Heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine is continuing, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. There is "neither relaxation nor a pause for breath," Zelenskyj said in his daily video address last night. About 100 Russian attacks had been fended off the day before in the Donetsk region.
The Ukrainian troops would be supported by border guard units from Kharkiv and Sumy. A National Guard brigade is fighting in Bakhmut. "We will not give in to the enemy in any of the front areas," Zelenskyy said. "We react everywhere, we hold our positions everywhere."
Russia's army had conquered large parts of Donetsk and annexed it in violation of international law in September - along with the neighboring region of Luhansk and Zaporizhia and Cherson in the south. The Russian army, under pressure from Ukrainian counter-offensives, has meanwhile evacuated the regional capital of Kherson and the area north-west of the Dnipro River. Late last night, the authorities in Zaporizhia also reported a Russian rocket attack on an industrial complex.
Despite the fierce fighting in the Donbass coal and steel region, the course of the front has hardly changed at the moment, according to the military situation reports from both sides. In the nearly nine months since the Russian invasion on February 24, Russian forces have made little gains there. According to Ukrainian sources, some of the forces released by the withdrawal from Cherson were transferred to eastern Ukraine in order to intensify the attacks there.
Zelenskyj calls for further sanctions against Russia
In view of the massive Russian attacks, the Ukrainian head of state called for new sanctions from the West. "We need a new European sanctions package," he said in another video message to the Irish university community. Russian aggression, like Russian lies, does not stop for a day. "Therefore, the international pressure on Russia should not slacken for a single day."
Selenskyj accused Moscow of violating numerous points of the final declaration of the G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, which Russia also supported. The declaration emphasizes the importance of international law and a multilateral system as a guarantee of peace and stability. But Russia continues to destroy international relations while pretending to fight alongside everyone else against this destabilization. Moscow is mobilizing all resources to become the "greatest terrorist state in history," Zelensky said.
Ukrainian power grid is being repaired
According to Zelensky, technicians across the country are trying to restore power after the massive Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy and electricity systems. For this reason, the number of unscheduled power cuts has already dropped significantly. In 17 regions and the capital Kyiv, the power supply is still difficult. Among other things, the regions of Kyiv, Odessa, Vinnytsia and Ternopil are in a "very difficult situation".
The Russian rocket attacks apparently damaged the Ukrainian power grid more than previously known. "Almost half of our energy system has failed," Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal said at a press conference with EU Deputy Commission President Valdis Dombrovskis. Ukraine therefore needs additional support from the European Union in the field of energy and also financially. The network operator Ukrenerho announced that there would also be scheduled power cuts nationwide on Saturday.
Ukraine wants to jointly produce weapons with NATO
The state-owned Ukrainian armaments company Ukroboronprom wants to produce heavy weapons and military equipment together with at least six NATO member states. The group announced that agreements had been concluded with Poland, France, Denmark, the Czech Republic and some other countries.
Joint armaments companies would be founded and production lines for ammunition would be built. In addition, according to the Ukrainian group, armored vehicles and multiple rockets are to be produced jointly and new high-tech weapons are to be developed.
30 percent of Ukrainian territory mined
According to Kiev sources, around 30 percent of Ukraine's territory is mined as a result of the Russian war of aggression. That corresponds to about twice the size of Austria, said the state emergency service. Explosive device clearance continues in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions. More than 8000 square kilometers are to be demined.
Ex-Ambassador Melnyk now Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine
The former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, has been appointed his country's deputy foreign minister. The government made this decision yesterday, Melnyk told the German Press Agency. However, his exact area of responsibility has not yet been determined.
Melnyk had made a name for himself with criticism of the federal government that was unusually harsh for a diplomat. Melnyk's successor as ambassador in Berlin is Oleksii Makeiev.
That's going to be important today
In Poland, one of the two victims of the rocket hit will be buried with a state funeral on Saturday. A rocket hit the Polish village of Przewodow six kilometers near the border with Ukraine on Tuesday.
The West currently assumes that it was a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile used to defend against Russian attacks.