Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reaches its 100th day on Friday. The offensive allowed Moscow to seize 20% of Ukrainian territory according to the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and which focuses on the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine and its strategic city of Severodonetsk. Europe 1 takes stock of the evolution of the situation.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reaches its 100th day on Friday, an offensive that has allowed Moscow to seize 20% of Ukrainian territory and which focuses on the Donbass region (east) and its strategic city of Severodonetsk. “We have had some success in the battle for Severodonetsk. But it is still too early. This is the most difficult area at the moment,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday evening, referring to a similar situation in the surrounding area, particularly in Lyssytchansk and in Bakhmout.
Volodymyr Zelensky takes stock of the 100th war
“Victory will be ours,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a short video posted on Instagram, on the 100th day of the Russian invasion.
“State representatives have been here, defending Ukraine for a hundred days,” he says in this 36-second video, filming himself in front of the presidential administration building in kyiv alongside his prime minister, among others. , Denys Chmygal and the leader of the present party, David Arakhamia.
Banning of most Russian oil by the European Union
The European Union has banned most Russian oil imports with an embargo within six months, in its 6th sanctions package against Moscow to dry up funding for the war against Ukraine, after arduous negotiations due to pressure from Hungary.
It is also expanding its blacklist to around sixty personalities including the former Russian gymnast Alina Kabaeva, according to the sanctions published Friday in the official journal of the EU. Targeted because of his role in the “propaganda” of the Kremlin, the media lend him a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin which the latter has denied.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, whom Brussels wanted to sanction for his support for the war, was spared, on the other hand, because of the refusal of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the name of the defense of “religious freedom”. .
The exclusion of the main Russian bank from the Swift system, an essential cog in international banking exchanges, has also been recorded.
This new salvo of sanctions is the strongest against Moscow after more than three months of offensive in Ukraine.
The cessation of imports by boat of crude oil will take place within six months and that of petroleum products within eight months. Pipeline supply, on the other hand, can continue “temporarily” but without setting a deadline. In particular, it supplies three countries without access to the sea, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
A concession obtained under pressure from Viktor Orban, whose country depends 65% on its consumption of cheap oil routed through the Druzhba pipeline.
The gradual embargo will affect 2/3 of European purchases. Germany and Poland having decided on their own to stop their deliveries via Druzhba by the end of the year, Russian imports will be affected by more than 90%, argue the Europeans.
UN warns of war-related casualties
The war in Ukraine “will have no winner” judged the UN coordinator in the country on Friday, on the 100th day of the Russian invasion. “This war has and will have no winner,” Amin Awad said in a statement. “We need peace. The war must end,” he urged, as negotiations between kyiv and Moscow have stalled for several weeks.
Ukraine towards the “European family” and Russia “the iron curtain”
Ukraine is “advancing” towards “the European family”, while Russia is “getting closer to a life behind the ‘iron curtain'”, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal said on Friday on the 100th day of the Russian invasion. “Ukraine is confidently moving towards its goal: to live in a democratic, free country, within the European family,” said Mr. Chmygal in a message on Telegram.
Russia, she, “is getting closer to life behind the iron curtain and isolation from the developed world”, he lambasted. “Our destiny is only freedom”, further supported the Ukrainian Prime Minister, affirming that “Ukraine will undoubtedly win” the war against its Russian neighbor.
kyiv hopes to obtain the official status of a candidate for membership of the European Union by the end of June, even if the Twenty-Seven are divided on this question. French President Emmanuel Macron, President-in-Office of the EU, estimated in early May that Ukraine’s accession would take “decades”, and in the meantime proposed the creation of a “European political community” to secure faster Ukraine to Europe.
The still worrying situation in the Donbass
Concerning the Donbass region as a whole, he indicated that the situation had not “changed significantly during the day”. He had indicated a little earlier that the situation in the east was “really difficult (…) We are losing 60 to 100 soldiers a day, killed in action, and some 500 are wounded”. “Today we are fighting and holding every meter of the Lugansk region,” Serguii Gaïdaï, governor of this territory, said Friday morning. “And, despite all the declarations of the Russians, we celebrate his birthday under the Ukrainian flag.”
“For 100 days, they have been destroying everything that marked the Lugansk region,” he added, saying that more than 400 km of “European standard roads” had been destroyed as well as 33 hospitals, 237 rural clinics, near of 70 schools and 50 kindergartens. The day before, he had said that Severodonetsk, the administrative capital of Donbass, was “80% occupied” by Russian forces and that fighting is raging in the streets.
Russian forces control 20% of Ukrainian territory
Russian forces currently control “about 20%” of Ukrainian territory, or nearly 125,000 km2, the Ukrainian president said Thursday. Before the invasion, Russian or pro-Russian forces controlled 43,000 km2 there, since the annexation of Crimea and the capture of a third of Donbass in 2014. Since February 24, they have notably advanced in the east and south , along the Black and Azov seas, now controlling a strategic coastal corridor linking eastern Russia with Crimea.
After the failure of their lightning offensive to bring down the government of kyiv, the Russian forces concentrate on the conquest of Donbass where a war of attrition is now being played out.
Ukraine sees Severodonetsk as a “Mariupol bis”
Ukrainian leaders have in recent days accused Moscow of wanting to make Severodonetsk a “new Mariupol”. This strategic port on the Sea of Azov, conquered in mid-May after the surrender of more than 2,000 Ukrainian fighters who had taken refuge in the Azovstal steelworks, was largely destroyed by Russian shelling. Russian pressure also remains significant on Donetsk, the other Donbass region, in particular Sloviansk, some 80 km west of Severodonetsk. Residents of the region lack gas, water and electricity in particular, according to kyiv.
Russia says it has stopped the influx of foreign mercenaries
Ukraine is awaiting deliveries of more powerful missile launcher systems promised by US President Joe Biden, hoping this will change the balance of power on the ground. Russia said on Thursday that it had stopped the influx of foreign “mercenaries” wanting to fight alongside the kyiv army, by dint of inflicting heavy losses on them in recent weeks.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the number of foreign fighters has been “almost halved”, from 6,600 to 3,500, and “a large number” of them “prefer to leave” the country “as quickly as possible”. . Railway lines in the Lviv region (west), where weapons delivered to Ukraine by Western countries arrive in particular – aid denounced by Moscow – were bombed.
At least one dead and several injured in bombings
In the south, the Ukrainians are worried about a possible annexation of the regions conquered by the Russian forces, Moscow evoking referendums as early as July. In Mykolaiv, near Odessa, Russian bombardments left at least one dead and several injured in the civilian population, the Ukrainian command of the southern region said Thursday evening.
On the diplomatic level, the EU countries approved on Thursday a sixth package of sanctions against Moscow including an embargo, with exemptions, on the purchases of oil but gave up blacklisting the head of the Russian Orthodox Church , Patriarch Kirill, under pressure from Hungary.
“A large oil deficit” envisaged in Europe
The text must still receive the written agreement of each member state for its publication on Friday in the Official Journal to allow the entry into force of the measures, specified the French presidency of the Council of the EU. “European consumers will be the first to suffer from this decision. Not only the prices of oil but also those of petroleum products will increase. I do not exclude that there is a large deficit of petroleum products in the EU”, has said Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Alexander Novak.
‘No sign’ for a halt to the war
In the United States, the Biden administration has announced new sanctions targeting a series of oligarchs or members of Moscow’s “elite”, including the spokesperson for Russian diplomacy Maria Zakharova. “I am grateful to President Biden, all our American friends and the people of the United States for their support,” Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday evening. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that Western countries should prepare “for a war of attrition” in the “long term”.
The war in Ukraine “could end tomorrow, if Russia ended its aggression,” Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday at a press conference alongside US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken. But “we don’t see any signs in that direction at this stage,” he added. The war led by Russia in Ukraine will last “many more months”, had abounded Antony Blinken.