Ukraine war: EU promises Kiev permanent aid

Full backing for Kiev: The European Union wants to support Ukraine permanently and put more pressure on Russia.

Ukraine war: EU promises Kiev permanent aid

Full backing for Kiev: The European Union wants to support Ukraine permanently and put more pressure on Russia. This was agreed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the other heads of state and government on Thursday at the EU summit in Brussels. Slovakia handed over the first four of 13 promised MiG-29 fighter jets to Kiev. For its part, Russia announced that it would build 1,500 tanks this year. At the same time, former President Dmitry Medvedev made new threats against Germany.

If the international arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin is executed in Germany, it would be like a "declaration of war," Medvedev said in an interview. In that case, Russia would fire rockets at the Bundestag and the Chancellery, he threatened. But Medvedev qualified that Putin's arrest is "a situation that will never occur."

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock supported the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court last week. "Nobody is above the United Nations Charter, nobody is above international humanitarian law, nobody can commit war crimes, crimes against humanity with impunity," said the Greens politician in Macedonia.

Ukraine speaks of Russian weakness at Bakhmut

In February 2022, Putin launched an invasion of the neighboring country that has now probably cost the lives of tens of thousands of people. Again and again there are Russian airstrikes throughout Ukraine. According to information from Kiev, at least 14 people were killed and 24 injured on Wednesday. Fighting on the ground is mainly in the east and south of the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this week first visited his troops in the eastern Donetsk and Kharkiv regions and then traveled to the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson. On Wednesday evening he said: "It is painful to see the cities in the Donbass, to which Russia has brought terrible suffering and ruin."

But despite the severe destruction and suffering, there is hope in these areas. "You can feel them," said Zelenskyj. "We will do everything so that the blue and yellow colors can continue their liberation movement and normal life can return to our whole country, from Donetsk to the border."

The Ukrainian military spread the view that Russian units near the embattled town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region would soon be at the end of their strength. The commander of the Ukrainian land forces, Olexander Syrsykj, announced an imminent counteroffensive. "We will soon seize this opportunity, as we did in Kiev, Kharkiv, Balakliya and Kupyansk," he told the Telegram news channel.

The information provided by the warring parties can hardly be verified independently. However, the British Ministry of Defense had also reported that Russian attacks near Bakhmut were losing momentum.

Firmly on the side of Ukraine

At the EU summit in Brussels, Scholz said that Putin never expected such unified support from the West for Ukraine. "And we are also prepared to support Ukraine for as long as it will actually be necessary." The summit statement on Ukraine said the European Union was determined to increase collective pressure on Russia.

This includes possible further sanctions and work on the already existing price cap for Russian petroleum products. Most recently, countries such as Poland and Lithuania, among others, had called for a lowering of this upper price limit in order to cut Russia's income from oil exports even further.

The EU states promised Ukraine political, economic, military, financial and humanitarian aid - as long as this is necessary. For example, it is planned to deliver one million new artillery shells in the next twelve months. They are intended to prevent bottlenecks and enable the Ukrainians to launch new offensives against the attackers from Russia. If Ukraine asks for it, more missiles are to be delivered.

The support for refugees is also enormous: last year, the EU states granted more than 4.3 million people from Ukraine protection from the Russian war of aggression. In addition, more than 2,000 Ukrainian patients were taken to European hospitals, according to the EU Commission. The injured and sick are distributed to clinics in 20 European countries as part of the EU civil protection procedure.

Sánchez wants to talk to Xi about mediation

How and when the war could end is still completely unclear. Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wants to explore the chances of mediation by China during a visit to Beijing at the end of the month, as announced by Presidential Minister Félix Bolaños. Beijing could "play a very important role" in mediating between Kiev and Moscow.

China had published a position paper on the Ukraine war, but it was met with disappointment in the West. Head of state and party leader Xi Jinping has just agreed on closer strategic cooperation with Putin.