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War in Ukraine: "storm shadow"Zelenskyy in the Vatican, advance of the army from Kiev to Bakhmout … the news of the day midi libre

As every day, this Saturday, May 13, Midi Libre takes stock of the news about the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine says its army is advancing on the outskirts of Bachmout

The Ukrainian army is advancing in two directions on the outskirts of Bakhmout, north and south of the city, which has been under attack by Russian forces for months and remains a threat in the central sector, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on Saturday.

Ukrainian and Russian officials have reported several local Ukrainian army counterattacks around Bakhmout in recent days, which have helped ease the pressure Wagner’s Russian mercenaries have been putting on neighborhoods still held by Kiev forces.

“Our troops are gradually advancing in two directions on the outskirts of Bakhmout. However, the situation in the city itself is more difficult,” wrote Hanna Malyar on Telegram. “The enemy is unable to take control of the city,” which has been reduced to ruin by incessant bombardments by Russian artillery and aviation since last summer, he said, she assured.

Zelenskyi presents the Pope with a bulletproof vest with a depiction of the Virgin

Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Rome on Saturday for talks with Italian leaders and Pope Francis, to whom he presented a bulletproof vest worn by a Ukrainian soldier, later painted with a depiction of the Virgin Mary.

“It is a great honour,” says the Ukrainian President, bowing to the Catholic Church leader, who in late April spoke of the Vatican’s involvement in peace efforts to end the war triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is visiting Italy in February 2022 for the first time since the beginning of the war in his country, was also received by his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella in the Quirinal Palace. He then attended a working lunch with the President of the Council, Giorgia Meloni, before going to the Vatican.

“It’s an honor to have you here in Rome,” Sergio Mattarella told him. “We are totally on your side.” Giorgia Meloni later gave an identical speech, pledging Italy’s full support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s “brutal and unjust aggression”. “We are betting on Ukraine’s victory,” she said alongside the Ukrainian president.

On Twitter, Volodymyr Zelenskyy described this trip to Italy and the Vatican as “an important visit for the upcoming victory of Ukraine”.

Giorgia Meloni visited him in Kiev in February to pledge Italy’s continued support already now, although some members of the ruling coalition in Rome, notably former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, have long-standing ties with Russia.

Russia accuses Ukraine of bombing with British Storm Shadows

Russia said on Saturday that the Ukrainian air force had bombed two industrial sites in the Russian-controlled city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine using long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles supplied by Britain.

Britain became the first country to announce on Thursday that it would supply Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles capable of attacking Russian targets at distances from the frontline. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the missiles could be used on Ukrainian territory, implying he had received assurances from Kiev that they would not be fired at targets outside Ukraine, outside Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.

The Russian Defense Ministry said such missiles hit a polymer manufacturing plant and a food processing plant in Luhansk on Friday. “Storm Shadow air-to-air missiles supplied by Britain to the Kiev regime were used for this bombardment, contradicting statements by London that these weapons would not be used against civilian targets,” the ministry said. He also claimed that at the point of origin of these shots, Russia shot down two Ukrainian planes, a Su-24 and a MiG-29.

Germany is supplying weapons to Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros

Germany on Saturday announced its biggest arms shipment to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion of that country, totaling 2.7 billion euros, and pledged to continue its support for Kiev for as long as necessary.

This new aid includes 30 Leopard 1 tanks, 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, more than 200 reconnaissance drones and four Iris-T air defense systems, the German Defense Ministry said in a statement. “We all want a quick end to this terrible and illegal war… Unfortunately, that is not yet in sight.

That’s why Germany will provide all the help it can for as long as needed,” said German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. “Thank you to our allies,” responded Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a statement to Telegram. Ukraine continues to demand arms and ammunition from its supporters in the face of a counter-offensive expected in the coming weeks or months.

The deliveries announced by Germany on Saturday also include 18 howitzers. Germany was initially reluctant to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine for fear of contributing to an escalation of the conflict with Russia. In January, the country finally accepted deliveries of Leopard tanks and said it would work with other countries to deliver more.