Recent political developments
Swedish officials expect the decision to be announced on Sunday apply for NATO membership.
The President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky promised that the city of Mariupol will one day host Eurovision. the victory of the country.
Updates from the ground on the 81st day of the war
Russian missile hits “military infrastructure facilities” in western Lviv, governor says.
Russia continues to suffer from “consistently high levels of wear and tear.” The Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom reports.
- Authorities are negotiating the evacuation of 60 severely wounded Ukrainian servicemen from the Mariupol steel plant, the deputy prime minister said..,
Following the victory of his country in Eurovision, the disobedient President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky promised early Sunday morning to hold a song contest in the city of Mariupol, which is almost entirely in Russian hands, except for a stable group of several hundred Ukrainian fighters, which continues. endure in a steel plant.
The Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine won the famous competition with its song Stefaniawhich became a popular anthem among the Ukrainians during the war, its victory was moral and psychological.
“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe,” Zelensky wrote on Facebook. “Ukraine will host Eurovision next year.”
During the show, the band begged for help to the fighters, who are still at the Azovstal steel plant in the port city, and Zelensky said that the “one day” competition would be held in “Mariupol, Ukraine”.
The president’s optimistic remarks come as Russian troops retreat from Kharkov, the country’s second-largest city, after weeks of bombing. Moscow forces continue to fight hard for the country’s eastern industrial hub, Donbas.
Russia has now probably lost a third of its ground forces, which it assumed in February, continues to suffer “consistently high wear and tear”, while failing to make significant territorial gains over the past month, according to the British Defense Department’s daily intelligence. Sunday.
“Russia’s Donbas attack has lost momentum and is significantly behind schedule,” the ministry wrote on Twitter, adding that the forces were suffering from “a persistently low mood and declining combat readiness.”
“In the current context, Russia is unlikely to accelerate rapidly in the next 30 days,” the statement said.
Military facilities were hit in Lviv, the governor said
In the western city of Lviv, a Russian missile hit “military infrastructure facilities” early Sunday morning, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, Lviv region governor Maxim Kozitsky said in a statement to the Telegram.
Russia has targeted railway facilities – other important infrastructure – in the vicinity of Lviv, near the Polish border, which is the main gateway for NATO-supplied weapons.
Western officials say that despite the attacks, it has not had a significant impact on Ukraine’s ability to replenish its forces.
As Russian forces retreat from the northeastern city of Kharkov, the Ukrainian military says Moscow is now focused on securing supply routes while launching artillery, artillery and air strikes in the eastern part of Donetsk in an attempt to deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications.
Russian forces have taken control of the Donetsk-Luhansk region of Ukraine, which forms part of the Donbas region, a border area where Ukraine has been fighting Moscow-sponsored separatists since 2014.
Fighting continues in the Eastern region
The port of Mariupol in the Azov Sea in southern Donbas is now largely under Russian control, with the exception of a few hundred troops at the steel plant.
A convoy of 500 to 1,000 trucks carrying civilians out of the city was reportedly able to reach the Ukrainian-controlled town of Zaporozhye on Saturday, while Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said authorities were in talks to evacuate 60 seriously wounded soldiers at a steel plant. around. .
After the February 24 invasion of Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned his attention to the east, to the Donbass, with the aim of encircling Ukraine’s most experienced, best-armed forces and occupying Ukrainian-controlled territories.
Air strikes ետ Artillery shelling makes it extremely dangerous for journalists to move around the East, which hinders efforts to gain a complete picture of the fighting. But it seems that it is moving back and forth, without serious breakthroughs on both sides.
Russia occupied some villages and towns in the Donbas, including Rubizhen, which had a pre-war population of about 55,000.
Zelensky said Ukrainian forces had also made progress in the east, retaking six towns or villages in the past day. In his overnight message on Saturday, he said that “the situation in Donbas remains very difficult” and that “Russian troops are still trying to win at least to some extent.”
“Step by step,” Zelensky said, “we are forcing the occupiers to leave Ukrainian territory.”
Kharkov, located near the Russian border, just 80 km southwest of the Russian city of Belgorod, has been under heavy shelling for weeks. The predominantly Russian-speaking city, with a pre-war population of 1.4 million, was the main military target at the beginning of the war, when Moscow hoped to capture and retain major cities.
The governor of the region, Oleh Sinegubov, said in a telegram that there had been no shelling in Kharkov in the past day.
He added that Ukraine had launched a counterattack near the town of Izium, 125 kilometers south of Kharkov, which has been under Russian control since at least early April.
Sweden’s decision on NATO is imminent
Putin justified the Ukraine war by claiming that it was a response to NATO enlargement in Eastern Europe.
But the invasion worries other countries beside Russia that they may be next, the Finnish president and prime minister have said in recent weeks in favor of joining NATO. Swedish officials are expected to announce their decision on Sunday to apply to join the Western military bloc.
In a telephone conversation on Saturday, Putin told Finnish President Sauli Niinisto that there was no threat to Finland’s security, that “NATO membership would be” wrong “and that it would” have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations. “
The Scandinavians’ possible bids were called into question on Friday when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country “does not have a favorable opinion”.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was scheduled to meet with his NATO counterparts, including the Turkish Foreign Minister, in Germany this weekend.
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