The Russians are approaching Soledar, Severodonetsk is increasingly threatening

05:50: Lavrov denies Vladimir Putin is sick

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied that President Vladimir Putin was sick on Sunday, saying he was showing no symptoms. President Putin’s health and private life are topics that are taboo in Russia and hardly ever discussed in public.

But in response to a question from the French television channel TF1, Lavrov said: “I don’t believe that a wise person could see any signs of illness or any affection in this person (Putin). Lavrov pointed out that Vladimir Putin, who will turn 70 in October, appears before the public on a “daily” basis.

You can see him on the screen, read or listen to his speeches,” he said. “I leave those who spread such rumors to deal with it with their conscience, despite the daily opportunities they get to confirm what’s going on.”

05:48: EU considers a solution to unblock new sanctions against Russia

Representatives of Twenty-Seven have been working on a solution since Sunday to unblock the 6th EU sanctions package against Russia, whose flagship measure is an oil embargo until the end of the year. These new sanctions are thwarted by Hungary, a landlocked, no-sea country that depends on oil sent from Russia by the Druzhba pipeline, which supplies 65% of its consumption.

The solution studied in Brussels would consist of keeping Druzhba out of the oil embargo in order to limit sanctions only to oil supplies by boat. Two-thirds of the oil that Russia supplies to the EU is transported by tankers and a third by the Druzhba pipeline.

This proposal, prepared at the initiative of the French presidency of the EU and the Council of Europe (the body representing the Member States), will enable progress in the 6th set of European sanctions, which has been under discussion since the beginning of May. Another option being considered would be to delay the adoption of the entire sanctions package until a solution to Hungary’s oil supply is found.

05:46: Russian forces approach the strategic town of Soledar

In southwestern Donbass, Russian forces are approaching the town of Soledar, a few kilometers from Bakhmut.

But “the capture of Soledar and then of Siversk from Ozerne in the north would have been enough to cut off all communication between Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk. Nine Ukrainian brigades and regiments, or about 1/6 of the Ukrainian ground operating force, would be trapped in this way, says historian Michel Goya.

What to remember from Sunday

• Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced at TF1 that his country wanted “the demilitarization of Ukraine” and stated that the weapons found on the territory of Ukraine “are a threat to the Russian Federation”. He also criticized France for its “active role in Ukraine”.
• The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the Russian army destroyed “an important arsenal of the Ukrainian armed forces with long-range high-precision missiles” in the Dnipropetrovsk region (southeast).
• Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the Kharkov region for the first time since the Russian occupation in the east of the country on Sunday, announcing that he dismissed the city’s security chief.
• According to the New York Times, Russia focused its attacks on the Luhansk region and the city of Severodonestk, while Ukraine launched a counterattack in the southern city of Kherson.
• According to the Ukrainian General Staff, 30,150 Russian soldiers have died since the start of the conflict.
• The Russian Ministry of Defense confirms for its part that Russia killed 300 Ukrainian soldiers in the last 24 hours.

05:45: Hello everyone, welcome to this live broadcast where we will follow the situation around the conflict in Ukraine on the 96th day of the Russian occupation.