After the destruction of a strategically important bridge near Cherson by the Ukrainian army. According to the British Ministry of Defence, the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Russian-occupied areas could gain momentum. “Your forces have most likely established a bridgehead south of the Inhulets River, which forms the northern border of Russian-held Kherson,” the ministry said in London on Thursday. The Inhulets is a tributary of the Dnipro River.
Using western-supplied artillery, Ukrainian forces damaged at least three bridges across the Dnipro River that Russia relies on to supply its occupied territories, sources said, citing intelligence information. One of them is the one-kilometer-long Antonivskyj Bridge near the city of Kherson, which was hit again on Wednesday and is now most likely unusable.
This makes the Russian 49th Army, which is stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro, “extremely vulnerable”. The city of Cherson, politically the most important city under Russian control, is now as good as cut off from the rest of the occupied territories.
Meanwhile, the Russian troops continue to intensify their attacks. According to media reports, several people died on Thursday. At least five people are said to have been killed and 26 others injured in a rocket attack in central Ukraine’s Kropvnitskyi, according to the Ukrainian military administration. Four people were also killed by Russian shelling in the Donetsk region.
As the newspaper “Kyiv Independent” reports, citing the governor of Donetsk, three people were also killed by Russian attacks in the embattled city of Bakhmut in the evening.
Former Kremlin boss Dmitry Medvedev snubbed the evening with demands for a retaliatory strike for Sweden and Finland joining NATO. If NATO bases are set up, then “our reaction steps will be symmetrical,” said Medvedev. He sees the security situation in danger as the Baltic Sea “is becoming a sea dominated by NATO countries.”
The Bundeswehr supplies Ukraine with equipment to deal with the consequences of nuclear, biological and chemical attacks. The package includes HEP70 decontamination systems, the Federal Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday. This included six vehicles, each with complete decontamination equipment with two tanks including a “significant initial supply of decontamination agent”.
“This gives the Ukrainian armed forces the immediate ability to remove warfare agents,” said Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD). The training of Ukrainian soldiers on the device has already been completed. The operational readiness of the Bundeswehr in this area will not be restricted by the delivery of the material in the “foreseeable” way.
Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck accused Russia of lying in the dispute over a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. The Green politician spoke of a “farce” at a citizens’ dialogue in Bayreuth on Thursday evening. The turbine serviced in Canada has been in Germany since last Monday. All the papers were there, he had them in his own hands. But Russia refuses to bring the turbine into its own country. “They lie to your face.”
Ukraine is making progress in its counter-offensive, Western security circles said on Wednesday. During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, the Ukrainians hit another bridge over the Dnipro River, which is an important supply route for Moscow – a serious blow to Putin’s army.
“The river crossing is now completely impassable,” it said. On the Russian side there are serious problems with supplies and the morale of the armed forces. “In our view, an operational pause is inevitable,” said a senior Western official.
In the war against Ukraine, the number of casualties on the Russian side has long been in the tens of thousands, according to US estimates. “We were informed that more than 75,000 Russians were either killed or injured, which is enormous,” CNN quoted Elissa Slotkin, a Democratic House Representative who previously attended a secret US government briefing, as saying.
In view of the energy crisis in Europe, Zelenskyy offered the EU support with electricity from his country. “We are preparing to increase our electricity exports to consumers in the European Union,” he said.
“Our export not only allows us to earn foreign exchange, but also our partners to withstand the Russian energy pressure,” he said, referring to the significantly reduced gas supplies from Russia. “Step by step, we are making Ukraine one of the guarantors of European energy security, precisely through our domestic electricity production.”
For the first time since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wants to speak to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Blinken said at a press conference in Washington on Wednesday that the phone call “in the coming days” should be about the release of US basketball player Brittney Griner and her compatriot Paul Whelan, who were imprisoned in Moscow. The US Secretary of State also wants to address compliance with the new agreement on the export of grain from Ukraine.
Blinken said the US government “put a substantial proposal on the table” for Moscow “weeks ago” to secure the release of Griner and Whelan. He did not give details of the offer. There is speculation that the two could be traded for Russian arms dealer Viktor But, who is in prison in the United States.
The National Security Council’s communications director, John Kirby, said on Wednesday they hoped Russia would accept the deal. The decision to accept such an offer was not easy. The US government made the proposal public “so the world knows how serious the United States is about bringing our citizens home.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced in the evening that there was no official request for such a talk. Instead of using the megaphone for diplomacy, Washington should stick to diplomatic practice, Moscow said.
What will be important on Thursday:
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock embarks on a three-day trip to Greece and Turkey on Thursday. The visit of the Greens politician to the two NATO partners will be all about the Ukraine war and its consequences. Turkey maintains good relations with both Russia and Ukraine and tries to mediate between the conflicting parties.
Since the war of aggression against Ukraine that Russia began on February 24, representatives of both sides have met several times, including in Turkey, for negotiations. The talks have not brought much progress so far – but Ankara has been able to record a success in its efforts in the conflict over grain exports.
The journalist Marina Owsjannikova, who became known for her live protest action on Russian television against the military operation in Ukraine, will have to appear in court from Thursday (12:00 p.m. CEST). The 44-year-old is accused of “discrediting” the Russian army. At the trial in Moscow, she faces a long prison sentence.
Ovzyannikova became internationally known when she appeared behind the news anchor during a live broadcast on March 14, holding a sign that read “No War” for the camera. The journalist then spent several months abroad and worked briefly for the German newspaper “Die Welt”, among other things. The 44-year-old is now back in Russia, recently she demonstrated again near the Kremlin against the military operation in Ukraine.
After a long wait, the first Gepard anti-aircraft tanks have arrived from Germany. The Ukrainian military says it bombed a Russian-held bridge in Kherson. All news about the war in Ukraine can be found here in the ticker.
Ukraine’s three ports intended for the export of grain resumed work on Wednesday, according to the Navy. The federal government approves the sale of 100 modern self-propelled howitzers to Kyiv. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker.