Against the background of intensified Russian rocket and artillery attacks in Ukraine, the EU foreign ministers want to discuss a further expansion of the sanctions against Moscow on Monday.
The meeting in Brussels is about, among other things, an import stop for Russian gold. Russia announced that it would further intensify its offensive. According to Ukrainian sources, the invading troops are now also using the site of the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant as a base for rocket attacks.
More than 20 weeks after the invasion began, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, during an inspection of troops involved in the war, ordered the attacks to expand into the neighboring country, his ministry said. The ministry left the date and place of Schoigu’s second visit by the Russian forces open.
Russia has been increasing its rocket and artillery attacks for days. Destinations at the weekend included cities in the regions of Kharkiv in the north-east, Donetsk in the east and Mykolaiv and Nikopol in the south.
In addition, the Russian troops use the area of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant for rocket attacks on the neighboring Dnipro, as the head of the Ukrainian atomic energy agency Energoatom, Petro Kotin, announced in the online service Telegram. The situation in the power plant is “extremely tense” and is getting worse every day.
Dnipro’s regional governor Valentin Resnichenko spoke of a veritable “rocket flood”. According to him, around 500 Russian soldiers currently control Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. It has been occupied by the Russian army since early March.
The further escalating war situation is the context in which the EU is dealing with a further tightening of its Russia sanctions. In addition to a gold embargo, the corresponding proposal by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also envisages further restrictions on European deliveries of goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes.
Since the EU foreign ministers will be discussing the new sanctions package for the first time on Monday, a decision on this is not expected that day, said a high-ranking EU representative.
The focus of the war is still in eastern Ukraine, where the Russian and separatist units have been able to gain important ground in bitter trench warfare and artillery battles over the past few weeks.
After capturing the twin cities of Lysychansk and Sievjerodonetsk, Russian troops and separatists allied with them, say they invaded the small town of Siwersk in the Donetsk region, about 30 kilometers away. Eastern parts of the city have already been conquered and the entire city is about to be taken, the separatists said.
Other cities in the Donetsk region were attacked with rockets over the weekend, according to Ukrainian sources. The goals are civil infrastructure, especially educational institutions, explained regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.
In Toretsk, three Russian rockets hit a residential area, a school and a kindergarten. The Russians fired on a medical faculty in Kostyantynivka. According to Kyrylenko, there was initially no information about possible victims in either city.
According to Ukrainian sources, a multi-story industrial building in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv was hit by Russian rockets. A woman was injured, said regional governor Oleg Synegubow. According to authorities, at least three civilians were killed in the city of Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region.
In the southern region of Mykolaiv, according to Governor Vitaly Kim, Russian shells fell in the cities of Mykolaiv, Shevchenkove, Soria, Novoruske and Shyrokov. Three people were killed in Shevchenkove and one woman in Schyrokiw.