President Selenskyj wants to see Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership as soon as possible. With Sviatohirsk, Russian troops take over an important place in the Russian Orthodox Church. While Spain announces new arms deliveries, the Union warns against German hesitation. The night at a glance.
Political voices and developments:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has emphatically demanded EU candidate status after more than 100 days of valiant struggle against Russian invasion. “I mean, this will be a decision not only for Ukraine, but for the entire European project,” the head of state said in his daily video message on Monday. That will also decide whether the EU has a future or not, Zelenskyj said.
The EU Commission wants to decide in June how to proceed with the EU ambitions of the country attacked by Russia. The federal government has not yet taken a position on this issue. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has made it clear that there should be no shortcuts for Ukraine on the way to the EU. Ukraine, which above all has to do with massive corruption, sees its fight against Russia as sufficient qualification.
Selenskyj has sent a special envoy to Berlin to hold talks with the federal government about the prospect of joining the EU. The Minister for Regional Development, Oleksiy Tschernyschow, wants to meet with Chancellor Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD) and several ministers on Tuesday and Wednesday. “The European Union should embrace Ukraine,” Chernyshev told dpa in advance. But he also emphasized that his country did not want to be given preferential treatment. “We do not expect accession through the back door and no fast lane for Ukraine.” As the EU’s economically strongest and most populous country, Germany plays a “decisive role” in the accession issue.
Spain, for example, wants to deliver German-made battle tanks to Ukraine. The Union in the Bundestag warned the federal government against preventing Spain from doing so. “If Spain wants to deliver Leopard 2, the federal government must make it possible quickly,” demanded the deputy CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Johann Wadephul (CDU) in the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Tuesday). “Germany abandons Ukraine every day that no heavy weapons arrive there.” The CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter said in a similar way in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Tuesday): “I expect the federal government to act quickly, as proactively as possible , granted the necessary export license.”
The usually well-informed Spanish newspaper El País, citing Defense Ministry sources, reported that Spain was preparing to deliver about 40 Leopard 2 A4 main battle tanks and ground-launched anti-aircraft missiles. Minister Margarita Robles did not want to confirm or deny this on Monday. This is an “extremely delicate topic” and requires “the greatest discretion”.
Meanwhile, fighting in Ukraine continues. “On the 103rd day, Ukrainian Donbass is holding strong,” said Zelenskyy, referring to the situation in the east of the country. In addition, everything is being done to ensure that the front in the Zaporizhia and Mykolaiv areas holds out. Heavy fighting continued around Sieverodonetsk, Lysychansk, Sloviansk, Bakhmut, Sviatohirsk, Avdiivka, Kurakhove and in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The armed forces have to accept heavy losses.
Ukrainian army spokesman Olexander Motusyanyk reported intense fighting “almost along the entire front line in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.” The Russian Air Force has flown 39 air strikes outside of eastern Ukraine. However, the situation is most threatening in the Zaporizhia region, where the Russian army is threatening the region’s capital, it said. President Selenskyj visited the region on Sunday and was also directly at the front.
The Russian military and Moscow-backed separatists say they have now completed the capture of the Ukrainian city of Svyatohirsk (Swjatogorsk) with its historic monastery. “Svyatohirsk is practically liberated,” Donetsk separatist region leader Denis Pushilin told Russian state television. There is the arch monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which was also recently shot at, which is one of the most important sanctuaries of Russian Orthodoxy.
Moscow Patriarch Kirill, who supports the war of aggression against Ukraine, has long had a reputation for wanting to keep Ukraine’s ancient religious sites for the Russian Orthodox Church under his influence.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov previously said the city’s capture was in its final stages. The last soldiers of the Ukrainian armed forces left behind the military equipment and weapons and fled themselves. According to Konashenkov, around 80 Ukrainian soldiers crossed the city’s river, the Russian side let them flee and did not open fire, he said.
Initially, there was no confirmation from the Ukrainian side that Sviatohirsk had been abandoned. However, the Ukrainian general staff reported heavy fighting in the Donetsk region around the city on Monday morning.
Important dates on Tuesday:
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) arrived on Monday afternoon for a two-day visit to the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. She traveled to the Black Sea at the invitation of her Ukrainian counterpart. “We want to show that we are there,” said the Green politician at the start of the trip, “we want to show how culture is being attacked,” she said before the main day of the trip on Tuesday. Offers of humanitarian aid are still rarely mentioned in the debates.
For the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine war, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is visiting Lithuania on Tuesday, a NATO country that borders Russia and feels particularly threatened by the nuclear power. In the capital, Vilnius, he will meet Nauseda and the heads of government of all three Baltic states – in addition to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are also included. The Chancellor then visits the Bundeswehr soldiers who are stationed in Lithuania to secure NATO’s eastern flank.
You can read more updates on the Ukraine war on the following pages.
More on the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine:
Recently, more and more mega-yachts belonging to Russian oligarchs have simply disappeared from the world’s ocean positioning systems. Many of the luxury ships were last seen in the Maldives. According to research by the British “Observer”, owners are said to have switched off their “Automatic Identification System”.
Vladimir Putin only wanted to deliver gas for rubles. The EU has banned this with reference to the sanctions. In the meantime, both sides have agreed on a tricky system that, on the one hand, meets the mutual regulations and, on the other hand, ensures gas supplies.