Ukraine expects a Russian attack on eastern cities & accuses Canada of undermining sanctions against Moscow

Ukraine expects a new offensive by the Russian army on strategic cities in the eastern Donbas region, which Moscow considers a priority target, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Canada on Monday of undermining sanctions against Russia.

For its part, Europe has entered a period of uncertainty regarding the continuation of Russian gas deliveries, with the Russian giant Gazprom group starting maintenance work on two Nord Stream 1 oil pipelines that allow supplying Germany and other countries in Western Europe.

This 10-day pause, which has been announced for a long time, is only supposed to be a technical measure, but in the context of the war on Ukraine and the tension between Moscow and the West over energy resources, it is not possible to bet on the resumption of deliveries that have already declined.

In order not to give Moscow an additional excuse, Germany took back from Canada turbines for the same pipeline that was undergoing maintenance.

On Monday, this angered Zelensky, who announced the recall of the Canadian ambassador to Kyiv “because of an absolutely rejected exception to the sanctions imposed on Russia.” He added that the Canadian decision “will only be seen in Moscow as a sign of weakness,” adding that Russia could in any case if it wanted to “cut off these supplies completely at the most critical time.”

The turbines were undergoing maintenance at a facility near Montreal in Canada belonging to the German company “Siemens”, and Russia attributed the reason for the reduction in supplies through this pipeline to the absence of these turbines. On the ground, the Ukrainians are anticipating intense battles in the Donetsk region (east) in the Donbas.

And the Ukrainian Chief of Staff warned that “there are indications that the enemy units are preparing to intensify hostilities towards Kramatorsk and Bakhmut.”

Kramatorsk, the administrative centre of Donbas still under Ukrainian control, as well as the neighbouring city of Sloviansk, are the next two targets of the Russian army in its plan to take full control of Donbas, four and a half months after the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Moscow-backed separatists have partially controlled the Donbas basin since 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula. The embassy of the breakaway region of the Donetsk region will be opened Tuesday in Moscow, in the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The death toll from a Russian raid on a residential building in Chasiv Yar in Donetsk on Sunday rose to 33, including a 10-year-old child, the Ukrainian emergency service announced Monday.

Nine people were pulled out alive from the rubble while rescue operations continued on Tuesday.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said “more than 300” Ukrainian fighters were killed in a Russian strike near Chasyv Yar, without specifying when.

For his part, Kharkiv Governor Oleg Senegubov announced that Russian strikes on Monday targeted a “shopping centre and civilian homes.”

The regional public prosecutor confirmed that 31 people were injured, including two children aged four and 16.

Six civilians, including a 17-year-old man and his father, were also killed.

On Monday, Russian fighters fired four missiles at Odesa, a coastal city on the Black Sea, according to Kyiv.

The Southern Operations Command said that the strikes, which did not result in casualties, targeted port infrastructure and a house, in addition to agricultural fields. In Kherson (south), the Russian occupation forces announced the killing of seven people and the wounding of about sixty others in a Ukrainian strike on Monday night.

“There are seven dead and about 60 wounded” as a result of this strike, which targeted the city of Nova Kakhovka, the head of the civilian-military administration established by Russian forces in this region, Vladimir Leontiev, said on Telegram.

This information could not be independently verified.

Sergey Khelan, an advisor to the commander of the pro-Ukrainian government military administration in the Kherson region, said that at night the Ukrainian army destroyed the Russian military command centre, radars and anti-aircraft defence systems in Tavrysk, the city occupied by the Russians, located about 60 km east of Kherson.