As Russia presses assault, Ukraine given doable path to EU | Nationwide Politics


LYSYCHANSK, Ukraine (AP) — The European Union’s govt arm really helpful placing Ukraine on a path to membership Friday, a symbolic increase for a rustic warding off a Russian onslaught that’s taking civilian lives, flattening cities and threatening its very survival.

The potential of membership in a union created to safeguard peace on the continent and that stands as a mannequin for the rule of regulation and prosperity fulfils a want of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the numerous Western-looking residents.

In one other present of solidarity, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv to fulfill Zelenskyy, his second journey to the nation for the reason that struggle started.

The newest embrace of Ukraine by its European allies additionally marks one other setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who launched his struggle almost 4 months in the past, hoping to drag his ex-Soviet neighbor away from the West and again into Russia’s sphere of affect.

At Russia’s showpiece financial discussion board in St. Petersburg on Friday, Putin reprised his normal protection of Russia’s struggle in Ukraine, falsely claiming that it was an act of self-defense. He has insisted earlier than that his invasion was vital to guard folks in elements of jap Ukraine managed by Moscow-backed rebels and to make sure Russia’s personal safety.

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The European Fee’s advice that Ukraine turn into a candidate for membership will probably be mentioned by leaders of the 27-nation bloc throughout a summit subsequent week in Brussels. The struggle has elevated strain on EU governments to fast-track Ukraine’s candidate standing. However the course of is anticipated to take years, and EU members stay divided over how shortly and absolutely to open their arms to new members.

Assist for Ukraine from Western international locations — each political and navy — has been key to its stunning success within the face of bigger and higher outfitted Russian forces. Zelenskyy has additionally clamored for extra rapid help within the type of extra and higher weapons to show the tide within the nation’s jap Donbas area.

Russia pressed its offensive there Friday, leaving determined residents struggling to make sense of what the long run holds for them.

“We’re outdated folks, we should not have a spot to go. The place will I am going?” requested Vira Miedientseva, one of many aged residents grappling with the aftermath of an assault Thursday in Lysychansk, which lies simply throughout the river from Sievierodonetsk, the place a key battle is raging.

— The Ukrainian navy claimed Friday that it destroyed a Russian boat carrying air protection techniques to a strategic island within the Black Sea. In an announcement on social media, the navy mentioned that the Vasily Bekh was used to move ammunition, weapons and personnel to Snake Island, which is important for safeguarding sea lanes out of the important thing port of Odesa.

— A gaggle of volunteers referred to as the “IT Military of Ukraine” took credit score for a cyberattack that delayed Putin’s speech in St. Petersburg. The group was convened by Ukraine after the invasion to launch cyberattacks towards Russian targets. It mentioned that on Friday it carried out a distributed denial-of-service assault, which leverages networks of zombie computer systems to flood web sites with junk visitors, rendering them unreachable.

— The struggle’s disruption to exports of grain and different crops from Ukraine that feed the world has captured world consideration and despatched bread costs hovering internationally. However the manufacturing of different, extra area of interest foodstuffs has additionally been impacted, together with for a Ukrainian snail farmer.

— The organizer of the Eurovision Music Contest mentioned Friday that it’s going to begin talks with the BBC on presumably holding subsequent 12 months’s occasion within the U.Okay. after concluding that it might probably’t be held in Ukraine. Final month, Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra received the 2022 contest, buoying Ukrainian spirits. The occasion is historically staged by the earlier 12 months’s winner.

After a collection of setbacks early within the struggle, together with the failure to grab Ukraine’s capital, Russian forces have switched their focus to the Donbas.

The Ukrainian navy mentioned Friday that Moscow’s troops saved up relentless assaults on each Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, two key cities which were the give attention to current preventing. The navy claimed that Ukrainian forces pushed Russian fighters out of the village of Bohorodychne, north of Sloviansk.

Russia and its allies say they’ve taken about half of Donetsk and almost all of Luhansk — the 2 areas that make up the Donbas. Sievierodonetsk and surrounding villages are within the final pocket of Luhansk area nonetheless in Ukrainian fingers.

“The Russians are pouring fireplace on the town,” mentioned Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai. “It’s getting tougher and tougher for us to combat in Sievierodonetsk, as a result of the Russians outnumber us in artillery and manpower, and it’s very troublesome for us to withstand this barrage of fireside.”

The fixed shelling made it not possible for 568 folks, together with 38 youngsters, sheltering within the Azot chemical plant within the metropolis to flee, he mentioned.

Russian forces have destroyed all three bridges main out of the town, however Haidai mentioned it nonetheless had not been absolutely blocked off.

The Moscow envoy for Russia-backed separatists who management a lot of the territory round Sievierodonetsk mentioned an evacuation from the Azot plant might happen, underneath sure situations.

Writing on social media on Friday, Rodion Miroshnik of the self-proclaimed Luhansk’s Individuals’s Republic mentioned Russian troops and separatists are “prepared to think about choices for opening a humanitarian hall for the exit of civilians, however topic to strict adherence to the cease-fire.”

Earlier this week, Miroshnik accused Kyiv’s troops of making an attempt to disrupt the evacuation of civilians from Azot, a declare vigorously denied by Ukrainian officers.

Keyton reported from Kyiv, Ukraine.

Comply with the AP’s protection of the struggle at

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