War in the neighborhood: IPN updates

Agreement on injured Azovstal defenders

A total of 53 seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant and transferred to Novoazovsk, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. In addition, 211 fighters were transferred through the green corridor into Russian-controlled territory. The Russian goal is for them to be part of a prisoner exchange.

Five buses full of Ukrainian soldiers left the premises accompanied by an armored transport. Some of the soldiers got out of the buses that took him there on a stretcher, and went straight to the hospital. Russian television, for its part, assured that there were ten buses, and that part of them were on their way to Yelenovka.

This movement occurs after the agreement to transfer the wounded Ukrainian fighters who are entrenched for weeks at the Azovstal steelworks, in the port city of Mariupol, which the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Monday afternoon.

Lisichansk close to becoming second Mariupol

Russian troops seek to capture Sievierodonetsk and cut off Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway.

“We are getting ready for two major ruscist attacks on Sievierodonetsk and an assault on Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway from Popasna and Bilohorivka. The Russians need a regional center ‘for a tick’, and the highway – to cut off the region from connection with other regions, i.e., to encircle it,” Head of the Luhansk Regional State Administration Serhiy Haidai posted on Telegram.

At the same time, the Russians prepare again to cross the Siversky Donets River in Bilohorivka where they have repeatedly tried to build a pontoon crossing.

Meanwhile, he noted, Luhansk region no longer lives but survives: there are no utility services, people do not come out of shelters, there is no mobile communication. The evacuation was resumed in the region. More than 40,000 civilians stay in the region, refusing to evacuate.

Oil embargo is objective of current week

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said they are working to strengthen sanctions on Russia.

“Partners need to make decisions that limit Russia’s ties to the world every week. The occupiers must feel the rising cost of war for them, feel it constantly. Now the priority is the oil embargo. No matter how hard Moscow tries to disrupt this decision, the time of Europe’s dependence on Russian energy resources is coming to an end. And that can’t be changed,” he stated.

Price of wheat in Europe above any limit

Wheat prices surged to a new record high in European trading on Monday after India decided to ban exports of the commodity as a heatwave hit production.

The price jumped to 438.25 euros ($456.68) per tonne as the Euronext market closed, breaking the previous closing record of 422.40 struck on March 7, according to trader Damien Vercambre at grains brokerage Inter-Courtage.

It had earlier set a record opening price of 435 euros.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat was trading nearly six percent higher in midday trading at $12.48 per bushel.

Global wheat prices have soared 40 percent on supply fears since Russia's February invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, which previously accounted for 12 percent of global exports.

Demilitarization of Kaliningrad discussed in Poland

NATO should not sit on a powder keg. NATO must demilitarize Russia’s Kaliningrad region if Finland and Sweden join the Alliance, said former Deputy Minister of Defense of Poland Romuald Sheremetiev.

Sheremetyev noted that it was necessary “to ask Kaliningrad to stop calling itself after the criminal Kalinin,” since this Soviet leader was responsible for the executions of Polish prisoners of war in Katyn.

Problems with fuel in Ukraine

Ukraine’s Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food Mykola Solsky announced that the shortage of diesel fuel, which is necessary for farmers in the country, is getting worse.

“The situation (with diesel fuel in Ukraine) has deteriorated in late April – early May … Now it is more acute than a few weeks ago,” Solsky said in the Ukraine 24 broadcast. According to him, “the market was not ready to transport such a volume of diesel from Poland or Romania” after the cessation of supplies from Russia and Belarus. He explained that “there weren’t the required number of tanks, no capacity for the transshipment and other things”, which “leaded its mark and led to fuel shortages”.

Finland and Sweden are not a threat to Russia

President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia has no issues with Finland and Sweden and therefore their entry into NATO does not create a threat for Moscow, but the move will certainly draw a response.

“Russia has no problems with these states (Finland, Sweden). There is no immediate threat to Russia ... But the expansion of military infrastructure to this territory will certainly provoke our response,” he told a meeting of the leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Moscow.

The response will depend on the steps taken by the alliance vis-à-vis military development in Finland and Sweden, Putin added.

Doors that cannot be opened are not forced
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the reporters in Brussels the he didn’t receive a promise from the EU foreign ministers as to the granting of the EU candidate country status to Ukraine at the EU leaders’ summit of end-June, but no member state openly opposed it. “I know countries that support this decision and I know those that follow the developments and will take a decision closer to that date,” said the minister.

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