Defenders of eastern Ukraine under pressure from airstrikes

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Defenders of eastern Ukraine under pressure from airstrikes

In the east of Ukraine, massive Russian attacks with artillery fire and airstrikes are increasingly threatening the Ukrainian defenders. The shelling of the city of Sievjerodonetsk continued throughout Wednesday, according to the Ukrainian General Staff. 95 percent of the Luhansk administrative region in the Donbass has been occupied by Russian troops, said Governor Serhiy Hajday. The situation is “extremely bad”.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyj therefore called on the world community to side more clearly with his country. In a video speech, he was also disappointed by the deliberations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “No matter what the Russian state does, there is someone who says: let’s take their interests into account,” Zelenskyy said. “And this despite thousands of Russian missiles hitting Ukraine. Despite tens of thousands of Ukrainians killed. Despite Bucha and Mariupol”.

The meeting in Davos continues on Thursday. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko are expected to appear.

Tactical successes of the Russian troops

Sieverodonetsk and neighboring Lysychansk are the last major cities still held by Ukrainian troops in the Luhansk Oblast. Russia wants to completely conquer the area in order to add it to the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic. A few days before the attack on Ukraine, Moscow had recognized this as an independent state – just like the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

The Ukrainian General Staff also reported attacks on Berestove, Lypove and Nyrkove. “The occupiers shelled more than 40 towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, destroying or damaging 47 civilian facilities, including 38 houses and a school. As a result of this shelling, five civilians died and 12 were wounded,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces Facebook page said. The information cannot be independently verified. Foreign observers fear several Ukrainian brigades could be encircled in Sieverodonetsk.

“In some directions, the Russian groups undoubtedly have tactical successes, that’s no secret in principle,” Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motusianyk said in Kyiv. But it is not correct to speak of a withdrawal. The Ukrainian army is trying to maneuver to improve its position and attack again.

As an example of the emergency situation in the East, Governor Hajday cited the burial of at least 150 people in a mass grave in Lysychansk. The police had to help out as undertakers. Both victims of the Russian shelling and people who died of natural causes were buried in the grave. A video showed bodies in white bags – each labeled with their name – being thrown into a pit. After the war the dead should be properly buried, the governor promised.

Questions for Scholz in Davos: How does Berlin help Ukraine?

Zelenskyi was video-connected to a round of talks in Davos on Wednesday and said Ukraine would not give up any territory. “Ukraine will fight until it has all its territory back.”

Chancellor Scholz’s appearance in Davos should be about the German attitude to the war in Ukraine. Germany has been criticized by its allies in NATO and the EU, but also by Ukraine, for not doing enough to counter the Russian attack.



Berlin has hesitated, especially when it came to the delivery of heavy weapons. However, according to information from the German Press Agency, there are informal agreements among the NATO states not to hand over certain weapon systems to Ukraine. Alliance circles confirmed that the risk of a direct military confrontation between NATO states and Russia should be kept as low as possible.

It is feared, for example, that Russia could see the delivery of Western battle tanks and combat aircraft as entering the war and then take military retaliatory measures. Ukraine has not yet received such weapons. Ultimately, however, the decision for or against the delivery of certain weapon systems does not lie with NATO, but each state decides for itself.

The FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann saw Scholz as having a duty to ensure clarity in the German line. “It must not be that at the end of the war the world perceives Germany as a complete brakeman and looser just because we are not able to organize and communicate,” she told the dpa. Germany had organized humanitarian aid and delivered high-value military material and weapons.

That brings the day

The Mayor of Kiev and ex-boxing world champion Vitali Klitschko is also expected at the World Economic Forum on Thursday, who will report on the situation in the Ukrainian capital. Another date draws attention to the peaceful resistance against ruler Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus: In Aachen, the Charlemagne Prize is awarded to Belarusian civil rights activists, including opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya.

In Moscow, Russia’s Supreme Court is deliberating on the Prosecutor General’s Office’s request to declare the Ukrainian Azov regiment a terrorist organization. The unit has connections to the far-right scene in Ukraine, and Russian propaganda uses it as an example of the influence of neo-Nazis in the neighboring country. “Azov” has been incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard for years. But the regiment provided many Mariupol defenders, and the Russian judiciary wants to try these prisoners for alleged atrocities.

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