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Kyiv won the battle for the European oil embargo, which was supposed to dry up the financing of the Russian “war machine”. But Russian forces continued to focus in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, particularly around the main Donbass city of Severodonetsk. Follow the position hour by hour.
11:27 am: Two Russian soldiers sentenced to 11 years in prison
A Ukrainian court has sentenced two Russian soldiers to 11 and a half years in prison for bombing two villages with rocket launchers in the northeastern Kharkiv region.
Alexander Popikin and Alexander Ivanov were convicted of “violating the laws and customs of war”, after a trial that began in mid-May near the city of Poltava, according to the Ukrainian Interfax agency, explaining that the defendants had “fullly pleaded guilty and said they repented.”
9:30 a.m.: “All journalists are aware of the risks.”
4:45 am: Russia increases pressure in Donbass
Russian forces are advancing in eastern Ukraine. They encounter Ukrainian forces in the heart of Severodonetsk, which together with Lysichansk is a major city in the parts of Donbass still under Ukrainian control.
The Russian army has been trying to encircle and control Severodonetsk for several weeks, in an attack that intensified in recent days, and President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that the Ukrainian army is facing difficulties.
“The situation in Donbass is still very difficult,” the Ukrainian president said Monday evening. “The Russian army is trying to concentrate its forces there to put more and more pressure on our defenders.”
Russian forces aim to capture this mining basin, which was seized by pro-Russian separatist forces with partial Moscow support in 2014.
1:15 am: EU excludes Sberbank, Russia’s main bank, from Swift . system
The European Union has agreed to exclude Russia’s main bank, Sberbank, from the international financial system SWIFT, as part of the sixth sanctions package against Moscow, European leaders announced Monday night at a summit in Brussels.
“The package of sanctions includes strict measures such as Swift’s withdrawal from Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank,” said council president Charles Michel. So far, seven Russian institutions have been denied access to Swift, a secure messaging platform that allows vital operations such as interbank money transfer orders.
12:22 am: EU grants €9 billion to Ukraine for its immediate liquidity needs
The leaders of the 27 member states at the European Union meeting at the Brussels summit on Monday agreed to give 9 billion euros to the Ukrainian government to cover its immediate cash needs for the success of its economy, the council president announced. Charles Michel.
Kyiv has set its needs at $5 billion per month. A European source said the European financing would take the form of “long-term loans” at subsidized interest rates.
11:52 pm: EU agrees to cut Russian oil imports by more than “two-thirds”.
The European Union has agreed to ban more than two-thirds of Russian oil imports as part of a new set of sanctions against Russia in the wake of the attack on Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel announced Monday evening via Twitter.
10:01 pm: Investigation launched after the death of the French journalist
The National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat) on Monday announced the opening of a war crimes investigation after the death of Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, a BFMTV journalist who was killed in eastern Ukraine while escorting civilians on a humanitarian bus near Severodonetsk.
Al-Banat said the investigation into the flagrante delicto entrusted to the Central Office for Combating Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes (OCLCH) also related to “the injuries sustained by his colleague Maxime Brandsteiter,” who was present with him during the report.