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Ukraine: Severodonetsk “fully occupied” by the Russians, “street fighting” in a neighboring town

The strategic city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, which has been the scene of a fierce battle in recent weeks, fell “totally” on Saturday to Russian and pro-Russian forces, who also entered the neighboring city of Lyschansk, where “street battles” are taking place. At the beginning of the fifth month of the conflict. Kyiv also accused Moscow of wanting to “drag” Belarus “to war” after the Ukrainian military said that twenty missiles were fired from that country, as well as aircraft, at an important Ukrainian military center. , in Desna, in the North on Saturday around 05:00 local time (02:00 GMT). This village in the Chernigov border region, where there were unfortunately no victims this time, was already the target, on May 17, of attacks that, according to Ukrainian Head of State Volodymyr Zelensky, killed 87 people. The first attacks carried out from Belarusian territory also occurred at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. Joe Biden left for Europe on Saturday, where he plans to strengthen the ranks of the Westerners against Russia over time. The US president must participate first, on Sunday, in the G7 summit in southern Germany, where, from Tuesday in Madrid, aid to Ukraine will be discussed at another NATO summit. – Major advance of the Russian army – In eastern Ukraine, the Russian army recorded a major advance on Saturday. Severodonetsk is “completely occupied by the Russians”, and therefore at the end of the afternoon was recognized on television by Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk, the day after the Ukrainian army announced its withdrawal from this city of about 100,000 people. Before the war for the better. The defense of the Lysichansk region on the opposite bank of the Donets River. At the same time, the separatists declared that they had “completely taken control of the industrial zone of the Azot plant” in Severodonetsk and entered Lyschansk with the Russian army. “Street fights are currently taking place there,” they added, without immediately obtaining independent confirmation. Decisive progress on the ground for Russia, which wants to occupy the entire industrial basin of the Donbass already partially in the hands of pro-Russian separatists since 2014. The Russian military, for its part, said that it killed “up to 80 Polish mercenaries” in the bombing, and also destroyed 20 armored vehicles and eight Multiple Grad rocket launchers with high-precision weapons fire at the Megatex Zinc Plant in Konstantinovka, in the eastern region of Donetsk. It was also not possible to verify this information, while Moscow often included the “elimination of foreign mercenaries” who went to fight in Ukraine. In Kharkiv (Northeast), the second largest city in Ukraine, which has resisted pressure from Russian forces since the start of the offensive, missiles are falling again daily on the city center. The Ukrainian emergency services stated that one of them hit, on Friday and Saturday night, an office building near the hotel where an AFP team was staying and a fire broke out. The building has been bombed before. “The Russians are finishing what they started,” a soldier at the site told AFP on Saturday, who was not identified. In the south, the Russian Defense Ministry said, on Saturday, that “more than 300 Ukrainian soldiers and foreign mercenaries and 35 heavy weapons units were liquidated in one day in the Mykolaiv region.” – “Exhausted” units – At the same time, Kyiv criticized Moscow’s condemnation of the green light given by the European Union on Thursday for Ukraine’s candidacy. “It only shows the weakness of Russia,” Ukraine’s diplomatic chief Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter. On Friday, Moscow denounced the “geopolitical takeover” of the CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States that includes several countries from the former Soviet Union) in order to “contain Russia,” ensuring that “this aggressive approach of the European Union has the potential to create new divisions and crises.” Much deeper in Europe.” According to experts, the massive bombing in the east led to the surrender of Ukrainian soldiers, but without necessarily fundamentally changing the situation on the ground. “Ukrainian units are exhausted, bloodless. They have suffered heavy losses with completely neutral battalions,” explains a high-ranking French officer who asked not to be identified, referring to units of 300 or 400 men of whom only about twenty capable remained. -body. But despite it all, “the overall vision – a slow war of entrenched positions – has hardly changed,” assures AFP Ivan Kliches, a researcher at the Estonian University of Tartu. “The withdrawal may have been planned before and could be considered tactical,” he analyzes, stressing that the Ukrainian resistance allowed Kif to strengthen its rear. Ukrainian forces “are in the process of carrying out a professional and tactical withdrawal in order to consolidate positions that they will be most capable of defending,” a Pentagon official said, on condition of anonymity. “I emphasized the need to achieve parity of fire with the enemy, which would allow us to stabilize the situation in the most threatening Luhansk region” where Severodonetsk is located and which is now almost completely invaded by the Russians, declared the commander in this regard. The head of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valeresh Zaluznich, published a report on his Facebook page in a telephone conversation with his American counterpart, General Mark Milley. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that no progress had been made on Sweden’s desire to join NATO, after a telephone conversation with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. Sweden and Finland requested to join NATO, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but faced Turkey’s blockage. burx / lch / rbj / bds / thm

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