On the 83rd day of the war, this evacuation made the complete fall of the city even more inevitable, almost completely destroyed after nearly three months of incessant fighting and bombing. Its total capture by Russian forces would allow them to facilitate the junction between Crimea (south) and Donbass (east).
Here is an update on the situation based on information from AFP journalists on site, official Ukrainian and Russian statements, Western sources, analysts and international organizations.
In Severodonetsk, a city that has become the regional capital for Ukrainians since pro-Russian separatist forces seized part of the Donbass in 2014, “at least 10 people were killed” in Russian bombardments, the region’s governor announced on Monday. .
This city is almost surrounded by the forces of Moscow.
Despite calls from the Ukrainian authorities to evacuate Lyssytchansk, which is separated from Severodonetsk only by a river, the Seversky Donets, and which is regularly bombed, more than 20,000 civilians – against 100,000 inhabitants before the war – remained, according to volunteers distributing aid in the area.
– The North-east –
The Ukrainians have regained control of part of the border with Russia in the Kharkiv region, according to kyiv, which expects units disengaged from the region to go and reinforce Russian troops in Donbass, where they will not progress only with difficulty.
– South –
The Azovstal soldiers released from the site in Mariupol have “fulfilled their combat mission”, welcomed the Ukrainian general staff. Orders were given to their commanders to “save the lives” of those who remained. “Unfortunately, Ukraine today cannot unblock Azovstal by military means,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.
The Russian Ministry of Defense indicated for its part that 265 fighters had “surrendered their arms and (had) become prisoners, including 51 seriously injured”.
“All those who require medical assistance are sent to the Novoazovsk hospital”, in pro-Russian separatist territory, he said. The ministry did not mention an exchange of prisoners, unlike Ukraine.
– The North –
In the Cherniguiv region, north of kyiv, some 3,500 buildings were destroyed or damaged during the Russian advance towards the capital at the start of the conflict, according to the British Ministry of Defence. “80% of the damage was inflicted on residential buildings”.
Russian long-range Kalibr missiles fired near the Starichi railway station in the Lviv region destroyed shipments of American and European military equipment destined for Donbass, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
The Kremlin is increasing warnings about the likely enlargement of NATO to Finland and Sweden, two countries that the Russian invasion pushed to give up decades of military non-alignment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that these memberships did not constitute “an immediate threat”, but that “the deployment of military infrastructure on the territories of these countries (would) of course lead to a response”.
– European Union –
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba was in Brussels on Monday to discuss new sanctions against Russia. His EU counterparts were meeting there to try to unblock an embargo project on Russian oil imports, refused by Hungary, which is very dependent on it – to the chagrin of the member states closest to kyiv.
– Tens of thousands dead –
There is no overall assessment of the civilian victims of the conflict. In Mariupol alone, the Ukrainian authorities spoke several weeks ago of 20,000 deaths. And Ukrainian investigators claim to have identified “more than 8,000 cases” of alleged war crimes.
On the military level, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense estimates Russian losses at 27,700 men since the start of the invasion on February 24. This is notoriously more than Western sources. The Kremlin has just admitted “significant losses”.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said around 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and some 10,000 injured. No independent and reliable figures are available.
– Displaced persons and refugees –
Ukraine has seen more than six million of its own flee its territory, of which more than half – 3.27 million – to Poland, according to the High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR) in Geneva, which notes however that the flow of these departures dried up considerably over the weeks and even reversed.
The overall balance, however, still remains largely negative – with 5.9 million departures for 1.56 million returns, according to border guards.