Kyiv, Ukraine: EU leaders met in Brussels on Thursday to discuss making Ukraine a candidate to join the block. Western officials also blamed Moscow’s “weaponization” of major gas and grain exports, and US officials warned of further retaliation at the G7 summit in Germany on Sunday. Germany has raised its emergency gas program to a second alert level. This is less than one of the maximum values ​​that Russia may need to ration in Europe’s largest economy after it cuts supply.

“Gas is now a rare commodity,” Minister of Economy Robert Habeck told reporters, urging households to reduce their use. Meanwhile, in Ankara, British Foreign Minister Liz Truss said that Russian President Vladimir Putin prevented grain shipments from leaving Ukrainian ports, raising concerns about shortages around the world. I used it as a weapon. “

“It’s clear that this grain crisis is urgent and needs to be resolved by the end of next month, or it could have catastrophic consequences,” said Turkish counterpart Mevrut Chabsogur. After the meeting with, Truss said. Moscow and Ankara have been negotiating for weeks to bring millions of tonnes of urgently needed grain from the war zone to Africa and the Middle East, but so far they have been useless.

The potential impact of Ukraine on its allies was highlighted in the negotiations on the status of its EU candidates in Brussels and the next day’s G7-NATO meeting. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had held a “telephone marathon” prior to the meeting and filed proceedings against 11 European leaders on Wednesday alone. “This is a decisive moment for the European Union and this is also the geopolitical choice we make today,” EU President Charles Michel told journalists before the summit.

Russian interests

The European Commission-backed candidacy is expected to be widely approved, but some members are cold-hearted about the situation in Ukraine and the accession process can take years, if not decades. There is a possibility. On the ground of Donbas, the situation was becoming more and more urgent as Russian troops seized the strategically important city of Severodonetsk and its twin city of Lysychans’k across the Siverskyi Donets. By occupying the two cities, Moscow will be able to control Lugansk as a whole, and Russia will be able to push further into Donbus.

The British Ministry of Defense said some Ukrainian troops probably withdrew “to avoid being surrounded” as Russian troops slowly but steadily advanced towards Lysychansik. “Russia’s improved performance in this sector is likely the result of recent troop strengthening and a large concentration of fires,” he said in a recent update.

“Russian troops … in Lysychans’k … are destroying everything,” said Sergie Guyday, governor of the Lugansk region. After four months of bombardment in Severodonetsk, he later vowed that “our boys are maintaining their position and will continue as long as necessary.”

“Only grandma remained”

Moscow is about to occupy the vast eastern belt of the country after being pushed back from Kieu and other parts of Ukraine in the first few weeks of the invasion that began on February 24. However, daily artillery continues elsewhere. The northeastern city of Kharkiv near the Russian border was almost empty on Wednesday, AFP reporters said, the day after the bombardment by Moscow troops, five people died there.

“Last night, while I was sleeping, the building next to me collapsed in a bombing,” said Leila Shoidley, a young woman in a park near the opera house. 19-year-old Roman Pohuliay in a pink sweatshirt said most of the inhabitants had fled the city. “Only grandma remains,” he said.

Zelensky again called on allies for a swift supply of weapons on Wednesday, accusing Russian troops of “brutal and cynical” bombardment in the eastern part of the Kharkiv region, and the governor said 15 people were killed a day.

Meanwhile, in the central city of Zaporizhia, as Russian troops approached, women were training to use Kalashnikov assault rifles in urban warfare. “When you can do something, picking up a machine gun isn’t too scary,” said 29-year-old Ulyana Kiyashko after moving through the improvisational combat zone in the basement.

Lithuanian crosshairs

Moscow has left the battlefield this week to summon an ambassador to Brussels in a dispute with EU member Lithuania over national restrictions on rail traffic to Russia’s outpost in Kaliningrad. The coastal area annexed from Germany after World War II is about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from Moscow, bordering Lithuania and Poland, but not Russia.

Lithuania states that it is only complying with European Union sanctions against Moscow by blocking the arrival of goods from Russia. The United States has revealed its commitment to Lithuania as an ally of NATO, and Germany has urged Russia not to “violate international law” by retaliation. – AFP

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