Fighting on the Eastern Front in Ukraine continues. Volodymyr Zelenskyj calls for technology sanctions against Russia. And Moscow is having its nuclear forces practice. This is the situation in the Ukraine war.
Before the EU crisis summit on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is calling for tougher technical sanctions against the aggressor Russia. “The sanctions against Russia must be expanded and strengthened,” said Zelensky in a video address. This is exactly what he will say to the EU heads of state and government who will gather in Brussels from Thursday. The Ukrainian president is to join the meeting via video. European support for his attacked country is a topic at the summit, alongside the second trouble spot in the Middle East.
The combat drones and missiles that Russia uses against Ukraine contain many parts from other countries, including from Western companies, Zelensky said. Moscow could circumvent the sanctions too easily. Every Russian attack on Ukrainian infrastructure is “evidence that the pressure on the terrorist state is not enough.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a large-scale invasion of the neighboring country more than 20 months ago. Ukraine defends itself to the best of its ability and receives military aid from many Western countries. The Ukrainian armed forces counted the 610th day of the war on Thursday.
Damage to the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant in western Ukraine
Zelensky also called for more anti-aircraft weapons from partner countries after explosions caused damage to buildings at the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant. “This attack on the nuclear power plant is another reminder to all our partners of the importance of strengthening Ukraine’s air defense,” Zelensky said in his video address in Kiev on Wednesday evening.
A Russian drone strike hit the western Ukrainian region of Khmelnytskyi the night before. According to the Energy Ministry, the pressure wave from explosions near the nuclear power plant caused the windows of several administrative buildings to burst.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the damage. “This incident once again underlines the very precarious situation of nuclear security in Ukraine as long as this tragic war continues,” said IAEA Director Rafael Grossi in Vienna.
Zelensky: Russian Air Force withdraws
According to Zelensky, after successful Ukrainian attacks on Russian air bases in Luhansk and Berdyansk, Ukraine is observing that the Russian Air Force is also withdrawing aircraft from the Crimean peninsula. In the attacks, Kiev allegedly used US-supplied ATACMS missiles and knocked out many Russian helicopters and planes. “First the Russian Navy is fleeing, and now the Russian Air Force is fleeing,” said Zelenskyj about the situation in Crimea. Ukraine will liberate all occupied territories without exception, he promised. He thanked the partners who had provided his country with longer-range weapons.
Hardly any changes on the front
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, there was heavy fighting on the almost 1,000 kilometer long front in the east and south of Ukraine, but hardly any changes. The Ukrainian army repelled Russian attacks in the towns of Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut and Avdiivka, the situation report for Wednesday said. For its part, Ukraine is continuing attacks near Bakhmut in the east and Werbowe in the south. The military information could not be independently verified. The Kiev General Staff did not comment on alleged Ukrainian advances on the Russian-occupied bank of the Dnipro in the southern Kherson region. Military bloggers reported on this.
EU targets Russian diamond trade
The EU is working on a twelfth package of sanctions against Russia. There are plans to restrict trade in diamonds from Russia, senior EU officials said in Brussels. There could also be, among other things, an import ban on aluminum as well as export restrictions on other goods that can be used for civil and military purposes.
It’s unbelievable what kind of components Ukrainians are finding in Russian missiles, an official said about dual-use items. Sometimes microchips are discovered that are normally installed in refrigerators. Zelensky also points out exactly this problem.
The new EU sanctions should ideally be decided this year. There have been far-reaching import bans on crude oil, coal, steel, gold and luxury goods from Russia for a long time. There are also punitive measures against banks and financial institutions.
Russia has its nuclear forces practicing
According to the Kremlin, Russia fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles and several cruise missiles during a nuclear force exercise. The maneuver took place under the direction of the supreme commander, President Vladimir Putin. An intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from a nuclear submarine, a second from a mobile launch pad on the site of the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia. The cruise missiles were launched from Tupolev Tu-95MS long-range strategic bombers.
Meanwhile, the Russian Security Council announced an increase in the size of the army. The reason is the fighting in Ukraine and the expansion of NATO’s military potential. This was said by former President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy secretary of the Security Council. According to him, a new army corps, 7 divisions, 19 brigades, 49 regiments and a naval flotilla will be created in 2024.
That will be important on Thursday
The heads of state and government of the European Union begin their two-day summit meeting in Brussels. The prime ministers of the China-dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organization are meeting in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. The war in Ukraine is likely to be the focus of both meetings.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.