Putin’s victory in Ukraine could aggravate humanitarian crisis

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Kyiv: The Ukrainian army faced a massive attack by Russian forces on Kyiv, Kharkiv, the port of Mariupol and other cities on Tuesday, forcing Europeans to further tighten their sanctions against Russia, encouraged by the Ukrainian Presidential Act.

Governor Oleg Sinegubov stated that on the sixth day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the central square of Kharkiv, the country’s second city with a population of 1.4 million, close to the Russian border, was bombed and the regional province was affected. Telegram showing the explosion.

At least 10 people were killed and more than 20 injured, according to Ukraine’s emergency service.

Clashes also took place Monday in Okhtyrka, about 100 kilometers northwest of Kharkov, which killed “about 70 Ukrainian fighters” as well as large numbers of Russians, according to local officials. The Ukrainian military did not confirm this assessment when questioned.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appeared to confirm the escalation in the offensive, stressing that the “special military operation” – the term used by Moscow to denote the invasion – will continue “until the set objectives are achieved”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced “war crimes” in Kharkov and stressed that Kiev’s defense was “a priority”.

Satellite photos released overnight by US satellite imagery company Maxar showed a Russian convoy stretching for tens of kilometers and heading northwest towards the Ukrainian capital.

The Russian military has told Kyiv civilians living near Ukrainian intelligence facilities to evacuate.

Witnesses of the Russian advance, maneuvers of the Ukrainian army, truck and tank lines stretched to the west and north of the capital, AFP reported.

“Fire and shelling woke us up all night,” said Natasha, 51, who opened a canteen for soldiers and volunteers in the village of Chaika, west of Kiev.

In the center of Kiev, which was snowing all night, the essential stores that were still open were always full. Neighborhood residents who have not escaped in recent days have erected barricades and dug trenches.

The Russians also seemed to have advanced in the south of the country on the Sea of ​​Azov, where several large Ukrainian metropolises are located.

After an attack on the port of Mariupol (southeast) on Tuesday morning that cut off power there, Russia’s Defense Ministry said its troops advancing along the coast from Crimea and those arriving from the separatist region from pro-Russian Donetsk were attacked. managed to establish a connection.

The information could not be immediately verified. Not long ago, the Ukrainian military claimed to thwart this attempt.

The Russian army also set up barricades at the entrances to the more western coastal city of Kherson (population 290,000), according to mayor Igor Kolikhaïev. Videos shared by residents on social media show Russian soldiers in the area.

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Charles Michel, President of the European Council. (AFP).

New sanctions “absolutely”

In the face of this development, President Zelensky, who called for the “immediate” integration of his country with the EU, intervened in the European Parliament via videoconference and called on the Europeans to “prove that they are with Ukraine”. cheers.

In his speech, the President of the European Council Charles Michel accused Russia of “geopolitical terrorism”.

If rapid integration into the EU seems ruled out, the Europeans have expressed their readiness to further tighten sanctions against Russia, already adopted on a historic scale, after a new meeting with American president Joe Biden on Monday evening.

“We will definitely impose new sanctions” against Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday. “The bloodbath must stop,” he added, believing that Ukraine was fighting “to survive.”

Bruno Le Maire, the French Economy Minister, who holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said in a previous statement, “We will cause the collapse of the Russian economy.”

“Vladimir Putin has underestimated the unity and determination of the West and the rest of the world,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, announced that 500 million Euros of humanitarian aid will be provided to Ukraine.

The international community is trying to deprive Russia of all international funds and freeze the assets of Vladimir Putin and his circle.

Moscow retaliated on Monday by taking a series of shock measures to support the economy and the ruble, which fell to historic lows. On Tuesday, the Russian Prime Minister said he is drafting a new decree to stop the flight of foreign investors while the Moscow stock market remains closed.

World markets – especially in Europe – are also feeling the brunt of this conflict. Oil prices continued to rise, particularly ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies.

In addition to the economic sanctions, Russia is no longer involved in numerous cultural and sporting events, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

However, despite this unprecedented pressure, demonstrations against the war and expressions of solidarity with Ukraine in many countries, Mr. Putin continues his demands.

During a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, he laid down the recognition of Crimea as Russian territory, the disarmament and “denazification” of Ukraine as conditions for stopping the invasion. This is at the time of the first Russia-Ukraine talks.

The Russian and Ukrainian delegations left to consult their capitals a few hours later, stating that they could only meet again “soon”.

Mr. Zelensky stressed Tuesday that “the synchronization of the shootings with the negotiation process is clear”.

The Kremlin considered it premature to “assess” these initial talks.

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Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. (AFP).

One million displaced

The conflict has thrown masses of Ukrainians who have fled to neighboring countries, more than 660,000, on the roads since Thursday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Tuesday.

And the long queues of cars continued to drive from the big city of Lviv in western Ukraine, which had become both the exit point and the center of retreat, towards the Polish border.

The women who retreated to Lviv and left the men of the family to “defend Ukraine” mobilized to support them by donating their blood or making camouflage nets.

An official from the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that the UN estimates there are one million internally displaced people in Ukraine.

The EU expects more than seven million displaced people.

The extent of human casualties remains unclear. The UN said on Monday that 102 civilians were killed and 304 were injured, adding that the real figures were “significantly” higher.

Ukraine reported on Monday that 352 civilians had been killed and 2,040 injured since Thursday, and thousands of Russian soldiers had been killed, it said.

Russian forces accepted casualties in their ranks without any consideration.