War against Ukraine: This is the situation


Lerato Khumalo

On the front lines, Ukraine is still under constant pressure from Russia. But on a political level, Kiev is happy about a further step towards Europe. The news at a glance.

According to its President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine is a big step closer to joining the EU. “The European Union has approved the negotiating framework for Ukraine – many have fought for it at various levels,” said Zelensky in his daily video address. This means that negotiations can now actually begin. This is a “significant success.”

According to Zelensky, Kyiv has already formed a negotiating delegation for the accession talks. The head of state was convinced that the negotiations would be successful. “Ukraine is and will remain a part of a united Europe,” he said. He also congratulated the neighboring country of Moldova, with which the EU also plans to begin accession negotiations next week.

Congratulations and thanks also went to the Ukrainian national team, which had beaten Slovakia 2-1 after falling behind early on in the second group match of the European Championship a few hours earlier. The victory was an encouragement for the whole nation, said Selenskyj. The national team had shown that if the Ukrainians try hard, they can beat anyone.

However, according to Zelensky, things remain difficult at the front. While the situation in the Kharkiv region, where the Russians launched their latest offensive, has been stabilized, things remain difficult in the Donetsk region. Zelensky specifically mentioned the Pokrovsk area, where the Russian military launches dozens of attacks every day.

The Ukrainian air defense recorded new Russian drone attacks during the night. Among other things, several explosions were reported from the Ivano-Frankivsk region in the west of the country. The regional military administration called on the population via the Telegram platform not to publish photos of the impacts “so as not to help the enemy.”

The attacks again caused damage to energy supply facilities in the south and west of Ukraine, the Energy Ministry in Kyiv announced without providing further details. Two employees were injured.

Russia uses new bomb against Ukraine

There are also reports that the Russian military is using a new super-heavy bomb in its offensive in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine. “Given the significant destructive effect of this explosive device, the operation can be described as successful,” the Russian state news agency Tass quoted pro-Kremlin military analyst Igor Korotschenko as saying.

The images published by Russian military bloggers show the enormous impact of the explosions. Two operations have been documented so far. After the first bombing of a hospital in Lypzi, a second bomb destroyed a school building in the same town. The Russian military claims that soldiers were there, meaning that they were military targets.

The FAB-3000 glide bomb dropped from aircraft weighs three tons, with the warhead alone weighing around 1,200 kilograms. Since the bomb can be guided to its target thanks to its wings, it can be dropped from a distance of more than 30 kilometers. Russian pilots therefore usually release the bombs over Russian territory. This is another reason why Kiev has repeatedly called for the ability to attack military targets over Russian territory with Western weapons, in addition to increased air defense.

Netherlands delivers another Patriot air defence system

Help is now coming from the Netherlands. The country says it is supplying Ukraine with another Patriot air defense system together with a partner state. Dutch Defense Minister Kasja Ollongren told the ANP news agency that they have succeeded in putting together a complete complex. Air defense is one of the most important issues for Ukraine in this war in order to be able to defend itself against constant Russian attacks from the air.

The Patriot system from the Netherlands is already the second one for Kyiv this week, after Romania had already delivered one.

The British right-wing populist Nigel Farage has blamed the West for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. “We provoked the war,” said the head of the Reform UK party in a BBC interview. Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he added: “Of course it is his fault.”

The “perpetual” eastward expansion of the EU and NATO gave Putin a justification for the war, Farage continued. The Kremlin chief was able to tell his people that the West was “out to get them”. This justification, which is rejected by the vast majority of experts, is also used by Putin.

Estonia will temporarily close the border crossing to Russia in Narva over the weekend for security reasons. The police and border protection authority of the Baltic EU and NATO country justified the move with significantly slower border controls on the Russian side. Relations between the two countries are strained.