Kyiv, Moscow While Moscow is reporting minor successes in its campaign of conquest against Ukraine, the leadership in Kyiv is preoccupied with itself. President Volodymyr Zelensky bids an emotional farewell to his interior minister, who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday. Meanwhile, two ministries, including the Ministry of Defence, which is so important for the war, are being shaken by corruption scandals.
Selenski mourns the dead interior minister
Ukrainian President Zelensky bid an emotional farewell to Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyj, who died in a helicopter crash. “We lose people every day who we will always remember and who we regret not being able to bring back,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Saturday. The 44-year-old was also previously at the memorial service for the victims of the crash.
In contrast to most of the other video messages that he had distributed since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, Zelenskiy made no reference to current events at the front or to the demands made on the West, where a sharp debate, especially in Germany, about tank supplies to Ukraine is going on .
Instead, Zelensky recalled the many victims that the war has claimed so far, and he addressed an emotional message to his compatriots. He wishes that all Ukrainians feel the loss. He wishes “that we feel how many lives, how many clever people the war costs. I want us all to honor her memory today,” said the President.
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Suspected corruption in the Ukrainian army
According to official information, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov is to address reports in front of the parliament in Kyiv about overpriced food purchases for the army. Reznikov has been invited to a hearing, Vice-Chair of the Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Reconnaissance Marjana Besugla told national broadcaster Suspilne Media on Saturday. In addition, the Court of Auditors will take a close look at the Ministry of Defense.
Earlier, media reports in Kyiv caused a stir that the Defense Ministry was buying food to feed its soldiers at prices up to three times higher than retail prices in stores. The contract for 13 billion hryvnia (a good 300 million euros) is not about feeding the soldiers at the front, but in the rear.
Government corruption scandal: Deputy Minister in custody in Kyiv
Meanwhile, according to media reports, the deputy minister has been arrested in another ministry for accepting a six-figure bribe. “The National Anti-Corruption Bureau searched the home of Deputy Minister for Municipal, Territory and Infrastructure Development Vasyl Losynsky and arrested him,” the online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda reported on Saturday. The ministry has already responded to the report and fired the top official.
Russian military reports new offensive
According to the Russian military, it has gained ground in a new offensive in southern Ukraine. “In the Zaporizhia region, more favorable lines and positions could be taken by attacks by units of the Eastern Military District,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in Moscow on Saturday. According to him, the Russians killed 30 Ukrainians in the attacks and disabled several military vehicles.
Russian military bloggers had previously reported on an offensive in the Orikhiv and Hulyaipolye areas. The first lines of defense were overrun. According to the blog “Rybar”, which is said to be close to the Russian Ministry of Defense, several towns were also taken. The Ministry has not yet officially confirmed this.
In the morning, the Ukrainian general staff only spoke of shelling in the region, but gave no information about an advance of Russian troops. Yevhen Yerin, a military spokesman in Zaporizhia, contradicted Moscow’s claim, telling Ukrainian TV station Suspilne: “At the moment they haven’t captured anything. All their attempts were repelled and the enemy suffered casualties”. The information could not be independently verified.
The Zaporizhia region is considered strategically important. Both sides have stationed large contingents of troops there. From the Ukrainian point of view, a Russian advance would be dangerous because its own troops stationed in the east defending the Donbass could be in danger of being encircled. On the Russian side there are fears that the Ukrainians could drive a wedge between the Russian troops with a push towards the sea, which would make it practically impossible to supply the units in the region.
Further pressure on Scholz to deliver tanks
Politicians from the Greens and FDP continue to urge Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine. The chairman of the Europe Committee in the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter (Greens) told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Monday): “Of course it’s not just about Leopard 2, but this is a crucial support that Germany can offer.”
Training of Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard must begin “right now” so that there are no further delays. FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann had previously publicly attacked the Chancellor in the dispute over the battle tanks.
In a joint declaration, the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania called on Germany to increase its leadership and supply battle tanks. “We, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, call on Germany to provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks now,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said on Twitter. This is necessary to stop Russian aggression, help Ukraine and quickly restore peace in Europe. Germany, as the leading European power, has a special responsibility in this regard.
This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:
What will be important on Sunday
Ukraine wants to continue to put pressure on Germany to deliver battle tanks. The Russian troops, on the other hand, are continuing their attacks in the Donetsk and Zaporizhia regions.
The head of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, is leading a State Duma delegation to Iran. Both countries want to expand their trade relations. Iran has officially declared itself neutral in the Ukraine war, but Kyiv has accused it of having supplied Russian troops with drones for attacks on Ukrainian cities, among other things.
More: Don’t miss any developments in the Ukraine war – everything new in our news blog