Russian Invasion: War against Ukraine: This is the situation

Without new US aid, Ukraine could lose the war against Russia by the end of the year, according to CIA Director William Burns.

Russian Invasion: War against Ukraine: This is the situation

Without new US aid, Ukraine could lose the war against Russia by the end of the year, according to CIA Director William Burns.

If the US Congress does not approve new aid, there is "a very real risk that the Ukrainians could lose on the battlefield by the end of 2024 or at least put (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in a position where he could essentially control the political conditions could dictate," said the head of the US Secret Service at an event in Dallas, Texas. “There is a tremendous amount at stake here.”

After months of deadlock, House Republican leader Mike Johnson has announced the upcoming vote on new US support for this weekend. If approved, the second chamber, the Senate, would come into play. US President Joe Biden says he wants to sign the law “immediately” following the resolution by Congress.

Burns explained that new military aid would provide a boost - "both practical and psychological" - and enable Ukrainians to maintain their defenses throughout the year, "contradicting Putin's arrogant view that time is on on his side".

The USA is considered Ukraine's most important ally in the fight against the Russian invasion. According to the US government, the funds already approved by Congress have been used up - which is why the planned vote is of great importance.

More support from NATO

NATO defense ministers promised Ukraine the delivery of additional air defense systems at an emergency meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this following the discussions held via video conference in Brussels. "The NATO defense ministers have agreed to increase and further expand their military support, including in the area of ​​air defense," he said.

The Norwegian initially did not say who made the commitments after the meeting of the so-called NATO-Ukraine Council. Specific announcements should therefore be made by individual member states in the next few days. According to Stoltenberg, countries that do not have available air defense systems themselves agreed to provide financial support for the purchase of systems for Ukraine.

Attack on Odessa

The Russian military has attacked the Ukrainian port city of Odessa with missiles. The port's infrastructure was hit, local military administrator Oleh Kiper said on Telegram. “The Odessa region is once again attacked by the enemy,” he wrote. "The port infrastructure was damaged." A man was injured in the attack. At the same time, the military administrator reminded the population to heed the alarm signals and to seek shelter in good time.

According to regional media reports, several powerful explosions were heard in the city. Dense smoke later developed over the area hit by rockets. No further details were given about the impact of the Russian attack.

Russia reaffirms its claim to Ukraine

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed Moscow's claim to control over Ukraine, which has been at war for more than two years, in a radio interview. At most, the future of western Ukraine is unclear, Lavrov told several Russian broadcasters in Moscow. Otherwise there will only be a Ukraine "that is truly Russian, that wants to be part of the Russian world, that wants to speak Russian and raise its children," he said. Nothing else is out of the question.

Russia does not want to attack NATO states, as is claimed there, in order to scare voters, said Lavrov. "But if they want to push NATO's borders to our borders, then of course we will know how to prevent that in Ukraine."

Like other Moscow representatives, Lavrov said that Russia was ready for talks with Ukraine. But he named conditions. There will be no ceasefire during possible negotiations. Talks with Zelensky are pointless. Kyiv must abandon its peace formula.

Zelensky visits eastern Ukrainian front

Zelenskyj visited a command point near the embattled city of Chasiv Yar during a trip to the Donetsk front region in eastern Ukraine. The head of state said on Telegram that he was informed about the situation on site. He then awarded medals to soldiers. The small town of Chassiv Yar is considered the next target of the Russian army. The front runs a few kilometers from the city center. Chasiv Yar is not far from the city of Bakhmut, which was taken by the Russians almost a year ago after heavy fighting.

The president had previously visited the wounded in a hospital in the city of Sloviansk and inspected the expansion of new defense positions. Zelenskyj had already inspected the expansion of new defense lines several times in recent weeks, including in the neighboring Kharkiv region.

In Dnipro, Zelensky also asked about the security situation and protective measures for the city's critical infrastructure. “It is very important that everyone who needs help now receives it,” he wrote on Telegram. "And we are working with our partners to provide additional air defense systems for Ukraine." Recently, Dnipro has been the target of Russian air and missile attacks on several occasions.

Dead after Russian attacks on Dnipropetrovsk region

During the night there was another air alert in many regions of Ukraine. According to authorities, among other things, the industrially important Dnipropetrovsk region in southern Ukraine was massively bombarded from the air by Russia. At least two people were killed and 15 injured in the regional capital Dnipro, Governor Serhiy Lyssak said on Telegram. A five-story residential building and two infrastructure properties were hit. The state-owned company said that Ukrainian railway facilities were targeted. The main train station in Dnipro is closed and long-distance trains are being rerouted.

According to Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko, six people were killed in the city of Synelnykove, including two children. Several single-family homes were hit. According to authorities, a factory was damaged in Pavlohrad, and an infrastructure facility was damaged in Krivyi Rih. President Zelenskyj wrote on Telegram that the skies over Ukraine could be defended just as well as the skies over Israel if foreign partners provided the weapons for this.

According to Governor Lyssak, anti-aircraft defense over the Dnipropetrovsk region was able to shoot down nine Russian missiles, but not all of them. Dnipro and other cities in the region have been home to aircraft and rocket manufacturing as well as other armaments factories since Soviet times. In the south, the Dnipro River forms the front line for the attacking Russian troops. They fired artillery across the river into the Nikopol district, Lyssak said.

Explosions due to the use of anti-aircraft defenses were also reported at night in the Odessa region on the Black Sea. The city was attacked with missiles from the Black Sea, the Ukrainian Air Force said.

EU plans new package of sanctions on Russia

Meanwhile, a 14th sanctions package is being prepared in the EU. According to a senior EU official, this will include punitive measures against actors who circumvent existing Russia sanctions. In addition, according to diplomats, there is likely to be a further expansion of the list of people and entities whose assets in the EU must be frozen. The EU Foreign Service and the EU Commission want to present concrete proposals to the member states next week.

Work is also currently underway on a plan to use a large portion of the profits from the storage of frozen Russian central bank funds in the EU to purchase military equipment for Ukraine. The heads of state and government of the EU countries welcomed progress on this at their summit this week. According to previous information, up to three billion euros could be raised this year alone, which could then be used, for example, to purchase weapons for Ukraine.

The 13th major package of sanctions against Russia was approved in February on the second anniversary of the war against Ukraine. It targeted 106 individuals and 88 entities responsible for actions that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. These included people involved in North Korea's arms sales to Russia, as well as the North Korean defense minister.