As Ukraine moves towards EU candidate status, Russia is stepping up attacks in the east of the country. The strategically important city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk region is increasingly becoming the target.

The positions of the Ukrainian army in the eastern industrial area of ​​Donbass were bombed by the Russian military with planes and shelled with rockets and artillery, the General Staff of Ukraine said.

In the evening situation report, more than four dozen cities and towns were listed that had been shelled. Russia relies heavily on artillery to advance from place to place after massive shelling.

The Russian military is advancing closer to the city of Lysychansk from several directions. It is separated from the neighboring Sieverodonetsk by a river. Severodonetsk is now largely under the control of Russian troops, although they are still meeting resistance.

The Russian leadership around President Vladimir Putin named gaining control over the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as one of the goals of the war of aggression.

On Thursday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy again called for faster arms deliveries “to stop this diabolical armada and push it out of Ukraine’s borders”.

In addition, in his daily TV speech, Zelenskyy advocated having Russian war crimes investigated by a special court. “Russia must be held accountable for all the evil it brought to Ukraine,” he said. On the anniversary of Hitler’s Germany attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, he referred to the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War.

The Ukrainian government wants to start a database of assets destroyed by Russian troops in mid-July. For example, residential buildings destroyed in the war should be listed, as Deputy Digital Minister Anatoly Komirnij said.

The aim is to collect data that all Ukrainians can use to claim compensation in international courts, among other things.

Negotiations to break the Russian grain blockade in Ukraine appear to be making progress. UN Security Council circles confirmed to the German Press Agency that the parties to the conflict could meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in Turkey – possibly as early as next week.

The international community has been demanding that Russia allow the export of Ukrainian grain for weeks. Ukraine complains that its ports in the Black Sea are blocked by the Russian Navy.

Both countries are among the largest wheat exporters and play an important role in global food security. The United Nations recently warned of the worst famine in decades.

According to Microsoft, Russian hackers are attacking Ukraine’s western allies on a large scale. The software company warned on Thursday night that they are particularly targeting government computers in NATO countries. Target number one is the United States, but overall Microsoft’s experts have identified attacks by Russian hackers on 128 organizations in 42 countries outside of Ukraine.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, they have succeeded in penetrating the attacked networks in 29 percent of the attacks, it said. At least every fourth successful attack has demonstrably skimmed off data.

At the same time, Microsoft emphasized that Russia had attacked Ukraine’s IT infrastructure with both cyber attacks and missiles since the beginning of the war. However, thanks to protective measures, the systems have proven to be largely resilient.

Russia accuses the United States of blocking a flight for expelled Russian diplomats. The Russian plane was supposed to fly out diplomats who were instructed by the US government to leave the United States by the end of the month, the State Department in Moscow said. However, Washington did not allow this.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova therefore threatened unspecified countermeasures on Wednesday. The US State Department did not comment in detail. However, it complained that Russia did not present the situation correctly.

At a summit in Brussels, the European Union wants to decide whether Ukraine will be granted the status of an EU accession candidate. Before the deliberations, broad support for the corresponding recommendation of the EU Commission emerged. However, a decision must be taken unanimously by all 27 states.