The essentials in brief:
- Russia reports military successes
- White House: We do not support attacks inside Russia
- IAEA chief Grossi formulates safety rules for the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
- US Secretary of State: Turkiye should agree to Sweden joining NATO
- EU Commissioner wants to limit grain imports from Ukraine longer
According to the Defense Ministry in Moscow, Russian troops have pushed out Ukrainian units from positions around the settlements of Krasnohorivka and Yasynuvata in the Donetsk region. Fierce fighting continued in nearby Avdijwka. The place was completely destroyed after months of fighting.
The ministry also reports that the Russian army has destroyed a large warship belonging to the Ukrainian naval forces. It was destroyed on Monday in a “high-precision strike” by the Russian Air Force on a berth in the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine.
According to the information, the ship is the “Yuri Olefirenko”. The Moscow Ministry described it as the “last warship of the Ukrainian Navy”.
Selenskyj praises Scholz for his determination to support Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid tribute to Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his role in helping his country. During a phone call, he thanked Scholz for the air defense systems that Germany supplied and thus saved the lives of Ukrainians, Zelenskyj said in his evening video message. The President also thanked Scholz for his “personal determination, which in many ways is becoming the determinant for the whole of Europe”.
Even long after the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Germany was criticized for hesitant aid in Kiev. That’s over since Berlin delivered heavy battle tanks and anti-aircraft systems. Selenskyj estimated Germany’s total military aid for his country at three billion euros.
Zelenskyj made it clear that an effective anti-aircraft system was one of the main goals of his defense policy. “Russian terror must be defeated every day and night, in the skies of every Ukrainian city and village,” he said. Ukraine is experiencing more drone and missile attacks this May than it has in a month since the war began.
US does not want attacks on Russia
After the drone strikes on Moscow, the US government reiterated that it would not support attacks within Russia. “We have made clear statements to the Ukrainians not only publicly but also privately, but we don’t want to get involved in hypotheses,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre in Washington. Information is currently being collected to find out exactly what happened.
According to Russian information, eight combat drones fell on the approach to Moscow on Tuesday night. Three of them were brought down by electronic means, five were shot down. Where the drones came from remained unclear. The Kremlin blamed Kyiv for the drone strikes. The Ukrainian government rejected this.
Moscow and Kiev should follow nuclear protection rules
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has formulated guidelines to protect the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which is occupied by Russia. “There must be no attack of any kind from or against the facility, particularly against the reactors, spent fuel storage facilities, other critical infrastructure or personnel,” Grossi said at the heart of his demands before the UN Security Council in New York.
He called on Russia and Ukraine to follow rules to prevent the release of radioactive materials. In addition, Zaporizhia should not be used as a military base or as a storage facility for weapons such as tanks or artillery that could be deployed from the facility. The external power supply must also be guaranteed, and the plant must be protected against acts of sabotage. All violations would be made public by him, Grossi continued.
Grossi during a visit to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in March
The largest nuclear power plant in Europe in the Zaporizhia region came under Russian control in early March 2022. Artillery duels around the power plant site raised concerns about a nuclear disaster last summer. The six blocks with a total net output of 5700 megawatts have therefore been shut down and are only being cooled.
Hope that Sweden will soon join NATO
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is hoping for a decision on Sweden’s accession before the military alliance’s summit in July. “There are no guarantees, but it is entirely possible that we will find a solution by then and make the decision on Sweden’s membership possible,” said Stoltenberg during a visit to Oslo.
So far, Sweden’s accession has failed mainly due to the blockade by Turkey, which describes the country as a haven for supporters of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). After the re-election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last Sunday, “a window is now opening,” said Stoltenberg.
Urges Turkey to act: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed hope that a decision would be reached by the NATO summit on July 11 and 12 in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. It is therefore now time to “finally decide on Sweden’s accession,” said Blinken after a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. “We appeal to Turkey and Hungary to ratify accession as soon as possible.”
Sweden, together with Finland, decided to apply for NATO membership as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Finland was admitted as the 31st member on April 4th. Turkey and Hungary have not yet approved Sweden’s accession.
EU debate on grain imports from Ukraine
According to EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Union must continue to restrict grain imports from Ukraine. He took the position that the controversial trade restrictions should ideally be extended until the end of the year, or at least until the end of October, according to a final statement by the Pole after a meeting of EU agriculture ministers.
A combine harvests grain in a field in the Odessa region of southern Ukraine
He justified this by saying that significantly more Ukrainian grain is getting into the EU – especially in countries like Poland, Hungary and Romania – and is distorting the market there to the detriment of local farmers. Wojciechowski is thus opposing the opinion of EU countries such as Germany. The Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture Mykola Solski also spoke out clearly against the measures in Brussels on Tuesday. Russia tried to take advantage of the restrictions.
Specifically, the EU restrictions mean that wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflowers from Ukraine can no longer be traded freely in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia until June 5th. The goal is that less grain stays there and more reaches other EU countries and the world market.
Lithuania imposes sanctions in the Kara-Mursa case
Lithuania has imposed sanctions on 15 Russians in connection with the case of Russian-British opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was sentenced to 25 years in a prison camp. “The decisions of the Russian courts under Putin clearly show that those who dare to fight for democracy are seen as traitors,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said.
Lithuania is sending “a clear message that those who support the regime and contribute to gross human rights abuses in the Russian Federation, and especially those who target a human rights defender like Kara-Mursa, are not welcome in our country,” he stressed.
Critics of the Russian war of aggression: Vladimir Kara-Mursa at his trial in Moscow
The sanctions against 15 judges and prosecutors handling the Kara-Mursa case include travel bans and asset freezes. In mid-April, Kara-Mursa was sentenced in Moscow to 25 years in prison in a penal colony with “strict conditions” for his criticism of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
gri/fw/AR/sti (dpa, afp)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.