According to the governor, the Russian army is moving towards the center of Severodonetsk Berlin apparently agrees on criteria for admitting persecuted opponents of Putin  The developments in the Ukraine war in the stern ticker.

Day 96 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: The Russian army wears down the Ukrainian lines in the east with massive shelling. In the strategically important Severodonetsk, the Kremlin troops are apparently moving towards the city center and in the Sloviansk area, according to Ukrainian information, the invaders are preparing a large-scale offensive. Meanwhile, Ukraine is reporting its own successes in an offensive in the south. President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wants to speak at an EU summit in Brussels that begins today.

9.06 a.m .: London reports “devastating losses” among Russian officers

According to British findings, Russia suffered “devastating casualties” in its officer corps in its war against Ukraine. Brigade and battalion commanders are active on the front line, according to the Ministry of Defense in London, citing intelligence findings. On the one hand, this is because they are held personally responsible for the success of their units. In addition, the Russian army lacked qualified non-commissioned officers who fulfilled this role in Western armed forces.

These heavy losses would have several consequences for the Russian armed forces, the ministry said. For example, newly formed battalions are probably less effective due to the lack of junior leaders. In addition, there is a danger that existing problems such as a lack of discipline and weak morals will be exacerbated. There are credible reports of isolated mutinies. After all, the modernization of the army will become even more difficult.

8.52 a.m .: According to the governor, the Russian army is advancing towards the center of Severodonetsk

According to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops are advancing in the strategically important city of Severodonetsk. “The Russians are advancing towards the center of Severodonetsk. Fighting continues, the situation is very difficult,” writes the governor of the Luhansk region, Sergiy Gaiday, on Telegram. Two people in a car were injured in a Russian attack, but they could have been taken “to safety”. “The important infrastructure of Severodonetsk has been destroyed, 60 percent of the apartments cannot be rebuilt,” said Gajdaj. The road connecting Severodonetsk with Lysychansk and the city of Bakhmut further south is too “dangerous” to bring civilians to safety and relief supplies to the city.

Severodonetsk and the neighboring city of Lysychansk are the last two Ukrainian-held cities in the Luhansk region. The mayor of Severodonetsk, Olexander Stryuk, had already sounded the alarm over the weekend about the humanitarian and sanitary situation in the city with a former population of 100,000. “Constant bombing raids” made the supply of drinking water more difficult. There has been no electricity in the city for more than two weeks.

7.22 a.m .: According to Ukraine, Russia is preparing a major attack on Sloviansk

According to Ukrainian information, the Russian armed forces are preparing a large-scale attack on the Sloviansk area, the center of the Ukrainian defense forces in the Donbass. Kremlin troops deployed new units to the area to attack Sloviansk from both Izyum and the recently captured small town of Lyman, the Ukrainian General Staff situation report said. In preparation, they moved 250 military vehicles to the Izyum area and also repaired a railway bridge in the area to speed up supplies. In addition, a squadron of modern Ka-52 heavy attack helicopters was stationed north of Izyum. In addition, the Russian troops are in the process of repositioning themselves in Lyman, northeast of Sloviansk.

The Sloviansk-Kramatorsk region is the largest metropolitan area in the Donbass that is still under Kyiv’s control. The high command of the armed forces in the east of the country is also stationed here.

6.40 a.m .: Ukraine reports successes in offensive in the south

According to the Ukrainian military, it continued its offensive in the south of the country during the night. “The situation in the south is dynamic and tense,” says the high command of the Ukrainian military district South on its Facebook page. Russia is assembling reserves and trying to fortify the front lines in the Kherson region. “At the same time, our units continue their offensive activities to tie down the enemy and prevent regrouping of reserves.” According to their own statements, the Ukrainian military pushed back the Kremlin troops near the three villages of Andriyivka, Lozove and Bilohirka, killing 67 Russian soldiers and disabling 27 military vehicles in the fighting. Including six — albeit very outdated — T-62 tanks. This information cannot be independently verified.

Kyiv also launched the attacks in the south at the weekend as a counter-offensive to the Russian advance in the Donbass. The military experts at the US war research institute Institute for the Study of War (ISW) rate it as a “successful limited counterattack”. This has forced the Russians in the region to turn to defense and disrupted Moscow’s attempt to establish control of the Black Sea region of Kherson. The city of Kherson at the mouth of the Dnieper and in close proximity to the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia is of strategic importance.

6.25 a.m .: The federal government apparently agrees on criteria for the admission of persecuted Putin opponents

According to a report, the federal government has set criteria for the admission of particularly vulnerable Kremlin critics from Russia. As the newspapers of the Funke media group report, the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media have come to an agreement on the groups of people who are at risk. These are human rights defenders threatened by political persecution, members of the opposition, employees of human rights organizations and scientists, but also journalists who are specifically endangered. According to the federal government, they will be helped faster and less bureaucratically with a residence permit when they flee Russia.

4.11 a.m .: EU heads of state and government are negotiating new financial aid for Ukraine

Further financial aid for Ukraine and European defense policy are topics of the EU special summit today and tomorrow in Brussels. It is unclear whether the heads of state and government can agree on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia. This should also include an oil embargo against Russia, which Hungary does not want to support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to report on the situation in Ukraine by video at the beginning of the summit.

Hungary has so far blocked the planned EU oil embargo because it says it gets 65 percent of its crude oil from Russia. The country recently demanded a four-year transition period and 800 million euros in financial aid to adapt its refineries and expand a pipeline from Croatia. The French EU Council Presidency originally convened the special summit to make progress on European defense policy. Among other things, a joint procurement policy is to be discussed.

3:15 a.m.: Reports of dead and injured in Russian attacks

According to the authorities, several civilians were killed or wounded in attacks on Ukrainian locations. The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kirilenko, blames Russia for three dead and four injured in the government-controlled part of the region in the east of the country. In Mykolaiv in the south of the country, the authorities report at least one death in an attack on a residential area. Russia denies attacking civilian targets.

According to the General Staff in Kyiv, the Ukrainian army has fended off 14 Russian attacks in the Donbass. More than 60 Russian soldiers were killed and tanks and artillery destroyed. The information cannot be independently verified.

2:47 a.m.: Gauck for supporting Ukraine with weapons

According to the former German President Joachim Gauck, arms deliveries to the Ukraine are important for their fight for freedom against the Russian attackers. “Without the weapons of the Allies in the World War there would have been a Europe under Nazi rule,” says Gauck in the “Bild” newspaper. Ukraine must be allowed to say what it needs to oppose Russia. “If people then say to us: We want to fight for our freedom, we’ll even risk our lives, then it’s not up to us to explain to them from a safe place what the right thing is,” said the ex-president. “That would be callous and highly arrogant.”

Nevertheless, politicians must continue to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Responsible politics must also talk to dictators. We must never do without diplomacy.” However, it is important to negotiate from a position of strength. That also “proved to be correct during the Cold War.”

1.19 a.m .: Selenskyj accuses Russia of a war of annihilation

After an unannounced visit to the embattled Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is shocked. “Black, burned-out, half-ruined apartment buildings face east and north with their windows — to where Russian artillery fired from,” he says in a video message. Russia not only lost the battle for Kharkiv, but also for Kyiv and northern Ukraine. “It has lost its own future and any cultural ties to the free world. They are all burned.”

Zelenskyj also accuses Russia of extensively destroying the city of Sievjerodonetsk in the Donbass. The entire infrastructure has been destroyed, he says in the video message. “90 percent of the houses are damaged. More than two-thirds of the city’s housing stock has been completely destroyed.” The city is constantly under attack. According to Zelensky, Moscow wants to hoist its flag on the administrative building of Sievjerodonetsk, which is located on the Boulevard of Friendship of Nations there. “How bitter that name sounds now.” Sievjerodonetsk has been the target of attacks for months. The city is considered the last point that the Ukrainian military still controls in the Luhansk region.

The trip to Kharkiv was Zelensky’s first known visit to the front since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. In Kharkiv, he says he fired the local head of the domestic secret service SBU, “because he hasn’t worked to protect the city since the first days of the war, but only thought about himself,” the president said. The case was handed over to the judiciary.

12:25 a.m .: Lavrov rejects speculation about Putin’s illness

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied rumors that Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin has fallen ill. “I don’t think that reasonable people can see signs of any kind of illness or infirmity in this person,” Lavrov said in response to a question from French television channel TF1. Putin, who will be 70 in October, appears in public “every day”. “You can see him on screens, read and listen to his speeches,” Lavrov said, according to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Putin’s health and personal life are taboo subjects in Russia and almost never discussed in public.

0.02 a.m .: Eurovision winners auction trophy in favor of Ukraine

The Ukrainian winners of the Eurovision Song Contest have announced that they have auctioned off their competition trophy for the benefit of their home country’s army. “A special thanks to Team Whitebit who bought the trophy for $900,000 and are now the legal owners of our trophy,” the band Kalush Orchestra announced. Whitebit is a Ukrainian company that operates a crypto exchange, an online trading platform where cryptocurrencies can be bought, sold and exchanged. Since 2008, the winners have been presented with a glass microphone trophy. Kalush Orchestra won the 66th ESC in Turin in mid-May with the song “Stefania”.