Ukraine has acknowledged difficulties in fighting in the east as Russian forces have captured territory and intensified pressure on two cities ahead of an EU summit this week, which is expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc. Follow the FRANCE 24 liveblog for all the latest developments. All Paris times (GMT+2).
11:12 am: Kaliningrad government regrets EU blockade of Baltic outpost
The Kalingrad government regretted Lithuania’s ban on shipping many basic goods to the Russian Baltic Sea outpost, and Russia summoned the European Union ambassador to Moscow on Tuesday. In the latest standoff over sanctions imposed by the war in Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Russia itself was responsible for the ban.
“The EU’s foreign policy chief said Russia was responsible for the ban”
9:30 am: Russian army captures Toshkivka near Severodonetsk; destroyed food warehouse in Odesa
Fierce fighting continues in Donbas, Ukraine, mainly around the city of Severodonetsk. The governor of the Luhansk region says Ukrainian forces still maintain an industrial zone around the Azot chemical plant, but their control over the territory is limited as the bombing continues. In southern Ukraine, Russian missiles hit a grain warehouse on Monday in the port city of Odesa.
Reports by Catherine Norris Trent of FRANCE 24.
‘Months into this war, Odesa is still a focus city’
8:19 am: Ukraine’s Kherson region broadcasts Russian TV, says Russian army
Russian television is now broadcasting in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, the Russian army said on Tuesday, in an area where Moscow has already introduced the ruble and started distributing Russian passports.
The Russian military “reconfigured the last of the seven television towers in the Kherson region to broadcast Russian television channels” for free, he said.
Bordering the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, the Kherson region was occupied by Russian forces in the days following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
One of the pro-Moscow officials in the region, Kirill Stremousov, said on Tuesday that the territory could join Russia “before the end of the year”.
8:15 am: Kremlin says Lithuania’s decision to bar rail transit to Kaliningrad ‘a violation of everything’
Following Vilnius’ announcement last week that it would ban the transit of EU-sanctioned goods by rail from Russia via Lithuania to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Monday a “violation of everything “.
FRANCE 24 correspondent Nick Holdsworth reports from Riga, Lativa.
“The Russians are saying this threatens their national interest”
06:24: Russia gains ground as Ukrainians recognize ‘extremely difficult’ fight
Ukraine has acknowledged difficulties in fighting in the east as Russian forces have captured territory and intensified pressure on two cities ahead of an EU summit this week, which is expected to welcome Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.
The governor of the Luhansk region, the scene of the heaviest Russian attacks in recent weeks, said the situation was “extremely difficult” on the front lines on Monday night and that the Russian army had gathered enough reserves to launch an offensive. on a large scale.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted Russia would step up attacks ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. In a speech to the nation on Monday night, he was defiant, while also referring to the “tough” fighting in Luhansk by Severodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk.
“We are defending Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, this whole area, the most difficult. We have the toughest fight there,” he said. “But we have our strong boys and girls there.”
Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russian forces control most of Severodonetsk, as well as the Azot chemical factory, where hundreds of civilians have been sheltering for weeks. The road connecting Severodonetsk and Lysychansk to the city of Bakhmut was under constant artillery fire, he said.
“Lysychansk has been suffering from massive Russian bombing all day. It is impossible to establish the number of victims,” Gaidai said.
Rodion Miroshnik, ambassador to Russia for the Moscow-backed self-styled Luhansk People’s Republic, said his forces were “moving south towards Lysychansk” with gunfire in several cities.
“The next few hours should bring considerable changes to the balance of forces in the area,” he said on Telegram.
6:12 am: US citizen killed in combat in Ukraine, State Department confirms
An American citizen was killed in combat in Ukraine last month, according to an obituary and the State Department, after joining thousands of foreign fighters who volunteered to help Ukraine defend itself from invading Russian forces.
Stephen Zabielski, 52, was killed in action on May 15, according to a report. obituary published in The Recorder, an upstate New York newspaper, earlier this month. Media reports of his death circulated on Monday.
Zabielski, who was from New York and moved to Florida in recent years, is survived by a wife, five stepchildren and a grandchild, among other family members.
In a statement, a State Department spokesperson confirmed Zabielski’s death in Ukraine and said the agency had contacted his family and provided “all possible consular assistance.”
The spokesperson’s statement repeated earlier warnings that US citizens should not travel to Ukraine because of the conflict and the Russian government’s potential to separate them. He added that any citizens in Ukraine must leave immediately.
2:14 am: Russian journalist’s Nobel medal sold for $103.5 million to help Ukraine
Dmitry Muratov, Russian editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, on Monday auctioned his Nobel Peace Prize gold medal for $103.5 million to benefit children displaced by the war in Ukraine.
All proceeds from the sale of the medal — which was won by an as-yet-unnamed telephone bidder — will go to UNICEF’s Humanitarian Response to Ukrainian War Displaced Children, according to Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale.
Muratov won the award in 2021 alongside journalist Maria Ressa from the Philippines, with the committee honoring them “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression”.
2:10 am: Kremlin spokesman says Americans captured in Ukraine have committed ‘crimes’
Two Americans captured in Ukraine while fighting the Kyiv military were “endangering” Russian soldiers and should be “responsible for these crimes,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview on Monday. to NBC News.
The interview marks the first time the Kremlin has commented on the cases of Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, both US military veterans, according to NBC.
“They are soldiers of fortune and have been involved in illegal activities on the territory of Ukraine. They were involved in shooting and bombing our military. They were putting their lives at risk,” Peskov told the network, in English.
“They should be held accountable for the crimes they committed,” he added in the first excerpts of the released interview.
“These crimes need to be investigated.”
When pressed about what crimes the Americans committed, Peskov admitted that their specific crimes were not yet known, but claimed they would not be covered by the Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war.
“They are not (in) the Ukrainian army, so they are not subject to the Geneva Conventions,” the Kremlin spokesman said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)