Kyiv, Moscow According to US media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also wants to visit Washington after his planned speech to the UN General Assembly in New York. A meeting with President Joe Biden in the White House and talks with members of Congress in the Capitol are planned for next week, the Washington Post, Bloomberg and CNN reported, among others.
The US media cited government sources in their reports on Thursday; there was initially no official information about Zelensky’s supposedly planned visit to Washington. It also remained unclear whether the Ukrainian head of state would give a speech to Congress, as he did in December. According to sources at the political website Punchbowl News, his trip to Washington is scheduled for Thursday next week.
Zelensky is likely to be in the US capital seeking continued help for his country in its defense against Russia. The United States is Ukraine’s main supporter in the war; no country provides more military and financial aid than the United States.
President Biden and his Democrats are currently campaigning for additional aid totaling more than $20 billion (equivalent to 18.6 billion euros) for military, economic and humanitarian purposes.
In the Senate, Ukraine has received broad support from both parties since the start of the war, but criticism of the ongoing aid payments has recently increased in the House of Representatives. The Republicans have a slim majority there.
Zelenskiy last visited Washington in December 2022 and met Biden as well as delivering the speech in the Capitol to both chambers of Congress. UN Secretary-General António Guterres wants to welcome the Ukrainian to the UN General Assembly, where more than 140 heads of state and government are expected at the United Nations headquarters on New York’s East River from Monday.
Baerbock calls for efforts against Putin in US interview
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on the USA to make a joint effort against the Russian war of aggression. “Putin is also fighting democracies around the world and that’s why we have to stand together,” she told the conservative TV channel Fox News.
Baerbock also encountered critical voices, especially from the ranks of the Republicans, who accused the federal government of a lack of commitment. “We are stronger than Putin’s brutal aggression,” the minister added. This Friday she continues her visit to Washington with consultations with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in which continued support for Ukraine is likely to play an important role.
US imposes sanctions on 150 other Putin supporters
The USA is now expanding its sanctions against supporters of Kremlin leader Putin. More than 150 people and companies will be subject to new punitive measures, the government in Washington announced. The aim is to “target Russia’s military supply chains and deprive Putin of the equipment, technology and services he needs for his barbaric war against Ukraine,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Russia expels two US diplomats
Conversely, according to official information, Russia is expelling two US embassy employees. The first and second secretaries of the diplomatic mission have been declared persona non grata and must leave the country within seven days, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The reason given was that they were accused of interfering in internal affairs.
International Criminal Court opens office in Kyiv
The International Criminal Court has opened an office in the Ukrainian capital Kiev to investigate alleged Russian war crimes. It is the largest branch of the Court outside of its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, said President Zelensky in his evening video address.
The international investigation will help restore “justice for Ukraine and for all our people.”
Fierce fighting for villages near Bakhmut
In its counteroffensive, the Ukrainian army says it is fighting hard for three villages south of the city of Bakhmut. A little later, the army denied original statements by Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar that the village of Andriivka had already been liberated.
On Thursday night, the Ukrainian army said it attacked two Russian patrol boats with water drones not far from the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. “There is some damage,” the Army’s Strategic Communications Department said. This could not initially be independently verified.
Russia has so far only acknowledged an attack on the Sergei Kotov, one of its Black Sea Fleet’s patrol boats – but claims to have repelled all five water drones used by Ukraine.
New allegations against the imprisoned magnate Kolomoisky
Ukrainian businessman Ihor Kolomoisky, who has already been imprisoned for money laundering, is facing further charges, according to an adviser in the Ukrainian president’s office. As former investigative journalist Sergei Leshchenko reports on Telegram, Kolomoisky is now also accused of forging documents, illegally taking over property by an organized group and acquiring property under questionable circumstances.
The new allegations are the result of an investigation by the Ukrainian Economic Security Bureau and Kolomoisky had already learned about the allegations while in custody, Leshchenko wrote.
North Korean leader Kim visits aircraft factory in eastern Russia
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in eastern Russia on Friday. As the Russian news agency Tass reported, Kim was welcomed by the region’s governor and other officials on a red carpet at the city’s train station and then accompanied to an aircraft factory.
According to the agency, the factory produces modern Russian fighter jets and civil aircraft. Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s most modern space facility in the Amur region. Both met for bilateral consultations following a tour of the cosmodrome.
Russia wants to help North Korea build satellites and also sees the possibility of military-technical cooperation. Kim, for his part, assured Russia of support in the fight against the West. Both countries would fight together against imperialism. Russia and North Korea intend to strengthen their relations with further talks on North Korean soil after the recent summit in Vostochny. Putin therefore accepted Kim’s invitation to visit North Korea.
This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:
That will be important on Friday
Kremlin boss Putin wants to receive Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi on the Black Sea this Friday. This year alone it is the seventh meeting between the two allies.
More: All developments in the Ukraine war in our news blog