President Zelenskyy visits troops on Donbas frontlines
Heavy fighting continues in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region as President Zelenskyy met with troops and commanders on the ground in his latest tour of the frontlines.
His visit comes as Ukrainian forces appear to be making ground in counter offensives against the Russians in several key areas.
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Key points to know for Monday:
The content of the article:
- 1 Key points to know for Monday:
- 2 Ukraine intel report: Fighting in the east, Russians fortifying Snake Island
- 3 Russian foreign minister’s Serbia visit cancelled after countries close airspace
- 4 UK to supply new rocket launcher systems to Ukraine
- 5 Ukraine’s World Cup quest ends with loss to Wales
- 6 President Zelenskyy visits Donbas frontlines
- President Zelenskyy has visited troops and commanders on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region. He also met civilians who have been forced from their homes during Russia’s invasion. The UK will supply new rocket launcher systems to Ukraine, with a range of 80km. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been forced to cancel a Monday visit to Serbia after neighbouring countries closed their airspace to the top Russian diplomat’s plane.Ukraine’s national football team lost out on a place in this year’s World Cup with a 1-0 loss to Wales on Sunday night.Ukrainian forces state they have launched a successful counter-offensive against Russian troops in the eastern city of Sieverodonetsk, now holding half of the city. Earlier on Sunday, Moscow also claimed progress in this key city in the Donbas.An historic all-wood Orthodox church, a part of a centuries-old monastic complex, has caught fire near the frontline in eastern Ukraine. Both sides blame each other for the blaze. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has been rebuked by Ukraine’s top politicians, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba for saying Russia “must not be humiliated” over its war against Ukraine.
Ukraine intel report: Fighting in the east, Russians fortifying Snake Island
The latest British military intelligence report released on Monday morning highlights the ongoing fierce fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
The Ministry of Defence says Sieverodonetsk continues to be disputed by opposing forces: in recent days the Russians had claimed to control the city, but then Ukrainian forces staged a counter offensive and took back more ground.
“Russian forces continue to push towards Sloviansk as part of their attempt at encirclement of Ukrainian forces” the MoD notes.
Meanwhile the new intelligence briefing says Russia is continuing to fortify Ukraine’s Snake Island in the Black Sea by moving “multiple defence assets” including anti-aircraft systems.
“It is likely these weapons are intended to provide air defence for Russian naval vessels operating around Snake Island” the report says, following the loss of the Russian cruiser Moskva in April to a Ukrainian attack.
Russian foreign minister’s Serbia visit cancelled after countries close airspace
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Serbia has been cancelled after countries around Serbia closed their airspace to his aircraft, a senior foreign ministry source told the Interfax news agency on Sunday.
The source confirmed a Serbian media report that said Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had closed their airspace to the plane that would have carried Moscow’s top diplomat to Belgrade on Monday.
“Our diplomacy has yet to master teleportation,” the source said.
There was no immediate comment from the Russian foreign ministry.
Serbia, which has close cultural ties with Russia, has fended off pressure to take sides over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has not joined western sanctions against Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic agreed last month that Russia would continue supplying natural gas to Serbia, while other countries have been cut off for refusing to pay for Russian gas in roubles.
FILE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Photo via AP)06:38
UK to supply new rocket launcher systems to Ukraine
The United Kingdom will supply Ukraine with rocket launchers with a range of 80km, to counter the Russian offensive, the Ministry of Defence announced on Monday, following Washington’s lead.
These multiple rocket launcher systems (M270 MLRS) will “significantly increase the capabilities of Ukrainian forces,” the ministry said in a statement.
The decision was taken in “close coordination” with the United States, which last week announced the supply of Himars systems with a range of 80km – i.e. multiple rocket launchers mounted on light armoured vehicles.
The Ukrainians had been asking for multiple rocket launchers for some time to be able to strike Russian positions in depth while positioning their batteries further from the front.
However, US President Joe Biden has ruled out supplying Ukraine with long-range rocket launcher systems that could reach Russia, despite Kiev’s repeated requests for such weapons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that Moscow would strike new targets if the West supplied long-range missiles, saying current arms deliveries were aimed at “prolonging the conflict”.
“If the international community maintains its support, Ukraine can win,” commented British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
“Russia’s strategy is changing, and our support must change too,” he added, stressing that the new weapons would enable the Ukrainians “to better protect themselves against the brutal use of long-range artillery,
Ukraine’s World Cup quest ends with loss to Wales
Ukraine’s players wept in the rain while applauding their dejected supporters after missing out on qualifying for the World Cup by losing 1-0 to Wales in Europe’s last playoff for the FIFA soccer showpiece on Sunday.
The agonizing moment in a tight game came in the 34th minute when Andriy Yarmolenko inadvertently headed the ball into his own net while trying to clear Wales captain Gareth Bale’s free kick.
While Wales heads to a first World Cup in 64 years — opening against the United States in November — this was a game too far for Ukraine’s emotionally charged mission to qualify for Qatar while remaining under invasion by Russia.
“We did everything that we could,” coach Oleksandr Petrakov said through a translator,” but I really want the people of Ukraine to remember our team’s efforts.”
Petrakov’s priority, once the World Cup dream had been extinguished, was ensuring the suffering at home is not forgotten by the world.
“We have war raging all over the country,” Petrakov said. “We have children and women dying on a daily basis. Our infrastructure is being ruined by Russian barbarians. The Russians want to hurt us, but the Ukrainians are resisting and defending their land. We just want your support. We just want to you to understand what is happening back home.”
READ MORE IN OUR STORY HERE.
Ukraine’s Vitaliy Mykolenko, left, and Ukraine’s Mykhailo Mudryk seen in dejection at the end of the World Cup 2022 qualifying play-off soccer match between Wales and Ukraine at Cardiff City Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales, Sunday, June 5, 2022. Wales won 1-0. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)06:27
President Zelenskyy visits Donbas frontlines
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited his troops on the frontline in the war-torn eastern region of Donbass against Russian forces on Sunday.
He made an announcement about the trip on a video posted to social media.
“We were in Lyssychansk, we were in Soledar,” said the leader, who visited command posts in these towns near Sieverodonetsk, a key city in Moscow’s offensive in the Donbass mining basin.
He also visited Bakhmut, in the southwestern Donetsk region, and held talks with military personnel, the presidency said.
During his trip, Zelenskyy “deepened his knowledge of the operational situation on the defensive frontline,” the presidency said.
“I want to thank you for your excellent work, for your service, for protecting us all, our state. I am grateful to everyone,” he told them. “Take care of yourselves!”
“I am proud of everyone I have met, shaken hands with, communicated with, supported,” Zelenskyy said in his daily address.
He also said he had visited Zaporizhia, to meet residents of Mariupol who managed to flee the strategic port on the Sea of Azov almost completely destroyed by Russian bombing.
“Each family has its own story. Most were without men,” he noted. “One family’s husband went to war, another’s husband is in captivity, another’s husband, unfortunately, is dead. A tragedy. No home, no loved ones. But we must live for the children. True heroes, they are among us.
Mr Zelenskyy had already visited the front lines in May, in the Kharkiv region.