The Ukrainian leadership is hoping for further support in the fight against the Russian attackers from the upcoming meeting in the so-called Ramstein format. The monthly advisory rounds of supporters of Ukraine, named after the US base Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate, are about military and civilian support for the country attacked by Russia. According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian leadership is preparing for the next meeting and is currently clarifying its need for weapons and ammunition, especially for heavy artillery.
"I had preparatory talks," Zelensky said in his nightly video address after consulting with the commanders of his armed forces. "And we expect sound decisions that reflect the perspectives on the battlefield." He spoke of "rather ambitious prospects that we want to approach to the best of our ability". In addition to ammunition deliveries, he also discussed production options for state and private companies with the generals.
The format, named after the location of the first meeting in Ramstein, will be continued in Rhineland-Palatinate on April 21 after meetings at various locations in the past few months.
Ukraine: Dozens of Russian attacks repelled again
According to their own statements, the Ukrainian armed forces repelled dozens of attacks by Russian troops on Monday in the east of the country. In its daily situation report, the General Staff in Kiev once again identified the cities of Bakhmut and Marjinka as the "epicenter of the fighting". In the course of the day, around 50 attacks from five different directions were repelled "with high enemy casualties". The information could not be independently verified.
Russian troops and Wagner army fight for Bakhmut
In the battle for the already largely destroyed but symbolic city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, Russian troops and Wagner's private army are now taking more coordinated action against the Ukrainian defenders. Russian assault units, including paratroopers, captured two neighborhoods in northwest and central Bakhmut, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.
The head of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, confirmed the joint approach. Accordingly, the regular troops protect the flanks of the private army in the fight against the Ukrainian armed forces. Recently, Prigozhin repeatedly criticized the fact that the Russian Ministry of Defense was doing too little to take Bakhmut. Above all, the confidant of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin had complained about a lack of ammunition.
The Ukrainian side recently confirmed that Russian fighters had advanced into the center of Bakhmut. According to Russian information, around 80 percent of the city, which had around 70,000 inhabitants before the war, has been conquered. Despite everything, Ukraine does not want to give up Bachmut.
Ukrainian defense minister apologizes to Türkiye
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov apologized to Turkey for comparing Ukrainian war casualties with Turkish earthquake victims. "Ukraine has sympathy for the Turkish people," Reznikov said on Twitter. He had previously told the Spanish newspaper "La Razón" that the Ukrainian army's losses were below the number of people killed in the earthquake disaster in Turkey a good two months ago. He could not provide more specific information due to confidentiality. The earthquake at the beginning of February killed over 50,000 people in Turkey alone, and there were also many deaths in neighboring Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister thanks Brazil
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov thanked Brazil for supporting the conflict with Ukraine and said it would end soon if Moscow's demands were met. "Of course we are interested in the Ukraine conflict ending as soon as possible," Lavrov, who was in the capital Brasília on Monday for a visit, was quoted as saying by the Russian state agency TASS. Russia understands a quick end to the war as recognizing the conquered parts of Ukraine as Russian territory.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauricio Vieira reiterated his country's interest in a peaceful solution and criticized sanctions against Russia. As one of the world's leading agricultural producers, Brazil depends on fertilizers from Russia.
The EU Commission is critical of grain import bans
The EU Commission is critical of the import bans on grain from Ukraine imposed by Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. When asked, a spokeswoman for the Brussels authority emphasized that trade policy falls under the exclusive competence of the EU and that unilateral measures are therefore not acceptable. In difficult times it is important to coordinate all decisions within the EU. Farmers in several eastern EU countries are facing disproportionate competition from war-time duty-free imports of large quantities of Ukrainian grain. The Slovakian government justified the import ban by saying that cheaper products from Ukraine would destabilize the market in neighboring EU countries.