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Live blog: EU debates Ukraine candidacy, as Russia hits heavily in east

Franki Medina diaz
Shigeru Ban, el arquitecto del papel, Premio Princesa de la Concordia 2022

“We are preparing for the historic decision of the European Council. There are only a few hours remaining before it,” he said in his daily address

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seeking more heavy firepower from allies to counter Russia on battlefields amid Moscow’s bombardments on Ukrainian cities as the conflict enters into the 120th day. Ukrainian soldier watch while a tank fires toward Russian troops in the industrial area of the city of Sievierodonetsk, as Russia‘s attack on Ukraine continues. (Reuters) Thursday, June 23, 2022

EU debates Ukraine candidacy, as Russia hits heavily in east

EU leaders will gather in Brussels to discuss calls to formally grant Ukraine “candidate status” to join the bloc, as Russian forces slowly advance in the eastern Donbass region despite fierce resistance from Kiev's military.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had been conducting a “telephone marathon” on his country's behalf in the run-up to the meeting, making his case to 11 European leaders on Wednesday alone.

“We are preparing for the historic decision of the European Council. There are only a few hours remaining before it,” he said in his daily address.

Ukraine, Moldova candidacies 'decisive moment' for EU

EU chief Charles Michel said he expected the bloc's leaders to take the “historic” decision to grant candidate status to Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova

“This is a decisive moment for the European Union, this is also a geopolitical choice that we will make today. And I'm confident that today, we will grant the candidate status to Ukraine and to Moldova,” he told journalists ahead of an EU summit. 

Key Ukrainian city under 'massive' Russian bombardment

Heavy Russian bombardment of Ukraine's battleground eastern Luhansk region and key city Sievierodonetsk has been “hell” for soldiers there, Kiev said, while insisting that defenders would hold on “as long as necessary”.

Moscow's troops have been pummelling eastern Ukraine for weeks and are slowly advancing, despite fierce resistance from the outgunned Ukrainian military.

With President Vladimir Putin's forces tightening their grip on the strategically important city of Sievierodonetsk in the Donbass, its twin city of Lysychansk is now coming under heavier bombardment.

Russian gas flows to Europe via Nord Stream, Ukraine stable

Russian gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and through Ukraine were stable, while reverse flows on the Yamal pipeline edged up, operator data showed.

Physical flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline across the Baltic Sea stood at 29,236,731 kilowatt hours per hour (kWh/h), unchanged form the previous day, operator company information showed. 

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline will undergo regular annual maintenance from July 11 to July 21, when there are usually no flows. 

Russian gas threat revives German nuclear power debate

Germany should extend the lifetime of its nuclear plants to avoid an “extreme scenario” in which a Russian gas stop could wipe 12 percent off the economy, a government advisor said.

Prolonging the operational lifetime of Germany's remaining reactors could “create some breathing space”, Veronika Grimm, a member of the government's council of economic advisors, told the Funke media group.

Germany turned its back on nuclear energy following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, with its last three plants set to go offline at the end of the year. 

EU bans Russian lobbying from its institutions

The European Union's major institutions have banned lobbyists working for Russian interests from their premises in the latest measure against Moscow over the offensive in Ukraine, officials said.

The 705-member European Parliament made the move already in early June and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, as well as the Council, which represents member states, have followed suit.

“We have been instructed that we should no longer receive people who represent a Russian interest,” an EU official said on Thursday shortly before the start of an EU summit on aid to Ukraine

Russian TV protester caught in 'information war'

When Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova stormed a live TV broadcast to denounce the offensive in Ukraine, she expected a backlash from Russia — but not so much from the rest of the world. 

Three months later, now living in exile, Ovsyannikova, 43, is afraid to return to Russia and her two children, 11 and 17, for fear of being thrown straight in jail.

But she is also facing an increasingly hostile response from Ukraine and the West, with critics accusing her of being a spy still embedded in the Russian propaganda machine. 

Two Britons, Moroccan facing death penalty in Donetsk preparing appeal

Two Britons and a Moroccan who were captured while fighting for Ukraine and sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed breakaway Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) are preparing to appeal, the TASS news agency cited one of their lawyers as saying.

The court in DPR, one of Russia's proxies in eastern Ukraine, found the three men – Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun – guilty of “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the DPR“.

Twelve EU member states affected by Russian gas supply cuts, 10 have issued early warnings on gas supply – EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans pic.twitter.com/F36laNjAnw

TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) June 23, 2022 Ukraine crisis sounds alarm for humanity — China

The conflict in Ukraine has “sounded an alarm for humanity,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said, as China continues to assume a position of neutrality while backing its ally Russia.

The Ukraine crisis has again sounded the alarm for humanity. Countries will surely end up in security hardships if they place blind faith in their positions of strength, expand military alliances, and seek their own safety at the expense of others,” the official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying.

In other comments, Xi said imposing sanctions could act as a “boomerang” and a “double-edged sword,” and that the global community would suffer from “politicising, mechanising and weaponising” global economic trends and financial flows.

For live updates from Wednesday (June 22), click  here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies