Russian invasion: War against Ukraine: That's the situation

Amidst the costly battles for Bakhmut, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked all defenders of the city in the east of his country.

Russian invasion: War against Ukraine: That's the situation

Amidst the costly battles for Bakhmut, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked all defenders of the city in the east of his country. In his evening video speech, he paid tribute to a fallen soldier who many Ukrainians regard as a role model in the fight against the Russian aggressor.

At the same time, both warring parties agreed on another exchange of prisoners: more than 200 Russians and Ukrainians were released. The EU defense ministers want to discuss further aid for the attacked Ukraine.

Zelenskyj commemorates fallen commander

In his speech, Selenskyj also recalled the commander Dmytro Kozyubajlo, who became known in Ukraine under his combat name "Da Vinci", and who was killed in Bakhmut. The 27-year-old is "one of Ukraine's youngest heroes," said Selenskyj. "One of those whose personal history, character and courage became forever the history, character and courage of Ukraine."

For months there has been fierce fighting over Bachmut, which had a good 70,000 inhabitants before the war. The city, located in the Donetsk region, has now been largely destroyed and abandoned.

In particular, Wagner's Russian private army operating there was accused of ruthless action, and high losses in their own ranks were also accepted with approval. Irrespective of this, the Russian Ministry of Defense recently announced that it intends to continue the fight with undiminished intensity.

Kyiv and Moscow exchange prisoners

As a result of another exchange, dozens of prisoners of war from both sides have been released. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow informed about 90 Russian soldiers who are to be flown home from Ukraine for medical treatment.

In Kiev, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, reported that 130 compatriots had returned. Among them are 87 defenders of the port city of Mariupol, which has been occupied by Russia for almost ten months. Another 35 fighters were taken prisoner near Bakhmut and Soledar in eastern Ukraine.

Scholz: War could last even longer

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is preparing for the fact that the Russian war of aggression could last a long time. "We have to fear that this will take longer, although of course we wish it would be different every day," said the SPD politician at a question and answer session with citizens in Cottbus, Brandenburg.

The war was associated with "incredible losses" on both sides. Russia alone lost between 30,000 to 40,000 and 100,000 soldiers. "Both would be unimaginable amounts," said Scholz.

New speculation about Nord Stream explosion

In the case of the explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines six months ago, there is new speculation about the perpetrators. According to research by ARD, SWR and "Zeit", the tracks apparently lead in the direction of Ukraine. Citing intelligence information, it was said that a pro-Ukrainian group could be responsible for the explosions at the end of September 2022. Authorities in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the USA were involved in the investigation, reported "Zeit".

From the German side, neither the federal government nor the responsible federal prosecutor made any specific comments on the reports when asked.

"The Federal Public Prosecutor (GBA) has been investigating the matter since the beginning of October 2022," said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. "Most recently, Sweden, Denmark and Germany informed the United Nations Security Council that the investigations are ongoing and that there are still no results," he said. According to a spokeswoman, the GBA declined to comment last night.

Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office, firmly denied any involvement by Ukraine.

What is important today

The defense ministers of the 27 EU countries want to discuss further ammunition deliveries to Ukraine at a meeting in Sweden. The background is in particular fears that the country attacked by Russia could no longer have sufficient artillery shells available in the future. Before the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the need for additional military aid.