Russian troops advanced deeper into an eastern Ukrainian city Monday, fighting with Kyiv's forces street by street in a battle that left Sievierodonetsk ruined. The European Union approved a partial Russian oil embargo to try to force Moscow to stop the war.
Moscow's assault on Sievierodonetsk intensified, and Russian forces also bombarded parts in Ukraine's northeast. A struggle for control of the southern region continued. In the meantime, Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Ukraine's President) stated that Russia had stopped 22 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain from being exported, which contributed to a growing global food shortage.
According to military analysts, the Kremlin is in a race against the clock for Sievierodonetsk. This city is crucial to Russian efforts in capturing the eastern industrial region, Donbas, before any Western arms arrive to support Ukraine's defense. Moscow-backed separatists have held the area for eight years and are fighting Ukrainian troops.
"The Kremlin has reckoned that it can't afford to waste time and should use the last chance to extend the separatist-controlled territory because the arrival of Western weapons in Ukraine could make it impossible," Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said.
A potential setback for Ukraine was the U.S. President Joe Biden appearing to reject reports that the U.S. might send long-range rocket systems.
However, the European Union approved additional sanctions against Russia. In a long-overdue financial assistance package for Ukraine, EU leaders agreed Monday that all Russian oil imports to the bloc of 27 nations would be subject to an embargo by year's end. After Zelenskyy requested that the EU target Russian oil exports to make Moscow pay for its actions against Ukraine, the agreement was reached.
Charles Michel, President of the EU Council, stated on Twitter that the agreement covers more oil imports from Russia than two-thirds. This "cutting a huge resource of financing for Russia's war machine." Maximum pressure on Russia for an end to the war
Russia has, however, cut off natural gas supplies to some European countries to punish the West for its support of Ukraine. Gazrpom, the Russian state gas giant, announced that it would stop gas supplies to GasTerra in the Netherlands starting Tuesday.