Ukrainian troops defending the battleground eastern city of Severodonetsk have been ordered to retreat after weeks of fierce fighting with Russian forces, the governor of Luhansk province said Friday. Follow FRANCE 24’s liveblog for all the latest developments. All times Paris time (GMT+2).
13:25: Ukraine's EU candidacy 'no risk' to Russia, says Moscow
The Kremlin has belittled the EU's decision to grant official candidate status to Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova, describing the move as a "domestic" matter for Europe.
"These are domestic European affairs. It is very important for us that all these processes do not bring more problems to us and more problems in the relations of these countries with us," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Speaking of Moscow's relations with the European Union, he said that it would be "very difficult to spoil them further".
Also on Friday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukraine and Moldova joining the 27-nation bloc presented "no risks" for Russia, because the EU is not a military alliance. However, he accused the EU and NATO of wanting to wage war on Russia, comparing them to the Axis powers in World War II.