Ukraine takes tentative step towards EU membership as Donbas battles reach fearsome climax

The war of attrition in the Donbas is most critical in the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, which straddle the Siverskyi Donets River in Luhansk province. #MalaysiaNow #MNow #FlashNews #Ukraine #Europe #Donbas.

Ukraine, tentative step, EU membership, Donbas battles, fearsome climax

The war of attrition in the Donbas is most critical in the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, which straddle the Siverskyi Donets River in Luhansk province.

Ukraine will be accepted as a candidate to join the European Union on Thursday, a move that will boost the country’s morale as the battle with Russian troops for two cities in the east reached what one official called a “fierce climax”.

Although the approval of the Kyiv government’s application by EU leaders meeting in Brussels is just the start of what will be a years-long process, it signifies a huge geopolitical shift and will irritate Russia as it struggles to impose its will on Ukraine.

Friday will mark four months since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops across the border in what he calls a “special military operation” partly necessitated by Western encroachment into what Russia views as its sphere of influence.

The conflict, which the West sees as an unjustified war of aggression by Russia, has killed thousands, displaced millions and destroyed cities as well as having ramifications across much of the globe as food and energy exports have been curtailed.

Russia focused its campaign on southern and eastern Ukraine after its advance on the capital Kyiv in the early stages of the conflict was thwarted by dogged Ukrainian resistance.

The war of attrition in the Donbas – Ukraine’s industrial heartland – is most critical in the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, which straddle the Siverskyi Donets River in Luhansk province.

Ukrainian forces were defending Sievierodonetsk and the nearby settlements of Zolote and Vovchoyrovka, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Thursday, but Russian forces had captured Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka to the south.

Moscow says Ukrainian forces in the city are surrounded and trapped. But Gaidai told Ukrainian Television on Wednesday that Russian forces did not have full control of Sievierodonetsk.

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