Russian forces captured large swathes of Severodonetsk, a strategic city in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday (May 31, 2011). They were advancing into eastern Ukraine and are being accused of "madness" for bombing a chemical facility. Diplomatically, kyiv won a battle against a European agreement for a gradual embargo of Russian oil.
Russian forces claim to have the goal of controlling the whole large Donbass mining basin, which pro-Russian separatists forces were able to take partial control of in 2014.
This key agglomeration is made up of the city of Severodonetsk and Lyssychansk. They are located about 80km from Kramatorsk. "Unfortunately, today Russian soldiers control most the city," Governor Serguii Gadai stated to Ukrainian television, claiming that the city had been "90% destroyed".
He said, "The fighting is happening in the heart of city." He said that "our soldiers won't be surrounded" in his speech.
However, the regional governor clarified that "now there is no way to leave Severodonetsk" due to the fighting being too dangerous for civilian evacuations. Frederic Leclerc -Imhoff, a French journalist for BFMTV, was killed while he was traveling with a humanitarian vehicle that was evacuating residents.
According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, (NRC), a NGO whose majority of staff in Ukraine is based in that area, approximately 12,000 civilians may still be trapped in the fighting and bombardment in this pre-war city of 100,000. The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 was the last straw. It had distributed food and other basic necessities to the residents of Severodonetsk, and the surrounding area, until last week. However, its secretary general Jan Egeland stated that "the intensification in the fighting now renders distributions impossible".
Pavlo Kyrylenko (the governor of Donetsk) also indicated that seven civilians were injured and four had been killed by Russian forces firing on his region.
After a Russian strike at an Azot plant's nitric acid tank, the governor of the region wrote Telegram: "Do not leave these shelters" and "prepare your face masks soaked with soda solution."
The French society for emergency medicine states that nitric acid can be dangerous to your health and cause irreversible damage. Serguii Gaidai warned that it can cause vision loss and lung damage.
"Russian military strikes, which include indiscriminate aerial bombing, are just absolute madness," Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, said in a Telegram video.
Joe Biden, a US senator, claimed Tuesday night in the "New York Times" that the United States would send "more advanced missile system to Ukraine." The American president stated that this ammunition would allow them to hit more precise targets on the Ukrainian battlefield.
According to a White House senior official, it is Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System). This is basically multiple rocket launchers mounted onto light armored vehicles with a range approximately 80 km. The equipment is part of an expanded component of American military aid to Ukraine totaling $700million. Details will be provided on Wednesday.
On Monday night, the 27 members of the European Union reached an agreement on a Russian oil embargo. This was long blocked by Hungary. At a European summit in Brussels, the agreement stipulates that the embargo will initially apply to oil transported by watercraft, or two-thirds of European black gold purchases. It will not affect oil transported via pipeline. This allowed Budapest to lift its veto.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, tweeted that "This will stop a huge source funding Russia's warmachine."
According to European leaders, the extension of the embargo on pipeline deliveries will be discussed "as quickly as possible". In total, 90% Russian oil exports will be stopped before the year ends.
The sixth package of European sanctions against Moscow includes an oil embargo. It also exempts three Russian banks from the Swift international finance system, including Sberbank which is the main institution of the country.