This 82nd day of war in Ukraine was marked by Sweden’s official request to join NATO, provoking multiple reactions on the international scene.
While Russia continued its bombardments in Ukraine on Monday, killing at least ten people in the Luhansk region, kyiv claimed to have regained control of part of its border. On the economic level, the American fast food giant Mc Donald’s and the French car manufacturer Renault have formalized their withdrawal from Russia. But it is above all on the international scene that this 82nd day of conflict was marked by Sweden’s official request to join NATO, despite threats from Vladimir Putin and Turkey.
• Russian bombardment kills 10 in Luhansk region
At least ten people were killed in Russian shelling of the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk on Monday. This was indicated by the governor of Luhansk, Serguiï Gaïdaï, on his Telegram account.
“At least 10 people have been killed. It is currently extremely difficult to verify the situation on the ground due to the new shelling,” the governor said, calling on residents who did not flee to stay safe.
In a previous message on Monday, the governor warned of “very powerful” artillery strikes on Severodonetsk, a city “virtually surrounded” by forces from Moscow and pro-Russian separatists from Donbass, according to the city’s mayor, who gave an update on the situation on the ground on Sunday.
• kyiv claims to have regained control of part of the border with Russia
On the military ground, Russian forces seem to be stagnating, even retreating in some places. On Monday, the authorities in kyiv announced that Ukrainian troops had succeeded in regaining control of part of the border with Russia in the Kharkiv region, in the northeast of the country. The Russian forces were also said to have been pushed back to a border post.
“The 227th Battalion of the 127th Territorial Defense Brigade of the Kharkiv Armed Forces expelled the Russians and settled on the border,” the Defense Ministry said on its Facebook page, posting a video of armed soldiers in front of a border post painted in yellow and blue, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and with a trident, the coat of arms of Ukraine.
Along the same lines, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared in a new video speech that “the occupiers refuse to admit that they are at an impasse” in Ukraine, and that “their so-called operation special failed.”
• A recording of the Moskva before its sinking revealed
On the Russian side, it was one of the biggest losses, both strategic and symbolic, since the start of the conflict. Last April, Moscow saw the Moskva, flagship of its maritime fleet, sink into the Black Sea. A flagship which, according to the official version of the Kremlin, had been the victim of a storm. Following the sinking, kyiv claimed for its part to have succeeded in neutralizing the ship thanks to missile strikes.
On Monday, the Ukrainian army posted online a recording made a few minutes before the sinking, where we can hear the commanders of the Moskva asking for assistance.
“Tug boat, do you receive me? Emergency situation on the Moskva: two impacts, the boat will roll over to the side, tilt 30 degrees, the propeller is destroyed. The impact is below from the waterline. Impossible to approach the tug boat! Rescue of the crew requested!”, can we hear.
An exchange that contradicts the Russian version, since the officers themselves mention impacts on the hull.
• Sweden asks to join NATO
After Finland’s request to join NATO on Sunday, Sweden’s request only seemed to be a matter of hours. It became official on Monday afternoon, through Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, who spoke of a new “era” for the Scandinavian country.
“The government has decided to inform NATO of Sweden’s desire to become a member of the alliance,” she told a press conference. “We are leaving an era to enter a new one”, according to the Swedish leader.
The Swedish ambassador to NATO will send Stockholm’s candidacy “soon”. Sweden and Finland had already announced their desire to apply simultaneously. And this formalization quickly aroused many reactions. If the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron announced that he “fully” supported this approach, as did British Foreign Minister Liz Truss, who felt that the two countries should be integrated into NATO “as soon as possible”, this request still does not pass on the side of Turkey.
Already on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had expressed his hostility to the accession of Finland and Sweden to the Atlantic Alliance. A line he kept on Monday ensuring that he “would not give in” on this point.
In a statement, the Elysée immediately assured that France “would stand alongside Finland and Sweden” in the event of an attack.
• “The enlargement of NATO will provoke responses from us”, assures Putin
During a speech held on the sidelines of a summit of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), Russian President Vladimir Putin returned to the desire of Sweden and Finland to join the NATO. If the Russian president claimed that it was “a problem created in an artificial way” and that “Russia does not have problems with these states”, he however warned.
“There are no direct threats from the entry of these countries into NATO, but the military expansion in these territories will provoke our response, which will be based on the threats. Of course, we will react appropriately. “, he warned.
With regard to the Russian invasion, the Head of State hammered home once again that “in our neighboring country, Ukraine, Nazism has long since regained the upper hand”, justifying what is still referred to in Russia as a “special operation”.
Vladimir Putin also assured that this presence of “Nazism” in Ukraine was accompanied by an explosion of Russophobia “in so-called civilized countries”.
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