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Ukraine: intense battle in Severodonetsk, Lavrov in turn warns Westerners

The fighting is still raging Monday in Severodonetsk, a key city in eastern Ukraine under intense Russian shelling, with the Ukrainian president acknowledging a “difficult” situation, while Moscow has once again warned Westerners in the event of supplies of long-range weapons. Ukrainian forces “hold out” in Severodonetsk, but the Russians are “more and more powerful there”, so the situation is “difficult” on the eastern front, Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters in Kiev. Regional Governor Serguiï Gaïdaï had previously stressed that the situation had “worsened” for the Ukrainians despite a counterattack that made it possible to regain half of this industrial center. Its mayor, Oleksandre Striouk, in turn told the UNIAN press agency that “the situation changed every hour” and that “intense street fighting” was underway, as well as an “artillery duel”. According to Mr Gaïdaï, the bombings have intensified further on Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk, a nearby site located on the “heights” and strategic to “keep the line of defense”. The Russians “destroy everything with their usual burnt land tactics,” so “there is nothing left to defend,” the governor said. Severodonetsk is the largest settlement still in Ukrainian hands in the Luhansk region, where Russian troops have advanced in recent weeks. For Russia, it would be crucial to get its fingers in this city to conquer the entire vast coal field in the Donbass, which has already been partially held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014. Its armed forces have continued their efforts over the past 24 hours. fronts in eastern Ukraine, where “seven attacks (…) were repulsed” in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, according to Ukrainian authorities. – Moscow warns Westerners on weapons – In Moscow, the head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov in turn warned Western countries against the supply of long-range weapons to Kiev. “The better long-range weapons you supply, the further we will push the Ukrainian lines out of our territory,” Lavrov warned Monday during an online press conference. The day before, it was President Vladimir Putin who had threatened to attack “places we have not targeted so far” if such weapons were provided. This did not stop London on Monday from announcing the delivery of M270 MLRS rocket launchers with a range of 80 kilometers, in addition to Himars of the same range, promised last week by Washington. Military experts point out that this range is slightly larger than similar Russian systems, which would allow Ukrainian forces to attack enemy artillery out of range. – Lavrov prevented from going to Serbia – Mr. Lavrov also criticized the “scandal” of three European countries closing their airspace to the plane that was to take him to Serbia, where his two-day trip had to be canceled. “The unthinkable has happened,” he responded, “we deprived a sovereign state of its right to pursue its foreign policy.” Bulgaria, northern Macedonia and Montenegro, all three NATO members, have taken such a step by invoking sanctions imposed on Russia by Brussels. Latvia decided on Monday to ban broadcasts on its territory from all TV channels based in Russia. The day before, President Zelensky had visited the Ukrainian troops stationed near Bakhmout (Donetsk region) and Lyssytchansk (Lugansk region). In photos released by the presidency, we could see the head of state in military-style attire talking to soldiers inside buildings. He had also been taken to Zaporijjia in the south to meet the inhabitants of Mariupol, who had managed to escape from this strategic port taken by the Russians. – The war on other fronts – The war is also taking place on other fronts: communication, at sea and at the economic level. The capital Kiev was bombed on Sunday, for the first time since late April, and the Russian army claimed to have destroyed armored vehicles supplied by Eastern European countries, which officials and witnesses denied on the spot. “This is yet another example of Russian-made forgery to justify this brutal war against Ukraine,” Sergii Leshchenko, head of a railway company, told AFP. In the Black Sea on Monday, the Ukrainian army assured that it had largely pushed back the Russian navy, uncontrollable information from an independent source. “As a result of our actions aimed at defeating the enemy naval forces, the group of ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet was pushed back from the Ukrainian shores at a distance of more than one hundred kilometers,” said the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Defense. According to him, Russian troops were therefore forced to deploy coastal defense systems in Crimea and in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, which they occupy. “We have deprived the Russian navy of full control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea, which has become a ‘gray zone’,” the ministry said, adding that Moscow was currently trying to regain control there. The Russians are nevertheless continuing their naval blockade of Ukrainian ports, according to the same source, preventing grain exports and increasing fears of food crises in the countries, especially in Africa, which depend on them. The conflict is against two grain superpowers, Russia and Ukraine, which account for 30% of world wheat exports, and this has caused prices to rise. The amount of grain destined for export and blocked in Ukraine could triple “by the autumn” and reach 75 million tons, Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Monday. “We need maritime corridors and we are discussing this with Turkey and the United Kingdom” as well as with the UN, the Ukrainian president added. Kyiv also raises this issue with Poland and the Baltic states to export small quantities by rail. Vladimir Putin assured last week that “there were no problems exporting grain from Ukraine”, from Ukrainian ports, others under Russian control or via Central and Eastern Europe. Ukraine, for its part, rejects the solutions proposed by the Russians. bur-mav-pop-neo-rbj / def / bds

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