War against Ukraine: Russia wants to remain present at all times

Status: 05/29/2022 1:45 p.m

Russia is taking tough action against Ukraine in the east: Cities are being shelled and occupation regimes are apparently being installed in occupied regions. President Zelenskyj is pinning his hopes on the upcoming EU summit.

By Palina Milling, WDR, for the ARD studio in Moscow

Day 95 of the Russian war against Ukraine, her troops in the east are defying massive attacks. The situation is extremely difficult, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has emphasized several times. In an interview with the Dutch public broadcaster NOS, he also made clear his concern for the people in the south.

Russia is apparently trying to impose its own order on the occupied regions: “They turn off the television, cut off access to the Internet. Then only the Russian program is broadcast – that’s how the information war begins,” Zelensky said are imprisoned or they are already dead. Or they are subjected to mock torture. It is the Middle Ages there.”

Russia establishes military administration

The President’s accounts cannot be independently verified. But refugees and local politicians also describe the conditions in the occupied territories in a similar way on social media. The sheer volume and detail of such reports are outrageous.

It is about the Cherson region – located off the Crimea – and the neighboring part of the Zaporizhia region, which belongs to central Ukraine. Russia is setting up military administrations there. They are manned either by Russians who have entered the country or by pro-Russian local activists. Cooperation with the occupiers is punishable by the Ukrainians and will be punished.

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Forced or voluntary, there are still collaborators. In many places, they try to give the impression that the Ukrainian lands already belong to Russia. For this one tries to bring the Russian ruble into circulation. Or they announce that they will issue Russian passports to the residents. Both so far without significant success and under sharp criticism from the Ukrainian government.

Zelenskyj wants to liberate all territories

A representative of such an installed, unrecognized occupation administration – Vladimir Rogov – made it clear that Russia could remain a permanent military presence in the region. Among other things, in the city of Melitopol, which is not far from the coast of the Sea of ​​Azov. “A military airport in Melitopol would definitely be valuable, it’s a very convenient place to take off,” Rogov told the Russian state news agency TASS. It would be suitable for a full-fledged Russian Air Force base, housing fighter pilots, fighter jets, anti-aircraft systems and much more.

A threatening scenario that Ukraine is trying to prevent. Selenskyj wants to liberate all territories, but always admits that it is a matter of time and resources. He doesn’t think it’s realistic to use military means to bring back Crimea and Donbass because of the casualties that can be expected.

“To me, a win means restoring the integrity of absolutely all territories,” he said. He does not believe that this can be achieved militarily for the entire territory. “We would lose hundreds of thousands of people. I think we have to go back to where the invasion started on February 24. And after that we can talk about fighting our territory through diplomatic channels.”

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Commitment from the USA is still pending

Until then, however, the fierce battle for the Donbass will rage on. Ukraine strongly demands artillery. The current focus is on the so-called MLRS systems. They fire multiple missiles in succession, most with a range of over 80 kilometers. The US has not yet committed to supplying these heavy weapons.

At the beginning of the week Zelenskyj plans to address the participants of the special EU summit in Brussels. He wants to convince them to classify Russia as a terrorist state. Arms deliveries and an embargo on Russian oil are likely to be other pressing issues on his agenda.

Heavy fighting in Sieverodonetsk

According to the Ukrainian military, heavy Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine are continuing. The city of Sievjerodonetsk in the Luhansk region remains particularly hard-fought. The Ukrainian side is urging the delivery of heavy artillery systems in order to be able to survive in the battle for Donbass.

War in Ukraine – The current situation on Sunday afternoon

Palina Milling, WDR, 29.5.2022 12:58 p.m

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