Ukraine on Monday acknowledged difficulties in fighting in the east of the country as Russian forces captured territory along a frontline river and intensified pressure on two key cities ahead of an EU summit expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.
The governor of the Luhansk region, scene of the heaviest Russian onslaughts in recent weeks, said the situation was “extremely difficult” along the entire front line there as of Monday evening and the Russian army had gathered sufficient reserves to begin a large-scale offensive.
Earlier, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had warned on Sunday that Russia was likely to intensify its “hostile activity” this week, as Kyiv awaits a historic decision from the European Union on its membership application.
Nobel sold for Ukrainian kids shatters record at $103.5 million
A spokesperson for Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale, could not confirm the identity of the buyer but said the winning bid was made by proxy. The $103.5 million sale translates to $100 million Swiss francs, hinting that the buyer is from overseas.
“I was hoping that there was going to be an enormous amount of solidarity, but I was not expecting this to be such a huge amount,” Mr. Muratov said in an interview after bidding in the nearly 3-week auction ended on World Refugee Day.- AP
‘We are ready’, Ukraine towns insist as Russians advance
The city is ready to defend itself,” insists Vadym Lyakh, mayor of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine which could soon become a fighting hotspot as Moscow’s troops advance from the north.
Outside his office in this small leafy city in the Donetsk region, people were on Monday filling up bottles from a large water barrel.
The situation “is complex, because the front in recent weeks has come closer, to within 15-20 kilometres (9-12 miles),” Lyakh told AFP, dressed in a military-style khaki T-shirt.
Hopefully, “the new weaponry that our army needs will come soon”, he said.- AFP
UK says Ukraine claimed its first successful use of Western donated missiles against Russia
Ukrainian forces last week claimed their first successful use of Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles to engage Russian forces, the British Military Intelligence said on Tuesday.
“The target of the attack was almost certainly the Russian naval tug Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was delivering weapons and personnel to Snake Island in the north-western Black Sea,” the Defence Ministry said in its daily Twitter update.- Reuters
Africa ‘taken hostage’ by Russia’s invasion, Zelensky says
“Africa is actually taken hostage” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid catastrophically rising food prices, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the African Union continental body during a closed-door address on Monday.
It took weeks of requests for Zelensky to address African nations, many of whom retain close ties to Russia and failed to support a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion earlier this year.- AP
Russia condemns Lithuania transit ban to Kaliningrad, vows response
The Kremlin on Monday called Lithuania’s decision to ban the transit of some goods to Russia’s Kaliningrad region “unprecedented” and vowed to respond.
Lithuanian authorities banned the transit of goods which are sanctioned by the European Union across its territory, which includes the only rail route between mainland Russia and the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea. Banned goods include coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology.
“This decision is really unprecedented. It’s a violation of everything,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters on Monday.- Reuters
Despite Western arms, Ukraine is outgunned in the east
Despite the heavy influx of weapons from the West, Ukrainian forces are outgunned by the Russians in the battle for the eastern Donbas region, where the fighting is largely being carried out by way of artillery exchanges.
While the Russians can keep up heavy, continuous fire for hours at a time, the defenders can’t match the enemy in either weapons or ammunition and must use their ammo more judiciously.
At the outpost in eastern Ukraine, dozens and dozens of mortar shells are stacked up. But the troops’ commander, Mykhailo Strebizh, who goes by the nom de guerre Gaiduk, lamented that if his fighters were to come under an intense artillery barrage, their cache would, at best, amount to only about four hours’ worth of return fire.- AP
President Zelensky defiant as Russia intensifies attacks on eastern cities, seizes territory
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had predicted Moscow would escalate attacks ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. In his customary nighttime address to the nation on Monday, Mr. Zelensky was defiant, while also referring to “difficult” fighting in Luhansk for Sievierodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk.
“We are defending Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult one. We have the most difficult fighting there,” Mr. Zelensky said. “But we have our strong guys and girls there.”- Reuters