The essentials in brief:
- Selenskyj wants to “collect evidence” after the dam collapse
- THW helps Ukrainian civil protection authorities
- Steinmeier defends arms deliveries to Ukraine
After the partial destruction of the Kakhovka dam, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is seeking an international investigation into the incident. When Ukraine has regained control of the dam, “we will collect evidence,” Zelensky said in an interview with the media “Welt”, “Bild” and “Politico”. Then international experts would be invited to investigate what was happening. “What is happening right now is a tragedy. An environmental catastrophe and a human catastrophe.”
Zelenskyj made it clear that he saw Russia’s responsibility for the incident as proven. “It happened in an occupied territory,” emphasized the head of state. A year ago he pointed out that the dam was being mined and that there was a high risk of it being blown up. Russia probably underestimated the action, Zelenskyj suspected. “They didn’t think that they would also flood their occupied territories.”
Russia denies the allegations. For its part, the leadership in Moscow accuses Ukraine of shelling the dam on the Dnipro River for military reasons, causing it to break.
The events also have an impact on the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Selenskyj admitted in an interview with “Welt”, “Bild” and “Politico”: “It doesn’t help us with the counter-offensive, it doesn’t make the counter-offensive any easier.”
Selenskyj criticizes aid organizations as “incompetent”
In his video message on Wednesday evening, Selenskyj accused international aid organizations of being passive. “If an international organization is not present in the disaster area, it means that it does not exist at all or is incapable,” he said. Many people are without water, food or medical care. Ukrainian rescue attempts would be torpedoed by Russian troops.
According to official information, around 6,000 people on both sides of the Dnipro River had been brought to safety by Wednesday evening. A total of 30 towns were flooded, including ten under Russian control, reported Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klymenko.
THW helps Ukrainian civil protection authorities
Meanwhile, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) sent eight trucks with relief supplies to Ukraine. They are expected there on Friday or Saturday, said THW President Gerd Friedsam. First, drinking water filters and power generators would be delivered. “And we are now supplementing that with accommodation material such as tents, blankets, camp beds.” The help is based on the requirements of the Ukrainian civil protection authorities, explained Friedsam. Ukraine has signaled that it has enough helpers on site.
The THW President pointed out that mines and remains of ammunition represent a particular danger in the Ukrainian flood region. They are a “serious hindrance” to the relief work and must first be eliminated before the helpers can work safely.
Steinmeier defends arms deliveries to Ukraine
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has defended support for Ukraine with weapons. “Even I could not have imagined that I would say: Alongside all the other efforts, it is also time for weapons,” said Steinmeier at the opening of the 38th German Evangelical Church Congress in Nuremberg. The pictures and news from Ukraine are unbearable. “But we must not pretend that there are simple solutions,” warned the Federal President.
Germany wanted an end to the war, but it had to be a just peace. “If Russia withdraws its soldiers, then the war will be over. If Ukraine stops its defense, then that will be the end of Ukraine,” added Steinmeier to the applause of the 20,000 visitors at the opening ceremony.
The Czech Republic wants to meet NATO targets
With a view to the Ukraine war, the NATO country of the Czech Republic has committed itself to spending at least two percent of its gross domestic product on military spending from next year. A corresponding law was signed by President Petr Pavel after it was approved by both chambers of Parliament in Prague. The two percent target was agreed by the NATO countries back in 2002.
The liberal-conservative Czech government had recently decided on extensive procurement for the army. Among other things, the country wants to buy 246 CV90 armored personnel carriers from the British armaments group BAE Systems. The costs for this alone amount to the equivalent of around 2.5 billion euros.
“Czech Republic is not safe today – a conflict is taking place near our borders,” Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky warned. However, NATO membership is an important safeguard for the Czech Republic.
wa/fw (afp, dpa, rtr)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.