Zelensky: Moscow will step up its operations against us and we are ready

With Russian forces attempting to establish full control of the eastern Donbass region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that Moscow would escalate its attacks this week as European Union leaders consider whether to support Kiev’s offer to join. to the block.

“We should expect Russia to step up its hostile activities this week … We are preparing. We are ready,” Zelensky added.

Candidate registration

This comes when Ukraine applied to join the European Union, four days after the influx of Russian troops across its borders last February.

On Friday, the European Commission recommended Ukraine to obtain candidate status.

While leaders of the 27-nation bloc will discuss the request in a summit on Thursday and Friday, they are expected to accept Ukraine’s request despite concerns from some member states. The process could take many years to complete.

Fierce battles in Severodonetsk

EU accession to Ukraine runs counter to one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated goals when he ordered his forces to enter in Ukraine, i.e. keeping Moscow’s southern neighbor out of the West’s sphere of influence.

Interestingly, in recent weeks the battles have been concentrated and intensified in Severodonetsk, a key city in the Donbass region, the fall of which will pave the way for Russian control of the entire Donetsk region.

Russia aims to control the entire Donbass basin (which includes Lugansk and Donetsk), after being partially seized by pro-Moscow separatists in 2014, with the aim of opening a land corridor linking Crimea to the east, which has annexed to its territory in the same year.

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