On the 47th day of the war in Ukraine, the east of the country is expecting a major offensive by the Russian army. The Ukrainian army is preparing for a final battle in Mariupol, an already devastated port in south-eastern Ukraine. French gendarmes are in Lviv to investigate war crimes.
- The Ukrainian army says it expects a Russian offensive in the east “very soon” and is preparing for the “final battle” in Mariupol
- The Austrian Chancellor, who visited Moscow, said he was “pessimistic”.
- EU foreign ministers meet on new sanctions package
- French gendarmes arrived in Lviv to investigate war crimes
- Société Générale announces withdrawal from Russia
- Listen to: Radio France’s daily podcast on the situation in Ukraine
The situation on the military front
The Ukrainian army is preparing for the “final battle” in the port of Mariupol
The Ukrainian army says it is preparing “One last fight” in the devastated and besieged port of Mariupol in the southeast of the country. “Our ammunition is running out. For some of us it will be death and for others imprisonment,” wrote on Facebook the 36th Brigade of the National Navy, which is part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The leader of the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk said in the afternoon that his troops had completely seized the city’s port area.
Tens of thousands dead in Mariupol?
It is believed that tens of thousands of people lost their lives in the Russian attack against Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “Mariupol is destroyed, there are tens of thousands of dead, but the Russians do not stop their offensive”he complained to the South Korean parliamentarians.
Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine ‘will happen very soon’
Eastern Ukraine is therefore anticipating a massive offensive by the Russian army. “According to our information, the enemy has almost completed its preparations for an attack in the east. The attack will take place very soon.”, Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandre Motouzianik warned at a press conference. Part of the region has been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, and the Russian authorities have made total control of the region their new goal.
A Russian victory in Donbass before May 9?
Analysts believe that President Vladimir Putin wants to bring a victory in Donbass before the military parade on May 9, which in Red Square marks the Soviet victory over the Nazis in 1945.
The diplomatic situation and international reactions
Austrian Chancellor meets Putin and says he is ‘pessimistic’
That’s what Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said, who traveled to Moscow on Monday for talks with Vladimir Putin “Pessimistic”: “We must have no illusions. President Putin has massively slipped into a war logic and is acting accordingly.” in the hope of being accepted “a military success” fast, he added. He is Europe’s first leader to visit the Russian capital since the beginning of the war.
French gendarmes in Lviv investigating war crimes
French gendarmes arrived in Lembergin the west of the country to help their Ukrainian colleagues “In the investigation of war crimes committed in the Kyiv area‘ announced the French ambassador to Ukraine on Monday “First” foreign entity “to render such assistance”said the ambassador.
Funds have been released for this survey. Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have agreed to pay around €2.5 million to help the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate alleged war crimes in Ukraine. “It is critical to gather all the evidence now to judge these crimes”said Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.
Pro-Russian protests in Germany
Many controversial pro-Russian rallies took place this weekend in Germany at the initiative of the country’s large Russian-speaking community. Its members see themselves as victims of discrimination since the beginning of the war. About 800 people gathered in Frankfurt on Sunday under a flood of Russian tricolor flags. In Hanover, in the north of the country, there were 600 people. According to the police, demonstrations with 150 participants also took place in Lübeck in the north and in Stuttgart (southwest) on Saturday.
New meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union
EU ministers met in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. They agreedIncrease in arms supplies to Ukraine.
The first five packages of European sanctions, including an embargo on Russian coal, were all approved unanimously by the Twenty-Seven, but consensus is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly on the issue of Russian gas, which most ministers want to avoid but on which Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary are still very dependent.
France expels six Russian spies “under diplomatic cover”.
Six agents of the Russian secret services were present in France under diplomatic guise “declared undesirable”, announced the Quai d’Orsay in a press release. The activities of these six agents “have proved to be contrary to our national interests”.
World trade growth could be halved
According to an analysis by the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the war in Ukraine could halve world trade growth. According to this analysis, world trade growth is likely to be between 2.4% and 3%. In October, the WTO expected an increase of 4.7%.
Societe Generale withdraws from Russia
Société Générale has announced that it will discontinue its activities in Russia, by selling her entire stake in Rosbank, of which she was the majority shareholder. The French bank, which is heavily involved in the country, was endowed with 18.6 billion euros, including 15.4 billion for Rosbank, a heavyweight in the Russian banking sector.
The humanitarian situation and solidarity with Ukrainians
More than 4.5 million refugees
According to the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since the war began. 90% of those who have fled Ukraine are women and children, as the Ukrainian authorities do not allow the exit of men of military age. The UN also estimates the number of internally displaced persons at 7.1 million.