kyiv prepares for the fall of Mariupol and a Russian assault in the east

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On the 47th day of the war in Ukraine, the east of the country expects a major offensive by the Russian army. The Ukrainian army says it is preparing for a final battle in Mariupol, an already devastated port located in southeastern Ukraine. French gendarmes are in Lviv to investigate war crimes.

The essential

  • Ukrainian army says expect Russian offensive in east ‘very soon’, prepares for ‘final battle’ in Mariupol
  • The Austrian Chancellor, who visited Moscow, said he was “pessimistic”
  • EU foreign ministers meet for new sanctions package
  • French gendarmes arrived in Lviv, to investigate war crimes
  • Société Générale announces withdrawal from Russia
  • Listen: Radio France’s daily podcast on the situation in Ukraine

The situation on the military front

Ukrainian army prepares for ‘final battle’ in Mariupol port

The Ukrainian army says it is preparing for “one last battle” in the devastated and besieged port of Mariupol, in the south-east of the country. “Our ammunition is running out. It will be death for some of us and captivity for others,” wrote on Facebook the 36th Brigade of the National Navy, which is part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The leader of the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk said in the afternoon that his forces had completely conquered the city’s port area.

Several tens of thousands of deaths in Mariupol?

Several tens of thousands of people were probably killed in the Russian assault against Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “Mariupol has been destroyed, there are tens of thousands of dead but even in spite of that, the Russians do not stop their offensive”he lamented in front of the South Korean parliamentarians.

Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine ‘will take place very soon’

Eastern Ukraine therefore expects a massive offensive by the Russian army. “According to our information, the enemy has almost completed its preparation for an assault on the east. The attack will take place very soon”, warned at a press conference the spokesman of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Oleksandre Motouzianik. Part of the region has already been controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists, and the Russian authorities have made total control of this region their new objective.

A Russian victory in the Donbass before May 9?

Analysts believe that President Vladimir Putin wants to get a victory in the Donbass before the military parade on May 9, which marks on Red Square the Soviet victory over the Nazis in 1945.

Ukraine: positions and movements of Russian troops (update on April 11, 2022 at 8 p.m.). © Visactu

The diplomatic situation and international reactions

Austrian Chancellor meets Putin and says he is ‘pessimistic’

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who traveled to Moscow on Monday for talks with Vladimir Putin, said “pessimistic”: “We must have no illusions. President Putin has massively entered into a logic of war and he is acting accordingly” hoping to record “a military success” fast, he added. He is Europe’s first leader to visit the Russian capital since the beginning of the war.

French gendarmes in Lviv to investigate war crimes

French gendarmes arrived in Lvivin the west of the country, to help their Ukrainian counterparts “in the investigation of war crimes committed around kyiv“, announced Monday the ambassador of France in Ukraine. This is the “first” foreign unit “to provide such assistance”said the ambassador.

Funding has been released for this survey. Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have agreed to pay around 2.5 million euros to help the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate alleged war crimes in Ukraine. “It is crucial to preserve all the evidence now, in order to be able to judge these crimes”said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Pro-Russian protests in Germany

Many controversial pro-russian rallies were held this weekend in Germany, at the initiative of the country’s large Russian-speaking community. Its members consider themselves victims of discrimination since the beginning of the war. About 800 people gathered in Frankfurt on Sunday, under a tide of Russian tricolor flags. In Hanover, in the north of the country, they were 600 people. On Saturday, demonstrations were also held in Lübeck, in the north, with 150 participants, according to the police, as well as in Stuttgart (southwest).

New meeting of European Union foreign ministers

EU ministers met in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss a sixth package of sanctions against Russia. They agreed toincrease arms deliveries to Ukraine.

The first five packages of European sanctions, including an embargo on Russian coal, were all adopted unanimously by the Twenty-Seven, but consensus is becoming increasingly difficult to find, particularly on the question of Russian gas, of which most ministers want to do without, but on which Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary are still very dependent.

France expels six Russian spies ‘under diplomatic cover’

Six agents of the Russian intelligence services present in France under diplomatic cover were “declared persona non grata”, announced the Quai d’Orsay in a press release. The activities of these six agents “have proven to be contrary to our national interests”.

World trade growth could be halved

The war in Ukraine could halve the growth of world trade, according to an analysis by the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to this analysis, world trade growth should stand at a rate of between 2.4% and 3%. In October, the WTO was expecting an increase of 4.7%.

Societe Generale withdraws from Russia

Société Générale has announced that it is ending its activities in Russia, through the sale of its entire stake in Rosbank, of which it was the majority shareholder. Very involved in the country, the French bank was exposed to the tune of 18.6 billion euros, including 15.4 billion for Rosbank, a heavyweight in the Russian banking sector.

The humanitarian situation and solidarity with Ukrainians

More than 4.5 million refugees

More than 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since the start of the war, according to figures from the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 90% of those who fled Ukraine are women and children, the Ukrainian authorities not allowing the departure of men of military age. The UN also estimates the number of internally displaced persons at 7.1 million.

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