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

Two weeks after the start of Ukraine's offensive, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed progress on the front lines.

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

Two weeks after the start of Ukraine's offensive, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed progress on the front lines. "We're moving forward in the South," he said in his daily video address yesterday. He admitted heavy fighting, but everywhere - including in the east, where the Ukrainian troops are on the defensive - the enemy is being destroyed, he said. Only a short time before, the Ukrainian head of state had dampened public expectations of the offensive.

In a BBC interview broadcast yesterday, he admitted that the offensive was progressing "slower than desired". Selenskyj also attributed the small gains in terrain to the large-scale mining of the area by Russian troops. Therefore, a careful approach is necessary in order not to endanger the lives of the soldiers unnecessarily.

In his evening video message, however, Selenskyj announced mainly positive news. In addition to the unspecified progress on the front, the President also addressed the reconstruction conference for Ukraine in London and the new EU sanctions package against Russia. At the conference, Ukraine not only received state aid, but also commitments from the private sector to participate in the development of the country.

Zelenskyy praised the EU sanctions package as important to further isolate Russia "as long as Russia's main export commodity is evil and death". The main thing now is to cut off ways to circumvent the previous sanctions.

Russian occupiers report Ukrainian attack on bridge to Crimea

The Russian occupiers in southern Ukraine report an alleged attack by the Ukrainian military on an important bridge to the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. The Chonhar Bridge, which connects Crimea to mainland Kherson Oblast, has been damaged but can be repaired, Kherson occupation chief Vladimir Saldo wrote on Telegram. Nobody was injured. He also published photos showing minor craters in the pavement.

According to Saldo, the Ukrainian troops, which are currently launching a counter-offensive to liberate occupied areas, are using Storm Shadow cruise missiles. His information could not be checked independently. Initially, there was no comment from Kiev. Britain has provided Ukraine with Storm Shadow missiles with a range of more than 250 kilometers. This also allows Kiev to launch attacks far behind the front lines.

The Chonhar Bridge is one of three access routes from the Crimea to the northern and also partially occupied Cherson region. According to observers, it is an important way for the Russians to supply their own troops at the front. The Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014 in violation of international law, is also connected to the Russian mainland via the Kerch Bridge. It too was damaged in an attack last fall.

Kiev secret service admits Russian attack

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military intelligence service HUR confirmed reports of a Russian missile attack on its headquarters. The attacks took place at the end of May, but "neither achieved the desired nor the announced goal," said the agency's spokesman, Andriy Yusov, on Ukrainian television yesterday. Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others, reported on the rocket attack.

The Russian leadership has repeatedly threatened to strike at Ukraine's "decision centers". The first information about an attack on the HUR headquarters appeared on May 29th. There was no official statement from Kiev at the time. Jussow declined to comment further on the consequences of the attack. He will only do that after the war.

The number of victims after the flood disaster has risen to over 60

At least 62 people died in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam around two weeks ago. Russian occupation authorities spoke on Telegram yesterday of 41 deaths on the Russian-occupied southern bank of the Dnieper. Ukrainian authorities put the number of dead across the river at at least 21. It is assumed that the actual number of victims is higher.

Von der Leyen: Russian assets should benefit Ukraine

The EU wants to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine. The EU Commission will present a plan for this before the summer break, said EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen at a reconstruction conference for Ukraine yesterday in London. She added: "The perpetrator must be held accountable".

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made a similar statement on the sidelines of the conference. For the reconstruction of Ukraine it is essential that Moscow is held accountable in the medium term, said the minister. Russia caused the damage in Ukraine.

Putin reaffirms expansion of Russia's nuclear forces

Russia, meanwhile, shows no signs of backing down in the conflict. On the contrary: Around 16 months after the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, President Putin confirmed the planned strengthening of his own nuclear forces. According to the Interfax news agency, at an event yesterday with graduates from universities in the armed forces, Putin once again promised that the new Sarmat-type ICBM, which can be equipped with nuclear warheads, will soon be put into service. Originally, however, this was planned for 2022.

Since the invasion of Ukraine he ordered on February 24, 2022, Putin has repeatedly provoked international criticism with nuclear threats. His announcement that tactical nuclear weapons would be stationed in neighboring Belarus, for example, caused particular outrage. According to the Kremlin, the transfer should be completed by the end of the year.

What is important today

In addition to the reconstruction conference, the Ukrainian offensive to liberate the territories occupied by Russia continues. Despite the progress announced by Zelenskyy, no breakthrough is in sight for Kiev. The Russian defense lines on the 815-kilometer front are considered to be solidly secured.