Russia bombs western Ukraine, intensifies offensive in east

Ukrainian artillery unit near the town of Izyum, south of Kharkiv, on June 11, 2022 – AFP

Russia announced on Sunday that it had destroyed a large warehouse of weapons supplied by the United States and European countries in western Ukraine, while stepping up its offensive in the east in a crucial battle for Severodonetsk, where Ukrainian troops are struggling. .

An unusual Russian bombardment against the town of Chortkiv, in western Ukraine, which remained relatively on the sidelines of the war, left 22 wounded, local governor Volodimir Trush said on Sunday.

The governor said the four missiles fired from the Black Sea partially destroyed a military installation and several residential buildings. Among the injured is a 22-year-old boy.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that the bombing of Chortkiv destroyed a “large depot of anti-tank missile system, portable air defense systems and howitzers supplied to the Kiev regime by the United States and European countries”.

The United States and the EU have sent weapons and resources to help Ukraine contain Russia’s advance, while also announcing unprecedented sanctions against Moscow.

At the same time, in the east, the situation in the strategic city of Severodonetsk is “extremely difficult” after Russian troops destroyed a second bridge and launched a massive bombardment against the third and final one, Governor Sergei Gaiday said.

The governor pointed out that the destruction of the bridges is intended to isolate the city.

Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, separated by a river, have resisted attacks for several weeks and are the last Ukrainian positions in the Lugansk region.

At the diplomatic level, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, promised Kiev on Saturday that the bloc would present by the end of the week a clear signal about Ukraine’s ambition to be a candidate to join the European Union.

Von der Leyen highlighted that the former Soviet republic “has made progress in strengthening the rule of law, but it still needs to implement reforms to fight corruption”.

Despite reservations from some member states, Kiev’s candidacy could receive the green light at the bloc’s next summit on June 23 and 24.

“The challenge will be to leave the (EU) Council with a united position that reflects the importance of this historic decision,” Von der Leyen said during his return trip to Poland.

Ukraine’s geopolitical vulnerability was exposed with the invasion initiated by Russia on February 24, which caused thousands of deaths and forced millions of people to flee their homes, leaving entire territories of the country reduced to rubble.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that this was a “decisive” moment.

“Russia wants to destroy European unity, wants to divide Europe and weaken it. All of Europe is a target for Russia. Ukraine is just the first step,” she said.

– “Russian McDonald’s” opens its doors –

The sanctions against Moscow have hit the Russian economy hard and also sparked an exodus of Western companies, including the American fast food chain McDonald’s.

The emblematic unit in Moscow’s Pushkin Square – where Russia’s first McDonald’s opened in 1990 (still the Soviet Union at the time), with long lines – reopened its doors this Sunday as a Russian company.

The chain is now called “Vkousno i tochka” (“Delicious. Period”) and, although it no longer uses the famous yellow logo, it tries to present customers with a familiar flavor.


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