Ukraine fight continues, Boris Johnson pledges long-term support

  • EU summit expected to support Ukraine’s candidate status
  • Approval of Ukraine’s candidacy marks a major change
  • Britain’s Johnson warns of ‘Ukraine fatigue’
  • The Battle of Sievierodonetsk continues
  • More rocket fire and shelling in eastern and central Ukraine

KYIV, June 18 (Reuters) – With a further blessing for its European ambitions and the promise of strong and continued support from Britain, Ukraine continued to fight on Saturday, with Kyiv troops resisting to the Russian assault on a central eastern city and communities pounded by heavier bombardments.

At a summit next week, EU leaders are expected to grant Ukraine candidate status following Friday’s recommendation from the bloc’s executive, putting Kyiv on track to achieve an aspiration seen as out of reach before the invasion, although actual accession could take years. Read more

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Friday and offered training to Ukrainian forces, stressed on Saturday the need to continue to support the country and avoid “Ukraine fatigue” after nearly four months of war.

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On the battlefields, the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, the prime target of Moscow’s offensive aimed at taking full control of the eastern region of Lugansk, remained under fire from Russian artillery and rockets, announced on Saturday the Ukrainian army.

“In order to improve their tactical situation, the enemy units tried to carry out assault operations outside the city but without success,” the army general staff said in a daily update.

Local authorities reported shelling overnight from several locations in the eastern regions of Lugansk and Kharkiv and further west in Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk. Rockets hit the central town of Kryvyi Rih on Saturday, killing at least two people, local authorities said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russian rockets also hit a suburb of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, on Saturday morning, hitting a municipal building and starting a fire in an apartment building, but causing no casualties, a regional governor said.

Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield accounts.

Moscow denies targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of dangerous nationalists who threaten its Russian-speaking population.

Kyiv and its allies dismiss this as a baseless pretext for war.

“The Russians are taking it step by step and it’s vital for us to show what we know to be true, which is that Ukraine can and will win,” Johnson told reporters on his return to Britain from Kyiv. read more “When Ukraine’s fatigue sets in, it is very important to show that we are with them for the long haul,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba struck a similar tone in an article published Friday by Foreign Policy magazine, calling on the West to continue to help Ukraine both with heavy weapons and sustained pressure on Moscow with sanctions. Read more

“The West cannot afford any sanctions fatigue, regardless of the broader economic costs,” he wrote.


One of President Vladimir Putin’s goals when he sent thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24 was to halt the NATO military alliance’s eastward expansion and keep its southern neighbor in outside the Western sphere of influence.

But the war, which has killed thousands, turned cities to rubble and forced millions to flee, has had the opposite effect.

He convinced neutral Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership and helped pave the way for Ukraine’s bid for EU membership.

“The Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, while announcing her decision to recommend Ukraine and its neighbor Moldova as candidates for membership of the European Union. the EU.

“We want them to live the European dream with us,” she said, wearing a yellow blazer over a blue blouse, in Ukrainian colors.

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Reporting from Reuters offices Writing by Tomasz Janowski, editing by Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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