(Sloviansk) Russian troops on Tuesday continued to advance in the Donbass, an industrial basin in eastern Ukraine they aim to seize, targeting the city of Sloviansk, the target of a massive bombing raid that killed at least two people.
Posted at 7:47 am
Updated at 10:06 am
what you need to know
- Zelensky believes Belarus will not go to war;
- The mayor of Sloviansk calls on his fellow citizens to evacuate the city;
- Ukraine and its allies fighting the Russian invader agreed on Tuesday in Switzerland on some general principles to guide the country’s reconstruction;
- “Massive” Russian bombardment of eastern city of Sloviansk;
- Zelenskyj criticizes the role of Greek shipowners in the transport of Russian oil;
- Russia: Duma chief to reconsider sea deal with Norway;
- Ukrainian grain: The Russian freighter Zhibek Zholy still off the Turkish coast;
- Western weapons delivered to Ukraine end up on the “black market”, accuses Moscow;
- After the fall of Lysytchansk, the urgency for Ukrainian forces is to contain the Russian advance west and two major cities: Sloviansk and Kramatorsk;
- On Monday evening, the Ukrainian army reported repelled Russian attack attempts in the Kharkiv region;
- A Russian official from the powerful security services (FSB) took over as head of government in Ukraine’s Kherson region on Tuesday;
- The thirty member countries of NATO started the ratification process for the accession of Sweden and Finland on Tuesday;
- Russia says it is investigating alleged torture of soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces;
- According to the International Organization for Migration, more than six million Ukrainians are internally displaced.
The governor of the Donetsk region, which includes Sloviansk, Pavlo Kyrylenko stated on Telegram that two people were killed and seven others injured in these strikes, which targeted the city’s central market.
AFP journalists present during the bombing of Sloviansk saw rockets hit the market and three other adjacent streets. The market was on fire, the fire brigade tried to bring the fire under control.
“Once again, the Russians are deliberately targeting places where civilians congregate. It is terrorism pure and simple,” Mr Kyrylenko denounced and called for the evacuation.
After the fall of Lysytchansk, the centerpiece of the plan to conquer Donbass, Russian forces are advancing west on Sunday, heading for this pre-war city of about 100,000 people.
“Slovyansk! Massive bombing of the city. The middle, the north. Everyone stays safe,” Vadim Liakh, the city’s mayor, warned on Facebook.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to take the rest of Donbass, which has been partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
Lysyshansk was Kiev’s last important bastion in Luhansk province, one of the two that formed the Donbass with Donetsk.
On Tuesday morning, Russian troops advanced west toward Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the two largest cities in Donetsk province that are still under Ukrainian control. They were about ten kilometers from the city of Siversk, which they had been shelling for several days, and thus about fifty kilometers from Sloviansk.
The Russian army said in the morning it had bombed two Ukrainian command posts in Donetsk. According to the Ukrainian presidency on Tuesday, “at least two civilians were killed and six injured” as a result of Russian shelling in the province.
Russian forces also said Tuesday morning they had shelled four ammunition and artillery depots in the northeastern Kharkiv region in the past 24 hours, where Ukrainians said Monday night they had repulsed Russian attack attempts.
In the south, Moscow also claimed “to have shot down a Su-25 plane and three drones belonging to Ukrainian forces in the Kherson region,” claims that cannot be verified by an independent source. A Russian official from the powerful Security Services (FSB) on Tuesday took over the government of the area occupied by Russian forces in that region, the local administration said.
Russia also said Tuesday it is investigating torture allegedly suffered by Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces and released during a prisoner swap with Ukraine.
Ukraine and Russia, which have carried out several prisoner exchanges, have accused each other of ill-treating or torturing prisoners.
Against this background, the two-day international conference organized in Lugano, which tries to outline the outlines of Ukraine’s future reconstruction, which Kyiv estimates will cost at 750 billion dollars, was to end on Tuesday.
Ukraine needs these “colossal funds” to help the population rebuild war-ravaged cities and infrastructure, but also “to prepare schools and universities for a new school year” and “to prepare for the winter,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday evening.
The declaration, adopted in Lugano on Tuesday, shows that the signatories are “fully committed to supporting Ukraine on its way”.
The document emphasizes that “the reconstruction process must help to accelerate, deepen, broaden and realize Ukraine’s reform efforts and resilience in line with Ukraine’s European path”.
“Ready to Go Fast”
“The recovery process must be transparent and accountable to the Ukrainian people,” he said, as the prospect of an inflow of billions of dollars in aid funds reignited concerns about widespread corruption in the country.
In its 2021 Corruption Report, the NGO Transparency International ranks Ukraine 122nde of 180, Russia 136e.
The text insists that the reconstruction process “is inclusive and guarantees gender equality” and calls for Ukraine’s reconstruction in a “sustainable manner”.
“When we say we’re ready to go fast, we mean really fast,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal said.
The conference, which brings together representatives of Ukraine’s allies, international institutions but also the private sector, was planned well before the war triggered by the Russian invasion on February 24 and was initially intended to focus on reforms in Ukraine and the fight in particular against corruption.
According to informed sources, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will propose the creation of a new fund for Ukraine, which could reach 100 billion euros.
In Brussels on Tuesday, the thirty member states of NATO launched the ratification process for the accession of Sweden and Finland, which will allow the alliance to organize a unified line of defense from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, given the intrigues of Russia will also depend on the goodwill of Ankara.
“At 32 we will be even stronger […] at a time when we are facing the worst security crisis in decades,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
“Many allies have been preparing for ratification to take place as soon as possible, but it will take several months,” he then warned.
Ukraine is also urging its allies to put pressure on local shipping companies to stop transporting goods for Russia, helping Russia sell its production and support its economy. For example, on Tuesday Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the role of Greek companies in the export of Russian oil.
He also said he “believes” Belarus, an ally of Moscow, will not be “drawn” into the war Russia is waging against his country.
The fallout from the war for the European economy also remains a concern: the euro fell to its lowest level against the dollar in almost 20 years on Tuesday, nearing parity, buoyed by conflict-induced energy tensions in Europe.