Putin orders war to continue, Swiss conference

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered his forces to continue their offensive in eastern Ukraine, a day after the capture of Lysychansk. Koev estimates the cost of rebuilding the country at 750 billion dollars (721 billion francs).

This will be “the common task of the entire democratic world”, underlined Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by videoconference at the opening of an international conference in Lugano, to prepare the grand project.

In his evening speech, he explained that he needed these “colossal funds” to help the population, rebuild war-torn cities and infrastructure, but also “prepare schools and universities for a new academic year” and “prepare for the winter “.

Its prime minister Denys Chmygal, who was able to make the trip to Lugano, presented a plan “estimated at 750 billion dollars”. The conference is due to end on Tuesday, while the outcome of the war sparked on February 24 by the Russian invasion of Ukraine remains uncertain.

the war continues

In Moscow, during a meeting with his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Russian president ordered Russian troops to “carry out their mission” in application of the “already approved plans”.

On Sunday night, the Ukrainian army team announced the withdrawal of its units engaged in Lyssychansk, Kiev’s last stronghold in the eastern Lugansk region, which Moscow says now has full control.

For Ukrainian forces, the urgency now is to contain the Russian advance to the west and two major cities in the neighboring Donetsk region: Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

“Gradual Overflow”

After the capture of Lyssychansk, centerpiece of the plan to conquer Donbass, an industrial basin partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014, “the enemy’s main effort (…) axis,” the Ukrainian General Staff said on Monday. .

At night, the Ukrainian army reported repulsed Russian assault attempts in the Kharkiv (northeast) and Donetsk regions. On the other hand, near Sloviansk, “the enemy launches assaults in the direction of Mazanivka and partially succeeds there”, according to the same source.

According to the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kirilenko, 10 people, including two children, were killed on Sunday in Russian attacks in and around Sloviansk. The front line approaching this city, Ukrainian authorities are asking its population to leave.

The streets of Sloviansk were almost deserted on Monday morning, according to AFP journalists at the scene. In the downtown market, ravaged by a fire caused by a Russian strike, some vendors offered necessities, while others pulled out charred rubble.

Vendors and residents expressed their concern for the coming days and weeks as the bombing blasts were audible.

intensified bombing

In Siversk, between Lyssychansk and Sloviansk, Ukrainian soldiers seem to want to maintain a line of defense between this city and Bakhmout, further south. Its inhabitants, interviewed by AFP, recall increasingly intense bombings in recent days.

“The enemy has intensified the bombardment of our positions in the direction of Bakhmout”, confirmed the general staff of the Ukrainian army.

The Russian army, for its part, announced that it had destroyed “seven Ukrainian command posts” in the last 24 hours, “including that of the 25th airborne brigade in the Siversk region”.

The Russian Defense Ministry then attacked alleged “Ukrainian neo-Nazis” who, in Belopolye, in the Sumy region (northeast), “mined bridges over the Kryga River, which they intend to blow up” to blame Russia.

In Russia, a drone of unknown origin crashed into a civilian house in Taganrog (southwest), near the Ukrainian border, causing no casualties but setting the house on fire, according to local media.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city (northeast), three civilians were killed in pre-dawn attacks on Monday, according to local officials.

In Boutcha, a martyrdom town on the outskirts of Kyiv, even though some have resumed planting flowers at the foot of the buildings or tending to their vegetable garden, the population still does not dare to think about reconstruction, when the outcome of the war remains so uncertain. Here, the scars of the fight are still visible everywhere: broken windows, bullet holes, shattered walls.

Lugano Conference

In this context, the Lugano conference must try to outline the contours of Ukraine’s future reconstruction.

The “task is really colossal”, even if only in the liberated territories, acknowledged Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday. The conference organizers expected his physical presence, but he participated, as he is now used to, by videoconference in this meeting that brings together the leaders of Ukraine’s allies, international institutions, but also the private sector.

The conference, planned well before the war, would initially focus on reforms in Ukraine, including fighting corruption.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal and Speaker of Parliament Rouslan Stefantchouk arrived in Lugano on Sunday. They met with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to lay the foundations of a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine.

The urgency is to help the population affected by the war before, in a second stage, to finance thousands of reconstruction projects and, in the long term, prepare a European, green and digital Ukraine, explained Chmygal.

Robert Mardini, director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, judged in the RTS that it was vital to give Ukrainians “a positive outlook” now.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will propose the creation of a new fund for Ukraine, which could reach 100 billion euros, according to informed sources. And for Chmygal, Russian assets frozen in Western countries alone are valued at 300 to 500 billion dollars.

This article was automatically published. Sources: ats/afp

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