Kyiv After a visit to the frontline areas in the east of the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke of great suffering, but also of hope. He had visited the region around the embattled Bakhmut and the city of Kharkiv to get an idea of the situation. This Thursday, Zelenski is to be connected via video to an EU summit at which the Ukraine war will also be discussed.
“It is painful to see the cities of Donbass, to which Russia has brought terrible suffering and ruin,” Zelensky said in his evening video address on Wednesday. There are “hourly air raid sirens, a constant threat of shelling, a constant threat to life.” But despite the severe destruction and suffering, there is hope in these areas. “You can feel them,” said Selenski.
“We will do everything so that the blue and yellow colors can continue their liberation movement and normal life can return to our whole country, from Donetsk to the border,” he said, referring to the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
At the same time, Zelensky announced that Kiev would respond to the recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities with combat drones. “We will definitely respond to any attack by the occupying forces on our cities,” said Zelenskiy. “We will respond to all Russian attacks militarily, politically and legally.”
According to information from Kiev, at least 14 people were killed in Russian attacks in various parts of Ukraine on Wednesday. The press service of the Ukrainian army also reported 24 injuries.
Zelensky visits and honors “hero city” Kharkiv
Zelensky visited the city of Kharkiv in the north-east of the country on Wednesday and presented Mayor Ihor Terekhov with the insignia of a “hero city of Ukraine”. With the award, Selenski acknowledged the residents’ resistance to Russian attacks in the previous year. “Kharkiv is a real hero city,” Zelensky said, according to the Unian news agency. “Thanks to the citizens, this beautiful city, along with other cities, defends our independence.”
In a way, Kharkiv acted as a breakwater to stop the Russian attacks in the extreme east of Ukraine in battles that cost both sides heavy losses. In May, a Ukrainian counter-offensive pushed the Russian units out of the immediate vicinity of the city. During his visit, Zelensky awarded a number of medals to the defenders of Ukraine’s second largest city. A few hours earlier, the Ukrainian head of state had distributed medals to the defenders near the heavily contested city of Bakhmut.
Kiev: Russian attacks repelled at Bakhmut
According to their own account, the defenders in Bakhmut fended off new attacks by Russian troops. As the general staff in Kiev said on Wednesday evening, Russian units had tried to close the pincers around the city from the north and south. “The enemy continued his efforts to capture the city, with significant losses of troops and weapons,” wrote the General Staff in Kiev on Facebook in its daily situation report. In the meantime, a “decrease in attack momentum” by the Russian forces had become apparent. The information could not be independently verified.
The British Ministry of Defense had previously reported that the dynamics of Russian attacks near Bakhmut were declining, citing intelligence findings. In addition, Ukrainian troops had provided relief with their own advances, it said.
Stoltenberg: Weapons deliveries to Ukraine will still be necessary for a long time
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg swore the West would have to arm Ukraine with weapons to fight the Russian invasion for a long time to come. Russian President Vladimir Putin has no immediate plans for peace in Ukraine, he told the British newspaper Guardian. “President Putin isn’t planning for peace, he’s planning for more war.” That’s why the West must be prepared to continue supplying Kiev with weapons for a long time to come.
Russia is increasing military industrial production for its “war of attrition” and is reaching out to “authoritarian regimes like Iran or North Korea” to get more weapons, said Stoltenberg. The fierce fighting around Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine showed that Russia was prepared to “deploy thousands and thousands of soldiers and accept many casualties for minimal gains”.
Stoltenberg said that with equipment provided by the West, Ukrainians would be able to “take back territory and liberate more and more land” that Russia captured after the February 2022 invasion. The aim is to “enable the Ukrainians to launch an offensive and retake territory”.
IAEA warns about security at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues to warn of a dangerous situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which is occupied by Russian troops. “Nuclear safety at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant remains in a precarious state,” said IAEA chief Rafael Grossi on Wednesday, according to a statement from his organization. He added: “I again call for a commitment from all sides to ensure nuclear safety and the protection of the power plant.”
With six blocks and an output of 6000 megawatts, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been under Russian control for a good year after the Russian invasion. All reactors have now been shut down and are only being cooled and monitored. Incidents of artillery fire had fueled international concerns about a nuclear catastrophe.
Prince William visits British soldiers near Ukraine border
Britain’s heir to the throne, Prince William, arrived in Poland on Wednesday. He wanted to thank British and Polish military personnel involved in the support for Ukraine, Kensington Palace said in a statement in the evening. The 40-year-old visited a British military base in the city of Rzeszow near the Ukrainian border on the first day of the two-day visit.
This is how the Handelsblatt reports on the Ukraine war:
What will be important on Thursday
The heads of state and government of the EU states will discuss further aid for Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia. At the start of the two-day summit in Brussels, there will also be an exchange with UN Secretary General António Guterres.
More: Current news on developments in the Ukraine war can be found in our news blog