Russia Ukraine War News Live Updates: Full takeover of Donbas ‘unconditional priority’, says Russian diplomat

Ukraine-Russia War Updates: Russian shelling destroyed all of the critical infrastructures in Sievierodonetsk city, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, describing the taking of the city as Russia’s “principal aim” right now. Ukrainian authorities have described conditions in Sievierodonetsk as reminiscent of Mariupol.

The “liberation” of Ukraine’s Donbas region is an “unconditional priority” for Moscow. While other Ukrainian territories should decide their future on their own, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said according to a release from Russia’s foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose to two-month highs on Monday as traders waited to see if the European Union would reach an agreement on banning Russian oil ahead of a meeting on a sixth package of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. As Russia asserted progress in its goal of seizing the entirety of contested eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin tried to shake European resolve to punish his country with sanctions and to keep supplying weapons that have supported Ukraine’s defense.

In other news, the Russian Defense Ministry said Lyman, the second small city to fall this week, had been “completely liberated” by a joint force of Russian soldiers and Kremlin-backed separatists, who have waged war for eight years in the industrial Donbas region bordering Russia. Ukraine’s train system has ferried arms and evacuated citizens through Lyman, a key railway hub in the east. Control of it also would give Russia’s military another foothold in the region; it has bridges for troops and equipment to cross the Siverskiy Donets river, which has so far impeded the Russian advance into the Donbas.

Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy visited troops in Kharkiv

Zelensky toured the country’s second-largest city to see damage by Russian forces in his first official appearance outside the Kyiv area since the start of the war. “Kharkiv suffered terrible blows from the occupiers… One-third of the Kharkiv region is still under occupation,” he says. According to local officials, over 2,000 apartment blocks have been wholly or partially destroyed by Russian shelling in the region.

About 31% of the Kharkiv region’s territory is temporarily occupied by Russian forces

while 5% has been liberated by Ukrainian defenders, the head of the Kharkiv regional military administration said. “We are not yet able to fully inspect some of the liberated settlements, conduct full-fledged de-mining, and begin rebuilding critical infrastructure, as shelling continues. Where we can do it remotely – we do it,” Oleg Synegubov said according to a release from the president’s office.

EU unity on Russian sanctions ‘starting to crumble’: German minister

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Sunday expressed fears that the European Union’s unity was “starting to crumble” ahead of a summit to discuss an oil embargo against Russia. t is planning to cut dependence on Russian energy. EU leaders will meet on Monday and Tuesday to discuss a new sanctions package against Russia, which could also include an oil embargo, and a program aiming to speed up ending dependence on fossil fuels, including Russian gas.

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