Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of a war of annihilation. After a visit to the front, he spoke of serious damage in the city of Kharkiv and reported destruction in Donbass.
Selenskyj had announced that he would also speak about it at an EU summit in Brussels starting this Monday. Monday is the 96th day of the war. Russia attacked neighboring Ukraine on February 24.
After an unannounced visit to the embattled Kharkiv region in the east of the country, Zelenskyi was shocked. “Black, burned-out, half-ruined apartment buildings face east and north with their windows – to where Russian artillery fired from,” he said in a video message.
Russia not only lost the battle for Kharkiv, but also for Kyiv and northern Ukraine. “It has lost its own future and any cultural ties to the free world. They’re all burned.”
The trip to Kharkiv was Zelensky’s first known visit to the front since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. During the visit, he fired the local head of the domestic secret service SBU, Zelenskyy said: “Because he hasn’t worked to protect the city since the first days of the war, but only thought of himself.” The case was handed over to the judiciary .
Zelenskyj also accused Russia of extensively destroying the city of Sievjerodonetsk in the Donbass. The entire infrastructure was destroyed, he said in the video message. “90 percent of the houses are damaged. More than two-thirds of the city’s housing stock has been completely destroyed.”
The city is constantly under attack. Zelenskyy said Moscow wanted to hoist its flag on the administrative building of Sieverodonetsk, which is located on the Boulevard of Friendship of Nations there. “How bitter that name sounds now.”
Sievjerodonetsk has been the target of attacks for months. The city is considered the last point that the Ukrainian military still controls in the Luhansk region.
According to the authorities, several civilians were killed or wounded in attacks on Ukrainian locations. Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kirilenko blamed Russia for three dead and four wounded in the government-controlled part of the region in the east of the country.
In Mykolayiv in the south of the country, the authorities spoke of at least one death in an attack on a residential area. Russia denies attacking civilian targets.
The General Staff in Kyiv announced that the Ukrainian army had fended off 14 Russian attacks in the Donbass. It said more than 60 Russian soldiers were killed and tanks and artillery destroyed. The information is not independently verifiable.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described taking Donbass as an “unconditional priority”. It is about pushing the Ukrainian army and battalions out of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which Moscow recognizes as independent states, Lavrov said in an interview with the French broadcaster TF1, according to the Russian foreign ministry. The ministry published the answers on Sunday on the website. In the interview, Lavrov again spoke of an alleged “liberation” of the Donbass from the “Kiev regime”.
Lavrov also responded to a question about Putin’s health. The President appears in public every day, said the Foreign Minister. “You can watch him on the screens, read and hear his performances. I don’t think sensible people can see signs of illness or malaise in this person.”
According to the former Federal President Joachim Gauck, he believes that arms deliveries to Ukraine are important for their fight for freedom against the Russian attackers. “Without the weapons of the Allies in the World War there would have been a Europe under Nazi rule,” Gauck said in an interview with the “Bild” newspaper.
Ukraine must be allowed to say what it needs to oppose Russia. Nevertheless, politicians must continue to talk to Russia’s President Putin. “Responsible politics must also talk to dictators,” said Gauck. “We must never do without diplomacy.”
The Ukrainian winners of the Eurovision Song Contest said they auctioned off their competition trophy to benefit their home country’s army. “A special thanks to Team Whitebit, who bought the trophy for $900,000 and are now the legal owners of our trophy,” the band Kalush Orchestra said on Sunday evening.
Whitebit is a Ukrainian company that operates a crypto exchange, an online trading platform where cryptocurrencies can be bought, sold and exchanged. Since 2008, the winners have been presented with a glass microphone trophy. Kalush Orchestra won the 66th ESC in Turin in mid-May with the song “Stefania”.
The ongoing dispute over plans for a European oil embargo against Russia threatens to overshadow the EU summit that begins in Brussels on Monday.