A Ukrainian soldier at the front in the Kharkiv region on 11 July 2022 (AFP / Anatolii Stepanov)

Ukraine expects a new offensive by the Russian military on strategic cities in the eastern Donbass region – a priority target for Moscow – as President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday accused Canada of weakening sanctions against Russia.

For its part, Europe has entered a period of uncertainty due to the continuation of gas deliveries from Russia, the Russian giant Gazprom has started maintenance work on the two Nord Stream 1 gas pipelines that supply Germany and other countries Western Europe.

This ten-day stop was supposed to be just a technical formality. But with the war in Ukraine and the showdown between Moscow and the West over energy, no one can bet on the restoration of deliveries, which have already been significantly reduced.

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. This gesture aroused the ire of Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, who announced the summoning of the Canadian ambassador to Kiev “for an absolutely unacceptable exception to the regime of sanctions against Russia”.

Graph showing the natural gas flow of Nord Stream 1 in millions of cubic meters per day from 1 February to 10 July 2022 (AFP /)

Graph showing the natural gas flow of Nord Stream 1 in millions of cubic meters per day from 1 February to 10 July 2022 (AFP /)

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.

– 33 dead in Chassiv Iar –

On the ground, the Ukrainians foresee fierce fighting in the Donetsk region (east), in the Donbass. “There are signs that enemy units are preparing to intensify combat operations in the direction of Kramatorsk and Bakhmout,” warned the Ukrainian general staff.

Rescuers on site following the deadly bombing of a residential building in Chassiv Iar, eastern Ukraine on July 10, 2022 (AFP / Anatolii Stepanov)

Rescuers on site following the deadly bombing of a residential building in Chassiv Iar, eastern Ukraine on July 10, 2022 (AFP / Anatolii Stepanov)

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 by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014, following the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The embassy of the separatist region of Donetsk will be inaugurated on Tuesday in Moscow, in the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The death toll from Sunday’s bombing of an apartment building in Chassiv Iar, Donetsk region, has risen to 33, including a 10-year-old boy, the Ukrainian emergency service said Monday. Nine people were pulled alive from the rubble, where rescue operations will continue on Tuesday.

A teacher cleans up the rubble after a gymnasium was destroyed by Russian fire, in Kharkiv on July 10, 2022 (AFP / SERGEY BOBOK)

A teacher cleans up the rubble after a gymnasium was destroyed by Russian fire, in Kharkiv on July 10, 2022 (AFP / SERGEY BOBOK)

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 saying when.

In Kharkiv (northeast), “civilian buildings – a shopping center and housing – were hit by enemy fire. Several missiles hit houses,” said the head of his 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 also launched four missiles on Monday in the Odessa region, a port city on the Black Sea, Kiev said. According to the Southern Operational Command, the strikes – which caused no casualties – hit port infrastructure, a home and farmland.

Rescuers evacuate a body after a Russian attack on a building in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine on July 10, 2022 (AFP / Anatolii Stepanov)

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.

– Drones –

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.

Map of the first line in eastern Ukraine that identifies a deadly attack on Chassiv Iar on the night between Saturday and Sunday (AFP /)

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 must remain focused and continue to support Ukraine in every possible way,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, on a visit to Kiev.

Faced, according to Washington, with problems of maintaining its own armament, Russia should receive, for its part, “hundreds of drones” delivered by Iran.

“Our intelligence indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to deliver up to several hundred drones, including fighter jets, to Russia on very short notice,” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday. .

Drones have played an important role since the beginning of the war, on February 24, for reconnaissance operations, missile launches or bomb drops.

The occupation authorities announced that a bomb attack had cost the life of the head of the administration settled by the Russians 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.

In recent weeks, attacks on officials by Moscow have multiplied in the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia in southern Ukraine.

In this context, Russia has made it known that, through a decree of Vladimir Putin, it wants to facilitate access to Russian nationality for all Ukrainians. A provision that the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has “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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