Ukraine after 83 days of war – The latest military and diplomatic developments

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The beginning of the end of the battles in Mariupol? Moscow announced today that 265 Ukrainian soldiers had been handed over to the huge Azovstal steel plant, the last enclave of resistance against the Russian army, in this strategic port in southern Ukraine, in the Sea of ​​Azov.

On the 83rd day of the war, this development makes the complete occupation of Mariupol by the Russian army inevitable, which is almost completely destroyed after about three months of incessant fighting and bombing. The occupation of Mariupol would allow Russian forces to facilitate the crossing between Crimea (south) and Donbass (east).

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Following is an update on the developments in the war in Ukraine until 20:00 Greek time based on information from correspondents of the French Agency and Reuters, from official statements of Ukrainian and Russian officials, Western sources, analysts and international organizations.

Eastern Ukraine

In Sheverodonetsk, a city that has become the regional capital for Ukrainians since pro-Russian separatist forces took part in Donbass in 2014, “at least 10 people were killed” in Russian bombings, the city governor announced today.

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This city is almost surrounded by Russian soldiers.

Despite calls from Ukrainian authorities to evacuate Lisikansk, which is separated from Sheverodonetsk by only one river, the Seversky Donetsk, and which is regularly bombed, more than 20,000 civilians – up from 100,000 before the war – remain there, according to volunteers distributing aid in the area.

Northeastern Ukraine

The Ukrainians regained control of part of the border with Russia in the Kharkiv region, according to Kyiv. Unleashed units from the area are expected to reinforce Russian troops in Donbas.

Southern Ukraine

The soldiers who left Azovstal in Mariupol “fulfilled the battle mission”, the Ukrainian General Staff announced. Their commanders were instructed to “save the lives” of those who remained. “Unfortunately, today Ukraine can not liberate Azovstal by military means,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said 265 fighters “surrendered their weapons and were taken prisoner. 51 of them were seriously injured.”

“Everyone who needs medical help is sent to the Novoazovsk hospital,” he said. The ministry did not report a prisoner exchange, unlike in Ukraine.

The Russian parliament will consider banning the exchange of Russian prisoners of war with fighters of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, the speaker of the State Duma said today, after the handover of Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to Russia.

North and West

Eight people were killed and 12 were injured today in a Russian airstrike in Dessna, a Ukrainian village about 60 miles (60 km) north of Kiev that is known to house a large training camp.

“Eight dead, 12 injured,” Alexander Iftchenko, a spokesman for the local branch of the emergency services, told AFP.

Russian long-range Kalibr missiles near the Starichi railway station in the Lviv region destroyed loads of US and European military equipment destined for Donbass and killed Ukrainian reservists, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

He also confirmed the blow to Desna and another training camp in Ochtyrka, in the Sumy region (north).

NATO

The Kremlin has stepped up warnings of possible NATO enlargement to Finland and Sweden.

The two Nordic countries officially announced that they will submit their candidacies together on Wednesday, despite the prolonged shadow of blocking the process by Turkey.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that such accessions were not an “immediate threat” but that “the development of military infrastructure in the territories of these countries will (of course) lead to a response.”

European Union

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba was in Brussels today to discuss new sanctions against Russia.

The European Union must send a message to Hungary to press Budapest to agree to an embargo on Russian oil imports, it said yesterday.

Diplomatic developments

Ukrainian President Zhelensky announced today that he had a “long and substantial” telephone conversation with his French counterpart Emanuel Macron about the war in Ukraine.

During an information marathon involving Ukrainian television networks, according to the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform, an adviser to Ukrainian President Mikhail Pontolyak said that Ukraine considered unacceptable the initiatives to give the Russians some of its territories.

The peace talks between Ukraine and Russia are “paused” because Moscow does not show any “understanding” of the situation, Pontoliak also complained.

ICC

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today announced the deployment in Ukraine of a team of 42 investigators and experts, in the most important mission in terms of potential ever sent on the spot, to investigate the crimes committed during the Russian invasion .

“I confirm that today my office sent a team of 42 investigators, forensic experts and other support staff to Ukraine,” Karim Khan said in a statement, adding that this was “the most important mission in terms of potential that has ever been developed on the ground in a single time “.

Tens of thousands dead

There is no overall estimate of civilian deaths in the war. In Mariupol alone, Ukrainian authorities spoke of 20,000 dead weeks ago. Ukrainian investigators say they have identified “more than 8,000 cases” of alleged war crimes.

At the military level, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense estimates the number of Russian casualties at 27,700 since the invasion began on February 24. Western sources point to a much larger number of dead Russian soldiers. The Kremlin, meanwhile, has spoken of only “significant losses”.

President Zelensky has reported that between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and about 10,000 wounded. Independent and reliable data are not available.

Displaced and refugees

More than six million Ukrainians have fled the country, more than half of them – 3.27 million – to Poland, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which notes, however, that these refugee flows have have decreased significantly in recent weeks and have even been reversed.

The total tally is 5.9 million people who have left the country for 1.56 million to have returned, according to border guards.

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Source: Capital

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