Fighting rages in east, Putin warns of NATO developments

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In an earlier message on Monday, Serguiï Gaïdaï had reported artillery attacks on Severodonetsk and its twin city of Lysychank, causing fires in residential areas. Despite requests from Ukrainian authorities to evacuate Lyssychansk, which is separated from Severodonetsk only by a river, the Siversky Donets, and which is regularly bombed, more than 20,000 civilians – up from 100,000 inhabitants before the war – remain, according to volunteers distributing aid in the area.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the neighboring Donetsk region, for his part, announced that nine civilians were killed on Monday and 16 were wounded in his region.

Russian soldiers “expelled”

In the northeast, Ukrainians regained control of part of the border in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine’s second city.

The Russian army, however, claimed to have, overnight from Saturday to Sunday, fired “high-precision missiles” at Ukrainian “command points” in this region, in particular in Tsapivka, as well as in weapons depots in the Donetsk regions. and Lugansk. (east), which form the Donbass.

Ukrainian officials now expect disengaged units from the Kharkiv region to reinforce Russian troops in Donbass, where they are progressing only laboriously, according to Oleksiï Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency.

In Mariupol, a large bomb-ravaged city south of Donbass, more than 260 Ukrainian fighters were evacuated on Monday from the Azovstal steelworks, the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in this strategic port, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar announced. . Some “53 seriously injured were evacuated from Azovstal to Novoazovsk for medical assistance and another 211 were transported to Olenivka via a humanitarian corridor,” she said.

‘Not an immediate threat’

The Kremlin has been raising warnings since last week on another front, that of the likely expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to Finland and Sweden, two countries that the Russian invasion of Ukraine, unleashed on February 24, forced to to waive. decades of military non-alignment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that these accessions did not constitute “an immediate threat”. But, he continued, “the deployment of military infrastructure in the territories of these countries will obviously lead to a response.”

Russia, in particular, explained its attack on Ukraine by its western neighbor’s rapprochement with NATO, believing that this constituted an “existential” threat to its security.

With Finland’s likely entry into NATO, Russia will share 1,300 km of additional land borders with the Atlantic Alliance.

On Monday night, France assured that it would “stand by” the two countries in the event of aggression, while London urged them to be integrated into NATO “as soon as possible”.

Account from 15 to 18 million euros

After a visit to Germany, where he welcomed the evolving position of Berlin, now ready to deliver heavy weapons to Kiev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba was in Brussels on Monday to discuss, among other things, new sanctions against Russia.

His EU colleagues are gathering there to try to unblock a draft embargo on Russian oil imports, which Hungary, which is heavily dependent on it, has refused — much to the chagrin of member states closest to Kiev.

For the head of Hungarian diplomacy, Peter Szijjarto, “Hungarians are legitimately waiting for a proposed solution to finance investments (new infrastructure) and compensate for price increases, an overall cost of around 15-18 billion euros” .

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