After the withdrawal of the Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj reported that his own troops were continuing to advance towards the regional capital of Cherson in the south of the country. "Today is a historic day," said Zelenskyj in his daily video address. At the same time, his country has to defend the newly recaptured territory against new Russian attacks.
Meanwhile, the EU wants to provide financial support for Ukrainian freight traffic, which has been badly affected by the war. With food shortages looming, the United Nations is calling on countries around the world to remove obstacles to fertilizer exports from Russia. Russia, in turn, has imposed entry bans on another 200 Americans. Saturday is the 262nd day of the war.
Zelenskyy: People in Kherson have never given up on Ukraine
The city of Cherson has not yet been completely liberated from the "enemy presence," Zelensky said. However, Ukrainian special forces are already on site. The residents of Kherson also independently removed Russian symbols from streets and buildings. Zelenskyj also published a video that is supposed to show motorcades and cheering choirs for the approaching Ukrainian soldiers. "The people of Kherson have been waiting. They have never given up on Ukraine," said the head of state.
Under pressure from the Ukrainian counter-offensives, Russia announced on Wednesday that it was withdrawing its troops from the part of Cherson northwest of the Dnipro River. The regional capital of the same name, Cherson, is also located there. For the first time since the beginning of the war, Russia has lost a larger part of an area that it annexed in violation of international law and, against this background, describes it as its own state territory.
Selenskyj informs Scholz about the advance of the army
Selenskyj also informed Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in a telephone call about the advance of his armed forces in Cherson. In addition to the military, the political and humanitarian situation in Ukraine was also discussed, said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. Both politicians also condemned "the ongoing targeted shelling of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine by the Russian armed forces and discussed concrete measures to strengthen the Ukrainian energy infrastructure". Scholz reaffirmed the continued support of Ukraine with the current priorities in the areas of energy infrastructure and air defense.
Russia shells abandoned territory in Kherson
Russia, for its part, says it has launched its first attacks on the part of the Cherson region that has only just been abandoned. "Currently, troops and military equipment of the Ukrainian armed forces are being shelled on the right bank of the Dnipro River," the Defense Ministry said in Moscow. Just a few hours earlier, the authorities had announced that all Russian units in the southern Ukrainian area had been moved to the left bank of the river. According to information from Moscow, there are a total of more than 30,000 soldiers who are now stationed south-east of the Dnipro.
One billion euros is to promote the expansion of freight traffic
Together with partners, the EU wants to invest around one billion euros in alternative freight connections between Ukraine and other countries. The so-called solidarity corridors are currently the only way for Ukraine to export non-agricultural goods, said the EU Commission and the other parties involved. In addition, goods such as fuel or humanitarian aid could only be imported via them.
Before the Russian attack, Ukraine had traded primarily through its major Black Sea ports. However, these can currently only be used for transporting selected agricultural products, because the necessary safety guarantees are not available for other transports.
UN wants relief for fertilizer exports from Russia
The United Nations, meanwhile, has called on countries around the world to remove obstacles to fertilizer exports from Russia. "The world cannot afford that global problems with the availability of fertilizers lead to global food shortages," the UN said on Friday evening after talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin and his delegation in Geneva.
Russia had questioned the continuation of the July grain deal that allowed Ukrainian exports through the Black Sea. Moscow had blocked exports since the start of its war of aggression against Ukraine. The agreement expires on November 19. Russia complains that Western sanctions mean it is hardly able to bring its own exports of food and fertilizers to the world market. The unimpeded export of food and fertilizers from Russia was the focus of the talks, along with an extension of the grain agreement.
Russia extends travel bans against the United States
In response to Western sanctions, Russia has banned another 200 Americans from entering the country. The two brothers of US President Joe Biden, James and Francis Biden, and sister Valerie Biden are now also on the so-called stop list, as the State Department in Moscow announced. The authority had already imposed an entry ban on the US head of state himself in mid-March.
Banksy confirms work on destroyed house in Ukraine
The mysterious street artist Banksy is believed to have immortalized himself in Ukraine. On his Instagram channel on Friday evening he published pictures of a work on a war-damaged house, which is said to have been taken in the badly devastated city of Borodjanka near Kyiv. The work shows a girl on the gray wall of the house, apparently doing a handstand on rubble. The publication on his Instagram channel is a sign that Banksy confirms a work as his. The artist has also traveled to crisis areas in the past, including the West Bank. Banksy's identity is still unknown.
That will be important on Saturday
One focus of the war is likely to continue to be the city of Cherson. After the withdrawal of the Russian troops, the Ukrainians want to continue their advance there and take complete control of the city.