The surroundings of Kharkov and the possible Russian withdrawal, as well as the Russian attempts to cross the Donets River in their attempt to control southern Donbas, where according to Ukraine they have suffered a heavy defeat, have become this Friday the military keys of the 79th day Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Army assured that it has managed to stop and provoke the withdrawal of Russian troops trying to cross the Donets River. As reported on social networks by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and other sources related to volunteers fighting Russian troops, the Russian army has been trapped after crossing the aforementioned river and had to disperse due to local artillery attacks. .
According to these sources, the Russian troops, who were trying to cross the Donets River, west of Severodonetsk in Donbas, have suffered heavy losses and, in fact, in their retreat, they had to abandon part of their equipment and there were soldiers who even found themselves forced to swim across to safety.
The Russians have been trying for four days to cross that river, according to the Ukrainians, and in their attempts they have lost more than 70 units of equipment and two battalions of infantry with engineers.
As for Kharkov, according to the New York Times, the Russian Army is withdrawing troops from the surroundings of the city, the second largest city in Ukraine, on which it had intensified its bombardments in recent days.
The newspaper, which cites official Ukrainian and Western allied sources, assures that the Russians have lost ground in this region neighboring Donbas, where the self-proclaimed republics of Donestk and Lugansk are located, both recognized by Moscow.
Ukrainian authorities believe the Kremlin will likely redirect troops now to the southeast, where it is said to be reinforcing its forces in Izium, a city it captured last month.
According to the latest report from the Institute for the Study of War (USA), the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv is also forcing Russian units still near the city to concentrate their bombardment on the attacking Ukrainian troops instead of continue their attacks on the city itself.
According to this institute “the Ukrainian counteroffensive near Kharkov is beginning to look a lot like the counteroffensive that finally expelled Russian troops from kyiv and western Ukraine, although it is too early to know if the Russians will make a similar decision here,” in reference to a possible withdrawal.
Sweden takes a step towards NATO
Sweden took this Friday a step towards its integration into NATO, as Finland did yesterday. Today a report has been approved by the Swedish Social Democratic government and the majority of the parliamentary forces that says that joining the Alliance would have a deterrent effect against armed conflicts in northern Europe.
The report, which analyzes the new situation generated by the war in Ukraine, considers that Sweden would strengthen its security and that of its neighboring countries by entering the alliance, although it does not include any specific recommendation on accession.
The report believes that there is not much room to strengthen cooperation with the alliance, nor is it realistic to think of deepening bilateral alliances outside of it due to the lack of political will to create a collective defense within the European Union (EU).
“The main consequence of an eventual entry into NATO would be that Sweden would be part of its collective security,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told a news conference.
Another US$ 520.5 million from the EU for Ukraine
The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, announced this Friday that Brussels will provide another 500 million euros ($520.5 million) to support the Ukrainian Army.
“It will be about 2,000 million euros in total,” he said in Weissenhaus, northern Germany, where he is attending a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7).
The head of European diplomacy excluded the possibility that the 500 million euros would be used to supply Ukraine with combat aircraft, as the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky had demanded, and that, on the contrary, said amount would be used to provide heavy weaponry.
“Right now we are supplying armored vehicles, tanks, heavy artillery, ammunition, the things that are needed in this type of war,” he summarized.
The “recipe” regarding the war in Ukraine is “clear” and reads “more of the same”, according to Borrell, who summed it up in more support for kyiv, including military aid, and more pressure on Russia, through sanctions and the international isolation of Moscow.
And Lavrov accuses the EU of being an “aggressive and bellicose actor”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the EU of having become an “aggressive and bellicose actor” and expressed doubts that Ukraine’s desire to join the Twenty-seven is “harmless”.
“The EU from a constructive platform, the quality on which it was founded, has turned into an aggressive and bellicose actor, already declaring ambitions that go far beyond the borders of the European continent,” Lavrov said in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, to the press.
According to the head of Russian diplomacy, the EU intends to follow in the footsteps of NATO, “which confirms the tendency that it merges with the North Atlantic Alliance and that, in fact, it will fulfill the function of its appendage”.