The war in Ukraine: the inevitable referendum in Donbass, aimed at Odessa, new sanctions … point of the 69th day of the conflict

The war is taking root in Ukraine. Two months of conflict have passed, and Moscow, according to at least two sources, may soon initiate a referendum on Donbass’s integration into Russia. Residents of two oblasts, Donetsk and Luhansk, whose independence was recognized by Vladimir Putin in late February before the invasion of Ukraine, will be available in the coming days, no later than “about mid-May,” according to Washington. The date will coincide with May 9, the day of the celebration of military victory in Russia.

At the same time, Russia continues its offensive in the East, as well as the country’s largest port, Odessa, where a deadly attack took place on Monday night. After the almost complete destruction of Mariupol, the prospect of intensifying Russian attacks on this other port city worries Ukrainians. Update the situation.

Odesa is aimed again

Odesa, the new Mariupol? Attacks on the city and its port, the largest in Ukraine, raise fears of a tragic scenario. A teenager died during a new Russian strike on Monday night, the Odesa City Council said on its Telegram account. “A rocket attack damaged a building housing five people. A 15-year-old boy died, another minor child was taken to hospital, “he said.

Evacuation may resume in Mariupol

In Mariupol, Ukraine’s most ruined major city, now almost entirely under Russian rule, the evacuation of civilians, which began over the weekend at the Azovstal metallurgical plant, is expected to resume this Tuesday with the support of the United Nations and the International Organization. Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). On Sunday, hundreds of civilians who established themselves at the plant were evacuated for the first time in two months. According to Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna Vereshchuk, “hundreds of civilians” remain in place.

Potentially inevitable referendum in Donbass

On Monday, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine considered it possible that Moscow would use the celebration of May 9, the day when Russia celebrates victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, to “raise the issue of integration into the Russian Federation.” separatist and pro-Russian “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas, whose independence Moscow recognized just before the invasion of Ukraine. Information that Washington considers “very reliable”, according to which Russia is organizing these consultations “around mid-May.”

Russia replenishes and redeploys military equipment

After a more difficult-than-expected invasion that led to a re-concentration of its forces in the east, the Russian army appears to have regained its strength. According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army, it is also replenishing its military equipment, which, for example, lost “seventeen tanks and sixty BMP-1 (combat vehicles)” in the city of Boguchar, located in Voronezh. region, in the period from April 27 to May 2, 2022. “These weapons were sent by Russian troops to the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories,” – said the army. According to the Oryx website, Russia has lost 63 tanks, 36 helicopters and 25 fighters since the beginning of the conflict.

A new package of European sanctions was announced on Tuesday

The European Commission is due to announce a sixth package of European Union sanctions against Russia on Tuesday. This will include removing “other banks” from the Swift transaction system, an important cog in global finance that allows transactions to be transferred quickly and securely, said High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borrell with Panama. These sanctions will apply, in particular, to the “banking sector” and the “energy sector” with restrictions on energy imports from Russia.

Boris Johnson before the Ukrainian Parliament

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is to address the Ukrainian parliament by video conference on Tuesday morning. For the first time for a Western leader since the beginning of the war. In this regard, Boris Johnson is to announce a new component of military assistance worth 357 million euros, including defense weapons. To date, the United Kingdom has supplied Ukraine with 5,000 anti-tank missiles, five anti-aircraft missile systems with more than 100 missiles and 4.5 tons of explosives. “This is your hour of glory,” he should tell Ukrainian parliamentarians.