Russian officials openly admit problems starting the invasion, but the British say they remain. In the almost conquered Mariupol, Kadyrov could soon be in charge. Meanwhile, Finland and Sweden are striving to join NATO, but Turkey torpedoed the application. The 84th day of the war at a glance.
Russians see failure to start invasion
Russia has acknowledged difficulties and mistakes in its war of aggression against Ukraine, but has announced that fighting will continue. "Despite all the difficulties, the military special operation will continue to the end," said Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev. The head of the Russian republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus, Ramzan Kadyrov, even spoke of "mistakes" at the start of the February 24 war against Ukraine. "In the beginning there were mistakes, there were some shortcomings, but now everything is 100% according to plan," Kadyrov said at a political forum.
British report insufficient troop reinforcements
According to British intelligence, however, the Russian military's problems persist, particularly with supply and troop reinforcements. The Ministry of Defense said in London that Russia would have to deploy many auxiliary troops to break down the Ukrainian resistance, including thousands of fighters from the autonomous republic of Chechnya. "The combat deployment of such diverse personnel demonstrates Russia's significant resource problems in Ukraine and likely contributes to a patchy command that continues to hamper Russian operations."
Russia massively increases military spending
Russia increased spending on the military by almost 40 percent in the first four months of the year. This is according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Finance. Accordingly, the government in Moscow spent 1.7 trillion rubles (25.1 billion euros) on defense from January to April. This already corresponds to almost half of the funds planned for the whole of 2022.
1000 more fighters entrenched in Azovstal
Despite all the difficulties, the Russian military can point to successes. According to Russian sources, almost 700 other Ukrainian soldiers surrendered from the besieged Azov steelworks in Mariupol. In the past 24 hours, 694 fighters surrendered, including 29 wounded, the Russian Defense Ministry said. A total of 959 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered at the Mariupol plant since Monday. However, according to separatist leader Denis Puschilin, there are still around 1,000 fighters inside the steelworks. Among them are said to be numerous commanders of the troops.
Kadyrov bald "Herr über Mariupol"?
The future of the city could be significantly shaped by Chechen leader Kadyrov and his fighters. The online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda, citing statements by Mariupol Mayor's adviser Petro Andryushchenko, reported that there are plans to entrust the reconstruction of the city to Kadyrov and his soldiers, known as Kadyrovtsy. Their primary role should therefore be to "intimidate and suppress" possible resistance.
Russia announces anti-drone lasers
Militarily, too, Russia wants to continue working on its success. A kind of laser system that is currently being tested and could soon go into service "in series" should help. As reported by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borissov, it should have a range of five kilometers and be able to shoot down drones and light aircraft at this altitude. Allegedly, the targets hit would burn up within five seconds, according to Borisov.
Human Rights Watch documents horrific abuses
In regions of Ukraine from which the Russian troops have already withdrawn, the events are being further processed. For example, Human Rights Watch documented cruel attacks on civilians in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions. According to the report, there were numerous attacks on 17 villages and towns. According to the organization, Russian forces held more than 350 villagers in a school basement for 28 days. Many of them were children or the elderly. The human rights organization said the conditions were cramped, suffocating and unsanitary. Ten people died in the basement, seven more were shot or "disappeared".
First Russian war crimes trial launched
Elsewhere, the reappraisal process has already gone one step further. The first war crimes trial has begun at the district court in Kyiv. A 21-year-old is accused. He is accused of shooting dead an unarmed civilian from a stolen car in the northern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on February 28. If convicted, he faces a life sentence for war crimes and murder. According to his lawyer, he admitted to killing the 62-year-old.
Struggles to join NATO - Turkey shoots across
Meanwhile, Europeans continue to work to support Ukraine and defend themselves. Finland and Sweden formally applied for NATO membership today. Ambassadors from both countries presented the relevant documents to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels. However, NATO member Turkey initially torpedoed the accession talks at the beginning. As was learned from Alliance circles, it was not possible in the NATO Council, as originally planned, to make the decision necessary to start the admission process. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses the two NATO candidates of supporting PKK terrorists and makes his approval dependent on approaching his country on security issues.
Ring exchange with the Czech Republic is taking shape
There could also be a little more movement in arms deliveries to Ukraine. For example, Germany will provide and finance 15 tanks to the Czech Republic as part of a so-called ring swap. The Bundeswehr is also taking on the training of Czech soldiers, according to a press release from the Federal Ministry of Defence. The Czech Republic wants to deliver numerous main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers and howitzers to Ukraine. In order not to leave gaps in the defense capabilities of the Czech Republic, Germany will deliver 15 Leopard 2 A4 tanks, which are located at the German defense industry.
Von der Leyen wants to help with nine billion euros
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has also promised Ukraine emergency aid of up to nine billion euros. Von der Leyen said she was proposing "new one-off macro financial aid for Ukraine of up to nine billion euros" this year. The funds are intended to help cover the country's acute financial needs in the Russian war of aggression.
EU focuses on savings and renewables
According to the EU Commission, the European Union must invest up to 300 billion euros by 2030 in order to become less dependent on the supply of Russian energy sources. A proposed plan provides for numerous savings in industry and households, the massive expansion of renewable energies and the joint ordering of liquid gas and hydrogen by the EU states. It should also be possible for coal and nuclear power plants to run for longer.
Russians want money for Ukrainian electricity in the future
Ukraine could also soon become more dependent on Russian energy. According to the wishes of Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnullin, the area around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is currently occupied by Russian troops, will soon belong to Russia. "I think the perspective of the region is to work in our harmonious Russian family," he said. The Zaporizhia power plant - the most powerful in all of Europe - should in future only supply Ukraine with electricity if they pay for it.
Negotiations in impasse - mutual reproaches
Russia is similarly dominant in the peace negotiations. It blamed Ukraine for the deadlock in negotiations to settle the conflict. "The talks are indeed not progressing and we note that Ukrainian negotiators have a complete lack of will to continue this process," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Ukraine said on Tuesday that talks had been suspended because of Russia's stance. Moscow lacks understanding of "what is currently happening in the world and its extremely negative role," said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak.
More articles on the Ukraine war
You can read all further developments in our live ticker on the Ukraine war.