Ukraine has recognised that combat in its east has been challenging as Russian troops have taken land and increased pressure on two towns. This comes ahead of an EU conference this week that is anticipated to approve Kyiv’s application to join the group.
As of Monday evening, the situation along the front line was described as “extremely difficult” by the governor of the Luhansk region, which has been the site of the heaviest Russian onslaughts in recent weeks. The governor also stated that the Russian army had amassed sufficient reserves to launch a large-scale offensive.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speculated that Russia will ratchet up its assaults in the days leading up to the meeting with the EU that would take place on Thursday and Friday. In a speech that he gave to the country on Monday evening, he remained defiant while also alluding to “tough” combat in Luhansk for Sievierodonetsk and its sister city Lysychansk.
There is the most tough battling for us there,” he said. “But we have our tough boys and girls there,” the leader said.
The governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Gaidai, said that Russian troops controlled the most of Sievierodonetsk, with the exception of the Azot chemical facility, which was housing hundreds of people who had been taking refuge there for weeks. According to him, the highway that ran between Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk and ended at the city of Bakhmut was under incessant shell bombardment.
According to Gaidai, it is hard to determine the total number of fatalities.
Rodion Miroshnik, the envoy of the self-styled Luhansk People’s Republic to Russia, said that its soldiers were “moving from the south towards Lysychansk,” and that firefights were breaking out in a number of towns along the way.
On Telegram, he said that the next few hours should bring about significant changes to the existing balance of power in the region.
If the leaders of the EU were to give their blessing for Ukraine to become an official candidate to join the club, it would be a huge win for Kyiv.
It submitted its application for membership just four days after Russia invaded on February 24. If the European Union were to penetrate the very centre of the territory once occupied by the Soviet Union, it would mark the beginning of one of the most significant economic and social shifts in Europe that the continent has seen since the end of the Cold War.