UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – Le Figaro takes stock of the latest information from journalists, official Ukrainian and Russian statements, Western sources and international organizations.
On the 130th day of the conflict in Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities have renewed calls for Western anti-missile systems after deadly strikes in the Odessa region, as kyiv forces face an ‘extremely difficult’ situation in Lysychansk , a key city in the Battle of Donbass.
Over 20 dead and at least 38 injured near Odessa
According to the Ukrainian military and civil authorities, at least 21 people, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed before dawn on Friday by three Russian missiles which destroyed “a large building” and “a tourist complex” in Sergiyivka, a town on the Black Sea coast, about 80 km from Odessa, in southern Ukraine.
“This is deliberate Russian terror and not a few mistakes or an accidental missile strike,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced late Friday evening, while local authorities assure that “there is no had not the slightest military target” at the location of the strikes. In response to the Ukrainian accusations, the Kremlin assured that “the armed forces of Russia do not operate on civilian targets” in Ukraine, a reaction described as “inhuman and cynical” by Berlin. According to kyiv, the strikes on Sergiyivka injured 38 people, including five children, two of them in serious condition.
Applications for missile defense systems
“I call on our partners to provide Ukraine with missile defense systems as soon as possible. Help us save lives,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba pleaded again on Twitter, calling Russia a “terrorist state.”
According to the Ukrainian army, the weapons used against Serguiïvka are Soviet cruise missiles dating from the Cold War and designed to strike a carrier battle group, the same type as those which struck a shopping center in Kremenchuk (center of Ukraine) in broad daylight on Monday. Ukraine, 200 km from the front) and having killed at least 19 people according to the last still provisional relief report.
Lyssychansk surrounded by the Russians?
The separatists supported by the Russian army claimed on Saturday to have “totally” surrounded Lyssytchansk, in Donbass. “Today, the people’s militia of Lugansk (the separatist army, editor’s note) and the Russian armed forces occupied the last strategic heights, which allows us to affirm that the locality of Lyssytchansk is completely surrounded”, indicated a representative of the Lugansk separatist army. The Ukrainian army, for its part, evokes violent fighting while assuring that the city “is not surrounded”. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had previously acknowledged that the situation remained “extremely difficult” in the city.
Lyssychansk is the last major city in the Lugansk region controlled by the Ukrainian army. It is the twin of that of Severodonetsk, conquered last week by Moscow after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces after a battle lasting several weeks. The two towns are separated by the Donets River. The capture of Lyssytchansk would allow the Russian army to then advance towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two other large cities in the Donbass region, which Moscow is seeking to conquer.
Civilians killed in Sloviansk by rocket fire
About sixty kilometers further west, in Sloviansk, a city in Donbass not far from those of Izium and Lyman already in the hands of Russian forces, a rocket attack hit inhabited houses on Friday evening, causing the death of a woman who was in her garden and injuring her husband, a neighbor told an AFP journalist on Saturday morning, showing the damage caused to buildings in the neighborhood.
The city’s mayor, Vadym Liakh, accused Russian forces of using cluster munitions, banned by international treaties to which Moscow is not a party. According to the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, four civilians have been killed and 12 injured in Sloviansk since Friday morning. Sloviansk has been suffering day and night rocket fire for at least a week, hitting residential areas.
Missiles over Kharkiv
Further north, in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, “the morning […] was particularly turbulent,” said regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov, according to whom missiles hit a part of the city without causing any damage. victims.
Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, said the Russian Air Force hit the local tractor factory in Kharkiv where troops and equipment from the 10th Assault Brigade were located. of Ukrainian mountain.
Ukrainian command centers affected in the South
On the southern front, according to Konashenkov, the Russian army hit with artillery fire or airstrikes 39 command centers and two ammunition depots near Mykolaiv. The Ukrainian regional governor, Vitaly Kim, indicated for his part that explosions had been heard in the morning and that the authorities were trying to measure the consequences. Generally speaking, Konashenkov asserted, “the enemy is suffering heavy casualties on all fronts.”
New U.S. military aid
Responding to Ukrainian demands for additional weapons, the Pentagon on Friday announced $820 million in new military aid for kyiv, including up to 150,000 155mm shells, new missiles for US multiple rocket launchers Himars, which recently arrived on the battlefield, as well as NASAMS air defense systems (American-Norwegian-made), capable of firing short and medium-range surface-to-air missiles. Norway, for its part, announced aid in the form of a donation of some 960 million euros, which could in particular enable kyiv to buy weapons.
Interception of a Russian freighter
Faced with the maritime blockade imposed on it by Russia and which prevents it from exporting its wheat, Ukraine asked Turkey on Friday to intercept a Russian cargo ship leaving from the port of Berdiansk, in the occupied zone, and which it suspects to transport thousands of tons of grain stolen by Moscow.
Ursula Von der Leyen asks kyiv to speed up its reforms
On the diplomatic front, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, addressing Friday by video to the Parliament of kyiv, called on the latter to accelerate its reforms against corruption, within the framework of Ukraine’s candidacy for the EU accepted at the end of June by the leaders of the Twenty-seven. She also welcomed the passing of a law aimed at combating “the excessive influence of the oligarchs on the economy” and called for the adoption of a “law on the media, which brings Ukrainian legislation into line with the standards of the European Union”.