Russian troops may be on the verge of taking control of the Luhansk Oblast in eastern Ukraine. This is an important war aim of President Putin. The current developments:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls the bitter battle for Sievjerodonetsk one of the most difficult battles in the war with Russia.

After more than three months of fighting, taking the strategically important city could mean a preliminary decision in the struggle for the Donbass region. Russia attacked the neighboring country on February 24. Thursday is the 106th day of the war for Ukraine.

While a special envoy of Zelenskyj is counting on Ukraine’s EU candidate status in the near future, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda is criticizing the talks between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and French President Emmanuel Macron with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.

Zelenskyy: Sieverodonetsk decides on the Donbass

President Zelenskyj described the battle for Sievjerodonetsk as a landmark for the struggle in the east of the country. “Syeverodonetsk remains the epicenter of the clashes in Donbass,” he said in a video message on Wednesday. The Ukrainian military is inflicting noticeable losses on the enemy there. “This is a very brutal and difficult battle. Perhaps one of the hardest of this war (…) In many ways the fate of our Donbass will be decided there.”

Governor: Russia controls most of the city

After heavy fighting, the Russian army controls most of Sievarodonetsk. This was announced by the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, in his Telegram channel on Wednesday. «As for the industrial zone (of Seyerodonetsk): our defenders are holding there. But the fighting isn’t just going on in the industrial zone – the fighting is happening in the city.” However, the situation in the industrial zone is not like in the city of Mariupol, where the fighting took place right at the Azovstal plant. “As of today, there is no danger of encirclement,” said Hajdaj. More than 90 percent of the Luhansk region is occupied by Russia.

Poland’s president criticizes Scholz and Macron for talks with Putin

Polish President Duda criticized Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron for continuing talks with Putin. “These talks are useless,” criticized Duda in a “Picture” interview that was published on YouTube on Wednesday. The situation is similar to that of Adolf Hitler in World War II. “And did anyone talk to Adolf Hitler like that during World War II?” Duda asked. ‘Did someone say he has to save face? That you have to do it in such a way that it is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler?” He doesn’t know such voices.

Ukraine and Russia trade more bodies

According to authorities in Kyiv, Ukraine and Russia handed over the bodies of 50 soldiers to the other side. Among the Ukrainians killed were 37 “heroes” who took part in defending the Azovstal plant, the Ukrainian Ministry for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories said in Kyiv. The fighters held the fort at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol until Kyiv gave up the city in May. According to Ukrainian sources, the exchange took place along the front line in the Zaporizhia region in the south of the country.

Reports of dead and wounded in Russian attacks

According to the authorities, several civilians were killed or wounded in attacks on Ukrainian locations. Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko blamed Russia for four dead and five injured in the government-held part of the region in the east of the country. “The situation remains difficult. The front line is under constant fire,” Kyrylenko said. The Ukrainian army spoke of seven repelled Russian attacks in the Donbass. 31 fighters were killed and several armored vehicles were destroyed. The Russian military destroyed about 20 houses as well as two schools and a train station when shelling Ukrainian locations. The information is not independently verifiable.

Envoy Zelenskyjs expects EU candidate status

After talks in Berlin, Zelenskyy’s special envoy for EU accession prospects expressed confidence that his country will receive candidate status for the European Union. If the EU Commission makes a corresponding recommendation in the coming week, he assumes that the 27 member states will agree at their summit meeting on June 23rd and 24th in Brussels, said Regional Development Minister Oleksiy Tschernyschow, the dpa. He also expects approval from Germany. The federal government has so far been reluctant. It usually takes many years from candidate status to EU membership.

Russia isolated

Because of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia remains isolated in the Arctic Council. “We intend a limited resumption of our work in the Arctic Council on projects that do not involve the participation of the Russian Federation,” said the remaining members Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway and the USA.

At the beginning of March, the governments of the countries announced that they were suspending their participation in Council activities. Russia currently chairs the Arctic Council. The body is considered the most important forum for cooperation in the region around the North Pole. Germany has observer status. “Decisions made on behalf of the Arctic Council, which are adopted without our country, are illegitimate and violate the envisaged principle of consensus,” criticized Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov.

That brings the day

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets Chancellor Scholz and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD) in Berlin.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach sets off on a trip to Ukraine. The SPD politician wants to meet the Ukrainian Minister of Health there. Among other things, he is concerned with how injured people can be better cared for.

Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) visits Poland. It is about the consequences of the Ukraine war for the food supply.