Ukraine’s president Zelensky has appealed to Germany to give full support to Kyiv as Russia cuts off all routes to the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk.
Kyiv’s leader appealed to Germany’s Chancellor Scholz to decide that “there can’t be a trade-off between Ukraine and relations with Russia.”
This comes as the Kremlin’s troops destroyed the last bridge linking Sievierodonetsk to the other side of the river linking it to Lysychansk.
Ukraine’s military said Russia was “trying to gain a foothold in the central part of city” as it completes its consolidation of the eastern Donbass region.
In April, Russia appeared to abandon its surge towards towards Kyiv, and refocus on the east of the country.
There were unconfirmed reports this week that European leaders would visit Kyiv on Thursday, ahead of a G7 meeting at the end of June.
Ukraine’s leaders have sharply criticised G7 leaders, in particular Germany and France, for dragging their feet on Russia.
It has accused Berlin of being slow to send weapons and cut off Russian fuel, which is funding the war effort. It was revealed Russia earned an eye-watering €93bn (£79.8bn) from fossil fuel exports worldwide between February 24 and June 3, with the EU spending approximately €57bn (£48.9bn) on oil, coal and gas during a time period characterised by war and bloody conflict in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s latest military report said Russia was “creating conditions for the development of the offensive on Sloviansk”, and an offensive on the towns of Lyman, Yampil and Siversk – all west of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.
Zelensky said the battle would be one of the most brutal in European history “For us, the price of this battle is very high. It is just scary.”
“We draw the attention of our partners daily to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage.”