5:55 a.m .: Zelensky promises “heroic defense” in intense fighting in Severodonetsk
Intense fighting continued on Wednesday for control of Severodonetsk, whose residential areas Moscow claims to have “liberated”, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praises the “heroic” defense of this key city in Donbass.
He assured in his daily video address on Tuesday evening that “the situation on the front has not changed significantly in the past 24 hours” and that “the absolutely heroic defense of Donbass continues”.
5:5 am: Angela Merkel defends her policy towards Russia
The former German chancellor defended her policy towards Russia on Tuesday evening, saying she did not have to “apologize” for having relied on diplomacy and trade to try to avoid a war in Ukraine.
In response to questions from a journalist from the magazine Der Spiegel, Angela Merkel assured that she had been aware for several years of the threat posed by President Vladimir Putin to Ukraine. It was in Germany’s interest to “find a modus vivendi with Russia so as not to find ourselves in a state of war” but “to be able to co-exist despite all our differences”, estimated the one who reigned for sixteen years on the leading European economy. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the centre-right former head of government has been accused of increasing Europe’s dependence on Russian energy, including by promoting construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline despite the reservations of its European and American partners.
The wheat war
An economic battle is also being played out, that of the wheat resources of the cereal superpower that is Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Turkey on Tuesday evening to discuss the establishment of secure maritime corridors for the export of grain in the Black Sea. Moscow rejects all responsibility for this crisis, which it believes is due solely to Western sanctions.
The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken accused Moscow of “blackmail” at the lifting of international sanctions by its blocking of wheat exports from Ukraine, and considered “credible” information from kyiv according to which Russia ” steals” tons of Ukrainian cereals, “to sell them for his own profit”.
5:50 am: The latest highlights on the ground
– Intense fighting continued on Tuesday for control of Severodonetsk, a key city in eastern Ukraine. Moscow claimed to have “liberated” the residential areas. “They do not control the city”, once known for its chemical industry and which today “is completely destroyed”, retorted the governor of the Lugansk region, Serguiï Gaïdaï.
– In Severodonetsk, “about 800 civilians” are also refugees in a chemical plant, said the American lawyer of the Ukrainian tycoon Dmytro Firtach, owner of the site. “Among these 800 civilians are about 200 of the plant’s 3,000 employees and about 600 residents of Severodonetsk.” A situation reminiscent of that of Mariupol.
– Witness to the intensity of the fighting in the Donbass, the leader of the pro-Russian separatists Denis Pushilin confirmed on Tuesday the death of a Russian general, Roman Kutuzov, reported on Sunday by a Russian war correspondent.
– The battle continues also in the South, where kyiv tries to take again the ground occupied by the Russians in the areas of Kherson and Zaporijjia. The Ukrainian military claimed to have carried out strikes against Russian encampments near Kherson and ammunition depots near the city of Mykolaiv. Ukraine has also accused the Russian military of imprisoning and torturing nearly 600 people, mostly journalists and pro-kyiv activists, in the Kherson region.
5:45 a.m .: Hello everyone, welcome to this live where we will follow the situation around the conflict in Ukraine, on the 105th day of the Russian invasion.