Eastern part of the DRC: several villages came under the control of “M23”

KRAMATORSK: Ukraine has said it is ready for a “big battle” in its east, a priority target for Moscow, where evacuations of civilians continue due to fears of an imminent offensive.

“Ukraine is ready for big battles. Ukraine must win them, including in the Donbass,” said Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the President of Ukraine, quoted by the Interfax news agency. -Ukraine.

“And when that happens, Ukraine will have a stronger position in the negotiations, which will allow it to dictate certain conditions,” he added.

Earlier in the day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during a press conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who traveled to Kyiv, stressed: “We are ready to fight, and at the same time look for diplomatic ways to stop this war.

By withdrawing its troops from the Kiev region and northern Ukraine, Russia has made it a priority to completely conquer the Donbass, parts of which have been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Weapons for Kyiv

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unexpectedly visited Kyiv on Saturday and promised Ukraine armored vehicles.

He paid tribute to the Ukrainian army for the “greatest feat of arms of the 21st century” that allowed Kyiv to be defended and Putin’s “monstrous designs” to be crushed, Downing Street said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “has failed. (…) Now he will step up pressure in the Donbas and the East,” Mr Johnson warned.

“That’s why it’s so important (…) that we, your friends, continue to provide whatever support we can,” he added, promising to provide Kyiv with armored vehicles and anti-ship missiles.

mm. Johnson and Zelensky also traveled to Khreshchatyk Street, Kyiv’s main artery, greeting the few onlookers present, then to symbolic Independence Square.

Boris Johnson is the first G7 leader to visit the Ukrainian capital, which just a week ago was threatened with storming and bombing, and where the world-respected Vladimir Zelensky has taken refuge since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24.

“Other Western democracies should follow the example of the United Kingdom,” the Ukrainian president commented. “It’s time to introduce a total embargo on Russian hydrocarbons, increase the supply of weapons” to Ukraine.

London, which has been at the forefront of condemning the Kremlin’s policies, has provided the Ukrainian army with valuable anti-tank weapons from the start and has not hesitated to sanction the Russian oligarchs whose massive presence has given the British capital’s posh neighborhood the nickname “Londongrad.” “.

For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Alliance is preparing plans to station a permanent military force on its borders to prevent further Russian aggression.

“What we are seeing now is a new reality, a new normal for European security. For this reason, we have asked our military commanders to provide options for what we call a reset, a long-term adaptation of NATO,” he said in an interview published on Saturday by the British Daily Telegraph.

This new force would be, he added, the “long-term consequence” of an invasion of Ukraine ordered by Vladimir Putin.

Continued evacuations… and bombardments

Two days after the massacre at the Kramatorsk station (east), where a strike attributed to a Russian missile killed 52 civilians, including five children who were preparing to flee, the evacuation of the population continued.

Moscow denies responsibility for the strike, going so far as to condemn the Ukrainian “provocation.”

On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk said that 4,532 civilians had been evacuated the day before.

Most fled the Zaporozhye region, she added, adding that about 200 people managed to escape the besieged southern port city of Mariupol and more than a thousand fled from Melitopol, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Kremennaya and Popasna in the Lugansk region.

“The Russian adversary continues to prepare to intensify its offensive operations in eastern Ukraine and take full control of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” in the Donbass, the Ukrainian Army General Staff said in a daily Facebook post on Saturday.

In addition to ongoing fighting for control of the key cities of Mariupol to the south and Izyum further north, “the enemy continues to launch rocket attacks on civilian targets throughout Ukraine,” the headquarters warned.

As a result of explosions in the Donetsk region, 5 people were killed and 5 injured, the regional governor Pavel Kirilenko said in Telegram in the evening.

The mayor of Lisichansk, a small town in the Lugansk region, Oleksandr Zaika, urged residents to leave the city as soon as possible.

“The situation in the city is very tense, I ask you to evacuate. It becomes very difficult, enemy shells are falling everywhere, ”the Telegram message says.

And in anticipation of a major Russian offensive, Ukrainian soldiers and members of the Territorial Defense have been busy reinforcing their positions and digging new trenches in the countryside of Barvinkovo, in the east of the country. Roadsides were mined, anti-tank barriers were installed at all intersections.

War crimes

Seven rockets fell overnight from Saturday to Sunday in the Mykolaiv region, about 100 kilometers northeast of Odessa, the country’s third-largest city and a major strategic port on the Black Sea, according to local military commanders.

Odessa, in turn, under the threat of a strike, introduced a curfew from Saturday evening to Monday morning.

On Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv and Bucha, a small town near the capital that has become a symbol of the atrocities of the Russian invasion.

“If that’s not a war crime, then what is a war crime?” she asked.

“What Putin did in Bucha and Irpen was a war crime that forever tarnished his reputation,” Boris Johnson said Saturday. Dozens of corpses in civilian clothes, and some with their hands tied behind their backs, were found in Bucha near Kiev after the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Ursula von der Leyen announced on Saturday that the international fundraiser raised 10.1 billion euros intended to support Ukraine.

Despite this exchange of accusations, Ukraine announced on Saturday that it had conducted a new prisoner exchange with Russia, allowing the release of 12 Ukrainian soldiers and 14 civilians.

President Vladimir Putin, whose decision to invade Ukraine was undermined by fierce Ukrainian resistance, has scaled back his plans but wants to secure victory in the Donbas ahead of a May 9 military parade on Red Square commemorating the Soviet Union’s victory over the Nazis, culminating in a militaristic narrative he imposed on Russia. observed by observers.

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