Ukraine reiterates its demand for Taurus cruise missiles from Germany and is attempting to allay concerns in Berlin about the delivery. Because of their long range, the Taurus are urgently needed militarily - just like the ATACMS from the USA, which have also been requested, said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev. He pledged: "Both will only be used within our borders." Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar made a similar statement.
The fear that Ukraine could bombard Russian territory with the bunker-busting weapons is the reason for the hesitation in Berlin. However, the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to deliver the Taurus guided missiles with a range of 500 kilometers to Ukraine is increasing. According to a "Spiegel" report, plans are underway to program the weapons so that they cannot be aimed at targets in Russia.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyj discussed with top military and government officials how alternative routes for grain exports could be expanded. Russia has blocked the Black Sea ports.
Heavy fighting continued on the front in eastern and southern Ukraine, the Ukrainian general staff reported on Friday evening.
Explosions at Crimean Bridge
Meanwhile, there were again explosions at the Kerch Bridge between the Russian mainland and the Crimea, which was illegally annexed from Ukraine by the Black Sea. The Russian air defense shot down two enemy missiles on Saturday afternoon, Moscow's governor of the peninsula, Sergey Aksyonov, said on Telegram. "The Crimean bridge is not damaged," he wrote. This could not initially be verified independently. Car traffic over the 19-kilometer structure has been temporarily suspended.
In the meantime, photos and videos have been published on social networks showing high columns of smoke on the bridge, which is strategically important for Russia. Local residents reported explosion noises. A little later Aksyonov wrote that there had been another rocket attack, which had also been repelled. That too could not be checked. Russia's Defense Ministry initially only spoke of an attack attempt.
Russian fighter jet crashed in Kaliningrad region
According to official information, a Russian fighter plane crashed during a training flight in the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad. "The crew of the plane died," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday, according to the Interfax agency. It was initially unclear how many inmates were involved. The exact crash site was also not mentioned. The Sukhoi Su-30 machine was flying over an uninhabited area when technical problems arose, it said.
Russia claims to have fended off drones over
According to the Defense Ministry in Moscow, Russian forces repelled a drone attack by Kiev over the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea during the night. Ukraine attacked Crimea with 20 unmanned aerial vehicles.
"The foiled terrorist attack did not claim any victims or cause any damage," the ministry said, according to a report by the Russian state news agency TASS in the morning. Accordingly, 14 drones are said to have been destroyed by the air defense. Six more were blocked. The information could not be independently verified. Anti-aircraft defenses had previously been activated over parts of Crimea during the night.
Russian attacks on all sectors of the front
The Ukrainian General Staff reported heavy Russian artillery shelling and airstrikes on almost all sectors of the front on Friday. On the ground, Russian troops tried to advance at Kupyansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marjinka. According to the evening report, these attacks were repelled. The military information cannot be independently verified. Nothing was reported about their own attacks as part of the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
A Russian missile attack succeeded in intercepting one of four Kinzhal-type hypersonic missiles. According to the information, there were impacts in the west of the country, where the Ukrainian air force has its bases.
Ukraine: Sumy border area under Russian fire again
According to the regional military administration, Russia again attacked the Sumy region of Ukraine near the Russian border. In the course of the day, the area in northeastern Ukraine came under nine fires, the Sumy military administration said on Telegram on Friday evening.
A total of 51 explosions were registered. Among other things, two houses were damaged in the municipality of Seredyna-Buda. There were initially no reports of casualties. The information could not be verified.
Kiev demands commitment for Taurus guided missiles
"The greater the range, the shorter the war," Foreign Minister Kuleba wrote yesterday on the social network X (formerly Twitter) about the cruise missiles that had been requested. "We ask our partners to make them available as soon as possible."
Ukraine needs these weapons to take out Russian bases and supply lines far behind the front lines. Ukraine has already received similar Storm Shadow/Scalp cruise missiles from Britain and France. These were also not used against Russian territory, but only against targets in the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
Deputy Defense Minister Maljar told the ZDF "heute-journal" that Ukraine adheres to international law. "It means that Ukraine is only defending itself on its territory." The strategic goal is the liberation of the areas occupied by Russia.
Pressure on Scholz increases
In Berlin, politicians from both the government parties and the opposition called for the Taurus to be handed over to the Ukrainian armed forces. Meanwhile, Scholz told the “Thüringer Allgemeine”: “There is no new status to report on this issue.” The Ministry of Defense also made it clear that there was no change in course. According to media reports, however, talks are underway between the ministry and the defense industry to prepare for the delivery.
US imposes sanctions on Russian bank bosses
Meanwhile, the US government imposed sanctions on what it called four "prominent members of Russia's financial elite." They are linked to Alfa Group, one of the largest financial and industrial groups in Russia, the Foreign Ministry said. Affected are the oligarchs Mikhail Fridman, co-founder of the Alfa Group, German Chan, Alexei Kusmichow and Pyotr Aven. As a result, potential assets in the US will be frozen.
Russian economy is growing again
According to official figures, the Russian economy grew again in the spring. According to the statistics office, gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 4.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter. Earlier, the Russian economy had contracted for four consecutive quarters year-on-year. However, the growth is mainly based on government spending, on the high costs of the war against Ukraine. Private consumption is boosted by increased social benefits and higher wages. The ruble has fallen to its lowest level since March 2022 against the dollar and the euro.