Fighting intensifies in the east

(CNN Spanish) – Russia has intensified its attacks in eastern Ukraine in the past few hours, the center of a war that has been on its way to winding down four months since February 24, when Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of his neighboring country.

In this framework, intelligence services have warned of running out of Soviet-era ammunition suitable for systems older than the Ukrainian army, as the country begs the West to send more heavy weapons and Russia achieves a significant artillery advantage in about two strategically important cities. in eastern Ukraine.

Look at the top war news on Wednesday, June 15:

Luhansk region leader says fighting in eastern Ukraine is ‘getting tougher’

A Ukrainian soldier prepares near the city of Lyschansk in the Luhansk region of Ukraine on June 14. (Photo: Anatoly Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)

The head of the military administration in that region said Wednesday morning that the defense of the Ukrainian army in the eastern Luhansk region has become more difficult.

“It’s getting more and more difficult, but our army is containing the enemy from three directions at once,” Sarhi Heidi said via Telegram. “They are defending Severodonetsk without allowing the enemy to advance on Lyschansk. But the Russians are close, the population is suffering and houses are destroyed,” he added.

Heidi said Russia has again attacked the Azot chemical plant, where more than 500 civilians are said to be sheltering.

“The high-rise buildings located near the chemical giant are being destroyed,” he said. “The enemy is weaker in street battles, so they use artillery fire and destroy our homes,” he added.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday called on Ukrainian fighters at the Azot plant to lay down their weapons, saying it would open a “humanitarian corridor” on Wednesday from the Ukraine-controlled plant to Russian-controlled territory in the north. Ukrainian officials have not commented on this proposal.

US announces additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine

The Joe Biden administration is expected to announce an additional $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine to fight Russia on Wednesday, according to a US official.

The package is expected to include additional shipments of howitzers, ammunition and coastal defense systems.

Speaking in Brussels, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States and Ukraine were “working in unison to meet Ukraine’s demands for new capabilities, particularly its need for long-range fire, armor and coastal defense.”

The latest arms package comes at a time when Ukraine’s military has run out of Soviet-era ammunition, while Ukrainian officials have pleaded with the West to send more heavy weapons as the war with Russia continues.

Biden gestures during Fernandez's speech in Los Angeles

Western military and intelligence services believe that the war is at a critical stage that can determine the long-term outcome of the conflict, while Russia has gained a significant artillery advantage around two major cities in eastern Ukraine.

The package is expected to include weapons and supplies that can be shipped quickly from existing US stocks, as well as signing new long-term supply contracts to Ukraine.

The United States has sent several arms shipments to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February, adding to the capabilities it provided to the Ukrainian military as the conflict raged.

However, Ukrainian officials have been pushing for more heavy weapons and have expressed frustration that the ammunition appears to be partly combative.

This news is breaking news and will be updated.

The war has reached a defining moment that could determine the long-term outcome, according to the intelligence services

Ukraine’s military is running out of Soviet-era ammunition that would fit the older systems, as the country begs the West to send more heavy weapons, and Russia gains a major artillery advantage around two strategically important cities in eastern Ukraine.

Western military and intelligence officials believe that Russia’s war in Ukraine at a critical point could determine the long-term outcome of the conflict, according to multiple sources familiar with US and other Western intelligence.

This pivotal moment may also force a tough decision on Western governments, which have so far offered their support to Ukraine at an ever-increasing cost to their economies and national arsenals.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to lead a task force of about 50 countries to discuss the crisis on Wednesday, as the United States expects more announcements of weapons and equipment packages for Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official.

Ukrainian officials have expressed frustration that these vital munitions appear to be coming to fight in piecemeal, prompting fears that Western involvement will erode at a crucial moment.

“I think we’re on the cusp of getting to the point where one side or the other will succeed,” said a senior NATO official. “Either the Russians reach Sloviansk and Kramatorsk or the Ukrainians will stop them here. And if the Ukrainians can hold out here, in the face of such a number of troops, it will be significant.”

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The Kremlin says it will be impossible to return to the spirit of hope that prevailed at last year’s summit with the United States.

Moscow said the “spirit of hope” displayed at last year’s Russia-US summit would be impossible to restore in future contacts.

The first historic meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2020 was widely viewed as positive, with both sides acknowledging that the talks were constructive.

“Is it possible to return to the spirit of Geneva when there was hope?” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

And although Russia had “certain hopes” at last year’s summit that have now vanished, Peskov said there was still hope for talks in a new format.

US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands outside Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, just before entering their meetings, Wednesday, June 16, 2021 (Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

It is unlikely that we will have the same hopes. However, there may be new hopes. It will be a completely different way of communication. But communication is necessary,” Peskov said, adding: “America is not going anywhere, and Europe is the same. We will not go to Anywhere. We’ll have to communicate somehow.”

Peskov went on to say that a new coordination of communication between Russia and the United States would be possible only if it was based on “the principles of mutual respect, indivisible security, consideration of mutual interests and mutual benefit.”

This Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the first face-to-face meeting between Biden and Putin as presidents in Geneva, in which issues of security and strategic stability were discussed.

According to Peskov, “At that time, the world was already feeling the symptoms of what we are seeing now in a focused way. We were on the cusp of those tectonic changes that are happening now.”

Macron says negotiations with Russia on Ukraine are inevitable

French President Emmanuel Macron said, on Wednesday, that Ukraine and Europe “will have to negotiate” with Russia over the Ukraine war at some point, “it’s the reality of things.” “The only desirable end to the conflict is a Ukrainian military victory or talks at some point because the fighting has stopped, so at some point we will have to talk,” he said while visiting French forces at the Mikhail Kogalnisano air base in the east. from the country. “We Europeans will be around the table to negotiate and at some point that will happen,” he added.

The French president, who is on a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova, stressed that France is not at war with Russia, despite European support for Ukraine.

“The difficulty we found ourselves in is that while we condemn and punish, we support the Ukrainians in their struggle, but we are not at war with Russia,” he said.

Macron also said that the current deployment of French forces on NATO’s eastern flank would “increase its strength,” without elaborating.

According to the French armed forces, France has about 500 soldiers deployed in Romania, under the command of NATO, as well as combat and observation aircraft, in addition to about 300 soldiers, in Poland and Estonia.

NATO allies will continue to supply Ukraine with advanced weapons, says Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that the alliance will continue to supply Ukraine with weapons and that further military support will be discussed with Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov later in the day.

“We are very focused on accelerating and providing more support and more advanced weapons as well as doing it in the best possible way to the Ukrainians, because we support them in their just fight against the brutal Russian invasion,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference in the British capital. Brussels before the meeting of NATO defense ministers.

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