June 30, 2022

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Fighting continues in Ukraine, Boris Johnson pledges long-term support

Fighting continues in Ukraine, Boris Johnson pledges long-term support

  • The EU summit is expected to support the status of Ukraine’s candidate
  • Endorsing Ukraine’s candidacy represents a major shift
  • Johnson warns Ukraine is overstretching
  • The battle continues for Sievierodonetsk
  • More missile strikes and shelling across eastern and central Ukraine

Kyiv (June 18) (Reuters) – With new blessings of European Union ambitions and a promise of continued strong support from Britain, Ukraine kept fighting on Saturday, with Kyiv’s forces withstood a Russian assault on a pivotal city in the country’s east and local communities bombarded. More heavy bombardment.

At a summit next week, European Union leaders are expected to grant Ukraine candidate status following Friday’s recommendation from the bloc’s executive director, setting Kyiv on track to realize an ambition seen as elusive before the invasion, even if actual membership could take years. Read more

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Friday and offered exercises to Ukrainian forces, stressed on Saturday the need to continue supporting the country and avoid “straining Ukraine” after nearly four months of war.

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The Ukrainian military said on Saturday that the industrial city of Severodonetsk, which was a key target in Moscow’s offensive to take full control of the eastern Luhansk region, remained on the battlefields under Russian artillery and missile fire.

“In order to improve their tactical situation, the enemy units tried to carry out offensive operations outside the city, but they were unsuccessful,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces said in a daily update.

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Local authorities reported nightly shelling of multiple sites in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Kharkiv and in the west in Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk. Local authorities said on the messaging app Telegram that rockets landed in the central city of Kryvyi Rih on Saturday, killing at least two people.

A regional governor said Russian missiles also hit a suburb of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, early Saturday morning, hitting a town hall and setting off a fire in a group of apartments, but there were no casualties.

Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield accounts.

Moscow denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of dangerous nationalists who threaten its Russian-speaking population.

Kyiv and its allies reject this as an unfounded excuse for war.

“The Russians are advancing step by step and it is vital for us to show what we know is true, which is that Ukraine can and will win,” Johnson told reporters upon arrival in Britain from Kyiv. Read more “When Ukraine’s fatigue begins, it is very important to show that we are with them for the long term,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba struck a similar tone in an article published by Foreign Policy on Friday, calling on the West to continue helping Ukraine with heavy weapons and putting pressure on Moscow with sanctions. Read more

“The West cannot afford any stress from sanctions, regardless of the broader economic costs,” he wrote.

reverse effect

One of President Vladimir Putin’s goals when he ordered thousands of soldiers into Ukraine on February 24 was to halt NATO’s military expansion eastward and keep its southern neighbor out of the West’s sphere of influence.

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But a war that has killed thousands, reduced cities to rubble and forced millions to flee, has had the opposite effect.

It persuaded neutral Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership and helped pave the way for Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union.

“Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, while announcing her decision to nominate Ukraine and its neighbor Moldova for membership in the European Union.

“We want them to live the European dream with us,” she said, wearing a yellow jacket over a blue blouse in Ukrainian colors.

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(Reporting by Reuters offices) Writing by Tomasz Janowski and Editing by Frances Kerry

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