According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian president Vladimir Putin “rather intends to annex southern and eastern Ukraine in the Russian Federation in the coming months “.
“Ukraine and its Western partners have rather a small window of opportunity to support a counterattack on the occupied territories before “their annexation, according to this institute.
The situation seems to have already been reversed in its periphery Kharkovalthough it is one of the goals that the Russians have as a priority.
“The main activity of the enemy in the Kharkiv region was the withdrawal of his units from the city of Kharkiv,” said a spokesman for the Ukrainian army.
“The gradual liberation of the Kharkiv region proves that we are not leaving anyone to the enemy,” the Ukrainian president revealed on Friday night. Volodymyr Zelensky in his daily message, announcing that the recapture of territories that had fallen into the hands of the Russians continues.
“Until today, 1,015 locations “They have been released, that is, 6 more in the last 24 hours,” he said.
Water, electricity, communications, transportation and public services have been restored there, the Ukrainian president said, noting that he was thinking about cities and territories still under Russian occupation.
Especially the approximately one thousand Ukrainian warriors who are fortified in the vast galleries of the steel industry Azofstal of Mariupolfor whom “are very carried out difficult negotiations for the next phase of removal, with regard to those who have been seriously injured and the medical staff “.
The women, children and the elderly who had taken refuge in the galleries of this factory were all evacuated at the end of April thanks to an operation coordinated by the UN and the Red Cross after difficult consultations.
The same statement was made by Zelensky by the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Verestsuk, referring to “negotiations with the enemy (which) are very difficult.” “We are now negotiating (the exit) of 38 fighters who have been seriously injured. We are moving forward step by step. (…) At the moment there are no talks for the release 500 to 600 people“, he added.
The general staff of the Ukrainian army clarified today in its daily morning announcement that the Russian army continued “the blockade of our units near the Azovstal plant. It proceeded with artillery and large-scale air strikes”.
Fierce fighting in Donbas
Particularly fierce fighting is raging in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has focused its efforts without making significant progress, while “very difficult” negotiations are under way over the fate of the last defenders of Mariupol.
“Heavy fighting is taking place on the border with the Donetsk region, near Popasna,” Sergei Gaidai, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk, said on Facebook last Friday night, announcing numerous material and personnel losses on the Russian side.
“It is terrible, but they are still trying to achieve their goals. However, based on interceptions (telephone communications) we understand that an entire battalion refused to attack because they see what is happening,” he revealed.
A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed that the most important activity of the Russian forces at the moment was in Donbas. “And, basically, we continue to see that the Russians are not making significant progress,” he added.
“Ukrainian artillery repulses Russian attempts to gain ground, including their efforts to cross the Donetsk River (…), which affects their ability to send significant reinforcements to the northern part of Donbass,” the source said. .
The British Ministry of Defense clarified yesterday that the Ukrainian forces “successfully” repulsed the attempt of the Russian forces to cross this river near Sheverodonetsk, inflicting heavy losses on the Russian troops.
The operation shows “the pressure on Russian commanders to advance into eastern Ukraine,” the Pentagon said, noting that the Russian military “has not been able to make significant progress despite concentrating forces after “abandoned the attempt to impose itself in Kyiv.
In late March, a few weeks after its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russia withdrew from the Ukrainian capital, changing its “priority target” to try to take control of eastern Ukraine.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian army said in a statement that the Russians “have not stopped attacking the eastern part of the country.
The general staff said in a daily news release that in the Donetsk and Tavriya regions, the Russian military had used “shells, artillery, rocket launchers and aircraft to inflict maximum damage on the Ukrainian army”, targeting personnel. fortifications and buildings “.
Ten Russian attacks were repulsed in a 24-hour period around Donetsk and Luhansk, he noted.
Appeal for the rescue of the defenders of Mariupol
Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov Battalion, one of the Ukrainian forces fighting in the Azofstal steel industry, called on the United States to “help evacuate our wounded and (to) make every effort to help us “from this circle.
“There are almost 600 wounded in Azovstal, the Russians continue to bomb the military hospital,” the factory said in a statement. “We will resist as long as we can (…) if we did not do this horde would go further,” he added.
However, “the power of world leaders should not be overestimated” in the face of Moscow’s determination, Verestsuk reacted.
International efforts have so far proved fruitless to rescue these Ukrainian soldiers defending the strategically important port city, which has been destroyed in 90% of Russian bombing raids.
In this context, the EU pledged yesterday to provide additional aid of half a billion euros to support Ukraine’s struggle, which amounts to “a total of 2 billion euros”.
The recipe is “clear,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on the sidelines of a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Wangels, northern Germany. in Kyiv and also “to continue working to isolate Russia.”
The meeting of the G7 foreign ministers (Germany, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Japan and Britain), which is also attended by their Ukrainian counterparts Dmitro Kuleba and Moldova Nikos Popescu, continues today.
An informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on Ukraine is also scheduled for today in Berlin.
An official Swedish report paved the way for Sweden’s accession to the Atlantic Alliance yesterday, multiplying the positive conclusions that such a possibility would have, before a decision is made in the coming days by the Nordic country and its neighbor, Finland – two EU member states that remained outside military alliances for decades – much to Moscow’s disappointment.