Ukraine: intense battle for the key city
A regional governor said an intense battle was unfolding for the key city of Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.
Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Russian forces entered the outskirts and were pushing towards nearby Lysychansk. He said on Monday that two civilians had been killed and five others injured in the latest Russian bombardment.
The Ukrainian military also said Russian forces were reinforcing their positions in the northeastern and southeastern outskirts of Sievierodonetsk and bringing additional equipment and ammunition to the area to continue their offensive.
Sievierodonetsk has been a key target of the Russian offensive in the industrial heartland of Donbass in eastern Ukraine. The city served as the administrative center for the Luhansk region, which constitutes the Donbass together with the neighboring region of Donetsk.
___ OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: Brussels: European Union leaders will meet in another show of solidarity with Ukraine on Monday, but divisions over whether to target Russian oil in a new round of sanctions expose the limits of up to where the block can go to help the war. torn country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who will address the 27 heads of state and government by videoconference later this evening, has repeatedly demanded that the EU target Russia’s lucrative energy sector and deprive Moscow of billions of dollars each day in supply payments.
But Hungary leads a group of countries – along with Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria – that depend on Russian oil and cannot afford to take such measures.
The EU has already imposed five rounds of sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine. A sixth package was announced on May 4, but the oil heist embarrasses the bloc. Ahead of the summit, officials suggested a solution could be found by targeting oil carried by ships and keeping fire on the pipeline so precious to Hungary.
___ Berlin: Germany’s ruling parties and the main opposition party have reached an agreement to move forward with a sharp increase in defense spending announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz three months ago.
Scholz told German lawmakers three days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that the country would commit 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to a special fund for its military and increase defense spending above 2 % of GDP – a measure on which it was long behind.
Scholz wanted to anchor the special fund in the constitution. This requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament, meaning the Chancellor needed the support of the centre-right opposition Union bloc.
Talks on the issue have mired in details, but the two sides reached an agreement on Sunday evening that paves the way for bringing the fund to parliament. Among other things, funding for cyber defense and support for partner countries will come from Germany’s regular budget, not from the special fund.
___ Mogadishu: Across Africa, families are paying about 45% more for wheat flour as Russia’s war in Ukraine blocks Black Sea exports.
Some countries like Somalia get more than 90% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine. This forces many people to replace wheat with other cereals. But the United Nations warns the price hikes come as many parts of Africa face drought and hunger.
The UN had previously warned that around 13 million people were already facing severe famine in the wider Horn of Africa region due to persistent drought. The head of the World Food Program says Russia’s war on Ukraine is “adding disaster upon disaster” for the world’s poor.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)