The Russian army continued to bombard eastern Ukraine on Sunday, May 22, with a view to taking Severodonetsk, in Lugansk, one of the two constituent regions of Donbass. On the diplomatic front, France considered that Ukraine’s accession to the European Union would take “probably 15 or 20 years”, at the risk of making kyiv cringe. Here is the main information of the day.

Russian strikes “all over the territory”

According to the Ukrainian presidency, Russian bombardments targeted the cities of Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Zaporijjia in the night from Saturday to Sunday. In its daily morning brief, the Ukrainian General Staff noted that the Russian army was continuing “its missile and air strikes throughout the territory” and even had “increased intensity by using aviation to destroy critical infrastructure”.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, an American research center, Russian forces have “gain territory” in the Rubijne-Severodonetsk-Lyssychansk area and have “intensified their efforts to capture Severodonetsk”. Near this locality, the troops of Moscow destroyed a bridge, showing their will to encircle the city.

Martial law extended for three months in Ukraine

In two votes, the Ukrainian parliament, the Rada, approved on Sunday the extension until August 23 of the presidential decrees on martial law and general mobilization. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed them on February 24, the first day of the Russian invasion of the country. They have already been extended twice, for a period of one month.

A “historic” visit by the Polish president to kyiv

Polish President Andrzej Duda became, on Sunday, the first foreign head of state to speak before the Ukrainian Parliament in kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion. “After [les massacres à] Boutcha, Borodianka, Mariupol, there can no longer be ‘business as usual’ with Russia”, he said, during a speech interrupted several times by standing ovations. He said he would not relax his efforts “as long as Ukraine is not a member of the EU”.

His Ukrainian counterpart, for his part, greeted in front of the deputies “a historic moment“, “a historic union between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples”. “Poland plays an important role in our future, in our common future within the European Union”asserted Volodymyr Zelensky. If Ukraine becomes a member of the EU, “it will be thanks to Poland”. A bilateral agreement reducing customs controls at the border between the two countries will be signed “in the near future”he also announced.

Ukraine in the EU in “15 or 20 years”, according to Paris

Ukraine’s accession to the European Union will take “probably 15 or 20 years”estimated, on Sunday, the French Minister Delegate for European Affairs, Clément Beaune. “If we say that Ukraine will join the EU in 6 months, 1 year or 2 years, we are lying. It is not true. (…) It is very long”he estimated, advocating that kyiv enter in the meantime into the European political community proposed by Emmanuel Macron.

On May 9, the French president ruled that the process of joining the EU, to which kyiv aspires, “would take several years, indeed several decades”hence his proposal for a “new European organization”. On Saturday, Volodymyr Zelensky again dismissed this lead : “We don’t need alternatives to Ukraine’s EU candidacy, we don’t need such compromises.”

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