Entirely focused on the conquest of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the Russian army has made significant progress in recent days, notably by relentlessly pounding the cities of Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk. For their part, the United States announced that Russia no longer had the right to repay its debt in dollars.
“The situation in the Donbass is extremely difficult,” admitted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, May 24, before adding that all the Russian forces still valid were sent to the region in order to “destroy everything”. For several days, the Russians have been advancing in several directions, with the aim of conquering the regions of Lugansk and Donetsk.
After driving the Russian army away from kyiv and Kharkiv, the Ukrainians are struggling to counter Russia’s advance in the east of the country. Strategic city northwest of Lugansk, Severodonetsk is bombarded relentlessly according to the governor of the region, Serguiï Gaïdaï, just like the city of Lyssytchansk.
“We are an outpost that holds back the assault and will do it. Despite the superiority of the enemy army, we will win, because we are fighting for our land,” he assured, comparing the situation in the Lugansk region to Mariupol province.
In this difficult context, kyiv urges the West to deliver more armaments. “The Russian offensive in the Donbass is a ruthless battle, the largest on European soil since the Second World War. I urge our partners to speed up the delivery of arms and ammunition”, launched Tuesday the Ukrainian minister Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kouleba. President Zelensky himself called for “heavy weapons: rocket-propelled grenades, tanks, anti-ship weapons and other weapons”.
For his part, Polish President Andrzej Duda, whose country has supplied Ukraine with Soviet T-72 tanks, criticized Berlin for dithering on the delivery of German Leopard armor, promised to Poland in return. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said talks were ongoing.
In three months of armed conflict, 234 children have been killed and 433 injured, announced the office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova. In total, thousands of civilians and soldiers perished, without there being a quantified toll. For the city of Mariupol alone, the Ukrainian authorities evoke 20,000 deaths.
More than eight million Ukrainians have also been internally displaced, according to the UN. Added to this are 6.5 million who have fled abroad.
The Russian deputies adopted in first reading a bill which should make it possible to close, on simple decision of the parquet floor, the foreign media accused of disseminating false information on the war in Ukraine. On Tuesday, a Moscow court also ordered the arrest of two bloggers accused of discrediting the action of the army, a few days after the confirmation of the conviction of opponent Alexei Navalny to nine years in prison.
The United States has decided to end the exemption allowing Moscow to pay its debts in dollars, the US Treasury has announced. This decision could precipitate Russia into default. The measure will take effect two days before the next payment deadline, which covers just over $100 million in interest.
According to the Wall Street Journal, citing the official Russian news agency Tass, the authorities have already paid the interest. But in addition to the May 27 deadline, the Russian government must still honor twelve payments by the end of the year.
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and under fire from critics since the invasion of Ukraine, has announced that he will not join the supervisory board of Russian gas giant Gazprom. “I renounced an appointment to the Gazprom supervisory board a long time ago. I also informed the company”, assures the former chancellor in a short message on the professional network LinkedIn. This announcement comes four days after that of his departure from the Russian oil company Rosneft, of which he was chairman of the board.