The essentials in brief:
- At least three dead and 14 injured in Kiev
- Russia takes children from Belgorod region to safety
- Baerbock: Ukraine was not admitted to NATO during the war
- US promises more military aid to Ukraine
- EU announces multi-million dollar support for Moldova
According to Ukrainian authorities, at least three people were killed in a Russian rocket attack on Kiev on Thursday night, including a nine-year-old girl. “According to the doctors, there are now 14 injured in the Dniprovsky and Desnyansky districts, nine had to be hospitalized,” said Mayor Vitali Klitschko on his Telegram channel. According to the military administration, the Ukrainian capital was attacked by ground-launched cruise missiles around 3:00 a.m. local time (2:00 a.m. CEST). Although they were shot down by anti-aircraft guns, the debris resulted in many casualties and extensive damage.
300 children from Belgorod brought to safety
After repeated shelling, the authorities in the Russian border region of Belgorod are taking action. “Today the first 300 children will be brought to Voronezh,” Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram. According to him, the children and young people come from the Schebekino and Graivoron districts. Voronezh is around 250 kilometers to the north-east and therefore further from the border of Russia distant to Ukraine. 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. Four people suffered injuries.
Last week, armed militias from Ukraine entered the Belgorod region, where they carried out attacks. Since then, several areas near the border have come under heavy mortar, artillery and drone attacks.
Zelenskyj: 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 security,” said Zelenskyy in his evening video address. He referred to the agreement between the 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.
Baerbock: No NATO entry “in the middle of the war”
In the discussion about Ukraine’s desire to join NATO quickly, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock pointed out clear limits. “The open-door policy applies,” said the Green politician at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo. At the same time, however, it is clear “that we cannot talk about a new membership in the middle of a war.” The Ukrainian President had called on the alliance states to clear the way for admission to the western military alliance at the next summit in July. Zelenskyj justifies Kiev’s wish by saying that hardly anyone contributes more to Euro-Atlantic security than Ukrainian soldiers.
According to information from the German Press Agency, NATO member states such as the USA and Germany have made it clear behind closed doors that they do not want to make any commitments for the time being that go substantially beyond a vague declaration by the alliance in 2008. In it, the then heads of state and government agreed that Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO, but without naming a specific timetable.
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. Ammunition for multiple rocket launchers of the HIMARS type, ammunition for artillery guns and tanks and 30 million rounds of ammunition for small firearms are also to be supplied.
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 strikes on Moscow Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has accused Germany and other western states 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 are at a summit in Moldau got together. 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 summit is themed “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, as announced by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Chisinau.
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/sti/jj (afp, dpa, rtr)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.