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Ukraine War: Five things to know about Thursday’s conflict

1. EU countries endorse Ukraine as bloc candidate

EU leaders decided to grant candidate status to Ukraine on Thursday afternoon, a move widely expected as the bloc continues to back the warring country.

Although mostly symbolic, the status represents a stunning geopolitical victory for the war-torn country, which until earlier this year had never been seen as a serious contender to enter the 27-nation bloc. It is also seen as a refutation of Russia’s coercive attempt to restore its lost sphere of influence.

“Deal! EUCO has just decided EU candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova,” European Council President Charles Michel tweeted. “A historic moment.”

“Today marks a crucial step on your path to the EU.”

Moldova – which has also been granted candidate status – applied for EU membership earlier this year over fears that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could spark an internal conflict with the separatist region of Transnistria backed by Moscow.

Ahead of the Council summit, the European Commission issued a recommendation to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, while the European Parliament voted in favor of their applications.

2. Russian forces advance on the eastern front line

The Russian military extended its grip on eastern Ukrainian territory on Thursday, capturing two villages and vying for control of a key highway as it seeks to cut supply lines and encircle Ukrainian frontline forces, British and Ukrainian military officials said.

Ukrainian forces withdrew from some areas near the town of Lysychansk to avoid being surrounded as the Russians sent reinforcements and concentrated firepower in the area, the British Ministry of Defense said. The city is located in Luhansk province, a major battleground in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.

The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces had taken over the villages of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka and were trying to capture Syrotyne, a settlement outside the province’s urban administrative center, Sievierodonetsk.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the Russians were “burning everything” in their offensive to surround the Ukrainian fighters, and had an advantage in heavy artillery and troop numbers.

He said shelling had intensified at the Azot chemical plant, the only part of town still under Ukrainian control where some 500 civilians are holed up.

Lysychansk, located on a steep bank facing Sievierodonetsk, also faced a relentless Russian artillery barrage. At least one civilian died and three others were injured in 24 hours, the governor said.

The British Ministry of Defense said Russian forces had probably advanced more than 5 kilometers towards the southern approaches to Lysychansk since Sunday and were trying to cut Ukrainian supply lines.

3. Two Britons and a Moroccan sentenced to death in the DPR preparing the appeal

Two Britons and a Moroccan man who were captured fighting for Ukraine and sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Kremlin-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are preparing to appeal, the official said. Russian news agency TASS, quoting one of their lawyers. Thursday.

The DPR court, which is armed and backed by Russia, found the three men — Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun — guilty of “mercenary activities and terrorism”.

The men’s families deny the trio were mercenaries, saying they are all residents of Ukraine – Aislin and Pinner both moved to Ukraine in 2018 – and served in the Ukrainian military before the war. February 24 invasion.

“My colleagues and I are currently preparing the full text of an appeal against conviction in the interest of our defendants,” Pinner’s lawyer Yulia Tserkovnikova was quoted by TASS as saying.

“There is no doubt that if the appeal is dismissed and the conviction becomes effective, an application for clemency will be filed as it is an inherent right of the defendants, under the laws of the People’s Republic of Donetsk,” she added.

Aislin’s family told UK-based media on Thursday that he had been told by DPR officials that his death sentence would be carried out, with the time for appeal appearing to be running out.

4. Zelenskyy urges Israel to send arms and join sanctions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that Russia had destroyed more than 2,000 schools and other educational institutions during the war.

In a video address to students and professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Zelenskyy said that in areas where Russian troops made rapid advances, “the forces were shooting people in the streets, they were torturing people, they raped minors – boys and girls”.

Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude for the support of the Israeli people: “I am grateful for all the Ukrainian flags that appeared on your streets. We see everything and we appreciate everything,” he said.

But he also expressed disappointment that Israel had not adhered to Western sanctions against Russia or provided Ukraine with military aid to boost its forces in the war.

“We would like, we understand that it is not easy for you, but we would very much like to write in the tables, in this column next to the name of your State, about the help that we could receive for our army” , did he declare. .

“When it comes to sanctions, when states around the world impose sanctions on Russia, it’s not about money, it’s not about business – it’s about values, It’s a matter of general safety.”

“It’s about the fact that anyone who wants to destroy another nation should be responsible,” Zelenskyy said.

Israel relies on good relations with Russia for security coordination in Syria, where Russia has troops and where Israel carries out frequent strikes against enemy targets. He sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

5. China’s Xi Criticizes Sanctions ‘Abuse’, Putin Rebukes West

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday criticized the “abuse” of international sanctions, while Russian President Vladimir Putin chastised the West for fomenting a global crisis, with both leaders calling for greater BRICS cooperation.

Xi called on Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) to shoulder the responsibility conferred by their economic weight, and said they should uphold a truly multinational international system based on the United Nations.

Putin called for stronger cooperation with the BRICS and lashed out at the West, which he accused of fomenting a crisis.

“Only on the basis of honest and mutually beneficial cooperation can we find ways out of the crisis situation that has developed in the world economy due to the reckless and selfish actions of States individuals,” Putin said.

He accused the West of “using financial mechanisms” to “transmit its own errors of macroeconomic policy to the whole world”.

The United States and European powers blame Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine as the reason relations with the West have sunk to the lowest level since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, including the toughest penalties in modern history.

euronews Gt

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