«To defend them Donbass Between 50 and 100 soldiers die every day,” he says Zelensky on the day Parliament passed the presidential decree extending martial law until August 23. Severodonetsk. It is necessary to get used to the name of this city, to consider its geographical location halfway between Kharkiv and Donetsk, in the heart of Donbass, because this is where army attacks are concentrated Russian. It’s not the only target on the generals’ agenda Putin to the east, but according to Lyudmila Denisova «severodonetsk risks becoming the new one Mariupol“. He explains: “The enemy concentrated all his forces on the attack on the city, on the outskirts of which fighting is constantly taking place.”
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After Mariupol has been taken and the last resistance of the steelworks has fallen after 86 days of siege, the Russians divert men and vehicles to other areas of the Donbass, the industrially important macro-region in the east, for the mines, but also for agriculture, around the control area to expand. The goal is clear: If you consider that part of the territory has already been occupied in the last decade with the two republics of Donetsk and Lugansk and Crimea in the south, Putin is ideally aiming for a permanent occupation from the area down to Kharkiv (which he initially gave up), descends to the Sea of Azov near Mariupol. And it connects to the Crimean peninsula to connect to the west as far as Kherson. The idea of pushing west into Mykolaiv and Odessa to link up with Transnistria (a piece of Moldova controlled by a self-proclaimed pro-Russian government) is still on the table. For economic, tactical and geopolitical reasons, the Russian army is now increasing the intensity of attacks on the Donbass: when the day of the resumption of negotiations comes, it will be important for Moscow to present itself in a position of strength.
And then we have to get back to Severodonetsk, a little over 100,000 inhabitants, the city that had temporarily fallen into the hands of pro-Russian forces back in 2014, only to be taken over by the Ukrainians. An analysis by the UK Ministry of Defense painted this picture: “Severodonetsk is one of Russia’s immediate tactical priorities and as a result its forces deploy Terminator tanks in the region. The only Russian operational company of BMP-T Terminator tank support vehicles was probably positioned on the Severodonetsk axis of the Donbass offensive ». However, the available latest generation Terminator tanks are only ten, say the British, and therefore not enough to exert a decisive influence in this section of the Donbass. One fact remains, according to Sergei Gaidai, head of the Lugansk regional military administration: “The bombings continue from morning to evening and even through the night. Severodonetsk risks being surrounded ». And here we return to the comparison with Mariupol. Just east of the martyr city, yesterday there was an attack on a collaborationist, pro-Russian mayor: it happened in Energodar, where a bomb exploded in front of the home of seriously injured Andriy Shevchyk. The two bodyguards are also involved.
Summary of the Ukrainian General Staff: “In the direction of Donetsk, the enemy is trying to break through the defenses of Ukrainian troops and reach the administrative borders of the Lugansk region. In the Severodonetsk direction, the enemy fought in the area of the Prudivka settlement. The occupying forces also tried to launch an offensive to capture the village of Oleksandrivka, but to no avail. The Moscow narrative presents this phase of the war in a different way. The Russian Defense Ministry explains: high-precision missiles destroyed 13 military bases, 4 ammunition depots and 3 Ukrainian command posts.
The Pentagon plans to send special troops to Kyiv to protect the US embassy. In the north, tensions are likely to rise again with Belarus, a vassal country of Moscow, which yesterday, through the mouth of Minsk Security Council Secretary Aleksander Wolfovich, issued an indictment against Kyiv: “Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups have entered Belarusian territory. About 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers are deployed on the border with Belarus ».
Lukashenko, the Belarusian dictator, arrived yesterday in Sochi, Russia, where he will meet Putin today. It is to be hoped that the allegations made yesterday will not be an excuse to involve the Belarusian army in the fighting, as this would significantly complicate the scenario. And it would delay the day of resuming negotiations, which seemed less distant after Zelenskyy’s painful decision to order the last men of the Azov battalion to cease fighting. Negotiations about her fate continue, but with great discretion. The chairman of the Duma’s international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, has hastily opened the hypothesis of an exchange between Azov prisoners and the pro-Russian oligarch Medvedchuk, who is in the hands of the Ukrainians. Given the controversy his verdicts caused, he rushed out to point out that they had been “taken out of context.”
To date, there is no clarity about the future of the Azov 2,500 (but not only because the Ukrainian marines also defended the steelworks), although Turkey, Switzerland and Israel supported the mediation. A group of wives and mothers of the prisoners were received by the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul yesterday. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, during the homily at the celebrations in honor of Saint Rita in Cascia, expressed the hope that negotiations to end the war in Ukraine will begin as soon as possible. “The Pope could continue to play a very important role in this conflict and its resolution. There are spaces,” said Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary of State for Relations with States, in an interview at the end of his mission to Ukraine. “Moscow is ready to continue negotiations with Kyiv, which were broken off at the initiative of the Ukrainian side,” said Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Medinsky, who heads the Russian delegation. The diplomatic picture is confused. Yesterday, France hoped Eis Zelenskyy that Ukraine would soon join the European Union. French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said: “It will undoubtedly take 15 to 20 years”. However, Ukraine cemented strong ties with Poland yesterday when President Andrzej Duda addressed the parliament in Kyiv, where he was greeted with applause. He said: “I will not stop until Ukraine becomes a member of the European Union.”
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