In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ukrainian President Zelenskyj reported 87 dead after a Russian airstrike on a military base in northern Ukraine and ruled out a pause in the fighting despite the precarious situation in the Donbass. Meanwhile, Russia is planning to hold the trial of the Azovstal militants directly in Mariupol. Denmark wants to militarily supply Ukraine with the Harpoon anti-ship missile. It is supposed to be a remedy against the Russian blockades of the ports. The 89th day of the war at a glance.
87 dead in Russian airstrike, Ukraine says
Ukraine has admitted its heaviest losses in a Russian airstrike to date. "Today we finished the work in Desna. In Desna, under the rubble, there were 87 victims," said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a video address at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The government in Kyiv had previously spoken of eight dead in a rocket attack on a barracks in Desna on May 17. At the beginning of the week, warning sirens wailed again in many Ukrainian cities. Russian forces continued their offensive to the east and south. In the Donbass and in the region of the city of Mykolaiv in the south, there was heavy fighting.
Ukraine: lull in fighting ruled out in Donbass
The situation in Donbass is extremely difficult, Zelenskyy said. However, his adviser Mykhailo Podoliak ruled out a pause in the fighting, as had been discussed by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Ukraine would only harm itself by doing so, since Russia would only hit all the harder after a ceasefire, the adviser to the Ukrainian president said: "You will then start a new offensive, even bloodier and bigger." The fiercest fighting was fought by both sides in the area of the twin cities of Sieverodonetsk and Lysychansk northwest of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, as an adviser to the Kyiv Interior Ministry said. The Russian troops have been trying to close the front and encircle the Ukrainian units since mid-April.
Negotiations only with Putin and only about the end of the war
Zelenskyy would meet with his counterpart Vladimir Putin, but not with other Russian officials. There would only be one topic: the end of the war, said Zelenskyj at the video switch. In view of the Russian actions against civilians in the occupied parts of Ukraine, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to organize any kind of talks.
Zelenskyj: The maximum number of sanctions has not yet been reached
In the video message, Zelenskyy pointed out with regard to the sanctions against Russia that the maximum had not yet been reached and that an oil embargo was necessary. No trade should be conducted with Russia. The world must set a precedent. "History is at a turning point," said Zelenskyj. "This is truly the moment when it will be decided whether brute force will rule the world." The chief of staff at the presidential office, Andriy Yermak, reiterated on Twitter that Ukraine would not make any territorial concessions. According to a media report, Russia is ready to negotiate with Ukraine. The prerequisite is that the government in Kyiv takes a "constructive position," the Ria news agency reported, citing Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko. In the past, these were unacceptable demands for Ukraine.
Klitschko calls for total isolation of Russia
Ex-boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko argued in a similar way to the Ukrainian president and called for the complete isolation of Russia. "The war will last as long as the world trades with Russia," said the 46-year-old, also via video link in Davos. He also called for Russian athletes to be excluded from the Olympic Games. "It has nothing to do with the nationality or the athletes, but they represent the aggressive regime of Russia," he said. At the same time, the ex-boxer emphasized that Ukraine would not give up its resistance: "We will fight as long as we live." His brother Vitali, mayor of Kyiv, who was also present, said of the bitter resistance against the Russian attackers: "We Ukrainians defend our children, families and the future of our children - and the Russian soldiers fight for money."
Ukrainian military warns of activities on Belarusian border
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Belarus, which has so far not actively participated in the Russo-Ukrainian war, is currently massing forces at the border. "The Belarusian armed forces are conducting increased reconnaissance and have set up additional units in the border area," it said. Accordingly, the danger of rocket and air attacks on Ukraine from Belarusian territory remains. The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko did not take part with his own troops in the war against Ukraine that Russia started at the end of February, but the country was a deployment area.
Life imprisonment for Russian soldiers
In the first war crimes trial since the Russian invasion began, a 21-year-old Russian man was sentenced to life imprisonment in Kyiv. The tanker previously confessed to shooting dead a 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian on February 28. The young man, who is from Siberia, apologized for the crime during the trial. "I regret it. I regret it very much. I did not refuse and I am ready to accept any measures that will be imposed," he said in his closing remarks. "Of course, we are concerned about the fate of our fellow citizens," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency. It is considered possible that the man will be exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners in Russia. Overall, Ukraine says it is investigating more than 13,000 suspected Russian war crimes. This is the current status, says Attorney General Iryna Venediktova of the Washington Post newspaper.
Trial of Azovstal militants to take place in region
Meanwhile, Russia wants to try the Ukrainian soldiers captured in the port city of Mariupol directly in the region, according to a pro-Russian separatist leader. The prisoners, who holed up at the Azovstal Steel Plant and finally surrendered, are being held in the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine, separatist leader Denis Puschilin said, according to the Interfax agency. An "international tribunal" will be organized. Citing a source involved with the "tribunal," Interfax also wrote that a first trial is set to take place in Mariupol. Further trial days could also be held at other locations. The last 500 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in Azowstal on Friday.
Russia: West responsible for food crisis
Moscow accused the West of having caused a global food crisis with its sanctions. "Russia has always been more of a reliable grain exporter," said Kremlin spokesman Peskov. "We are not the cause of the problem." According to Ukraine and the West, Russian forces are blockading all Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, including the largest port in Odessa. Millions of tons of grain lie idle there and cannot be exported.
Russian UN diplomat throws down
UN diplomat Boris Bondarev sent a clear signal against Russian aggression. He has handed in his resignation and has written a letter protesting his country's war against Ukraine. The 41-year-old, who worked at the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva, justified his move with the following words: "In 20 years of my diplomatic career I have seen various turns in our foreign policy, but I have never been as ashamed of my country as I was on February 24 of this year."
Ex-MI6 boss expects change of power "by 2023 at the latest"
The former director of British foreign intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove, expects a change of power in Russia by 2023 at the latest. "We are reaching the end of this regime in Russia," the former MI6 chief said on the One Decision podcast. Putin will be replaced without violence in the next few months: "I think he will be gone by 2023 - probably in the sanatorium, from which he will not emerge as the leader of Russia."
Cheetah delivery to be completed by the end of August
The delivery of 30 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine should be completed before September if possible. After the previously announced delivery of 15 Gepard tanks by mid-July, the rest should be delivered by the industry by the end of August, said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Defense in Berlin. Accordingly, Ukraine's contracts with industry are expected to be concluded this week. This also envisages the training of Ukrainian cheetah crews by the industry itself, the spokesman said. The Bundeswehr supports this, among other things, by providing suitable shooting ranges.
Denmark delivers Harpoon anti-ship missile to Ukraine
Weapons supplies are said to come from Denmark. According to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the country wants to supply Ukraine with Harpoon anti-ship missiles and launch devices. US government sources say that the advanced weapon system should enable the Ukrainian military to break through Russian port blockades. But Italy, Greece and Poland also want to supply artillery systems. Overall, according to the US government, Ukraine has received commitments for further military support from about 20 countries.
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