Moscow refocuses on Donbass, Biden meets refugees in Poland

Moscow Refocuses on Donbass, Biden Meets Refugees in Poland

The Russian army said it is focusing its offensive on Donbass, in eastern Ukraine, as US President Joe Biden continues his stay in Europe by meeting Ukrainian refugees in Poland on Saturday.
The Russian army said it is focusing its offensive on Donbass, in eastern Ukraine, as US President Joe Biden continues his stay in Europe by meeting Ukrainian refugees in Poland on Saturday.

Around Donetsk and Luhansk, the two big cities of Donbass, the staff of the Ukrainian army claims “to have inflicted significant losses on the Russian invaders”, in its last bulletin, published on Saturday at dawn. It reports three planes shot down, eight tanks destroyed and some 170 soldiers killed on the Russian side.

Statements to be taken with caution, each side engaged in an intense battle for information, in a context of great difficulty in verifying from an independent source what is happening on the ground, a little more than a month after the launch of the Russian invasion.

The Russian command had surprised by announcing Friday “to concentrate the bulk of the efforts on the main objective: the liberation of the Donbass”, contrasting with the will displayed by Moscow so far to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine” as a whole and not not only in this region where the two pro-Russian separatist “republics” are located.

General Kyrylo Budanov, 36-year-old Ukrainian military intelligence chief, told the American press on Friday that the Russian army is “just a myth”, “a medieval concentration of power, old methods of combat”.

– Franco-Turkish-Greek initiative –

The greatest vagueness reigns, for example, as to the fate of the Russian generals who died in Ukraine, seven in number according to kyiv. The latest killed is General Yakov Rezantsev, according to Western officials on condition of anonymity.

According to these same sources, another general, Vladislav Yerchov, was removed from his post by the Kremlin because of the heavy losses suffered by the Russian troops. But there again, while Ukrainian media evoke a “purge” linked to Russian losses in Ukraine, only the death of one of its generals has been confirmed by Moscow.

Outside the Donbass, the Russians remain very present.

Thus, around kyiv, the fighting continues to “repel the enemy offensive”, according to the Ukrainian staff, specifying that the front line had not moved.

The forces of kyiv assure to continue their counter-offensive on Kherson, in the south of the country, the only large city to have been completely conquered by the forces of Moscow.

In Mariupol, a strategic Ukrainian port located on the Sea of ​​Azov, more than 2,000 civilians were killed in this besieged city, according to the municipality. Some 100,000 of its inhabitants are still stranded there and lack everything, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Friday evening, Emmanuel Macron announced that France, Turkey and Greece were going to carry out “a humanitarian operation” to evacuate civilians from Mariupol “in the very next few days”.

Neo-Nazi militia for some, Ukrainian heroes for others: the Azov regiment, entrenched in besieged Mariupol, is also at the heart of the propaganda war between kyiv and Russia.

Pro-Russian social networks – starting with the Twitter accounts of the Russian embassies in Paris or London – are buzzing with testimonies and comments on the supposed atrocities of this regiment, presented as “fascist” or “Nazi”.

– Biden in Warsaw –

Meanwhile, Joe Biden, on the second day of his visit to Poland, is due to meet in Warsaw on Saturday with Polish leaders.

He will also go to a reception center for Ukrainian refugees and must give a speech on Ukraine where, in a month of war, thousands of Ukrainians have been killed, including 135 children, according to kyiv.

Since February 24, more than 2.2 million people fleeing the conflict have entered Poland, according to Polish border guards, out of about 3.7 million in total who have gone abroad, according to the UN , including 1.8 million children.

Faced with this human tragedy, across Europe, the momentum of solidarity for Ukraine does not weaken.

This is the case in the small English town of Diss, which sends aid trucks, prepares beds for refugees and even raises funds thanks to a cocktail in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, with vodka and blue curaçao.

In Paris, a mass for peace in Ukraine gathered a large crowd on Friday at the Sacré-Coeur, the emblematic basilica of Montmartre.

– Railway bridge –

In Germany, an unprecedented “railway bridge” has been established to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The operation of the Deustche Bahn (DB), the German rail company, resonates like a distant echo of the famous “airlift” organized during the Cold War by the West to help the city of Berlin victim of a Soviet blockade.

“Many Ukrainians feel today, for four long weeks of war, what Berliners felt at the time of the blockade by the Soviets” in 1948-1949, noted the Ukrainian ambassador in Germany Andrij Melnyk, who came to assist this week at the departure of a convoy.

Pallets of baby food, boxes of hygienic products, small electrical appliances, medical equipment, mattresses, blankets… The containers are filling up at full speed.

On the economic front, Washington and Brussels announced on Friday the creation of a working group aimed at reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, thanks in particular to the supply of American gas.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday evening punishing prison sentences of up to 15 years for “false information” about Moscow’s action abroad, an additional repressive weapon to control information on its offensive in Ukraine.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.