As part of new sanctions against Moscow, EU leaders will attempt to overcome Hungary's rejection on Monday of an embargo on Russian Oil. After a videoconference by Volodymyr Zelensky, leaders of the Twenty-Seven met to discuss a sixth round sanctions that are designed to cripple the Russian economy.
This embargo is being demanded by the latter, calling for Westerners to deny Russia of revenues that would allow it to finance its invasion in Ukraine, which was launched on February 24, 2018.
They should also rediscuss the project for a progressive embargo against Russian oil, which has been blocked by Hungary. On Monday, Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, stated that there was no compromise on the subject. A new compromise proposal, which provided for an embargo at the end of the year with a temporary exemption from pipeline crude, was being discussed. This would allow the Hungarian government to lift its veto.
Only Russian oil that is shipped to the EU via boat, i.e. This embargo would affect two-thirds of European oil purchases from Russia.
Hungary, a country that is landlocked and has no access to the sea, has so far opposed any embargo, except for an exemption of at least four years to prepare and almost 800 million euros in European financing to adapt its oil refineries.
The sixth package of sanctions, which must be approved by all 27 countries, will not only prohibit oil from entering Russia, but also exclude Sberbank, the largest Russian bank (37% of the Russian marketplace), and two other banks of the Swift international financial systems. It also extends the EU blacklist to 60 people.
European leaders should also discuss the necessity to provide liquidity to Ukraine in order to maintain its economy. The Commission proposed assistance of up to 9 Billion Euros in 2022. Food security is also important due to the blockage of Ukrainian cereal exports, which raises concerns about a crisis in Africa.
The key Donbass cities of Severodonetsk, and Lisichansk, are still under Ukrainian control. Russian forces want to take full control of this mining basin. In 2014, pro-Russian separatist forces supported by Moscow gained partial control.
Frederic Leclerc - Imhoff, a French journalist who worked for BFMTV, was killed in this same area.
Russian forces have attempted to seize control of Severodonetsk for several weeks. This offensive has intensified recently, and President Zelensky admitted that the Ukrainian army was in serious trouble. "The Russians are moving towards the middle Severodonetsk. Gaidai stated on Telegram that the fighting is continuing and that the situation was very difficult.
[ RUSSIA pic.twitter.com/RhSxP5HlR3
He said that the road from Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, and Bakhmout further south was too dangerous to permit evacuation of civilians or the transport of humanitarian assistance.
However, the Ukrainian forces claim to have gained ground in the south, especially in the area around Kherson. This is a region near Crimea that was under Russian control in March. The Ukrainian army published a point that was posted overnight between Sunday and Monday. It claims to have made progress in the area of Bilogirka (about 100 kilometers north of Kherson).
Moscow didn't confirm the information but it did mention fighting in this area on Monday. It indicated that it had destroyed Ukrainian military equipment using artillery fire against Mykolaiv and also destroyed Ukrainian rockets flying near Chornobaivka (about fifteen kilometers northwest from Kherson).
Melitopol in southern Ukraine, which is also Russian-occupied, was the scene of a car bomb explosion Monday morning that injured two people.
Catherine Colonna, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Ukraine Monday. This was the first French official to visit Ukraine at this level since the beginning of the conflict. France will "continue to strengthen" its arms delivery to Ukraine, it announced after a visit at Boutcha (a small town near Kyiv that has been a symbol for the massacres in civilians attributed to Russian forces).
NATO has reneged on its past promises to not deploy its forces in Eastern Europe after Russia's attack against Ukraine, Mircea Dan Geoana (Deputy Secretary General of NATO) said. pic.twitter.com/dZSyry8M5V
At the end April, President Emmanuel Macron had already made clear that he would send military equipment to Kyiv, including Caesar self-propelled guns. These cannons were "proven to be reliable, effective weapons," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytrokuleba stated alongside Colonna. He added, "These aren't the only weapons that have arrived from France. We are grateful for every weapon."
On Monday, however, Joe Biden, the US President, stated to reporters that the United States would not send rocket systems to Russia or Ukraine. These deliveries were mentioned in the past weeks but not confirmed.