On the eve of the EU decision, Russia intensifies its attacks on Ukraine

At the beginning of a week of intense activity around Ukraine’s candidacy for the European community, the head of the diplomacy of the EUJosep Borrell stated that Russia commits a “true war crime” by blocking the export of Ukrainian cereals and grains.

In this regard, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyaccused Russia of holding Africa “hostage” by blocking grain exports.

“Africa is hostage to those who started the war against our state,” the Ukrainian president said in a videoconference speech to the African Union (AU)lamenting that the “unfair” level of food prices “caused by the Russian war […] is being painfully felt on all continents”.

However, the spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zajárova, assured on Monday that the possibility of a famine “is the fault of the Western regimes, which act as provocateurs and destroyers.”

At a time of growing fears about the consequences of the invasion on food prices, Germany is organizing this Friday an international meeting on the subject, which will be attended by the head of the diplomacy of United States, Antony Blinken.

The 27 EU countries that meet on Thursday and Friday to decide whether the country can receive the category of applicant, a decision that must be taken unanimously.

This Monday “a really historic week begins,” Zelensky said in his daily speech on Sunday.

“Our army resists”

“Obviously we expect Russia to intensify its attacks this week,” warned the Ukrainian president. “Our army resists,” he said.

This Monday, the Ukrainian presidency reported that there is an increase in bombing in the Kharkov region and an increase in attacks “across the front line” in Donetsk, in the east, where one death and seven injuries were recorded.

In Donbas, the town of Severodonetsk has concentrated the offensive to take over the whole of this eastern mining basin, partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

“The Russians control most of the residential neighborhoods” of Severodonetsk but “if you count the entire city, more than a third is still controlled by our armed forces,” said the head of the municipal administration, Oleksandr Striuk.

Sergei Gaidai, the governor of Lugansk, one of the regions that make up Donbas, confirmed on television the fall into the hands of the Russians of the town of Metiolkiné, on the outskirts of Severodonetsk.

On the southern front, the Ukrainian army assures that the Russian forces “are unable to advance the terrain” and only continue to bombard.

For its part, Russia accused Ukrainian forces of attacking oil drilling rigs in the sea off the Crimean peninsula.

“This morning the enemy attacked the drilling platforms of Chernomorneftegaz“The governor appointed by Russia after the 2014 annexation of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said on Telegram. “We confirm that there are three wounded and seven missing and we guarantee that the search continues,” he added.

“hostile” restrictions

The consequences of the war continued to be felt beyond the borders of Ukrainewith Russia threatening Lithuania, a member of the EUfor its “openly hostile” restrictions on the transit of goods by rail to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that if the transit of goods between Kaliningrad and the rest of the country is not fully restored, Moscow “reserves the right to act to defend its national rights.”

Both Lithuania and the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, affirmed that the measure is in line with the sanctions ordered by the European Union against Moscow as a result of the Russian invasion.

“constructive” discussions

For its part, Turkey dealt a new blow to Finland and Sweden’s hopes of joining NATO soon, saying on Monday that next week’s alliance summit in Madrid does not imply any deadline for deciding on those requests.

The boss of the NATOJens Stoltenberg said that the negotiations between Turkey, Sweden and Finland in Brussels were “constructive” but admitted that Turkey has “legitimate concerns”.

Turkey accuses the two Nordic countries of harboring militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)described as “terrorist” by Turkey and its Western allies.

On the other hand, US President Joe Biden said it is “unlikely” that he will visit Ukraine during his tour of Europe at the end of the week.

A return to coal

Front of EU, Russia uses its hydrocarbons as a weapon and cut off the flow of gas to several countries last week.

In contrast, Russian oil imports into China increased by 55% in May, compared to last year.

In an attempt to reduce dependence on Russia, and to reduce gas consumption, Germany will turn to coal plants.

“It’s bitter, but it’s essential,” said the economy minister, environmentalist Robert Habeck, but the government said Monday that this measure is “limited” and that the promise to abandon coal before 2030 will be fulfilled.

Austria also announced over the weekend the restart of a closed coal power plant in 2020.

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