Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday were involved in a military face-off in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas, on a day that marks when both countries mark the anniversary of World War II to remember Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
Putin to mark World War 2 anniversary
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to lay flowers to ‘honour the dead’, Reuters news agency reported on Wednesday. This day is also commemorated in Ukraine and other neighbouring countries like Belarus.
To commemorate the anniversary, the Russian ministry on Wednesday released documents from the beginning of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union, to show Germany intended to claim the Soviet army was bombing churches and cemeteries to justify its invasion, a Reuters report stated.
‘Ukraine’s Luhansk region toughest spot’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday said, “Fighting in the months-long war has favoured Russia in recent weeks because of its huge edge in artillery firepower.”
🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨
Zelenskiy also said that Luhansk has been the toughest region to defend. “Thanks to tactical manoeuvres the Ukrainian army is strengthening its defences in the Luhansk region. The occupiers are also pressing strongly in the direction of Donetsk,” the Ukrainian president added.
Ukraine is set to become an official candidate for European Union membership on Thursday, EU diplomats have said. “And just as actively as we are fighting for a positive decision by the European Union on Ukraine’s candidate status, we are also fighting every day for modern weaponry for our country. We don’t let up for a single day,” Zelenskiy said.
Amid continued Russian attacks, US Secretary of Defence Austin Lloyd Tuesday said, By working together, we can help Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s cruel assault and we can strengthen Ukraine’s security for the long haul.”
Meanwhile, press group ‘Reporters without Borders’ alleged on Wednesday that a Ukrainian photojournalist and soldier who accompanied him when they were killed in the first weeks of Russia’s invasion appear to have been “coldly executed”. It is said that they were searching Russian-occupied woodlands for the photographer’s missing image-taking drone.
Russian forces and separatists in east Ukraine attacked Ukraine on Tuesday, pushing towards Lysychansk city, the Ukrainian military’s main bastion in the Donbas region.
In the eastern Donbas region, Ukraine has been struggling to defend itself in the battle despite the weaponries supplied by the West.
The governor of Luhansk province, Serhiy Gaidai, said Russians were moving towards Lysychansk, attacking the police buildings, state security and prosecutors, taking settlements and attacking the city with aircrafts.
More attacks have taken place in Kharkiv, the northeast region of Ukraine, with at least 15 civilians estimated to have been killed by Russian shelling, its governor informed on Tuesday.
Indonesian president to meet Russia, Ukraine leaders
Indonesian President and G20 chairman Joko Widodo will visit counterparts in Ukraine and Russia next week to push for a peaceful resolution to the months-long conflict, his foreign minister said on Wednesday. This will be the first trip to Russia and Ukraine made by an Asian leader.
Widodo had earlier invited Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to a summit of leading rich and developing nations, known as the Group of 20.
Russia’s response to sanctions
In response to Western sanctions, Russia has been supplying less gas to Europe via Ukraine, while European Union states have come up with measures to handle the energy supply crisis.
Meanwhile, Russia has warned Lithuania on Tuesday saying it would face measures of a “serious negative impact” for blocking some shipments by rail to Russia’s Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad.
-With Reuters inputs