War against Ukraine: This is the situation


Lerato Khumalo

The EU is providing around 1.4 billion euros in military aid for Ukraine. Meanwhile, Moscow is blaming Washington as well as Kiev for an attack on Sevastopol. The news at a glance:

The EU is releasing around 1.4 billion euros in military aid for Ukraine against the will of the Hungarian government. The planned procedure for this was approved at a foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg, several diplomats confirmed to the German Press Agency.

This stipulates that Hungary cannot veto the decision because it is classified as a decision that can be taken by majority vote.

For months, Hungary has been blocking the payment of EU funds for military aid to Ukraine. The government in Budapest justifies this with doubts about the effectiveness of the support for the attacked country and concerns about a further escalation of the conflict. In Brussels, however, it is assumed that the government is also trying to force the release of EU funds for Hungary that have been frozen due to concerns about the rule of law.

The approximately 1.4 billion euros now at stake are interest income from frozen assets of the Russian central bank in the EU. The EU had already decided in principle several weeks ago to use these for Ukraine. Due to the Hungarian veto policy, however, it was initially unclear when they could be used.

The procedure now chosen provides for the money to flow to countries such as Germany or the Czech Republic, which will then use it to provide Ukraine with air defence equipment or artillery shells in a timely manner.

During the night, Ukraine had again attacked targets on the Crimean peninsula, which had been annexed by Russia, with missiles. There were several explosions in the port city of Yevpatoria, reported the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

The authorities in the port city of Sevastopol also issued an air raid warning – in contrast to the attacks during the day. The consequences of the attacks are unclear. Several media outlets published videos and images of fires. However, reports of military installations allegedly being hit have not yet been confirmed by either the Ukrainian or Russian sides.

Crimea serves as an important staging area for the Russian army in its war of aggression against Ukraine. In addition, the peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014, is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and a number of bases from which the Russian Air Force launches attacks against Ukraine. Crimea has therefore increasingly become the target of Ukrainian attacks in recent months.

Only yesterday, the port city of Sevastopol was attacked with ATACMS missiles. A missile intercepted by Russian air defenses exploded over one of the city’s beaches. Four people were killed in the explosion, including two children. According to official Russian figures, the number of injured has risen to 151.

The government in Kiev describes the victims as “civilian occupiers”. “There are and cannot be any ‘beaches’, ‘tourist zones’ or other fictitious signs of ‘peaceful life’ in Crimea,” wrote Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser in the presidential office, on Telegram. Crimea is a territory occupied by Russia with hundreds of military targets where fighting is taking place. The Kremlin is trying to cover these targets with its own civilians, who in turn would become civilian occupiers.

The authorities have declared a state of emergency. “I order … to declare a state of emergency in the territory of the city of Sevastopol until further notice,” says the decree issued by Governor Mikhail Razvoszhayev, which Russian news agencies published on Monday.

In Moscow, there was talk of a targeted terrorist attack. The Russian Defense Ministry, which initially claimed responsibility for shooting down all Ukrainian missiles and explained the explosion on the beach as a result of a missile being changed course by the anti-aircraft defenses, later retracted this statement. Instead, only four of the five missiles were intercepted, and the Ukrainians deliberately caused the fifth to explode over the beach. The military in Moscow announced retaliation.

The Kremlin is now threatening the USA with consequences following the missile attack. “It is clear that the USA’s direct involvement in hostilities that result in the deaths of Russian civilians cannot remain without consequences,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the state news agency Tass.

Moscow knows exactly who is behind the “barbaric attack”. It is not the Ukrainians who are controlling such technically complex missiles, it said.