Hundreds of Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol recently surrendered to the Russians. But a video suggests the fight may not be quite over yet. An overview of what happened during the night and a view of the day.
Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops continued, especially in eastern Ukraine in the Donbass. The command of Ukrainian forces in the region reported Thursday that 14 enemy attacks had been repelled. The information could not be verified. As a sign of the intensity of the fighting, numerous civilian deaths were once again recorded. According to the authorities, five people were killed in the Donetsk region alone.
Zelenskyi described the situation in Donbass as “hell”. The army continues to work on the liberation of the Kharkiv region, the President said. “But in Donbass, the occupiers are trying to increase the pressure. There is hell, and that is no exaggeration.”
According to their own statements, the commanders of the last military resistance of Ukraine in Mariupol are still in the Azovstal Steel Plant. Ukrainian media on Thursday circulated a video with the deputy commander of the Azov regiment Svyatoslav Palamar. “Me and the command are at the Azovstal factory site. There is some operation going on, the details of which I won’t say,” Palamar said. The authenticity of the video could not be verified immediately.
According to Russian information, since the beginning of the week 1,730 Ukrainian armed men who had holed up in the bunkers under the steelworks have surrendered. They were taken prisoner of war.
In the Chernihiv region north of Kyiv, the village of Desna was hit by Russian rockets on Thursday, claiming many lives, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening address on Thursday night. Desna is located 40 kilometers from the border with Belarus.
“Russian attacks on the Chernihiv region, especially the terrible attack on Desna… there is an analysis of the rubble, many dead,” Zelenskyy said Donbas is completely destroyed – all this has no and cannot have any military significance for Russia,” he continued. “This is a deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible,” he said.
On the other hand, the Ukrainian armed forces would make further progress in liberating the Kharkiv region, Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine’s highest-ranking military met his NATO colleagues and gave a positive assessment of the course of the war. “We have carried out a series of successful counterattacks,” General Valeriy Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s General Staff, told the NATO military committee. The US broadcaster CNN reports.
Ukrainian forces broke the sieges of Kharkiv and Mykolayiv and are fighting toward Kherson, he said. The Ukrainian military “realized that the first month would be the turning point. We managed to deprive the enemy of the strategic initiative, inflict decisive losses on him and force him to give up his main goal – the capture of the city of Kyiv,” he continued.
But despite Ukraine’s successes, “the Russians are maintaining high-intensity missile fire, averaging 10 to 14 ballistic and cruise missiles a day. This is not only a threat to Ukraine, but also to NATO member states,” and it is crucial to strengthen missile defenses.
The Ukrainian Ambassador in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk, has again accused Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of being hesitant about the delivery of heavy weapons. “We have the impression that the Chancellor does not want to deliver,” Melnyk told the editorial network Germany (RND, Friday). So far, neither Cheetah tanks, nor Leopard 1 or Marder have been delivered, he criticized. The announced exchange of rings with T-72 tanks for the Ukraine from Slovenia has also not worked out so far.
Berlin has meanwhile announced that it will make 15 Leopard 2 tanks available to the Czech Republic in a so-called ring swap in order to offset deliveries of heavy weapons from the NATO partner to Ukraine. “Delivery is scheduled to begin this year and will also include a 30-day supply of 120 mm ammunition,” the Ministry of Defense told the responsible officials in the Bundestag. The letter was presented to the German Press Agency on Friday.
US President Biden welcomed the approval of the billion-euro package as a clear sign to the whole world of how the US felt about Ukraine. Around half of the almost 40 billion dollars goes to the defense sector. In addition to direct arms deliveries, billions more are to be used to replenish US stockpiles with military equipment that was sent to Ukraine. Other funds are earmarked for humanitarian aid to refugees from Ukraine or to people around the world starving as a result of the war. The US government had previously launched several large packages of support for Ukraine.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed linking future reconstruction aid for Ukraine to reforms given the country’s desire to join the EU. “We will have to help finance the reconstruction of Ukraine anyway,” said von der Leyen on Thursday on the ZDF program “maybrit illner”. Then, in her opinion, it makes sense to say: “Yes to investments, but right away with the necessary reforms, for example against corruption or for example for establishing the rule of law.”
The first trial of a Russian soldier for alleged war crimes continues in Ukraine on Friday. Prosecutors are asking for life imprisonment for the 21-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed a civilian.
At the Council of Europe’s meeting of foreign ministers on Friday, Baerbock announced that Germany and other countries would take over the membership fees that Russia had lost. The work of the human rights organization should not suffer from the exclusion.
The ministers responsible for development from the EU countries are meeting in Brussels to discuss the international food situation because the Russian blockade has left Ukraine as an important grain supplier.
Read everything about the political developments surrounding the Ukraine war in the news ticker.
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