The essentials in brief:
- Air Force Spokesman: No US-made F-16s this year
- Zelenskyj: Ukraine needs more drones
- Sweden is investigating violations of sanctions against Russia
- German freighter leaves Ukrainian waters
According to Ukraine, it will not be able to use US-made F-16 fighter jets this year. “It is already clear that we cannot defend Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets this fall and winter,” Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat told Ukrainian television at a fundraising gala.
Ukraine has repeatedly asked its western allies for F-16 fighter jets. US President Joe Biden backed training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 aircraft in May, but has not yet given a timeline for delivery. The West has repeatedly stressed that it does not want to provoke a direct confrontation between the US-backed military alliance NATO and Russia.
Zelenskyj: “Drones are a guarantee of survival”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stressed the importance of drones in defending his country against Russian aggression. Drones are the “eyes” and the “protection at the front.” (…) They are “a guarantee that people will not have to pay with their lives in cases where drones can be used,” said Zelenskyj in his evening video address.
Ukraine is in the process of “significantly” increasing the production of unmanned objects. Zelenskyj also underlined the importance of drone deliveries by international partners. “In each brigade, the fighters first ask about drones, electronic warfare and military air defense,” said the Ukrainian head of state, referring to several visits to the front that he has made in recent days.
45,000 Muscovites at the front
According to the mayor of Moscow, 45,000 residents of the capital are fighting in the Russian offensive in Ukraine. They made up a “considerable part of the fighters there,” said Sergei Sobyanin, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. At least 5,000 of the deployed Muscovites are professional soldiers.
Russian and Ukrainian authorities rarely provide information on the number of fighters involved or the casualties suffered. At the beginning of August, former Russian president and deputy chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said Russia had recruited more than 230,000 additional soldiers since the beginning of the year.
Last September, President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of 300,000 people to strengthen the ranks. This announcement – the first such mobilization in Russia since World War II – had caused shocked reactions across Russia. For his part, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said last year that the Russian army would be increased to 1.5 million troops in view of the offensive in Ukraine.
Exports as a Violation of Sanctions?
The Swedish government suspects that an increase in exports to countries neighboring Russia could indicate violations of sanctions. The Foreign Ministry in Stockholm announced that the national trade authority had therefore been entrusted with investigations.
Like many other countries, Sweden imposed punitive measures aimed at hitting Russia’s economy after the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022.
German freighter free again – at your own risk
Several hours after leaving the southern Ukrainian port of Odessa, the German cargo ship “Joseph Schulte” successfully crossed the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea. “I can confirm that the ship left Ukrainian waters,” said a spokeswoman for Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) in Hamburg on Wednesday evening at the request of the German Press Agency.
According to the ship information service Marine Traffic, the freighter was sailing in Romanian waters not far from the town of Sfântu Gheorghe at the time. The ship flying the Hong Kong flag had previously been stuck in Odessa for a year and a half because of the Russian war of aggression. On Wednesday morning, the “Joseph Schulte” left the port – and was the first ship to use a temporary corridor set up by Ukraine, which leads to and from the seaports of the attacked country. It can be used by merchant ships at their own risk.
The crew, which consists exclusively of Ukrainian seamen, is doing well, the shipping company said. According to the information, the ship transports more than 2,100 containers with around 30,000 tons of general cargo. It had moored in Odessa on February 23, 2022. A day later, Russia invaded the neighboring country and blocked the ports. Since then, more than 60 ships from many countries have shared the fate of the “Joseph Schulte”.
mak/wa (dpa, rtr, afp)