As the struggle for the strategic eastern city of Severodonetsk continued, Russian forces announced on Sunday that they had targeted a location in western Ukraine with vast quantities of weapons supplied by the United States and European nations.
According to the regional governor, the attack on Chortkiv, a rare offensive by Russia in the ordinarily tranquil west of Ukraine, resulted in 22 injuries. Provincial governor Sergiy Gaiday stated that the situation in Severodonetsk was "tough" after the Russian army demolished a second bridge leading into the city and bombarded the remaining bridge.
Away from the battlefield, the chairman of the European Commission indicated on Saturday that a clear signal would be issued by the end of next week on Ukraine's bid to become a candidate for EU membership. "In the past decade, Ukraine has accomplished much, but much remains to be done. Our judgment will accurately reflect this, "Ursula von der Leyen said following an unexpected trip to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
EU leaders are poised to endorse the bid at a summit later this month, but with tight conditions, despite the misgivings of certain member states. As she returned to Poland, von der Leyen stated, "The challenge will be to come out of the (EU) council with a united position, which reflects the enormity of these historic decisions,"
The geopolitical weakness of Ukraine has been exposed by Russia's invasion on February 24, which has killed thousands, forced millions to leave, and reduced large portions of the country to rubble. Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to the current moment as a "decisive time."
"Russia desires to destroy European unity, leave Europe fragmented, and render it weak. Russia's objectives encompass all of Europe. Ukraine is just the beginning of this aggression "he added.
Alongside punishing Russia with unprecedented economic sanctions, the United States and European Union have given weaponry and cash to Ukraine to help it repel the Russian assault. According to the Russian defense ministry, the attack on Chortkiv destroyed a substantial cache of anti-tank missile systems, portable air defense systems, and shells supplied by the United States and Europe to the Ukrainian regime.
Saturday evening, just 140 kilometers (85 miles) from the Romanian border, four missiles fired from the Black Sea partially destroyed a military installation in the town, according to regional governor Volodymyr Trush. He stated in a Facebook post that residential buildings were also damaged and that 22 individuals, including seven ladies and a 12-year-old, were injured and hospitalized.
It was a rare attack in western Ukraine, with most Russian firepower falling on the country's east and south. Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, separated by a river, have been targeted for weeks as the last areas of the Lugansk region still under Ukrainian control.
"The situation in Severodonetsk is extremely difficult," said the governor of Lugansk on Sunday, adding that by striking the bridges, Russian soldiers intended to block off the city entirely. Today or tomorrow, they will most certainly deploy all of their reserves to seize the town and maybe in other directions to sever and fully control the route leading to Bakhmut in the southwest. He reported that the Azot chemical plant was being shelled and fighting in the area.
According to the tycoon whose company owns the complex, approximately 800 citizens have sought safety in the bunkers.
Crisis and starvation
Russia being a significant producer of oil and gas, the war has caused an increase in the cost of energy and essential foodstuffs worldwide. Before the war, Russia and Ukraine produced 30 percent of the world's wheat supply; however, grain is stuck in Ukraine's ports, and Western sanctions have hampered Russia's exports.
At the Shangri-La Dialogue security meeting in Singapore, Zelensky warned of severe food scarcity, adding that "shortage of foodstuffs will inexorably lead to political chaos" Also, on Saturday, Gaiday highlighted reports of Russians putting Ukrainian wheat into trucks and transporting it to regions under Russian control.
At the meeting, Zelensky urged international pressure to lift the embargo, addressing delegations such as Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who restated Beijing's position on the situation on Sunday. "On the Ukrainian crisis, China has never provided any material support to Russia," adding that China supported peace negotiations and hoped "NATO will have talks with Russia."
The sanctions on Moscow have harmed the Russian economy and prompted large Western companies to leave the country, including selling McDonald's businesses in Russia. Its renowned restaurant in Moscow's Pushkin Square, where the first McDonald's debuted in January 1990 amid lengthy lines and great uproar, was scheduled to reopen under new management on Sunday.
Oleg Paroyev, the head of the new group, announced at a news conference that its name was "Vkusno I tochka" Separately, the Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom reported that after a month and a half, the connection between the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is now part of Russian-held territory in the south, and the UN's nuclear watchdog had been restored.
The Russian bombardment of the plant, the largest in Europe, generated international outrage and apprehension for Ukraine's fifteen active reactors. The Russians turned off the mobile phone operator at the site on May 30. Still, the link with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the United Nations was finally restored on Friday, according to Energoatom.
This week, the IAEA announced its intention to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station for necessary safety maintenance. Energoatom stated that such a visit would legitimize Russia's plant ownership and that a visit would not be possible until Ukraine regains authority.