Zelenski, after 119 days of war: “We do not give up”

Russian and Ukrainian troops strengthen their positions on the day of the 1941 invasion of Hitler’s army in the Soviet Union, writes Reuters.

Fighting in the months-long war has favored Russia in recent weeks over its huge advantage over artillery firepower, which was acknowledged by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a speech on Tuesday night.

“Thanks to tactical maneuvers, the Ukrainian army is strengthening its defenses in the Luhansk region,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. The occupiers are also pushing hard in the direction of Donetsk. “

“And as active as we are fighting for a positive EU decision on Ukraine’s candidate status, we are fighting every day for modern weapons for our country. We are not giving up a single day, “Zelenski said, urging those who support his country to speed up arms deliveries.

By a symbolic decision, Ukraine will become the official candidate for accession to the European Union on Thursday, EU diplomats said.

Russia’s failure to make major progress since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 means that time is on the side of the Ukrainians, according to military analysts.

“It’s a boxing match in the heavyweight division. In 2 months of fighting, there has not been a knockout blow yet. It will come as the UK forces dwindle, “Retired US Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, a former commander of the US ground forces in Europe, wrote on Twitter.

June 22 is an important date in Russia – “Day of Remembrance and Sorrow” – which marks the time when Nazi forces invaded the Soviet Union in World War II. It is also commemorated in Ukraine and Belarus. The war lasted 1,418 days, beginning on June 22, 1941, and historians estimate that about 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed.

To mark the anniversary, the Russian Defense Ministry released documents dating back to the beginning of World War II on Wednesday, which said that Germany intended to claim that the Soviet army had bombed churches and cemeteries to justify its invasion.

“Just like today, in 1941, the Nazis prepared in advance challenges to discredit our state,” said the Russian defense minister.

Russian forces and separatists in eastern Ukraine made further progress on Tuesday, pushing for the city of Lysychansk, the main stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the Donbas.

In some of the bloodiest battles seen in Europe since World War II, Russia has made slow progress in the Donbas since April in a conflict that has claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers on both sides.

Some of the fighting took place on the Siverskyi Donets River, with Russian forces on the east bank and Ukrainian forces on the west.

But it appears that Ukrainian troops – and about 500 civilians – are still resisting at a chemical plant in the eastern shore of Sievierodonetsk, despite heavy bombardment for weeks.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai has confirmed that Toshkivka, a settlement on the western shore further south, is now controlled by Russian forces.

Oleskiy Arestovich, an adviser to Zelensky, said that Russian forces had also conquered the village of Metyolkine and could isolate Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk from Ukrainian-held territory.

“The threat of a Russian tactical victory exists, but they have not done so yet,” he said in a video posted online.

The attacks have intensified in the northeastern Kharkov region, with at least 15 civilians being killed by Russian bombings, the governor said on Tuesday.

“Russian forces are now hitting the city of Kharkov in the same way as they previously hit Mariupol – in order to terrorize the population,” Arestovich said. “The idea is to create a problem to distract us and force us to divert our troops. I think there will be an escalation. “

Reuters could not immediately confirm reports on the battlefield.

In retaliation for Western sanctions, Russia has begun pumping reduced volumes of gas into Europe through Ukraine.

European Union states from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Adriatic Sea in the south have drawn up measures to deal with a supply crisis after the invasion put energy at the center of an economic battle between Russia and the West.

Russia warned Lithuania on Tuesday that it would face measures with a “serious negative impact” on blocking rail transport to the Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad, Russia.

Another Baltic nation, Estonia, has expressed solidarity with Lithuania and called on the Russian ambassador to protest an “extremely serious” breach of its airspace by a Russian helicopter.

Source: Cotidianul RO by www.cotidianul.ro.

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