Ukraine is preparing for decisive battles in the Donbass

HASThe day after winning the Eurovision Song Contest, which is hailed by NATO leaders and many European leaders, Ukraine is preparing for the decisive battles in the Donbas, and Kyiv is confident of victory after Russia’s reversals on the forehead.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Joanna said on Sunday (May 15th) that the triumph of the Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra at the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin on Saturday night was a testament to the “huge public support” Ukraine enjoys under Russian attack.

Welcoming this victory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he was “confident that our victorious choir in the battle with the enemy is not far off,” promising to organize “one day” Eurovision in “free” Mariupol, peaceful and rebuilt. , regarding this lost city, where the last Ukrainian fighters got a foothold at the Azovstal metallurgical plant.

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“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal “, released the singer of the Kalush Orchestra Oleg Psyuk, whose performance was applauded. President Zelensky stressed that the situation in Donbass remains very difficult. Russian troops are trying to achieve at least one victory there. ” “Little by little we are pushing the occupiers out of our lands,” he added.

Luhansk is under fire

Russian troops are trying to advance in this strategic region in the east, which has been partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, and whose main task has been Moscow since withdrawing its troops from Kyiv in late March. “We are preparing for major offensives in Severodonetsk and around the Lysychansk-Bakhmut axis,” said Serhiy Haidai, Ukraine’s governor of Luhansk Oblast, describing the increasingly critical humanitarian situation.

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“Luhansk region is constantly under chaotic fire […] there is absolutely no gas, no water, no electricity, “he said Saturday night. In particular, for three weeks they have been trying unsuccessfully to cross the Seversky Donets River at the level of the village of Belogorivka.

In this almost deserted village, the Agence France-Presse team saw roads dotted with abandoned military equipment. The school, which was bombed a week ago, is left with only three soot-covered corners, a strike that Kyiv has declared one of the worst crimes committed by Russian troops since their invasion of Ukraine, along with 60 civilians killed.

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“The EU is with you”

In the east, the Russians are failing to take a “significant position,” a U.S. defense spokesman said on condition of anonymity. It seems that the situation has changed around Kharkiv, the second city in the country. Russian troops were forced to withdraw from several settlements northeast of the city, according to the Ukrainian General Staff.

But according to the American Institute for War Studies (ISW), “Ukraine and its Western partners probably have only a small window of opportunity to support a counteroffensive in Russian-occupied territory.” According to the institute, Vladimir Putin “probably intends to join the south and east of Ukraine to the Russian Federation in the coming months.”

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However, after 80 days of war, Ukraine’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest has prompted the Ukrainian president, more than ever, to prevail more than ever on the battlefield. “Our courage strikes the world, our music conquers Europe,” he said. Several European leaders have followed suit, welcoming Ukraine’s very symbolic success in this competition, which is very popular in Europe and has excluded Russia.

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This victory is “a clear reflection not only of your talent, but also of Europe’s unwavering support alongside Ukraine,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. For his part, European Council President Charles Michel expressed hope that Eurovision 2023 would be held “in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reminded: “The EU is with you. »

Finland’s candidacy for NATO is a source of tension

Outside of Ukraine, Finland’s imminent candidacy for NATO – and, of course, Sweden – which will be officially announced on Sunday is a major point of tension with Moscow.

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This was announced by Finnish President Sauli Niiniste on Saturday by phone, Vladimir Putin. “The conversation was straightforward and straightforward, and was unaccompanied. It was considered important to avoid tensions, “said Sauli Niiniste, a very regular interlocutor of the Russian president in recent years.

Vladimir Putin told him that Helsinki’s renunciation of its historic military non-alignment “would be a mistake, as there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said. Moscow threatened on Thursday with “technical-military” measures, without specifying which ones. On Friday night, exports of electricity to Finland were suspended – about 10% of consumption by the Nordic country.

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G7 is mobilized

Most NATO countries have supported Helsinki’s accession, with the exception of Turkey, which is threatening to block it. Finland and Sweden can join NATO only after a unanimous vote of its members. However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu did not completely close the door and offered to talk about it with his allies and interested countries.

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Turkey accuses the two countries of hiding members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organization that Ankara (but also the EU and the United States) considers “terrorist” and may demand compensation from them. An informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Ukraine began in Berlin on Saturday. Sweden and Finland will hold bilateral talks with Turkey to try to overcome their hostility.

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In this context, the G7 foreign ministers (Germany, France, Italy, Canada, the United States, Japan and Britain), meeting in Wangels, Germany, said on Saturday that they “never” recognize the borders Russia wants. to impose on Ukraine. He again called on Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor and Moscow’s ally, “to stop promoting Russia’s intervention.”

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