Two and a half months into the war in Ukraine, Russian forces are continuing a deadly offensive in the east and south of the country, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, celebrating the 1945 victory over Nazism, said on Monday 9 may that his country was only ” defend “ against one “unacceptable threat” at its borders.
The Russian president tries to place the conflict in Ukraine in the line of 1945, constantly calling the adversary a neo-Nazi, to justify the invasion and to fuel Russian support for this conflict.
“Nothing is decided and we must support Ukraine bearing in mind the possibility of a long war”
Here is an update on the situation based on information from AFP journalists on site, official Ukrainian and Russian statements, Western sources, analysts and international organizations.
In the south, Azovstal resists
In Mariupol, a southeastern port almost entirely under Russian control after two and a half months of ordeal, the Ukrainian soldiers who are still resisting in the huge Azovstal steelworks have ruled out surrendering. “Surrender is not an option because our life does not interest Russia. Leaving us alive doesn’t matter to him.”said Ilya Samoilenko, an intelligence officer.
The civilians who were with the fighters in this vast complex pounded by Russian forces could all be evacuated, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, citing the number of 300 people still exfiltrated. According to the latest information, “there are no more civilians” in the steel plant, according to the UN, which is however not “able to verify”.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported on Sunday“Russian Assault Operations” against the site, with “artillery and tank fire support”.
War in Ukraine: behind Putin, a Potemkin army
Charles Michel in Odessa under Russian strikes
On a surprise visit to Ukraine’s major Black Sea port, so far relatively spared from war, European Council President Charles Michel was forced to take shelter due to missile strikes.
During a meeting between Charles Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal, “participants had to interrupt the meeting to take shelter because missiles hit the Odessa region again”said an EU official.
Charles Michel for his part wrote on Twitter that he had come to Odessa to celebrate Europe Day.
Ukrainians “sent against their will to Russia”, according to the United States
Ukrainians have been “sent against their will to Russia”said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, confirming information from Ukrainian authorities.
‘We don’t have numbers but we have seen signs of Ukrainians being taken from Ukraine to Russia’said John Kirby, questioned during a press conference on the assertions of the Ukrainian government according to which 1.2 million people would have been deported to Russia and placed in camps.
Biden reactivates WWII military assistance law for Ukraine
United States President Joe Biden signed a law in front of journalists to speed up the shipment of military equipment to Ukraine, reactivating a device dating from the Second World War.
the “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022” is “based on a World War II program designed to help Europe resist Hitler” and “was supported by almost every member of Congress” American, noted the White House, also noting that the text was signed into law as Russia marks the anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany on Monday.
Russia ‘defends itself’ in Ukraine, says Putin
The Russian president proclaimed that his army was fighting in Ukraine to defend ” the homeland “ against one “unacceptable threat”in a speech on Red Square followed by the traditional May 9 military parade which marks the victory over the Nazis in 1945 and the sacrifice of millions of Soviets.
“An absolutely unacceptable threat was forming, directly at our borders”he claimed, again accusing Ukraine of neo-Nazism and calling its offensive a “preventive response” and of “only right decision”.
Vladimir Putin also asserted that Russia’s duty was to “do everything so that the horror of a global war is not repeated”.
Zelensky promises victory as in 1945
Ukraine will not let Russia “claim victory over Nazism” in 1945, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“On VE Day, we are fighting for another victory, the road to victory is long but we have no doubts about our victory”he insisted. “We won then, we will win now”.
Should French brands leave Russia?
Thousands of dead
There is no overall assessment of the civilian victims of the conflict. In Mariupol alone, the Ukrainian authorities spoke several weeks ago of 20,000 deaths. And Ukrainian investigators claim to have identified “more than 8,000 cases” suspected of war crimes.
On the military level, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense estimates Russian losses at more than 25,000 men, 199 planes and 1,130 tanks since the start of the invasion on February 24.
The Kremlin recently admitted “significant losses”. Some Western sources mention up to 12,000 Russian soldiers killed.
By choosing this promotional subscription path, you accept the deposit of an analysis cookie by Google.
President Zelensky said about 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops were killed and some 10,000 wounded.
No independent statistics are available.