President Volodymyr Zhelensky hailed Brussels’ support for Ukraine’s EU candidate status as “positive news” for the country as Russian forces attacked the main eastern city of Severotnetsk.
The European Commission has recommended that Ukraine be granted EU candidate status. His opinion will be discussed at a European summit, where 27 EU leaders must give the green light – unanimously – for kyiv to officially gain this position.
At this summit “expecting a positive outcome” Mr. According to Zhelensky, “This is the first step on the path to EU membership. Ukraine” deserves this positive news, “the Ukrainian president said in his evening video speech,” the historic victory of all those who work for our state. ” .
“We all know that the Ukrainians are ready to die for their European aspirations. We want them to live with us, for the European dream,” said Ursula van der Leyen, head of the European Commission, dressed in blue and yellow in Brussels. Ukraine. “Firstly, the Commission recommends to the Council to give Ukraine a European perspective and, secondly, to grant it candidate status,” he added, adding that the day after the visit of the leaders of Germany, France and Italy to Kiev, the first three European powers to deliver the same message.
On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s – whose country is no longer a member of the European Union – returned to Kiev, where he announced a training program for Ukrainian forces.
Speaking at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Russia had nothing against Ukraine’s EU membership, but that Western countries would “make Ukraine a semi-colony”.
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy, was blunt: “For years, Western society has been manipulating the story of Ukraine’s involvement in their integration structures, and since then Ukraine has been increasingly misunderstood.”
During this decisive week in the struggle for influence with the West, Moscow put its money where its mouth was, gradually but massively halting the supply of gas to Western Europe, on which it depends.
The manager of the French gas network, GRTgaz, announced on Friday that Russia would no longer receive gas by pipeline from June 15, “with the interruption of the physical flow between France and Germany.”
Russian company Gazprom has significantly reduced its supply in recent days, especially to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, causing prices to explode. In Italy, the Italian panel announced on Friday that Gosprom would supply only 50% of the gas demanded by Eni. “We have no illusions, we are in conflict with Putin,” said Robert Hebeck, Germany’s Minister of Economy and Climate.
“This is how dictators and dictators act.” US President Joe Biden, who is expected to supply LNG liquefied gas to Europe, on Friday accused Russia of provoking a “global energy crisis” through its war against Ukraine. At the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded, “It has nothing to do with our efforts to liberate Donbass.” “This is the result of the systematic mistakes of the US administration and the European bureaucracy.”
On the verge of war, Ukrainian forces are in trouble in Donbass, the eastern part of the country, which has been partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, and Moscow is aiming for victory.
“The humanitarian situation throughout Ukraine, especially in the eastern Donbass, is very dangerous and is rapidly deteriorating,” the UN said on Friday. Fighting has been raging for weeks over the two main cities for the control of the Donbass, Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk, which have been the subject of constant bombings. In the Lugansk region, Governor Sergei Kaitoy pointed out on his telegram channel that “the worst bombing site is in Serverdonetsk” and that the city is “fighting hard”, where Russian forces bomb houses and “destroy the city”.
More than 500 civilians, including 38 children, along with Ukrainian soldiers have taken refuge in the large Azot chemical plant in Severdonetsk, where they “refused to leave,” he said. “They think it’s safe to stay there. We tried to talk to them but they did not want to.”
In Lyssytchansk, people at the scene reported that four people who had taken refuge there had been killed in a missile attack on a “cultural home” where city residents were refugees.
A Russian strike in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine on Friday morning left at least two people dead and twenty wounded, according to a report by the governor of the region. The Russian military says less than 7,000 “foreign mercenaries” from 64 countries have arrived in Ukraine since the conflict began, killing nearly 2,000 of them.
Videos of two Americans who volunteered to fight with Ukrainian forces and went missing for several days were broadcast on Russian public television on Friday.
A State Department spokesman confirmed Saturday that he had seen photos and videos of two U.S. citizens “allegedly captured by Russian troops in Ukraine.” “We are closely monitoring the situation,” he told AFP.
In addition, Ukraine, which won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, on Friday condemned the decision to withdraw the hosting of the next edition for security reasons.
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