Russian Invasion: War against Ukraine: This is the situation

Several high-ranking Western politicians are expected in Kiev today to mark the second anniversary of the first combat operations of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.

Russian Invasion: War against Ukraine: This is the situation

Several high-ranking Western politicians are expected in Kiev today to mark the second anniversary of the first combat operations of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. Specific names were not publicly mentioned in advance. According to officially unconfirmed media reports, those expected were, among others, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the Belgian head of government and incumbent EU Council President Alexander De Croo.

There are also numerous commemorative events - even far beyond the attacked country. In Germany, for example, people want to express their solidarity with Ukraine at rallies in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne, among other places.

Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj continues to hope for active support for his country from the West. After signing a security agreement with Denmark, he met with a US Senate delegation in Lviv on Friday and underlined the importance of a billion-dollar aid package still pending in the House of Representatives for the effectiveness of the Ukrainian army. The fighting continues unabated even after two years.

New drone strikes against Odessa - one dead

The Russian military attacked the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa with combat drones for the second night in a row. The local military administration announced that night, among other things, a residential building was destroyed. At least one person was killed and three others were taken to hospital with injuries. It was said that people may still be trapped under the rubble. The search operation was still ongoing. The information could not be independently verified.

Drone attack on Russia's largest steelworks

A drone attack caused a major fire at Russia's largest steelworks in the city of Lipetsk, around 400 kilometers southeast of Moscow. The fire that broke out on Saturday night had been extinguished, said the governor of the Lipetsk region, Igor Artamonov. "There is no risk of leakage of hazardous substances," he said. Residents of the city post videos of explosions and the major fire on social networks. According to media, there was one injured person.

The news portal "RBK-Ukraina" reported that military intelligence and the armed forces of Ukraine organized the attack. Accordingly, production in the steelworks should be interrupted. The portal cited its own sources, but there was initially no official confirmation from Kiev. In their defensive campaign, the Ukrainian armed forces repeatedly attack military targets and the industrial facilities in Russia used for the war economy.

Kyiv claims to have shot down another special aircraft

According to its own statements, the Ukrainian air defense had previously shot down another Russian A-50 reconnaissance aircraft, as Air Force Chief Mykola Oleshchuk announced on Telegram. According to media reports, the shot down took place over the Russian-controlled Sea of ​​Azov and the plane crashed over the southern Russian region of Krasnodar.

There was no official confirmation from the Russian side. The state agency Tass only reported a fire in the Krasnodar region that was caused by a “falling flying object”. According to military experts, Moscow only has around half a dozen operational aircraft of this type.

Baerbock to Putin: “End this war”

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war. "Release the Ukrainian children. Withdraw your troops. End this war. Then tomorrow there would be peace. And the whole world could finally breathe a sigh of relief again," she said in a guest article for "Bild". She accused Putin of both a desire for conquest and a lack of willingness to make peace. "As shocking as it is: Putin doesn't want negotiations. He doesn't want peace - he wants 'conquests'. He says that himself."

Military expert: Ukraine war will not end in 2024

According to military expert Carlo Masala, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine will not end in 2024. “I don’t see an end to this war in 2024, there is nothing that could give us hope,” the political scientist told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. "Ukraine will not find peace because Russia still believes it can win this war," said the professor at the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich. Time is increasingly playing into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zelenskyj meets Senator Schumer: US aid package important

During a conversation with the Democratic majority leader in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, Zelensky underlined the importance of the billion-dollar aid package urgently hoped for by Kiev for his country. "This package is not ordinary, it is fundamental to our defense, both in terms of its content and the signal that support or non-support of this package sends to the world," Zelensky said in his evening video address.

The aid package, which provides 60 billion US dollars (around 56 billion euros) for Ukraine, has already passed the Senate, the second chamber of parliament. However, the House of Representatives is considered a bigger hurdle. The Republicans are blocking it there.

Zelensky also provided information about the situation on the fronts. Recently, his armed forces had suffered serious setbacks in several areas due to a lack of ammunition and a lack of air defense.

Copenhagen signs security agreement with Kyiv

Just before the second anniversary of the Russian invasion, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen signed a ten-year security agreement between Denmark and Ukraine with Zelensky. In doing so, Copenhagen reaffirms its support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized 1991 borders. Kiev had previously signed similar agreements with Great Britain, Germany and France.

Merz calls for support for Ukraine “by all means”

Opposition leader Friedrich Merz called on the federal government to provide Ukraine with all the weapons it needs to defend itself. So far, the federal government has only assured that it will help Ukraine for as long as necessary, said the chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag in a video interview with the dpa.

"I would like to hear the wording: We are helping Ukraine with all the means we have at our disposal so that we really see an early end to this terrible war." To date, armaments worth 28 billion euros have been delivered or promised from Germany.

Merz said that one still has to realize today: "We did too little too late." There have been repeated delays, currently with the Taurus cruise missiles. On Thursday, the Bundestag rejected a request from the Union to deliver the Taurus missiles with a range of 500 kilometers to Ukraine with the votes of the traffic light coalition.

Makeiev criticizes rejection of arms deliveries

The Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Oleksii Makeiev, sharply criticized the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance and the AfD for their rejection of arms deliveries to his country. Makeiev told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung": "It is criminal to adopt Russian propaganda or to claim that you don't need weapons to defend yourself."

Wagenknecht, chairwoman of the new BSW party named after her, has sharply attacked the federal government over spending on armaments and arms aid for Ukraine. The AfD described arms deliveries as unnecessary expenses.

This will be important today

While further fighting is foreseeable on the Ukrainian fronts, several Western politicians are visiting Kiev to support the country in the fight against Russia. In many places in Germany, people want to come together for rallies, memorial services and concerts to show their solidarity with the attacked Ukraine.