course of the war

Since the beginning of the war in February, Russia has fired almost 4,700 rockets at Ukraine, leaving large parts of the country in ruins. “Hundreds of our cities have practically burned down, thousands of people have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been deported to Russia,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday. Both the head of state and the general staff in Kyiv also reported that heavy fighting continued, especially in the Donbass region in the east of the country.

Last Tuesday alone, Russia fired almost 100 rockets at Ukraine. “Hundreds of different missiles against our cities, against residential buildings, against companies, against power plants,” said Zelenskyj in a video message to the international organization of Francophonie – an association of French-speaking countries whose representatives met in Djerba, Tunisia. As a result of these attacks, more than 20 million people were temporarily without power.

After withdrawing to the east bank of the Dnipro River near Cherson in southern Ukraine, Russian soldiers are building new defensive positions there, according to information from Kyiv. At the same time, in the Kakhovka district, for example, they have increasingly started stealing the civilian population’s means of transport, the Ukrainian general staff said in Kyiv on Sunday. “They steal people’s private cars, motorcycles and even bicycles,” the statement said.

Heavy fighting in Donbass in eastern Ukraine continues, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The area around Donetsk in particular is heavily contested, said Zelenskyj in his daily video speech on Sunday evening. “Although there are fewer attacks due to the worsening of the weather, the number of Russian artillery raids unfortunately remains high.” There are also reports of fighting from the Luhansk region. On Sunday alone, the Russians fired almost 400 grenades, Zelensky said.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces had previously reported continued clashes on various front sections in the east of the country. At Luhansk, several Russian advances were fended off, it said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense in Kyiv has contradicted speculation by Western media and military officials that there could be a pause in fighting on the fronts in winter. “Anyone who talks about a possible ‘pause in hostilities’ because of sub-zero winter temperatures probably hasn’t sunbathed on the southern coast of Crimea in January,” the agency said on Twitter on Sunday.

Political developments and voices on the Ukraine war

Ukraine’s Main Directorate for Intelligence (HUR) warned on Sunday of a “false flag” attack by Russian special forces on Belarus. This is reported by the Institute for the Study of War. Accordingly, the Russian special forces are planning to attack critical infrastructure in Belarus under a “false flag” in order to put pressure on the Belarusian military and force them to enter the Ukraine war. According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Ukrainian officials also observed the formation of Belarusian assault groups. However, the Institute for the Study of War considers it unlikely that Belarusian forces will invade Ukraine.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) wants to help Poland with a Patriot defense system after the missile hit. “We offered Poland support in securing the airspace – with our Eurofighters and with Patriot air defense systems. We are already in Slovakia with them – we want to extend our presence there until the end of 2023, possibly even beyond that,” said the Minister of the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post” and the Bonn “General-Anzeiger” (Monday).

A rocket hit the Polish village of Przewodow, just six kilometers from the border with Ukraine. Two civilians died. Currently, the West assumes that it was a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile used to defend against attacks by the Russian military. Immediately after the explosion, media reports also spoke of a Russian missile. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has so far maintained the claim that it was a Russian missile, but said he does not know with 100% certainty what happened.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) wants to examine the Ukrainian nuclear power plant at Zaporizhia for possible damage on Monday and document the extent of the weekend’s explosions. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, occupied by Russian troops, was shaken by dozens of grenade hits on Saturday and Sunday. In the months before, the nuclear power plant had come under fire several times. Ukraine and Russia blame each other for this.

That will be important on Monday

An international donor conference will be organized on Monday in Paris for the Republic of Moldova, an important destination country for war refugees from neighboring Ukraine. It is about further aid commitments for the former Soviet republic. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), her French colleague Catherine Colonna, as well as Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu and Moldovan Minister Nicu Popescu are taking part in the meeting.

Moldova was declared a candidate for EU membership with Ukraine in June. Hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in the country of 2.6 million when the Russian attack on Ukraine began. Of these, 90,000 are further in the country, which is why the state lying between Romania and Ukraine is hoping for support. A first donor conference was held in April in Berlin and a second in July in Bucharest, at which EUR 600 million in aid was collected.

Also read: The Ukraine update in the evening – Ukraine denies execution of Russian prisoners of war

The rocket impact in Poland is still causing a stir two days later. The West suspects that the rocket came from Ukraine – but Zelenskyy blames Russia. This has caused severe criticism of the Ukrainian President.

Just a few days ago, it looked as if Russia had attacked NATO territory. At least that’s what Zelenskyy said, as did other Ukrainian politicians. Current findings refute this thesis. Why did Zelenskyj cause irritation for so long?

With the withdrawal from Cherson, the mood in Russia has also changed among those in favor of the war. Vladimir Putin in particular is counted out. Some observers give him only half a year in power.