79th day of the war in Ukraine. The defeat of the Russian column near Severodonetsk, Macron and the "face of Putin", sanctions against Kabaeva

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APU tank in the Kherson region

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Britain has imposed sanctions on Putin’s friends and relatives, the trial of Russian military Vadim Shishimarin, who is accused of killing a civilian, has begun in Kyiv, and Vladimir Zelensky said that the French president offered him to make concessions to Russia. Meanwhile, the offensive of Russian troops in the Donbass continues, despite significant losses.

The main events of the 79th day of the war between Russia and Ukraine are in our daily review.

The situation on the front line

The British Ministry of Defense reports that Russian troops, despite serious losses in an attempt to force the Seversky Donets River, continue their offensive and are concentrating forces in the areas of Izyum and Severodonetsk. The ministry does not rule out that an attack by the Russian army directly on Severodonetsk may begin in the coming days.

During the crossing of the Seversky Donets, Russia, according to the Ukrainian side, lost significant forces – at least a battalion tactical group. The Russian army tried to cross the river west of Severodonetsk (the administrative center of the part of the Luhansk region controlled by Ukraine) and neighboring Lisichansk.

image copyrightUkrainian Airborne Forces Command/Reuters

photo caption,

Burnt military equipment on a pontoon bridge across the Seversky Donets River

Crossing the river in a war is considered an extremely risky maneuver, and this indicates pressure on the Russian command to make progress in eastern Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense assesses the situation.

Earlier, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, Sergei Gaidai, reported attacks on Rubizhne and two other settlements near Severodonetsk in an attempt to cordon off the territory.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov today, following Western intelligence, said that the war is entering a “long phase.” Russia, he said, failed to achieve its strategic goals. “We forced her to reduce the scale of her goals to the operational-tactical level. Against this background, we are entering a new – long-term – phase of the war,” the minister wrote on Facebook.

Trial of a Russian military man accused of killing a civilian began in Kyiv

The Solomensky District Court of Kyiv began considering the case of the Russian military Vadim Shishimarin. This is the first serviceman of the Russian army who is on trial for the murder of a civilian in Ukraine.

Shishimarin, whom the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office calls the commander of the 4th tank Kantemirovskaya division in the Moscow region, is accused of killing civilians.

According to the prosecutor’s office, on February 28, 2022, a 21-year-old Russian military man killed an unarmed resident of the village of Chupakhivka, Sumy region, who was driving a bicycle along the side of the road. Together with four other soldiers, he retreated after the shelling of his column.

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Irina Venediktova says the military ordered the sergeant to kill the man so that he would not report them to Ukrainian fighters.

Consideration of the case on the merits will begin on May 18, the process will be open.

Sanctions against people close to Putin

The UK has imposed new sanctions on Alina Kabaeva, chairman of the board of directors of the National Media Group holding. Citing unnamed American officials, the American Wall Street Journal wrote that US authorities consider Kabaeva a friend of the Russian president, with whom she has given birth to at least three children, and suspect her of hiding Putin’s personal wealth abroad.

image copyrightReuters

photo caption,

Vladimir Putin and Alina Kabaeva (photo taken in 2004)

In addition to 39-year-old Kabaeva (her birthday falls on May 12) and Putin’s ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, the British sanctions list includes Kabaeva’s grandmother Anna Zatsepilina, the president’s cousin Igor Putin, his son Roman Putin and the president’s cousin Mikhail Putin. The list also includes the head of the Gazfond pension fund, Yuri Shamalov, whom the British Foreign Office calls the brother of Putin’s former son-in-law Kirill Shamalov, who was sanctioned on February 24.

In addition, the list includes several more people who are considered friends of Putin and his children.

“We are imposing sanctions on the shady network that supports Putin’s luxurious lifestyle and increasing pressure on his inner circle,” said Liz Truss, British Foreign Secretary.

Sanctions against Kabaeva were demanded by associates of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, pointing to her role in Russian propaganda and alleged closeness to Putin. Since 2014, the former athlete has headed the board of directors of the National Media Group, which owns several popular TV channels, including a stake in Channel One.

Zelensky and “Putin’s face”

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday morning took part in the air of the Italian TV channel Rai 1, where he said that French leader Emmanuel Macron offered Ukraine to make concessions in negotiations with Russia in order to allow Vladimir Putin to “save face” by withdrawing from the conflict.

“Maybe Emmanuel knows something more. I know that he wanted to find certain results in the mediation between us, but he did not find it. Not from our side, but from Russia. And I should offer some things related to certain concessions regarding Ukrainian sovereignty, in order to save face to Putin, this is incorrect on the part of certain leaders,” Zelensky said .

He also said that the time for talks between Russia and Ukraine “has passed.”

“On February 24, Russia showed that it doesn’t care about all concessions, and it will take the territory if it decides to do so. And Emmanuel doesn’t need to make these or those diplomatic steps. He became president, I supported him. But without any steps to the side, history does not forgive this. Only steps forward if you want to return what is yours,” Zelensky said.

The Elysee Palace has not yet commented on Zelensky’s statement.

Scholz called on Putin for a ceasefire

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday that he had spoken by phone with Vladimir Putin. Western leaders are less likely to reach out to the Kremlin as the war continues. The conversation was also confirmed by the press service of the Russian president – they said that the leaders talked about the war with an emphasis on the situation in Azovstal, where several hundred Ukrainian military continue to fight with the Russian army in full encirclement.

Scholz tweeted: “Three things from today’s long phone call with Putin: There needs to be a ceasefire in Ukraine as soon as possible. The claim that the Nazis rule there is false. I also pointed to Russia’s responsibility for the global food situation.” “.

On Friday, another important telephone conversation took place: for the first time during the war, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the situation in Ukraine with his American counterpart Lloyd Austin.

“Austin called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and stressed the importance of maintaining lines of communication,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the talks were held at the initiative of the American side. “Topical issues of international security, including the situation in Ukraine, were discussed,” the ministry added.

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