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EU refuses to pay gas in rubles, Russia excluded from Champions League

On the 68th day of the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities hope for further evacuations of civilians in Mariupol. Hundreds were collected on Sunday and taken from the Azovstal steel plant. At the same time, bombing continues in the east of the country, killing at least eight civilians. The point about what to remember this Monday.

The necessary

  • Eviction operations of civilians must be resumed in Mariupol, after care of 100 civilians from the Azovstal factory on Sunday
  • At least eight civilians were killed in the Kharkov and Donetsk . regions
  • EU energy ministers meet in Brussels and say they refuse to pay for gas in rubles
  • Russian football teams will be banned from participating in next season’s European Cups, including the Champions League
  • Radio France’s daily podcast about the situation in Ukraine can be heard here

The situation on the military front

The Russian army gains ground in the East

The east of the country is facing a slow advance of Russian troops, with numerical superiority and better equipped with heavy weapons, even if the Russian army has not done so. “no substantial gains in territory” according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

So the Russians are chasing “marginal claims” towards the city of Lyman, in the Donetsk region, but are blocked by their opponents “on the front lines before February 24”according to the ISW.

Eight civilians killed

Eight civilians were killed in bomb attacks in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions on Sunday, including four in the city of Lyman alone, close to the front and under direct threat from Russia’s advance, regional governors said. “Russian shelling in Donetsk region: four civilians killed, all from Lyman”, The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said on Telegram, adding that seven civilians were injured in the city from which the Ukrainian army recently had to withdraw.

A senior Ukrainian military official stressed “the difficult situation” in the east of the country, especially in the regions of Izium and Sieverodonetsk, “where the enemy has concentrated most of its efforts and its most combat-ready troops”.

In the south , the evacuations must be in Mariupol . be resumed

Ukrainian authorities planned new evacuations of residents of Mariupol on Monday, after an initial operation that left first citizens of the Azovstal factory, besieged by Russian troops in this strategic port in southeastern Ukraine.

“More than a hundred civilians have already been evacuated, primarily women and children,” said the chairman. These civilians were expected in Zaporijjia, a town about 200 km northwest of Mariupol and still under Ukrainian control, even as the front line draws closer.

“For the first time since the beginning of the war, this vital humanitarian corridor is starting to function. For the first time, there has been a real two-day ceasefire in this area” of the steel complex, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video broadcast on Sunday evening. “Finally!”

Teenager killed in strike in Odessa

A 15-year-old boy was killed and a minor injured in a Russian attack on Odessa, according to the municipality in this port city in southern Ukraine. “A rocket attack on Odessa damaged a building housing five people. A 15-year-old boy died, another minor child was taken to hospitalThe city council announced on Telegram, without giving details about the fate of the three other residents of the building.

Two Russian patrol boats destroyed according to Ukraine

Also in the east, the Ukrainian army claimed to have destroyed two Russian Raptor patrol boats, near Serpents’ Island, in the Black Sea, which has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance since the invasion by Moscow troops began on 24 February. The Russian Raptor-class patrol boats are among the fastest shuttles in the Russian Navy, reaching nearly 90 km/h at full speed. They can carry up to 20 soldiers in addition to the crew of three.

No end to war on May 9

As May 9 approaches, the date on which Russia will commemorate with great fanfare its 1945 victory over Nazi Germany, the governor of the Lugansk region said he expected “an intensification of the bombing”. But for those who predicted specific military action as May 9 approached, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seemed to dismiss the case.

“Our military will not artificially adjust their actions to any date, including VE Day”Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Italian television channel Mediaset on Sunday. “The pace of the operation in Ukraine depends primarily on the need to minimize potential risks to the civilian population and the Russian military.” he added.

The diplomatic situation and international reactions

EU refuses to pay Russian gas in rubles…

The energy ministers of the countries of the European Union have urgently met on the issue of Russian gas. The EU is refusing to pay for its gas purchases from Russia in rubles, the European Commission and the French presidency of the Council warned after the meeting.

Moscow’s requirement to pay for purchases in rubles is “a unilateral and unjustified amendment of contracts and it is legitimate to refuse it”said Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. French minister for ecological transition Barbara Pompili, chair of the meeting, confirmed the “willingness to fulfill contracts”.

…and prepares for a break with Moscow

“We must prepare for a cessation of deliveries” in Russian gas, the European Commissioner warned. “There are no immediate risks to supply”assured the commissioner. “But we will not be able to replace the 150 billion m3 of gas we bought from Russia with other sources. It is not sustainable”she admitted.† “We can handle the replacement of 2/3 of Russia’s gas supplies”she clarified.

Deliveries of Russian gas to European Union countries and Turkey fell sharply between January and April compared to the same period in 2021, Gazprom also announced, while those to China exploded, rising 60.% in a year. specifies the gas giant.

EU completes phased embargo on Russian oil

The European Commission will conclude a sixth round of sanctions against Russia on Tuesday. In particular, this new set of sanctions should include a ban on the purchase of Russian gas. “There is a political will to stop oil purchases from Russia and next week we will have measures and a decision on a phased withdrawal”said a European official involved in Sunday’s talks, without hiding that the decision is not “not easy to implement”.

Two landlocked European countries, Hungary and Slovakia, depend on Russian pipelines. They have no ports and are not connected to any European pipeline. The European Union also wants to avoid a global increase in oil prices.

Washington accuses Russia of wanting to “annex” pro-Russian territories

The United States Report Information “very believable” according to which Russia plans to organize “mid-May” referendums for “attempted annexation” the “republics” pro-Russian separatists from Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine. “According to the latest information, we believe that Russia will try to annex the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and the ‘Lugansk People’s Republic’.”US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Michael Carpenter told reporters in Washington. “This information shows that Russia intends to fabricate referendums from scratch” in that sense, he added.

Israel Rejects Lavrov’s Comments About Hitler

Asked, in the same interview with Italian television Mediaset, about Russian claims that the war is aimed at “denazify” Ukraine, when President Zelensky is Jewish, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov provoked a protest by saying: “I could be wrong, but Hitler also had Jewish blood”

His Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid judged these comments “outrageous, unforgivable and a horrific historical mistake”and called the Russian ambassador for “clarification”.

Russia excluded from the next European Cup

UEFA has announced that next season no Russian club will participate in the European Cups, namely the Champions League, the Europa League or the Europa League Conference. Russia is also excluded from the next European Championship for women. There it is replaced by Portugal.

Denmark and Sweden to reopen embassies in Kiev

Denmark announced the reopening of its embassy in Kiev, as a sign of support for Ukraine, during a surprise visit from its foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod. “It is a very strong symbol of Danish support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people to reopen the doors of the Danish embassy today”he said in a statement.

“Wednesday, the Swedish embassy will reopen in Kiev (…) Sweden remains on the side of Ukraine”Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde then announced on Twitter.

The humanitarian situation and solidarity with Ukrainians

Sylvie Vartan releases a record in support of Ukraine

At the age of 77, singer Sylvie Vartan says she is releasing a record whose proceeds will be donated entirely to Unicef ​​for the benefit of Ukraine. “When I saw the images of these Ukrainian people under the bombs trying to flee, it was a shock. it brought me back a lot of images and intense feelings of my youth”, Sylvie Vartan confides in a press release. A story that echoes his own. When she was 8 years old she fled Bulgaria, then under Soviet occupation, with his parents and his brother Eddie. It was in 1952. “We have the same DNA. Even though the situation was very different because we were not fleeing a war but a brutal dictatorship, I understand the feelings of the Ukrainian people,” says the singer. Find in this article