Intense Russian bombing of southern Ukraine, and Macron calls for a new European system that gives guarantees to Moscow
The Ukrainian army said that the infrastructure in the provinces of Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhia, in the south of the country, is under intense bombardment by the Russian forces, which in turn announced that they had repelled Ukrainian attacks on several axes in Luhansk and Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian army stated that the Russian forces launched 27 air strikes and fired 44 missiles to bomb infrastructure in the south of the country, noting that the bombing extended to the water stations in Ochakov, Mykolaiv Province.
For its part, the Ukrainian Southern Operations Command said that it had moved some of its forces in Kherson and Zaporizhia to rear lines due to the intensity of the bombing.
Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Zaporizhia reported that the province has been subjected to intense shelling in recent hours.
On the other hand, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that its units had repelled attempts by the Ukrainian army to reinforce its positions in the Avdiivka and Mariinka regions of Donetsk Province.
The ministry added that Russian air defense systems and the Air Force were able to shoot down 10 Ukrainian drones over Donetsk and Luhansk, in addition to a Ukrainian helicopter.
And the Al-Jazeera correspondent quoted Ukrainian military sources as saying that fierce battles are taking place southeast of the city of Bakhmut, in the north of Donetsk Province.
meeting in Minsk
On the other hand, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that his country will take measures to coordinate the combat capabilities of the Russian and Belarusian formations within the framework of the joint regional forces.
The official Belarusian news agency “Belta” reported today, Saturday, that Shoigu held talks in Minsk with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin.
The agency said that the two ministers discussed bilateral military cooperation and amended an agreement on joint protection of regional security, without giving details.
Shoigu emphasized that Moscow’s relations with its ally, Belarus, are of particular importance in the face of what he described as unprecedented Western pressure.
The Russian Defense Minister appreciated Belarus’s determination to “resist the hostile course of the United States and its allies and its willingness to ensure the security of the Union State.”
Belarus had said that it would not enter the war in Ukraine, but Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered his forces to deploy with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, indicating that his country was exposed to threats from Kyiv and the West.
On the other hand, French President Emmanuel Macron said – in an interview with the French “TF1” channel broadcast today, Saturday – that his country will continue to support Ukraine militarily and will supply Kyiv with more weapons.
However, he made it clear that this support would not include any military equipment that would enable Ukraine to attack Russian lands, thus involving France in the conflict.
Macron stressed – in the interview, which was recorded during his visit to the United States last week – that Europe needs to prepare its future security architecture.
He said, “This means that one of the main points that we must address, as President (Russian Vladimir) Putin always says, is the fear that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will come to its doors and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”
The French President added that this issue will be “part of the issues of peace. Therefore, we need to prepare what we are ready to do, how to protect our allies and member states, and how to provide guarantees to Russia on the day it returns to the negotiating table.”