Day 99: view from EU on Ukraine’s membership, cities destroyed to ground, battle for Severodonetsk

Ukrainian cities destroyed to ground. Russia’s war in Ukraine destroyed more than 350,000 infrastructure sites and millions of square meters of houses, schools, hospitals, and sports facilities, the Ukrainian government said in a preliminary estimate. Thousands of kilometers of roads and railroads, airports, and ports were damaged. 

Russia completely destroyed Mariupol, Volnovakha, Rubizhne, Popasna, Lyman, and Severodonetsk, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko said. Occupied hromadas (communities) in Kherson region face a difficult situation, he added. Some hromadas in Mykolayivska and Zaporizka regions were badly damaged. Part of Pivnichna Saltivka district in Kharkiv is fully destroyed. 

Russia seized more than 3,600 cities and towns since the invasion, of which more than one thousand were subsequently liberated, President Zelenskyi said in an address to the Parliament of Luxembourg. 

In Severodonetsk, Ukraine lures Russian forces into trap, advisor to President’s Chief of Staff said. The Ukrainian Armed Forces “pretended to retreat” from Severodonetsk, advisor to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovych said. “Our [troops] are fighting like lions despite the enemy maintaining fire advantage. They captured first Russian prisoners. Not everyone was lucky [to survive],” Arestovych said.  

Russian forces moved deeper into the city. They control most of it, head of the Luhansk regional military administration Serhiy Hayday said. Ukrainian troops hold positions, successfully conduct local operations, and take prisoners. “Russian troops managed to advance further into the city. They control most of it. Twenty per cent is gray zone. Ukrainian troops hold positions in an area inside the city. They even succeed in operations as they push Russians out of the streets. Sometimes, they even take prisoners,” Hayday said.

A day earlier, the Ukrainian Armed Forces took six Russian prisoners. “Our troops had success in local military operations. It gives us hope that their successes will continue. We are in contact with them constantly. We try to deliver anything they need immediately,” Hayday said.  

Around 800 people are hiding in several bomb shelters underneath the Azot chemical factory in Severodonetsk, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration told CNN.

Millions of hectares require demining. More than 30 million hectares of land in Ukraine require demining, Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi said. 

“We need to demine more than 30 million hectares. We deploy foreign demining teams and equipment. They help us clear Ukrainian territories of mines,” the Minister said.

Demining continues in Kyiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv regions. Mines were cleared on more than 2.7 million hectares.

Throughout May, casualty toll in mine blasts was 15, Monastyrskyi added.

Ukraine in Flames #84: European (dis)Union on Ukrainian membership. What can be done?

The episode #84 is dedicated to disunion among European countries concerning Ukrainian membership in EU. What are the arguments of skeptics and optimists on this issue? This question is covered by Ukrainian and European experts in this video. 


Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze, MP and Head of the committee for integration of Ukraine to European Union 

Serhii Sydorenko, editor-in-chief of the news outlet European Pravda 

Raimond Kaljulaid, member of the Estonian Parliament 

Antoine Arjakovsky, Research Director at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris 

Andrea Castagna, EU policy expert