Over the weekend, the EU issued a favorable opinion on the new entry, one of the main steps for a country to become part of the bloc.
“This Monday begins a really historic week,” Zelensky said of the long-awaited response from the EU on granting candidate country status to Ukraine.
After Ukraine received the green light from the European Commission on Friday, EU countries will meet on Thursday and Friday to decide whether Kiev can enter the candidate category, a decision that must be taken unanimously.
“Obviously we expect Russia to intensify attacks this week,” warned the Ukrainian president, according to whom his country’s troops are preparing for this scenario and are “ready”.
Zelensky said the Russians “regroup their forces towards Kharkiv and the Zaporizhzhia region” and continue to bombard fuel infrastructure. He said the army would respond to the attacks, while admitting “significant losses”.
Russia is about to gain full control over breakaway Luhansk region
Sergei, the governor of Luhansk, a region in the east of the country that has been the target of intense bombing in recent weeks, said that “the Russians tried to advance in the Toshkivka area and partially succeeded”, but stressed that the Ukrainian artillery worked and the whole advance was not successful.
Toshkiva is south of Lysychansk, the twin city of Severodonetsk, which focuses the offensive on the Donbass mining basin (eastern Ukraine).
A mortar explodes on the side of the main road leading to the city of Lysychansk, in eastern Ukraine, on May 26, 2022. — Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP
In Lysychansk there are signs of preparations for street fighting: soldiers installed barbed wire and police moved the wreckage of burnt-out vehicles to try to stop the Russians.
The local government on Sunday denied the Russian takeover of Severodonetsk, but admitted that Moscow troops “control most” of the city.
- The anguish of the residents of Lysychansk, in eastern Ukraine
- Ukrainians contain Russian attacks in the east, and NATO says it fears ‘years’ war
The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed control of Metiolkine, on the outskirts of Severodonetsk.
Severodonetsk is a strategic position for the battle in Donbass, a region that has been partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
On the southern front, the Ukrainian army claims that Russian forces “cannot advance on the ground” and just continue the bombardment.
Russia’s defense ministry said it used cruise missiles to attack a factory in Mykolaiv and destroyed “ten 155mm howitzers and up to 20 armored vehicles supplied to the Kiev regime by the West in the last ten days”.
Mykolaiv is a port and industrial city where half a million people lived before the war. The location is a target of Russian attacks because it is on the route to Odessa, Ukraine’s main port.
EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Belgium. — Photo: Yves Herman via Reuters
This Monday, the head of diplomacy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell, said that Russia commits a “real crime of war” by blocking the exportation of cereals and grains from Ukraine.
Against the EU, Russia uses its hydrocarbons as a weapon and cut off the flow of gas to several countries last week.
At the same time, Russian oil imports into China rose by 55% in May compared to the same period last year.
In an attempt to reduce dependence on Russia, countries such as Germany are betting on less ecological solutions, including coal plants.
“It is bitter, but it is essential to reduce gas consumption,” declared the Minister of Economy, the ecologist Robert Habeck, despite the German coalition government having promised to abandon the use of coal by 2030.
Austria also announced on Sunday the reactivation of a closed coal plant in 2020. Before the war, the government of Vienna intended to stop using this energy source and produce 100% renewable electricity by the end of the decade.