Fierce fighting in Ukraine’s east but Eurovision win lifts spirits

Ukraine’s forces had been preventing off a fierce Russian onslaught on the east of the nation Sunday, after a Eurovision victory gave the nation a much-needed enhance of morale.

Onlookers take photos in entrance of the buying and leisure centre in Odessa, destroyed after Russian missiles strike late on 9 May 2022.

KYIV – Ukraine’s forces had been preventing off a fierce Russian onslaught on the east of the nation Sunday, after a Eurovision victory gave the nation a much-needed enhance of morale.

President Volodymr Zelensky warned on Saturday that the warfare in his nation risked triggering international meals shortages, including that the state of affairs in Ukraine’s Donbas is “very difficult”.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, has more and more turned its consideration to the nation’s east because the finish of March, after failing to take the capital Kyiv.

Western analysts imagine President Vladimir Putin has his sights on annexing southern and jap Ukraine within the months forward however his troops have seemed to be encountering stiff resistance.

Russia’s warfare in Ukraine is more and more shifting the steadiness of energy in Europe, with Finland and Sweden poised to jettison many years of army non-alignment to affix Nato as a defence in opposition to feared additional aggression from Moscow.

Helsinki is about to formally announce its bid for membership on Sunday.

But as a battle that has displaced hundreds of thousands dragged in direction of its third month, Ukrainians had been provided a much-needed enhance of optimism as a rap lullaby combining people and fashionable hip-hop rhythms gained the Eurovision music contest.

“Stefania”, which beat out a bunch of over-the-top acts on the quirky annual musical occasion, was written by frontman Oleh Psiuk as a tribute to his mom earlier than the warfare however its nostalgic lyrics have taken on outsized that means due to the battle.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azоvstal right now,” Psiuk mentioned in English from the stage, referring to the port metropolis’s underground steelworks the place Ukrainian troopers are surrounded by Russian forces.

There was additionally optimism from Kyiv’s head of army intelligence, who informed the UK’s Sky News on Saturday that the warfare may attain a “breaking point” by August and finish in defeat for Russia earlier than the top of the yr.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov informed the information community that he was “optimistic” concerning the present trajectory of the battle.


On the bottom, the governor of the jap Lugansk area, Serhiy Gaidai, mentioned Ukrainian forces had prevented Russian makes an attempt to cross a river and encircle town of Severodonetsk.

“There’s heavy fighting on the border with Donetsk region,” Gaidai mentioned, reporting main Russian losses of kit and personnel.

“From interceptions [of phone calls], we understand that a whole [Russian] battalion has refused to attack, because they see what’s happening.”

Aerial pictures confirmed dozens of destroyed armoured autos on the riverbank and wrecked pontoon bridges.

UK army intelligence additionally mentioned Russian forces had sustained heavy losses as they tried the river crossing.

The extremely dangerous manoeuvre mirrored “the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine”, it added.

But Moscow’s forces had “failed to make any significant advances despite concentrating forces in this area”, it mentioned.

In Washington, a senior US defence official mentioned many of the exercise was now within the Donbas space.

Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synegubov in the meantime mentioned in a video on Telegram that Ukrainian forces had been counterattacking within the path of the northeastern metropolis of Izium.

And the Ukrainian General Staff mentioned troops had managed to push Russian troops out of Kharkiv, a precedence goal for Moscow.

“The enemy’s main efforts are focused on ensuring the withdrawal of its units from the city of Kharkiv,” a spokesperson mentioned.

On Friday, Zelensky mentioned his troops would battle to recapture all occupied territory, and people beneath siege, together with within the devastated southern port metropolis of Mariupol.

There, the final defenders of town are holed up in a warren of underground tunnels and bunkers on the huge Azovstal steelworks beneath heavy bombardment.

The United Nations and Red Cross helped to evacuate ladies, kids and the aged from the plant whey there have been sheltering earlier this month.

Petro Andryushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of town, mentioned on Telegram {that a} “huge convoy” of 500 to 1,000 automobiles had arrived within the metropolis of Zaporizhia.

“Finally, we are waiting for our relatives from Mariupol at home,” he mentioned.


Poised to affix Nato are Sweden and Finland, whose grid operator mentioned Russia halted electrical energy provides in a single day.

Finnish officers mentioned energy equipped by Sweden had made up for the losses.

Ahead of talks with Nato members in Berlin, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto mentioned he was “confident that in the end we will find a solution and Finland [and] Sweden will become members of Nato”.

Earlier, in a telephone name initiated by Helsinki, President Sauli Niinisto had a “direct and straightforward” dialog with Putin.

“Avoiding tensions was considered important,” Niinisto’s workplace mentioned.

Putin, nevertheless, informed him that Finland becoming a member of Nato could be a “mistake”, insisting that Russia posed “no threat to Finland’s security”, the Kremlin mentioned.

Ukraine’s Zelensky additionally met with a delegation of senior US lawmakers Saturday, with Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell reaffirming Washington’s help for the nation.

“The Ukrainians are fighting bravely against a deranged invader and have already succeeded beyond skeptics’ wildest dreams,” McConnell mentioned in a press release.

“They are willing and determined to keep fighting to victory.”


The warfare can be having deep ripple results on the worldwide economic system, with wheat costs hovering within the wake of the invasion.

“Now support for Ukraine, and especially with weapons. means working to prevent global famine,” Zelensky mentioned in his tackle.

“The sooner we liberate our land and guarantee Ukraine’s security, the sooner the normal state of the food market can be restored,” he mentioned.

Before the invasion, Ukraine exported 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce per 30 days via its ports, 12% of the planet’s wheat, 15% of its corn and half of its sunflower oil.

But with the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and others reduce off from the world by Russian warships, the provision can solely journey on congested land routes which can be a lot much less environment friendly.

India had beforehand mentioned it was prepared to assist fill a few of the provide shortages attributable to the warfare.

But on Saturday the nation banned wheat exports with out authorities approval, drawing sharp criticism from the G7’s agriculture ministers assembly in Germany, who mentioned that such measures “would worsen the crisis”.

G7 ministers urged international locations to not take restrictive motion that might pile additional stress on the produce markets.

They “spoke out against export stops and call as well for markets to be kept open”, mentioned German Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir, whose nation holds the rotating presidency of the group.

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