23 Jun 2022

As Russia Pounds Kharkiv, Ukraine's Zelensky Looks To EU!

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday applauded the European Union's proposal to become a member of his war-torn nation, as Russian troops stormed Ukraine's second-largest city in Kharkiv and the eastern province of Donbas.
European leaders will officially launch Ukraine on the long road to EU membership at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. Although particularly symbolic, the move will help to lift the world's spirit during a turbulent four-month war that has killed thousands, left millions dead, and created cities and towns.

The war also has a major impact on the global economy and European security systems, raising prices for fuel, oil and food, pushing the EU to lower its grip on Russia's power and lead Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership.

The EU will temporarily return to coal to deal with Russia's gas flows without disrupting long-term climate targets, an EU official said on Wednesday, as a strong gas market and rising prices set off the race for more fuel.

Zelensky said he had spoken to 11 European Union leaders on Wednesday about Ukraine's appointment and would make further calls on Thursday. He said he had previously believed that all 27 EU countries would support the situation in Ukraine.

"We deserve it," Zelensky told the crowd in Amsterdam via a video link.

Politicians say it will take Ukraine a decade or more to meet the conditions for joining the EU. But EU leaders say the bloc must take action to justify Ukraine's self-sacrifice.

As its troops run out of ammunition as the offensive war continues in the Donbas, Ukraine has some important milestones in the near future.

'No Compromise' in Exploding Citizens

Russian strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday in Kharkiv, near the Russian border, have been the worst for weeks in an area where normal life has been restored since Ukraine pushed out Moscow forces last month.

Kyiv has highlighted the strikes, which reportedly killed at least 20 people, in an effort to force Ukraine to withdraw supplies from major military bases in Donbas to protect civilians.

Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said the Russian people continued to beat the Kharkiv districts and villages within the Kharkiv region.

"There is no compromise on civilian shooting by Russian citizens," he wrote in the Telegram messaging app. "This is proof that we cannot expect the same situation as in Chernihiv or Kyiv, where Russian troops withdrew under pressure."

Ukraine's presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych in a video address said Russian troops had beaten Kharkiv to intimidate people and force Ukraine to withdraw troops.

Zelensky has warned that war could escalate ahead of the EU summit. Russia has long opposed communications between Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, and Western clubs such as the EU and the NATO alliance.

"There have been massive air strikes and weapons in Donbas," he said in a video address released earlier Thursday, adding that Russia wants to "destroy the entire Donbas step by step."

Significantly, the Ukrainian military situation in Donbas is deteriorating, the Tass news agency said, and Russian troops were about to capture the village of Vovchoyarivka, about seven miles [12 km] southwest of Lysychansk.

Tass cited sources close to the militants fighting in the Luhansk region claiming to be separating the Russian-speaking people. The village is located near the main road from Lysychansk to the town of Bakhmut in the southwest.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

In an evening review of the military, General Staff of Ukraine listed a list of ongoing Russian shootings in Kharkiv and other nearby towns and villages as well as air strikes in the devastated city of Severodonetsk, among others.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai, in a statement posted online on Wednesday evening, said Russian troops were continuing to build military bases in Severodonetsk in an effort to surround Ukrainian troops.

He has dismissed Russian claims that its troops are already in control of the city. "The wars continue," he told Ukraine Television. "The Russian military has no control over the situation."

Moscow says Ukrainian troops in Severodonetsk, the site of the latest heavy fighting, are trapped. He told them last week that they had surrendered or died after the bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River was destroyed.

Indicating that Ukraine's military situation in Donbas is getting worse, Tass - quoting Russian-speaking separatists fighting for Moscow - said Russian troops were on the verge of capturing Vovchoyarivka, a town 12 miles southwest of Lysychansk. .

The village is located near the main road from Lysychansk, a sister town across the river from Severodonetsk.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

Inside Russia, a fire broke out at an oil refinery just 8 miles (5 miles) from the Donbas-controlled territorial border, after which the refining industry described it as a cross-border attack on Wednesday with two drones.

There were no recent Ukrainian comments on the strike, which halted production in the Novoshakhtinsk refinery.

Ukraine usually does not say anything about reports of an attack on Russian infrastructure near the border, calling it "karma" on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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