HANDOUT - 03.07.2022, Ukraine, Lyssytschansk: Auf diesem von der Militärverwaltung der Region Luhansk zur Verfügung gestellten Foto sieht man verbrannte Autos und beschädigte Wohnhäuser am frühen Sonntag, 3. Juli 2022 in Lyssytschansk in der Region Luhansk in der Ukraine. Wie der Gouverneur der ostukrainischen Provinz Luhansk am Samstag, 02.07. mitteilte, haben die russischen Streitkräfte die Stadt Lyssytschansk und ihre Umgebung in einem umfassenden Versuch, die letzte Widerstandshochburg in der ostukrainischen Provinz Luhansk einzunehmen, unter Beschuss genommen. Ein Berater des Präsidenten sagte, über das Schicksal der Stadt werde in den nächsten zwei Tagen entschieden. Foto: -/(Militärverwaltung der Region Luhansk/AP/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung im Zusammenhang mit einer Berichterstattung und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Despite the withdrawal of the Ukrainian army, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy does not yet see the city of Lysychansk in the east of the country as lost. “If the command of our army withdraws people from certain points of the front where the enemy has the greatest fire advantage – Lysychansk in particular – it means only one thing: that thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increased supply of modern weapons, we will come back,” said him on Sunday.

However, in his nightly video message, Zelenskyy promised to restore control of the area. After weeks of defensive fighting, the Ukrainian army announced in the evening that it was withdrawing from Lysychansk. Monday is the 131st day of the war for Ukraine.

The Ukrainian army announced that it had avoided encirclement by withdrawing from Lysychansk. “Russia has a great advantage in infantry and artillery,” the military said in Kyiv. The retreat was to protect the soldiers. “We’re taking everything back, we’re rebuilding everything.”

Russia had previously reported that it had taken the city. Lysychansk was the last major Ukrainian bastion in the Luhansk region. Its conquest is one of the war goals named by Russia. The information from the combat zones can hardly be checked independently.

President Zelenskyy said that the Ukrainian army is moving forward – both in the Kharkiv region in the east, and in the Kherson region in the south and on the Black Sea.

The recently recovered Snake Island is a good example. “There will come a day when we will say the same thing about Donbass,” he said. “Ukraine gives up nothing.”

According to Mayor Vadym Lyakh, six people were killed and 15 wounded in rocket attacks on the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk. Lyakh called the attack on Sunday the “most serious attack in recent times” on the city in the Donetsk region. Among the dead is a child.

According to Lyakh, civilian objects were hit – not military facilities. According to regional commander Oleg Sinegubov, three people were killed and one injured in the shelling of the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has reaffirmed his close ties with Russia. Belarus is so closely linked to the Russian Federation “that we practically have a common army. But you knew all that. We will continue to be firmly united with brotherly Russia,” Lukashenko said at a celebration marking the anniversary of the liberation of Minsk by Soviet troops in World War II. He supported Putin’s actions against Ukraine “from day one”.

“Lukashenko’s statement about a joint army with Russia is especially dangerous for the Belarusian people,” said Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. Ukrainian officials believe the former Soviet state is becoming increasingly involved in the conflict.

Russia accused the West of preventing peace negotiations with Ukraine and thus prolonging the war. “Now is the moment when Western countries are betting everything on continuing the war,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Under US leadership, the West is allowing Ukrainians “not to think about, talk about, or discuss peace.”

Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podoliak responded by saying that Russia was aware of the conditions for negotiations: a ceasefire, troop withdrawal, the return of kidnapped citizens, the extradition of war criminals, as well as a reparations mechanism and recognition of Ukraine’s sovereign rights. “The time will come and we will put it on paper,” said Podoliak.

With a view to the Russian offensive, the chairman of the EU committee in the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter (Greens), called on the federal government to deliver infantry fighting vehicles or at least armored vehicles to the war zone.

In view of Russia’s massive action in eastern Ukraine, this is urgently needed, he told the “Bild” newspaper. Armored vehicles such as “Marder”, “Fuchs” or “Dingo” could save countless lives here.

At a meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach in Kyiv, Zelenskyy welcomed the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from many tournaments. “One must not allow a terrorist state to use sport to promote its political interests and propaganda,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

He is grateful to Bach for his “unshakeable position” on the subject. “While Russia is trying to destroy the Ukrainian people and conquer other countries in Europe, its representatives have no place in the world sports community,” Zelenskyy said.

In view of the massive war damage in Ukraine, 40 potential donor countries want to come together for a reconstruction conference in Lugano, Switzerland. The government of President Zelenskyj wants to present its priorities.