The city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine is hotly contested. Now Russia could win the battle. Meanwhile, Zelensky is receiving further military aid from Denmark and the USA. That’s the situation.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is pushing for quick negotiations with the European Union about his country’s accession to the EU. The decision to admit Ukraine is one of the most important of this decade and crucial for Europe’s common security, Zelensky said in a speech to the summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels on Thursday.
Russia’s goal, on the other hand, is not only to prevent Ukraine from joining the EU and NATO, but also to decide on the membership of other countries. “This war is about deciding what Europe should look like. And the decision about that lies with you and me, not with the Kremlin,” said Zelensky.
There was an air alert again in parts of Ukraine on Friday night because Russia was flying combat drones against targets in the neighboring country. Ukraine has been fending off a Russian invasion for over 20 months. It is supported by many countries. Zelenskyj thanked Denmark and the USA for new military aid.
Zelenskyj: Ukraine is doing its EU homework
Ukraine has been a candidate for EU membership since 2022. Brussels plans to officially decide on the start of accession negotiations before the end of the year. “The path of every country into the EU is work based on merit and institutional development,” said Zelenskyj in the video link to the EU summit. “Ukraine is in the process of doing this work.” Despite the war, Kiev is not demanding relief, but is implementing the European Commission’s recommendations.
The president signed a law on Thursday that provides for special control over the assets of high-ranking politicians and civil servants. Reducing corruption is seen as an important prerequisite for rapprochement with the EU.
Thanks for help from Denmark and the USA
Zelenskyj thanked the USA and Denmark for new military aid. It is important that the enemies of freedom do not have the illusion that the defenders of freedom cannot endure an arms marathon.
The new US package worth 150 million US dollars (around 142 million euros) includes, among other things, AIM-9 missiles for air defense, Stinger missiles and ammunition for multiple rocket launchers of the Himars type. According to government information, Denmark is providing Ukraine with artillery, modernized tanks and armored personnel carriers of Soviet design, as well as recovery vehicles and ammunition worth the equivalent of around 500 million euros.
Difficult situation for Ukrainians in the front-line city of Avdiivka
The situation for Ukrainian troops in the contested city of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine has deteriorated. “A battle is taking place here in which the (Russian) enemy is throwing its main forces,” wrote journalist Yuri Butussov, who is well connected in the military, on Telegram. According to various sources, the supply corridor for Ukrainian troops has been reduced to six to eight kilometers.
Of the once over 30,000 residents, only around 1,000 remain in the heavily destroyed industrial city. Avdiivka is already more than half surrounded by Russian troops. The front line against Moscow-backed separatists in the regional capital Donetsk has been running south of the city since 2014. The Ukrainian General Staff announced on Thursday evening that 14 Russian attacks had been repelled during the day. The Russian army suffers heavy losses near Avdiivka, but continues to encircle the city.
Kyiv denies reports of blocked shipping corridor
The Ukrainian government has denied reports of an alleged blockage of the Black Sea shipping corridor. “All existing routes established by the Ukrainian Navy are valid and used by civilian ships,” said the Infrastructure Ministry in Kiev. 23 ships are currently being loaded in the Black Sea ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyj.
With the shipping corridor, Ukraine is defying a Russian naval blockade. Since the end of the grain agreement in July, Moscow has wanted to prevent shipping traffic to and from Ukraine via the Black Sea. However, in recent months Ukraine has pushed Russian forces away by shelling the occupied Crimean peninsula to such an extent that their planes and ships can hardly operate in the western Black Sea.
Ukrainian economy is growing faster than expected
The Ukrainian central bank has raised its forecast for economic growth despite the war. The economy is expected to grow by 4.9 percent this year instead of the previously estimated 2.9 percent, the central bank said. At the same time, expectations for the inflation rate are falling from 10.6 to 5.8 percent. According to the report, the economy and population have now become better prepared for the state of war.
Higher crop estimates, new export routes and increased household spending also improve the outlook. Last year the economy collapsed by 29.1 percent. More than 50 percent of the Ukrainian budget is financed from abroad.
That will be important on Friday
The EU summit continues in Brussels, which, in addition to the escalation in the Middle East, also deals with support for Ukraine.
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.