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Ukraine to take next step in long EU accession process as Donbass battles rage


Invasion Day 120 Updates

  • The EU begins a 2-day summit, supposed to accept Ukraine as a candidate for membership.

  • Competing claims on the degree of control of Severodonetsk in the Donbass.

  • On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Zelensky delivered his message to Canadian students.

  • Germany triggers new stage of its energy plan, warns that winter rationing is possible.


Ukraine will be accepted as a candidate for European Union membership on Thursday, a move that will boost the country’s morale as the battle with Russian troops for two eastern towns reached what an official said of “fierce climax”.

Although the endorsement of the Kyiv government’s candidacy by European leaders meeting in Brussels is just the start of a process that will take years, it does mean a huge geopolitical shift and will irritate Russia as it struggles to impose his will to Ukraine.

It will be four months on Friday since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops across the border in what he calls a “special military operation” partly necessitated by Western encroachment on what Russia considers as his sphere of influence.

The conflict, which the West sees as an unwarranted war of aggression by Russia, has killed thousands, displaced millions and destroyed cities, while having ramifications across much of the world. , as food and energy exports have been reduced.

Russia has focused its campaign on southern and eastern Ukraine after its advance on the capital, Kyiv, at the start of the conflict was thwarted by fierce Ukrainian resistance.

WATCH l Zelensky talks to Canadian post-secondary students about the dangers of ‘Ukrainian fatigue’:

Zelensky urges Canadian university students not to forget Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has virtually addressed university students across Canada to build support and help avoid what some have called Ukraine fatigue.

“Formidable high point” in Donbass (Ukrainian official)

Moscow’s massive air and artillery attacks are aimed at destroying the entire Donbass region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Thursday.

The attrition war in Donbass – Ukraine’s industrial heartland – is most critical in the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, which straddle the Siverskyi Donets River in Luhansk province.

The battle there “is entering a kind of fearsome climax,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Zelensky.

Ukrainian forces were defending Severodonetsk and the nearby settlements of Zolote and Vovchoyrovka, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said Thursday, but Russian forces had captured Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka to the south.

Hundreds of civilians are trapped in a chemical plant in Severodonetsk as Ukraine and Russia argue over who controls the bombed city.

Moscow says Ukrainian forces in the city are surrounded and trapped. But Gaidai told Ukrainian television on Wednesday that Russian forces do not have full control of Severodonetsk, but admitted troops there may have to withdraw to new positions.

WATCH l CBC News on the ground in Kharkiv, where mayor says 150,000 people have been displaced:

Ukraine to take next step in long EU accession process as Donbass battles rage

Kharkiv torn between return to normal and lingering fear

Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, is showing signs of life, but fears remain over Russian attacks.

The TASS news agency quoted Russian-backed separatists as saying Lysychansk was now surrounded and cut off from supplies after a road linking the town to the city of Sieviersk was taken.

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the report.

‘Risk of total gas disruption’: EU official

Zelensky said he spoke to 11 EU leaders on Wednesday about Ukraine’s candidacy and would make further calls on Thursday.

Besides Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are also seeking to join the EU in what would be its most ambitious expansion since welcoming Eastern European states after the Cold War.

WATCH l The EU cut Russian oil imports, with a few exceptions, earlier this month:

Ukraine to take next step in long EU accession process as Donbass battles rage

EU announces partial ban on Russian oil imports

European Union leaders have agreed to cut most Russian oil imports over the next six months after reaching a compromise with Hungary.

Diplomats say it will take a decade or more for Ukraine to meet the criteria for EU membership. But EU leaders say the bloc must make a gesture that recognizes Ukraine’s sacrifice.

European and Western leaders are also very concerned about global energy and food supplies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine from February 24.

“The risk of a total gas disruption is now more real than ever,” Frans Timmermans, the EU’s climate policy chief, said on Wednesday.

Russia could cut off gas to Europe entirely to bolster its political clout, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its own statements on Wednesday, adding that leaders needed to prepare now.

Several European countries have outlined measures to weather a supply shortage and avoid winter energy shortages and a spike in inflation that could test the continent’s resolve to maintain sanctions on Russia.

Germany triggered the “alarm phase” of its emergency gas plan on Thursday in response to falling Russian supplies, but did not allow utilities to pass on soaring energy costs to customers. of Europe’s largest economy.

The move is the latest escalation in a standoff between Europe and Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which exposed the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas supplies and sparked a frantic search for alternative energy sources.

Possible energy rationing in Germany

The decision, announced by the economy minister, marks a sea change, particularly for Germany, which has cultivated strong energy ties with Moscow.

“Cutting the gas supply is an economic attack on us by Putin,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement, adding that Germans should reduce their consumption. Gas rationing would hopefully be avoided, but cannot be ruled out, Habeck said.

“Summer is here, a summer after a long period of pandemic and people want to enjoy time outside and maybe without political misery for once. But winter will come,” he added.

Ukraine to take next step in long EU accession process as Donbass battles rage
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, talks to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of Thursday’s two-day EU summit in Brussels. Germany has triggered a new stage in its gas supply plan due to a Russian supply shortage. (Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia has denied the gas supply cuts were premeditated, with state supplier Gazprom accusing a delay in returning serviced equipment caused by Western sanctions.

The second “alarm stage” of the three-stage contingency plan is activated when the German government sees a high risk of a long-term supply shortage. It theoretically allows utilities to pass on high prices to industry and households and thus contribute to lowering demand.

In the second stage, the market is still able to function without the need for state intervention which would trigger the final emergency stage.

Supply cuts have also prompted German companies to consider using dirty forms of energy, such as coal, previously considered unthinkable due to promises made at global climate summits.


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