Emmanuel Macron is expected in Romania on Tuesday to greet the 500 French soldiers who have been deployed on a NATO base since the invasion of Ukraine before a support visit to Moldova and a possible trip to kyiv.

Highly anticipated for weeks, his visit to Ukraine could soon take place in the company of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi according to media in Berlin and Rome. Information not confirmed by the Elysée, which specifies that “nothing is recorded” at this stage.

Ukrainian forces have admitted having abandoned the center of Severodonetsk, following a new Russian offensive on this key city in eastern Ukraine, which the two belligerents have been fighting over for weeks. “With artillery support, the enemy carried out an assault on Severodonetsk, achieved partial success and pushed our units back from the city center. Hostilities are continuing,” the Ukrainian general staff said Monday morning.

According to the pro-Russian separatists fighting with the Russians in this region, the last Ukrainian divisions in Severodonetsk are now “blocked”, after the destruction of the last bridge which allowed to reach the neighboring city of Lyssytchansk.

The capture of this city would give Moscow control of the Lugansk region and open the way to another large city, Kramatorsk, capital of the neighboring region of Donetsk. An essential step to conquer the entire Donbass basin, a mainly Russian-speaking region partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine claimed on Monday that four people had been killed and 22 injured in “massive” shelling by Kyiv forces on the city of Donetsk, their self-declared capital.

Fighting is also raging in southern Ukraine, with Russian air battles and helicopter attacks on Ukrainian positions in Mikolaiv and Kherson, according to the latest statement from the command of Ukrainian troops for the south of the country, overnight. from Monday to Tuesday.

In Mikolaiv, a major port on the Dnieper estuary, the Russian advance was stopped on the outskirts of the city and the Ukrainian army dug trenches there, noted an AFP team.

In a report published on Monday, Amnesty International accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, saying hundreds of civilians had died in relentless attacks on Kharkiv (northeast), carried out in particular with cluster bombs.

On the diplomatic level, the Twenty-Seven remained divided on the question of granting Ukraine the status of candidate for EU membership, which must be decided at the European Council on June 23 and 24. The Commission must deliver a first opinion on this question by the end of the week.

Lithuania signed a letter of intent to acquire 18 French Caesar self-propelled guns during a meeting between the two countries’ defense ministers on Monday on the sidelines of the Eurosatory defense fair, the two countries announced.

This decision comes as the Baltic country, a member of the EU and NATO, has decided to increase its defense budget for 2022 by 300 million euros, bringing it to 1.5 billion, in the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the fears it raises for its own security.

The conflict in Ukraine recalls the role of artillery in high-intensity conflicts, with the West, primarily the United States, providing dozens of guns to Ukrainian forces to contain Russian thrusts. In this context, France delivered 6 Caesar guns to kyiv at the end of April, as well as thousands of shells.