After visiting the front, Zelensky made it clear that the defenders of the country’s independence are heroes. He also sees this as a reason for rapid EU accession. The eastern front is still hard fought. The developments at a glance.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has emphatically demanded EU candidate status after more than 40 days of valiantly fighting Russian invasion.
“I mean, this will not only be a decision for Ukraine, but for the entire European project,” said the head of state in his daily video message. That will also decide whether the EU has a future or not, said Zelenskyj.
The EU Commission wants to decide in June how to proceed with the EU ambitions of the country attacked by Russia. The federal government has not yet taken a position on this issue. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has made it clear that there should be no shortcuts for Ukraine on the way to the EU. The Ukraine, which above all has to do with massive corruption, sees its fight against Russia as a sufficient qualification.
Meanwhile, fighting in Ukraine continues. “On 103 day, Ukrainian Donbass is holding strong,” said Zelenskyy, referring to the situation in the east of the country. In addition, everything is being done to ensure that the front in the Zaporizhia and Mykolaiv areas holds out. Heavy fighting continued around Sieverodonetsk, Lysychansk, Sloviansk, Bakhmut, Sviatohirsk, Avdiivka, Kurakhove and other places in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The armed forces have to accept heavy losses.
Ukraine reports own air attacks
The Ukrainian military said it had carried out several airstrikes on Russian positions in the south of the country. “Ukrainian helicopters struck against accumulations of enemy troops in the Kherson region – and planes against ammunition depots in the Mykolaiv region,” the general staff said on Tuesday. The Ukraine has so far only used its own air force sparingly in the war because of the Russian air superiority.
The Ukrainian troops recently recaptured several towns on the border of the Black Sea regions of Mykolaiv and Cherson. A Russian counter-offensive in the direction of Losowe – Bila Krynyzja was unsuccessful despite artillery and air force support, according to the General Staff report. The information could not be checked independently.
According to military experts from the US Institute for the Study of the War (ISW), the Ukrainians also managed to push the Russian fleet off the Black Sea coast. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is now operating at a safe distance of 40 kilometers, which reduces the pressure on the Ukrainian ports, according to the latest ISW analysis. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense made a similar statement on Monday.
Situation on the Eastern Front is difficult for the Ukrainian army
On the Eastern Front, however, the situation for the Ukrainian military remains difficult. The Russians continued their assault on the former city of Sievjerodonetsk. Russian attacks in the area – in the Bakhmut area – were repelled, the general staff said. Further west, Russian troops advanced towards Sloviansk, another strategic target in the Donbass region. The headquarters of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is stationed in the metropolitan area.
There was no information from either side on hostilities around the small town of Sviatohirsk. On Monday, Kyiv spoke of heavy fighting. Russian military had claimed to have taken Sviatohirsk. The city north of Sloviansk was the last outpost of the Ukrainian troops on the north bank of the Seversky Donets River. Russian troops also continued to attack from Lyman and shelled the Sloviansk suburb of Mykolaivka with rockets.
Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovich predicted a “very difficult week” for the Ukrainian armed forces in Donbass on Monday evening. In the worst case, Sieverodonetsk would be surrounded in time and the siege of Sloviansk would begin, he said.
Debate on tank supplies from Spain
Spain, for example, wants to deliver German-made battle tanks to Ukraine. The Union in the Bundestag warned the federal government against preventing Spain from doing so. “If Spain wants to deliver Leopard 2, the federal government must make it possible quickly,” demanded the deputy CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Johann Wadephul (CDU) in the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “Germany abandons Ukraine every day that no heavy weapons arrive there.” The CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter made a similar statement in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”: “I expect that the federal government will issue the necessary export license as proactively as possible.”
The usually well-informed Spanish newspaper El País, citing Defense Ministry sources, reported that Spain was preparing to deliver about 40 Leopard 2 A4 main battle tanks and ground-launched anti-aircraft missiles . Minister Margarita Robles did not want to confirm or deny this. This is an “extremely delicate topic” and requires “the greatest discretion”.
What will be important on Tuesday
For the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine war, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is visiting Lithuania on Tuesday, a NATO country that borders Russia and feels particularly threatened by the nuclear power. In the capital, Vilnius, he will meet Nauseda and the heads of government of all three Baltic states – in addition to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are also included. The Chancellor then visits the Bundeswehr soldiers who are stationed in Lithuania to secure NATO’s eastern flank. (dpa)