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War in Ukraine: Russia claims to have destroyed an “important” shipment of Western weapons

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On the 87th day of the war in Ukraine, the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, the last pocket of resistance in this strategic port on the Sea of ​​Azov, came under Russian control on Friday evening, while in the Donbass, further north, Moscow’s artillery was pounding the kyiv positions. The G7 countries promise to mobilize 19.8 billion dollars to help Ukraine “fill its financial gap”.

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On Friday evening, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson claimed that the steel complex had “passed under the complete control of the Russian armed forces” after the surrender of the last Ukrainian soldiers, and that the news had been transmitted to President Vladimir Putin . Footage released by Moscow showed cohorts of men in combat gear emerging from the steelworks, some with crutches or bandages, after a long battle that had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion.

“The higher military command has given the order to save the lives of the soldiers of our garrison and to stop defending the city”, said in a video on Telegram the regiment commander Denys Prokopenko, a large bandage in the day. right arm and swollen left, from what appeared to be an underground room.

kyiv rejects the term surrender, Mr. Zelensky referring to “the rescue of our heroes”.

Joe Biden signs legislation providing $40 billion in aid to Ukraine

US President Joe Biden has signed the law passed by Congress on Thursday providing a gigantic $ 40 billion envelope for the Ukrainian war effort against Russia, the White House announced on Saturday. Mr. Biden ratified this text during his official trip to South Korea. The law includes six billion dollars to allow Ukraine to equip itself with armored vehicles and strengthen its anti-aircraft defense, according to the same source.

On Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked his American counterpart, saying he was “grateful”.

Russia says it destroyed ‘large’ shipment of Western weapons to Ukraine

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that its forces had destroyed a large shipment of weapons supplied by the West in northwestern Ukraine. “High-precision long-range Kalibr missiles, launched from the sea, destroyed a large consignment of arms and military equipment supplied by the United States and European countries, near Malin railway station, in the region of Zhytomyr,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, these weapons were intended for Ukrainian forces in the eastern region of Donbass. This region, predominantly Russian-speaking and partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, is currently the scene of some of the most intense clashes in Ukraine.

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Since February 24, Ukraine has been facing a Russian offensive aimed, according to Moscow, at “denazifying” this country, accusing it of an alleged genocide of the Russian-speaking populations.

Western countries have supplied Ukraine with weapons, including artillery, anti-aircraft missiles or anti-tank weapons, and kyiv is asking for additional support from its allies.

Only “diplomacy” will end the war in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine can only end through “diplomatic” means, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured Saturday, while negotiations between Moscow and kyiv are at an impasse. “The end (of the conflict) will be diplomatic,” he said in an interview with a Ukrainian television channel. The war “will be bloody, it will be fighting, but it will end definitively via diplomacy”.

“There are things that we will only be able to achieve at the negotiating table. We want everything to come back (as before)”, which “Russia does not want”, he added, without giving More details. On Tuesday, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, had indicated that the talks between Moscow and kyiv were “on hold”, saying that Moscow was not showing any “understanding” of the situation.

The last meeting between the heads of delegations – Vladimir Medinski on the Russian side and David Arakhamia for Ukraine – dates back to April 22, according to Russian agencies.

Ukraine hopes to exchange prisoners of war

The Russian military released footage on Friday evening that it said was of the search of unarmed Ukrainian fighters by Russian soldiers.

Ukraine hopes to exchange prisoners of war but Russia has let it be known, implicitly targeting the Azov regiment, that it considers some of them to be “neo-Nazi” fighters. The International Committee of the Red Cross has urged both sides to grant it access to prisoners of war and civilian internees, “wherever they are held”.

The battle for control of Mariupol has resulted in multiple accusations of war crimes by Western powers, including the attack on a maternity hospital.

More than 12,000 war crimes investigations opened

Ukraine has opened more than 12,000 war crimes investigations since February 24, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office. On Friday, Sergeant Vadim Chichimarine, 21, admitted killing an unarmed civilian early in the offensive, in the first trial of a Russian soldier accused of war crimes since the start of the invasion, in which the verdict is expected on Monday.

The young soldier said he was “sincerely sorry”, but his lawyer declared him “not guilty” of premeditated murder and war crimes in his closing arguments.

After failing to take kyiv and Kharkiv, the second Ukrainian city (northeast), Russia is concentrating its military efforts in the east and south. “The enemy is constantly carrying out offensive operations in the eastern operational zone in order to establish full control over the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and to maintain the land corridor with temporarily occupied Crimea,” the state said. -major of the Ukrainian forces on Facebook on Saturday morning.

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In the Donbass coal basin, partially controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured that the conquest of the Lugansk region was “almost complete”.

Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandre Motouzianyk said the situation “showed signs of worsening”, and that “Russian occupation forces are conducting intense fire along the entire front line”. “While we are resisting, our troops are receiving foreign weapons, rearming, regrouping, and I think that in June we will see the counter-attack”, assured local governor Serguiï Gaïdaï on the night of Friday to Saturday.

In Lozova, a city in the east, at least eight people including a child were injured by a Russian missile strike on a newly rebuilt cultural center, Ukrainian officials said on Friday.

Russian strikes left 12 dead and 40 injured on Thursday in Severodonetsk, in the Lugansk region, according to Mr. Gaïdaï, an attack described by Mr. Zelensky as “brutal and absolutely useless”, while the inhabitants cowered in the basements described an endless ordeal of terror.

Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk, separated by a river, constitute the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the region.

Italy proposes the formation of an international facilitation group

While the negotiations carried out a few weeks ago under Turkish mediation are at a standstill, Italy indicated on Friday that it had proposed the formation of an “international facilitation group composed of international organizations” such as the UN, the EU and the OSCE.

“The objective is to work step by step (…) starting, for example, from localized truces, the evacuation of civilians, the possibility of opening secure humanitarian corridors, and then of course to build up power to arrive a general ceasefire, then a lasting peace with a real peace agreement,” Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in Turin.

It is now time for war, and the G7 countries meeting in Germany promised on Friday to mobilize 19.8 billion dollars (18.7 billion euros) to help Ukraine “fill its financial deficit.

The day before, the American Congress released a gigantic envelope of 40 billion dollars for Ukraine, aiming in particular to allow Ukraine to equip itself with armored vehicles and to strengthen its anti-aircraft defence.

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