Accusation of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, envoy of the Pope for peace expected in Kiev, “large-scale” Ukrainian offensive, continuation of the fighting in Belgorod, third anniversary of the Russian opponent Navalny in prison … Le Figaro takes stock on Monday June 5 on the war in Ukraine.

The leader of the paramilitary organization Wagner said on Monday that he had taken a Russian officer prisoner whose unit allegedly attacked his men, yet another illustration of the tensions that reign between this armed group and the Russian regular forces. “On May 17, men from the (Russian) Ministry of Defense were seen blasting roads behind the positions of Wagner units,” wrote Yevgeny Prigozhin, according to his press service, in a press release. report to this department.

“The Wagner fighters who carried out the mine clearance were attacked by fire from the positions of the Ministry of Defense”, according to the same source. “An investigation is ongoing and several facts cannot be made public, but I put here this initial report and video evidence of what really happened there,” said Yevgeny Prigojine, in open conflict with the command of the Russian regular army, in an audio message accompanying the text.

Wagner’s boss also released the video of the interrogation of a Russian officer, taken prisoner, who presents himself as “commander of the 72nd motorized brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Roman Vinevitenov”. In this video, the man confesses to having “attacked” Wagner, adding that he acted “in a state of intoxication, guided by personal animosity”.

Pope Francis’ envoy for peace, Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, was expected in Kiev on Monday and Tuesday for talks with the country’s authorities on the war with Russia, the Vatican said in a statement. This visit comes as Russian forces claimed to have repelled “a large-scale offensive” led by the Ukrainian army.

“The main objective of this initiative is to listen carefully to the Ukrainian authorities regarding possible ways to achieve a just peace and to support humanitarian gestures that contribute to easing tensions,” the statement said. Pope Francis had entrusted a peace mission in Ukraine 15 days ago to Mgr Zuppi, from the Sant’Egidio community known for his work in the service of diplomacy. He had asked Cardinal Zuppi “to help resolve the tensions in the conflict in Ukraine, with the hope, which the Holy Father has never given up, that this may open up paths of peace”, the door-keeper specified. word of the Vatican Matteo Bruni.

Russia assured on Monday that it had repelled a major Ukrainian offensive in eastern Ukraine, kyiv for its part keeping silent and maintaining the mystery around the great attack prepared for months to reconquer the occupied territories. In a first press release, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed to have countered since the morning of June 4 attacks on five sectors of the front “in the southern direction of the Donetsk region”.

In a second press release, we can read that the Ukrainian forces suffered significant losses near the locality of Neskoutchné, in the Donetsk region, and that of Novodarivka, just on the border between this same region and that more southern of Zaporizhia. “The enemy has not achieved its objectives”, welcomed the ministry, referring to heavy losses among the units engaged in this “offensive” and broadcasting images of tanks being destroyed. According to the Ministry of Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Russian army and commander of operations in Ukraine, General Valery Gerasimov, “was during this period at one of the forward command posts in this direction” .

In addition, Ukrainian troops are on the offensive further north near Bakhmout, a town which the Russians claimed in May after months of deadly fighting. According to the leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine “part of the locality of Berkhivka is already lost”, a “shame”, according to him. He once again attacked General Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The Ukrainian authorities did not mention these events. They had warned that they would reveal nothing of the plans or the timetable for the offensive announced for months to reconquer the occupied territories in the south and east.

Fighting continues in Belgorod, a region targeted by Ukrainian bombardments in recent days. The Russian army said on Sunday that it repelled with artillery a group of “Ukrainian terrorists” who tried to enter it. On Sunday, “units covering the national border of the Western Military District and the border service of the Federal Security Service discovered an attempt by a sabotage group of Ukrainian terrorists to cross the river near the settlement of Novaya Tavoljanka,” the Russian military said in a statement. “The enemy was hit by artillery”, he “scattered and retreated”.

Earlier on Sunday, the governor of Belgorod said he was ready to meet with pro-Ukraine Russian fighters who claimed responsibility for the recent attacks. These soldiers had proposed a meeting to exchange prisoners. “The only thing that prevents me from negotiating with them is our men who are in their hands, maybe they are already dead…”, declared the governor Vyacheslav Gladkov on Telegram. “But if they are not, they can go from 5:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. French time) to 6:00 p.m. (5:00 p.m. French time) at the Shebekino border post. I guarantee safety.”

Airstrikes hit Dnipro in central Ukraine on Saturday evening, killing a two-year-old girl and injuring 22 people, and on Sunday an airfield in the center of the country, according to Ukrainian authorities. President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russians of having “attacked the city” of Dnipro and claimed that other victims remained trapped in the rubble of two apartment buildings.

The strike destroyed two buildings in a residential area of ​​Dnipro, as well as ten houses, a store and a gas pipeline, according to the governor of the Dnipro region, Serhiy Lysak. “Overnight, the body of a girl was recovered from the rubble of a house” in the Pidhorodnenska district, “she had just turned two,” he posted on the social network Telegram on Sunday. In addition, “22 people were injured, including five children,” he added in his latest assessment of the attack in the Dnipro district. Of these children, “the doctors believe that the condition of three boys is serious. They are in the operating room”.

The leader of the Russian Orthodox, Patriarch Kirill, considered “historic” the decision of Vladimir Putin to return to the Church the icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev, a masterpiece of the 15th century entrusted in 1929 to the Tretyakov Gallery, when Russia is facing “huge enemy forces”. The icon, transmitted to the Church this weekend despite protests from conservatives who consider it too fragile, was placed on Saturday evening in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, rebuilt in the 1990s after being dynamited under Stalin.

Patriarch Kirill stressed during a mass that the Russian president, who returned the icon by decree last month, had taken a “historic decision” at a critical moment “when our fatherland faces immense enemy forces “. “Events like this don’t happen without divine intervention,” said Kirill, 76, who is under sanctions by the UK and Canada for supporting the military offensive against Ukraine. The icon, which represents three angels seated at a table, painted by the monk and painter Andrei Rublev, canonized in the 1980s, had been donated to the famous Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow by the Soviet authorities in 1929.

Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny, who spent his third birthday in prison on Sunday since his arrest, said he had kept his spirits up, despite the tightening of his conditions of detention and yet another placement in the mitard. At the same time, at least 45 people were arrested by the police on Sunday in several Russian cities, mainly in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, during actions in support of Alexei Navalny on his birthday, according to the specialized NGO OVD-Info.

“For her birthday, you have to be honest with yourself and I asked myself this question: am I really in high spirits or am I forcing myself to be like this? My answer is that I really do,” the now 47-year-old activist said in a message. He says he is in the disciplinary cell for the 16th time. His supporters claim that the authorities seek to break him psychologically by regularly sending him for several days in these cells with drastic living conditions.