The basics in a nutshell:
- President Zelensky complains about the destruction of cultural monuments
- Explosions rock the capital, Kyiv
- Putin warns the West
- Spain wants to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine
- “International Legion” talks about the death of a German
- The President of the African Union announces a visit to Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of massive destruction of cultural monuments, churches and other religious sites in Ukraine. This is reason enough to exclude the country from UNESCO, the cultural and educational organization of the United Nations, Zelensky explained. “UNESCO is no place for barbarians.” Russia is a “terrorist state” that is destroying the historical heritage with its artillery.
The head of state, in two video messages, accused the Russian armed forces of bombing and setting fire to a large wooden church in Svyatohersk (Sugatogorsk). Pictures showed a fire in the onion-domed building. The Russian Defense Ministry denied the allegations and accused Ukrainian forces of causing the fire themselves.
Zelensky said that since the war began on February 24, Russia has fired more than 2,500 missiles at Ukraine. “Our heroes stand on their soil and do whatever it takes to inflict as many casualties on the enemy as possible.”
Referring to the focus of the fighting in Donbass in eastern Ukraine, the head of state said that the day would come when Russia would leave the region on its own. Only one person’s leadership is decisive in this, he said, without naming Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
The fight continues for Sieverodonetsk
Both Russia and Ukraine reported successes at the Battle of Severodonetsk in the Donbass. Luhansk region governor Serhiy Gagday said Russia was throwing “all its weight” into the battle. However, the Ukrainian forces are now “pushing them to retreat”. But the Russian Defense Ministry stated that Ukrainian units had withdrawn from Sevgerodonetsk in the direction of Lyschansk. The information cannot be independently verified.
Sieverodonetsk is the largest city in the Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control. Russia’s stated goal is to occupy the entirety of the economically important Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
Explosions in Kyiv
The explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. According to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, the Darnezhga regions in the southeast and Dnipro in the west of the city have been affected. He also announced on the Telegram messaging service that rescue services are working. The military command said that military and civilian infrastructure were bombed.
According to the authorities, the Kiev suburb of Brovary, which has already been bombed several times, was also hit by missiles. The exact extent of the damage was not clear at first. Locals posted pictures and videos of fires and clouds of smoke on social media.
Russian missile flies over nuclear power plant at low altitude
According to the Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator Energoatom, a Russian cruise missile flew “very low” over the Piwdennoukrainska Nuclear Power Plant (NPP South Ukraine). The state operator of the SMS service Telegram said it may have been a missile fired towards Kyiv. The nuclear power plant is the second largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine. It is located about 350 kilometers south of Kyiv near the Mykolaiv region.
Putin warns the West
Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened serious attacks on Ukraine if Western long-range missiles are delivered to Ukraine. “If they do this, we will draw appropriate conclusions and use our means of ‘annihilation’, of which we have enough to hit those things that we have not attacked yet,” Putin said in an interview with state TV Rossiya 1. He said the aim of Western arms deliveries was to prolong the Conflict in Ukraine as much as possible.
However, the head of the Kremlin appeared relieved in light of the delivery of the latest HIMARS missile launchers announced by the United States. Putin said that for Ukraine, there is no fundamental change in the distribution of forces.
Leopard 2 A4 main battle tank (file photo)
Spain wants to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine
According to a report in the newspaper “El País”, Spain wants to deliver German Leopard 2 A4 battle tanks and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. The newspaper writes, citing information from
Ministry of Defense in Madrid. Ukrainian soldiers should be trained in tanks first in Lithuania and later in Spain.
This will be the first time that Ukraine will receive modern Western tanks in combat against the Russian army. In Germany, politicians from the ruling SPD party have so far confirmed the existence of one
Informal agreement between NATO countries not to supply such weapons.
AA reviews German death report
Ukraine reported the death of a volunteer fighter from Germany for the first time. The International Ukrainian Defense Corps in Kyiv said three volunteers from France, Australia and the Netherlands were among the “brothers who fell in arms”. The men’s names are also mentioned, but the time and place of their deaths are not mentioned. The Foreign Ministry in Berlin said the German embassy was trying to find out more and was in contact with the Ukrainian authorities, who published the relevant news.
Ukrainian President Zelensky invited volunteers from all over the world to join the fight against the Russian army. For this purpose, the Legion was established, which is now actively engaged in recruitment. The Russian army has repeatedly spoken of the “extermination” of mercenaries, and, according to Moscow, the number of foreign deaths is in the thousands.
A green leader with an unmistakable attitude
The leader of the German Green Party, Omid Nouribor, said that Ukraine’s goal is to win the war against Russia. “Ukrainians must restore their sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom,” Nouribor told Funk media group. “We will not recognize an inch of occupied Ukrainian territory.”
When asked whether Ukraine should win the war against Russia, Nouribor answered “yes.” He added, “But we are not telling Ukraine what to do. If they want to take back these lands, we support them. If they want to negotiate, we support them too.”
Omid Nuribur (left) with Olaf Schulz on Friday in the Bundestag
Regarding the war, Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD) and several ministers repeatedly used the formulation that Russia must not win or Ukraine must not lose. This raised questions about why they had not specifically called for a Ukraine victory instead.
There will be no military solution
Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the parliamentary group “Die Linke” in the Bundestag, took a clear position against the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine. “I am strongly against Germany’s export of more heavy weapons to Ukraine,” Bartsch told Deutschlandfunk (Dlf). He wondered what the purpose of these arms deliveries was and what that meant when it was said that Ukraine had to win the war.
“I am convinced that there will be no military solution,” Bartsch said. Therefore, a ceasefire must be the ultimate goal. “Ultimately, Russia needs to sit at the negotiating table.” At the same time he stressed that Ukraine has the right to self-defense.
Dietmar Bartsch (centre) with party friends at a demonstration in Berlin (archive)
In his view, Bartsch said, the debate in Germany about arms shipments is misleading. The Left Party leader emphasized: “We must not underestimate the fact that the danger of war is also increasing for Germany. People are afraid of that too.”
Also read our comment: Why peace in the Ukraine war is currently an illusion
The President of the African Union announces his visit to Kyiv
After his talks with Kremlin President Putin, African Union President and Senegalese Head of State Macky Sall want talks in Kyiv. “Yes (…), I will also travel to Kyiv,” Sall said at the ECOWAS summit in Accra. This is “important to contribute to the return of peace.”
On Friday, Putin received Sall in the Black Sea city of Sochi. Regarding the fighting in Ukraine, the AU chairperson clarified that “the crisis and sanctions are causing serious problems for economically weak countries such as those in Africa.” After the meeting, Sall said he was “very reassured and happy about our exchange” with the Russian leader.
Macky Sall with Vladimir Putin in Sochi
African countries get more than half of their grain imports from Ukraine and Russia. Currently, tens of millions of tons of grain are stored in Ukrainian ports, which cannot be exported due to the conflict with Russia. Ukraine is one of the leading countries in the cultivation of corn, wheat and sunflower. Russia is also one of the most important grain producers in the world.
Francis addresses the suffering of war
Pope Francis promoted a “culture of peace” on Pentecost. He said in a video message that the world is being shaped by the consequences of the pandemic, hunger and suffering in many parts of the world. There is also war — “a war between brothers, a war between Christians,” the 85-year-old said, referring to the “invasion of Ukraine.” He also touched on the difficult situation in Yemen and Lebanon and the “martyrdom” of the Rohingya Muslim minority.
The head of the Catholic Church warned that heads of state in particular should work for peaceful solutions to disputes – without naming specific names. History will judge their efforts. But everyone is also called to spread love and conquer hate in their daily life. This is how you can change the world.
wa / fab / se (dpa, afp, rtr, kna)
This article will be constantly updated on the day it is published. Reports from combat zones cannot be independently verified.