European aid, Azovstal, South Ossetia… Friday situation update

From South Ossetia to Russia

The authorities of this self-proclaimed separatist “republic”, de facto independent of pro-Western Georgia and occupied by Moscow’s forces since Russia’s military intervention in 2008, announced Friday that they would hold a referendum on July 17 on its incorporation into Russia. .

“It’s time to unite once and for all.” “South Ossetia and Russia will be together, this is the beginning of a wonderful new story,” South Ossetian “president” Anatoly Bibilov declared, raising fears of another outbreak of tension, this time on the side of Georgia, which has long vowed, like Ukraine, to join the union. European and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Azovstal bombing continues

At the moment, in Ukraine, fighting continued in the east between Russian forces and the Ukrainian army, in particular in Mariupol, a large port city in the southeast where a thousand Ukrainian soldiers still resisted, entrenched in the bowels of the factory.

“There are almost 600 wounded in Azovstal, and the Russians continue to bombard the military hospital,” according to testimony from the plant of Svyatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment, one of the Ukrainian formations located there, during an online conference.

“We will resist”

We will resist as long as we can. […]If we don’t, this crowd will go further.” “I would like the United States to help evacuate our wounded and mobilize all efforts to help get our regiment” out of this blockade, he said.

International efforts, including those of Pope Francis, have so far proven to have failed to rescue Ukrainian soldiers entrenched in this city that was 90% destroyed by Russian bombing. Without specifying whether this question was raised, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin indicated on Friday that his meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, did not lead to any progress.

According to a senior Pentagon official, “the call itself did not resolve any acute issues or lead to direct changes in what the Russians do or say.” And Irina Vereshuk, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, made the same observation after the appeal for help from the Azov Regiment.

New EU Aid

In the face of continued Russian bombing and attack on Ukraine, the European Union announced that it would add €500 million to its funding of the Ukrainian military effort, increasing by “€2 billion in total”.

The recipe is “clear”, said the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, on the occasion of the G7 meeting in Engels, far north of Germany: we need “more of the same”, that is, more economic sanctions against Russia, and more. Support Kyiv, as well as “continue to work to isolate Russia.”

On the subject of sanctions, the 27 countries of the European Union have not yet succeeded in agreeing to gradually stop their purchases of Russian oil, after Hungary considered that the exemption was insufficient.

The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (Germany, France, Italy, Canada, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom), along with their Ukrainian counterparts Dmytro Kuleba and Moldova’s Nico Popescu, are meeting until Saturday.

Sweden and Finland at the gates of NATO

A Swedish official report, Friday, paved the way for the country’s accession to NATO, by doubling the positive results before the decision of this Scandinavian country and its Finnish neighbor in the coming days. The report, prepared by the government and parties in parliament in recent weeks, concludes that “Sweden’s membership in NATO will raise the threshold for (provoking) military conflicts, and thus will have a deterrent effect in Northern Europe.”

As for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he expressed his refusal to join these two countries to NATO next Friday, at the risk of obstructing the entire process, which requires the unanimity of NATO members.

First war crimes trial

Accusations of crimes against the Russian army are piling up on Ukrainian soil in the twelfth week of the war, in particular the forced displacement of thousands of people in “liquidation camps”.

CNN and Britain’s BBC broadcast television footage on Thursday purporting to show the killing of Ukrainian civilians by Russian soldiers in the outskirts of Kyiv in mid-March. This video adds to the many testimonies about the violations Kyiv has accused of Russian forces in Ukraine.

The first war crimes trial since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will begin in Kyiv on May 18: the trial of a young Russian soldier suspected of killing a 62-year-old man. The preparatory session was held on Friday in Kyiv.

Zelensky’s response to Macron

On the issue of the attitude towards the Kremlin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky considered that French President Emmanuel Macron was trying “in vain” to dialogue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

“We should not look for an exit for Russia, and Macron is doing it in vain,” Zelensky said Thursday evening via Italian TV channel RAI 1, in a video broadcast Friday on his Telegram channel.

Leave a Comment