The essentials in brief:
- Russia takes children from Belgorod region to safety
- Zelenskyy: The grain agreement is important for the whole world
- US promises more military aid to Ukraine
- Kremlin spokesman accuses western countries of ‘Russophobia’
- EU announces multi-million dollar support for Moldova
After repeated shelling, the authorities in the Russian border region of Belgorod are taking the consequences. “Today the first 300 children will be brought to Voronezh,” Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram. According to him, the children come from the Schebekino and Graivoron districts. Voronezh is around 250 kilometers north-east and therefore further away from the Russian-Ukrainian border. The decision was made in view of the “deteriorating” situation, Gladkow said. The state news agency RIA Novosti later reported that buses with around 150 passengers had arrived near Voronezh.
On Tuesday, one person was killed in a suspected Ukrainian attack on a displacement center in the region. According to Gladkov, Schebekino was attacked again on Wednesday night and hit by a rocket. “A lot of damage” was done, four people were injured. The situation in the region is “quite alarming,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in Moscow. There was no condemnation from the West. He announced that “action would be taken”.
In the past week, armed militias from Ukraine entered the Belgorod region and launched attacks. Since then, several areas near the border have come under heavy mortar and artillery fire, as well as drone strikes.
Zelenskyy: The grain agreement is important for the whole world
During a visit to the port city of Odessa, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky underlined the relevance of the recently extended grain agreement. “The world knows about the fundamental role of maritime grain exports in food safety,” said Zelenskyy in his evening video address. He referred to the agreement between Ukraine and Russia, which came about through international mediation. “All countries with access to the sea in the world can now see what could threaten their ports and their waters if Russia gets through with the blockade of the Black Sea,” said the Ukrainian leader.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy
During its war of aggression, Russia had blocked the neighboring country’s grain exports for months. In the summer of 2022, with the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey, an agreement was concluded between the two warring parties, which led to Ukrainian grain being shipped again. Most recently, it was extended for a further two months in mid-May – combined with Moscow’s demand to now also facilitate its own exports.
Ukraine repeatedly accuses Russia of obstructing the shipment of its grain despite the agreement. Moscow, on the other hand, complains that the promised relaxation of sanctions is not being implemented sufficiently.
US promises more military aid to Ukraine
Ukraine will receive $300 million (€280 million) in new military aid from the United States. The armaments package includes ammunition for the Patriot air defense system, AIM-7 anti-aircraft missiles and Avenger air defense systems, as announced by the US Department of Defense. Also to be delivered are ammunition for Himars multiple rocket launchers, ammunition for artillery pieces and tanks, and 30 million rounds of ammunition for small firearms.
A Himars missile launcher in action in southern Ukraine
The latest package brings US military aid to Ukraine to $37.6 billion since the start of Russia’s war of aggression. This was announced by the Pentagon in Washington. The US is Ukraine’s main supporter in the war against Russia.
Kremlin spokesman accuses western countries of ‘Russophobia’
After sensational drone attacks on Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Germany and other Western countries of anti-Russian reactions. “You can feed Russophobia and they (European countries) feed Russophobia,” Peskov said on Russian state television. He was reacting to statements by German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. However, he did not explicitly comment on the drone incidents in Moscow. Instead, earlier in the day, when asked how he viewed attacks on the Russian heartland, he said: “Basically, international law provides that a country defends itself.”
The defense against the attack by Russian forces on Ukraine is legitimate, the spokesman said. “However, the Chancellor has repeatedly made it clear that as far as the use of German weapons is concerned, they are there to defend Ukrainian territory.”
On Tuesday, the Russian military said it had destroyed a total of eight drones that were flying towards Moscow. Several buildings were slightly damaged. The leadership in Moscow blames Ukraine, against which it has been at war for more than 15 months, for the incident. The attacked country rejected the allegations. In Ukraine, on the other hand, heavy drone fire – often resulting in deaths and injuries – is part of everyday life.
Almost 50 countries expected at summit in Moldova
The heads of state and government of almost 50 European countries will meet this Thursday for a summit in Moldova. According to EU representatives, the top meeting in Ukraine’s neighboring country should send a signal of unity against Russia. Strategic and energy issues are at the center of the informal talks.
The motto of the summit is “Moldova is not alone”. Like Ukraine, the country with almost three million inhabitants has been an EU candidate for almost a year. The heads of the EU institutions also take part in the summit of the so-called European Political Community (EPG), which goes back to French President Emmanuel Macron. According to Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz expects a sign “against Russian imperialism” from the meeting.
EU Commission announces multi-million dollar support for Moldova
Before the summit meeting of the new European Political Community (EPG), the EU Commission promised an aid package worth several hundred million euros for the Republic of Moldova. On the one hand, this is intended to alleviate the effects of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and at the same time to bring the accession candidate Moldova closer to the EU, said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Chisinau.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is received by President Maia Sandu
Among other things, she announced more than 100 million euros for the energy sector. In addition, the EU Commission wants to invest several hundred million directly in Moldovan companies. In addition, 50 million euros are to flow into rail expansion in the country. The roaming charges between the EU and Moldova will also be reduced in the future. “My message to the people of Moldova was: We stand by your side. We support you every step of the way towards the European Union,” said von der Leyen.
kle/wa (afp, dpa, rtr)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.