Ukraine fight continues, Boris Johnson pledges long-term support


  • EU summit expected to endorse Ukraine’s candidate status
  • Support for Ukraine’s bid marks a major change
  • Johnson warns against ‘Ukraine fatigue’
  • The battle for Sievierodonetsk continues
  • More rocket attacks and shelling in eastern and central Ukraine

Kyiv, June 18 (Reuters) – With a new blessing for its European Union ambitions and the promise of continued strong support from Britain, Ukraine kept fighting on Saturday, with Kyiv troops holding off a Russian assault on a key city. East and communities hit by more intense bombardment.

At a summit next week, EU leaders are expected to grant Ukraine candidate status following the bloc’s executive’s recommendation on Friday, putting Kyiv on a path to realizing an aspiration once seen as out of reach. before the invasion, even if actual membership could take years. read more

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who paid a surprise visit to Kyiv on Friday and offered training to Ukrainian forces, stressed on Saturday the need to continue supporting the country and avoid “Ukrainian fatigue” after nearly four months of war. .

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On the battlefields, the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, a main target in Moscow’s offensive to seize full control of the eastern Luhansk region, remained under heavy Russian artillery and rocket fire, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday.

“In order to improve their tactical situation, the enemy units tried to carry out assault operations outside the city but were unsuccessful,” the armed forces general staff said in a daily update.

Local authorities reported overnight shelling of multiple locations in the eastern Luhansk and Kharkiv regions and further west in Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk. The rockets hit the central city of Kryvyi Rih on Saturday, causing at least two casualties, local authorities said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian rockets also hit a suburb of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, on Saturday morning, striking a municipal building and setting a block of flats on fire but causing no casualties, a regional governor said.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the battlefield accounts.

Moscow denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of dangerous nationalists who threaten its Russian-speaking population.

Kyiv and its allies dismiss this as a baseless pretext for war.

“The Russians are advancing inch by inch and it is vital for us to show what we know to be true, that the Ukraine can and will win,” Johnson told reporters on his return to Britain from Kyiv. read more “When Ukraine’s fatigue is setting in, it is very important to show that we will be with them for the long term,” he said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba struck a similar tone in an article published by Foreign Policy magazine on Friday, calling on the West to continue helping Ukraine with both heavy weapons and sustained pressure on Moscow with sanctions. read more

“The West cannot afford sanctions fatigue, regardless of the broader economic costs,” he wrote.

OPPOSITE EFFECT

One of President Vladimir Putin’s goals when he ordered thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24 was to stop the NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion and keep his southern neighbor out of Russia’s sphere of influence. West.

But the war, which has killed thousands of people, turned cities into rubble and forced millions to flee, has had the opposite effect.

He convinced neutral Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership and helped pave the way for Ukraine’s EU bid.

“Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, announcing her decision to recommend Ukraine and neighboring Moldova as candidates for EU membership.

“We want them to live the European dream with us,” she said, wearing a yellow blazer over a blue blouse, Ukrainian colors.

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Reuters Office Information Written by Tomasz Janowski, Edited by Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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