A woman sits with some personal belongings in front of her apartment building destroyed by the Russian strikes, in Chasiv Yar, eastern Ukraine, July 10, 2022 (AFP / Anatolii Stepanov)
Ukraine warned on Monday that the Russian military was preparing to launch a new offensive on key cities in eastern Donbass, while President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Canada of weakening sanctions against Russia.
For its part, Europe has entered a period of great uncertainty regarding the continuation of gas deliveries from Russia, the Russian giant Gazprom has started maintenance work on the two Nord Stream 1 gas pipelines, which supply the Germany and other Western European countries.
This ten-day hiatus was supposed to be just a technical formality, but with the war in Ukraine and the stalemate between Moscow and the West over energy, no one can bet on the future.
And in order not to give Moscow any further pretext, Germany has obtained from Canada the return of the turbines under maintenance for the same pipeline, which on Monday aroused the ire of Volodymyr Zelensky who announced the convocation of the Canadian ambassador in Kiev “for a absolutely unacceptable exception to the regime of sanctions against Russia ”.
This decision “will be perceived in Moscow only as a sign of weakness”, he warned, believing that Russia could in any case, if it wanted to, “completely cut off the supply of gas to Europe at the most acute moment”.
The turbines were undergoing maintenance at a Canadian site of the German Siemens group, and Russia blamed their absence for reduced deliveries via the pipeline.
On the ground, the Ukrainians anticipate fierce fighting in the Donetsk (east) region, which has become the main target of Russian troops.
“There are signs that enemy units are preparing to intensify combat operations in the direction of Kramatorsk and Bakhmout,” the chief of staff of the Ukrainian forces warned in the morning.
Rescuers on site after a deadly attack on a building in Chassiv Iar, eastern Ukraine, on July 10, 2022 (AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA)
Kramatorsk, the administrative center of Donbass still under Ukrainian control, and its neighbor Sloviansk are considered the next targets of the Russian army in their plan to completely conquer Donbass, four and a half months after the invasion of Ukraine began. .
This mining basin has been partially controlled since 2014 by Moscow-backed separatists following the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
– 31 dead in Chassiv Iar, six in Kharkiv –
Meanwhile, the death toll from Sunday’s attack on a residential building in Chassiv Iar, another town in the Donetsk region, has risen to 31, the Ukrainian emergency service said.
A teacher cleans up the rubble after a gymnasium was destroyed by Russian fire, in Kharkiv on July 10, 2022 (AFP / SERGEY BOBOK)
AFP reporters on Monday saw dozens of rescuers working in the ruins of this partially destroyed building, aided by a mechanical excavator.
The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, for his part assured that “more than 300” Ukrainian fighters had died near Chassiv Iar, without however saying when.
In Kharkiv, in the north-east, “the civilian buildings – a shopping center and housing – were hit by enemy fire in the morning. Several missiles hit homes. Garages and cars were also destroyed,” said the head of his company. administration, Oleg Synegoubov.
According to the regional prosecutor, “31 people were injured, including two children aged four and 16. Six civilians, including a 17-year-old boy and his father, were killed”.
Russian planes have also launched four missiles in the Odessa region, a port city on the Black Sea (to the south), and for the moment there is no information on possible victims, Kyiv pointed out.
Rescuers evacuate a body after a Russian attack on a building in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine on July 10, 2022 (AFP / Anatolii Stepanov)
According to Serguii Khlan, advisor to the head of the military administration loyal to the Ukrainian government in the Kherson region (south), a Russian military command center, radar and air defense systems were destroyed overnight by the Ukrainian army in Tavryisk, a a place occupied by the Russians located about sixty kilometers east of Kherson.
– The morale of the Ukrainian command –
Although the Ukrainian military has reported numerous bombings across eastern Ukraine, it sees a lull in Russian ground attacks.
“The enemy in our operational area remains behind the lines of defense, does not advance by land, does not have the possibilities and capabilities to create new strike groups,” commented Southern Operational Command on Monday.
“The quantitative advantages of the Russian army are offset by the accuracy of the missiles and artillery available to Ukraine,” said Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiï Danilov.
“Western weapons handed over to the Ukrainian armed forces are already changing the course of the war. And we haven’t even started,” he added.
“The Ukrainian army is holding on,” Volodymyr Zelensky had hammered on Sunday evening.
Map of the first line in eastern Ukraine that identifies a deadly attack on Chassiv Iar on the night between Saturday and Sunday (AFP /)
“This war could last longer than we had planned or hoped for (…) We need to stay focused and continue to support Ukraine in every possible way,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the next day in Kiev.
– Assassinated a leader of the occupation forces –
At the same time, the occupation authorities announced that a bomb attack had caused the death of the head of the Russian-based administration in Veliki, in the Kharkiv region, partially conquered by Moscow.
This “terrorist act” was committed, on an unspecified date, by a group of Ukrainian saboteurs who infiltrated behind Russian lines, according to these sources.
On Monday, the occupation authorities of the Kherson region also assured that they had foiled an attempted attack on their leader in this territory that Ukrainian soldiers are trying to retake.
In recent weeks, attacks on officials by Moscow have multiplied in the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia, including in southern Ukraine. At the end of June, an occupation administration official had been killed in Kherson.
Evolution of gas reserves reported by major EU operators, which represented 52% of reserve capacities on 15 June (AFP /)
In this context, Russia has made it known that, through a decree of Vladimir Putin made public on Monday, it wanted to facilitate access to Russian nationality for all Ukrainians.
A provision that the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately afterwards “firmly” condemned as constituting “a new violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, incompatible with the norms and principles of international law”.
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