MOSCOW – As Russia faces an oil import ban, a breakaway region of Georgia dealt another blow to Moscow’s hopes for greater unity among local allies when the South Ossetian leader Alan Gagloev abandoned plans to hold a referendum on July 17 on joining Russia.
The president of the Moscow-controlled enclave, Alan Gagloev, warned on Monday of “uncertainty about the legal ramifications of the case, which is the subject of a referendum”.
Since the Russian army failed to capture Kyiv at the start of the war with Ukraine, it has tightened its reach, bombarding Donbas towns with relentless artillery and rocket fire.
Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation in Donbas as “extremely difficult” on Monday.
“There, in the Donbass, the maximum combat capability of the Russian army is now united,” he said.
But Ukrainian troops were pushed back in the southern Kherson region over the weekend, the country’s military leaders said.
The Ukrainian general staff claimed that this decision placed its adversary in “adverse positions” around the villages of Andriyivka, Lozovo and Bilohorka, forcing Moscow to send reserves to the region.
“Kherson, wait. We’re close!” he tweeted on Sunday.
Meanwhile, two people were injured after an explosion in the Moscow-controlled city of Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine, with local pro-Kremlin officials blaming Kyiv.
Russian-installed authorities said the town had been the target of a “terrorist attack” and that the Ukrainian government was waging a “war against civilians”.