Russian soldiers who have camped for three months in the south and east of Ukraine are beginning to impose their law. The ruble is circulating there, new masters are distributing Russian passports with full hands and the children of the region are starting “de-Ukrainization” courses. In dealing with the inhabitants, the army dressed in yellow and blue struggled to resist.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday acknowledged, on an extraordinary occasion, the domination of the Russians in the Donbass. In this territory in the middle of the battle, “the enemy was clearly superior, in equipment, in the number of soldiers”, he admitted.
The Ukrainian governor of the region, Serguiï Gaïdaï, confirmed these statements in the Telegram. “The mission is very difficult in the Luhansk region, after three months of constant attacks and shelling. And now all the Russian forces are concentrated here, and we have to contain this swarm. According to him, many Ukrainian military infrastructures were destroyed and “our men are slowly retreating to more fortified positions”.
During its 92e day of the war, the Russian army moved slowly but surely into the area, surrounding Severodonetsk in particular, a city with 100,000 inhabitants before the war. A siege scenario, as in Mariupol, can be seen there. Sergei Gaïdaï published a summary of the situation in the Telegram: “Intense fighting is taking place outside Severodonetsk, [les Russes] is completely destroying the city. »
On Thursday, Russia’s military offensive reached “maximum intensity”, noted at a press briefing by Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Ganna Malyar, before adding that “a long and extremely difficult stage awaits us”.
Russian passport and money
On the southern front, Moscow closes its grip on the occupied territories. Residents of the Zaporizhia and Kherson regions can apply for a Russian passport through “a simplified procedure”, Moscow announced this week. Ukraine immediately condemned a “forced” granting of Russian nationality showing the Kremlin’s desire to include these territories.
On Thursday, a Ukrainian official from the city of Mariupol reported that children who remained there would be included in Russia’s school system. “Throughout the summer, children will have lessons in Russian language and literature, Russian history and mathematics lessons in Russian. The main goal is de-Ukrainization and preparation for the new school year according to the curriculum of Russia, ”said Petro Andriouchchenko, adviser to the mayor. He added, however, that Russia’s “occupiers” so far have failed to find enough teachers – “only 53 for nine schools”. He did not specify how many students were affected.
Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations released this week photos of trucks on the edge of giant screens circling this port city. Called the “mobile information complex”, these televisions on wheels provide access to state television propaganda to a population deprived of water and electricity.
Also in the south of the country, Russian currency began to circulate among the occupied populations. Pro-Russian authorities in the Kherson region of Ukraine this week made the ruble as an official currency, parallel to the Ukrainian hryvnia. The administration added that the first branch of a bank in Russia will open “soon” in Kherson; a full transfer to Russia’s currency is controversial.
West was worried
In the face of these advances by Russia, Europe is showing its determination to continue the fight.
The head of British diplomacy on Thursday renewed his desire to see the West continue to support kyiv without weakening. “No compromise or appeasement should be offered to Putin,” said Liz Truss from Sarajevo, where she met her Bosnian counterpart. “We need to make sure that Putin loses in Ukraine and Ukraine wins […], that Russia’s aggression would no longer threaten peace in Europe. We must dive deep into our resources relentlessly, continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to win and regain the integrity and sovereignty of its territory. »
The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, showed the same determination on the same day. “Putin should not win his war. And I am convinced of it: he will not win it,” he declared in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, meanwhile, painted a sad picture of what happened next during her visit to Kyiv on Thursday. “What Russia has done is a turning point for the whole European family and for the whole world. We see that the old system has been destroyed and old relations can no longer be restored,” said Mr.I Marin at a press briefing held with the Prime Minister of Ukrainian.
“Trust [envers la Russie] has been lost for generations. »
At Agence France-Presse