6:49 a.m .: Finland and Sweden’s candidacy for NATO finally official?
The outbreak of war in Ukraine pushed Finland and Sweden towards NATO, the Atlantic Defense Alliance. It meets this Sunday in Berlin, the opportunity for the two Nordic countries to officially submit their candidacy to the institution.
Trying to “avoid tensions”, the Finnish president informed his counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday of his country’s imminent candidacy for NATO, a historic shift described as “error” by the master of the Kremlin. Moscow has threatened to take “technical-military” measures in retaliation and has already stopped Finland’s electricity supply on Saturday.
6:47 a.m .: Ukraine will win the war “before the end of the year”, according to its head of military intelligence
The Ukrainian authorities showed their optimism on Saturday, announcing that they were repelling the Russian offensives in the east, a priority for Moscow which they now predict will be defeated by the end of the year. Victory will be “not easy”, but “it will happen”, Kyrylo Budanov declared Friday evening, on Sky News, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence. He also suggested that Putin’s state of health is worrying. More information in our article.
6:46 am: The latest facts on the ground
– Particularly intense fights raged in the Donbas region (eastern Ukraine), on which Moscow has been concentrating for several weeks without making any significant progress.
– A thousand Ukrainian fighters are still holed up in a maze of Soviet-era tunnels under the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupola strategic port city 90% destroyed and under Russian control.
– In Georgia, a pro-Russian separatist region has taken a step towards joining Russia. The authorities of this self-proclaimed separatist “republic”, de facto independent of pro-Western Georgia and occupied by Moscow forces since a Russian military intervention in 2008, have announced that they are organizing on July 17 a referendum on its integration into Russia.
– Ukrainian Ministry of Defense assesses Russian losses at over 26,000 men, 199 aircraft and nearly 1,200 tanks since the start of the invasion on February 24. President Volodymyr Zelensky said that around 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and some 10,000 injured.
6:45 am: Hello everyone, welcome to this live where we will follow the situation around the conflict in Ukraine.