Ukraine – Despite its withdrawal and concentration in the Donbass, Russia is struggling to gain control of the Ukrainian army. Even Ukrainians began envisioning victory before the end of the year. However, fighting is still raging in this region, which has become a priority for Moscow since the end of March. The point is on the 80th day of the war, this Saturday, May 14th.
Ukraine will win the war ‘before the end of the year’
On Saturday, May 14, the Ukrainian authorities expressed optimism, declaring that they are successfully fighting Russian attacks in the east, which is Moscow’s priority. Ten Russian attacks were repulsed within 24 hours around Donetsk and Luhansk, the Ukrainian crew was reassured. And in the Kharkiv province in the north, the authorities indicated that they had launched a “counter-attack” in the Izyum region, a “hot spot” where, she said, “the enemy is withdrawing.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday evening in his daily message, declaring that “the gradual liberation of the Kharkiv region proves that we will not leave anyone to the enemy,” declaring that the restoration of lands that fell into the hands of the Russians is still continuing. “As of today, 1,015 towns have been liberated, six more in the past 24 hours,” he said.
These ads convince the Ukrainians that the war is turning in their favour. Even the head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Kirilu Budanov predicted a “turning point” in August, in an interview with the British channel sky news aired on Friday night. According to him, Russia will be defeated “before the end of the year.
He stressed that at the end of this war, “we will restore Ukrainian power in all the territories we have lost” since 2014, “including Donbass and Crimea.”
Fighting rages in the Donbass, the defenders of Mariupol ask for help
Despite these Ukrainian successes, fighting is raging in several areas of the Donbass. Russian forces continue to bombard this strategic eastern region, partly controlled by their supporters since 2014, which they have made their main target since their withdrawal from the Kyiv vicinity at the end of March.
On Saturday morning, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine recorded about thirty bombings within 24 hours in the Lugansk region, one of the two Donbass provinces with Donetsk. On Friday evening, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk, Sergois Gaudich, reported that “heavy fighting” had taken place on the border with Donetsk province. According to him, the Russians suffered numerous losses of equipment and personnel there.
Also on Saturday, May 14, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry noted a difficult situation “across the entire front line” in Donetsk, where towns and villages are cut off after night bombardment. The same General Staff stated that in the Donetsk and Tavria regions, the Russian army used “mortars, artillery, grenade launchers and air assets to inflict maximum damage on the Ukrainian army”, targeting personnel, fortifications and buildings.
A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Russians had failed to make a “meaningful decision” regarding cities or territories. According to him, “Ukrainian artillery thwarts (their efforts) to gain territory, including their efforts to cross the Donets”. The Russians in particular have been trying for three weeks to cross this now strategic river that flows north of the city of Belogorivka in the Lugansk region.
In the south of Ukraine, “very difficult” negotiations are taking place on the fate of the last defenders of the strategic port city of Mariupol and the now famous Azovstal plant, which, according to how, is still heavily bombed by the Russians. Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Verychuk spoke of “negotiations with the enemy (…) are very difficult.” We are currently negotiating (to leak) 38 seriously wounded fighters. We are moving step by step.”
The Ukrainian General Staff indicated, on Saturday, that the Russian army continues to launch “large-scale artillery and air strikes” in the region. Svyatoslav Balamar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment, fighting in Azovstal, appealed to the United States for help “to evacuate our wounded and (they) muster all efforts to help get our regiment out.”
The G7 will ‘never recognize the borders’ that Russia is trying to change by force
G7 member states insisted on Saturday, May 14 that they would “never” recognize the borders Russia wants to impose by force in Ukraine. They once again called on Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor and Moscow’s ally, to “stop facilitating Russia’s intervention and respect its international obligations.”
The seven major economic powers (Germany, France, Italy, Canada, the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom) indicated in a press release published at the end of this three-day meeting, that they want to “accelerate efforts” to “put an end to Russian energy dependence.”
The G7 countries have promised to “extend economic sanctions” targeting Moscow to “the sectors on which Russia particularly depends” while urging China not to “undermine” these measures.
For its part, the European Union on Friday pledged an additional half a billion euros in aid to support the Ukraine war, bringing it “to a total of two billion euros.”
The recipe is “clear”, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated at a G7 meeting in Engels, far north of Germany: More economic sanctions against Russia are needed, more support for how, as well as “continued work to isolate Russia” .
The 27 countries in the European Union have not yet succeeded in agreeing to gradually stop their purchases of Russian oil, after Hungary considered that the concession was insufficient.
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