The Russian regions of Belgorod and Kursk near the Ukrainian border have reported fresh attacks from the neighboring country. The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, announced on Wednesday evening on the Telegram news channel that one person was killed and six other residents, including a 14-year-old, were injured in the shelling of the village of Zolochi. Before that, Gladkow had spoken of three injuries and destruction in the area. A person died in the ambulance, said Gladkow. It is the most difficult situation since the shelling began. The information could not be independently verified.
According to the authorities, a Ukrainian drone was shot down by the Russian air defense in the Kursk region. No one was injured, it said. The information was not independently verifiable.
In Kursk, there is an increased terror alert level, which has been extended to May 25 due to other incidents in recent weeks. The border regions, including Bryansk and Voronezh, had repeatedly complained about shelling from the Ukrainian side.
Ukraine generally denies allegations of having shelled targets such as ammunition depots or fuel depots in the large neighboring country. Russia has threatened to target command posts in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv if the shelling doesn’t stop. (dpa)
The Czech Republic has given around 100 citizens the green light to take part in the Ukraine war. President Milos Zeman signed an order on Wednesday allowing 103 volunteer fighters to join Ukrainian troops, according to his spokesman.
Zeman was once a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. After Russian troops invaded Ukraine, however, he called the head of state in Moscow a “madman”. After an appeal for help by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, volunteers from Poland, Belarus, Canada, the USA and Great Britain had already joined the Ukrainian armed forces.
A Czech law actually forbids the Czechs from participating in war operations abroad. However, Zeman and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala decided in March not to punish Czechs who go to war with Ukrainian troops. (AFP)
At the request of Kiev, the UN Human Rights Council is holding a special session on Thursday on the human rights situation in Ukraine. According to the application, which is supported by more than 50 other countries, “the deterioration of the human rights situation in Ukraine should be investigated”. The Ukrainian government accuses the Russian troops of massive human rights violations and war crimes, including in Bucha.
The United Nations General Assembly suspended Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council over the Ukraine war in April. Immediately afterwards, Moscow announced its resignation from the body. As a country with observer status, Russia could theoretically still attend the special session of the Human Rights Council. However, Moscow has declared that it does not want this: A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry described the special session in advance as a “political show”. (AFP)
In the Ukraine war, there are increasing signs that Russia, contrary to its protestations, is planning to annex Ukrainian territories: the authorities deployed by Moscow in the conquered Cherson announced on Wednesday that they wanted to apply for the Ukrainian region to be included in the Russian Federation. The Kremlin declared that it was up to the people of Kherson to “decide their fate”. (AFP)
Development Minister Svenja Schulze promised Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba further support, including reconstruction, at a meeting in Berlin. “We are ready to make a significant contribution to supporting Ukraine in the future,” said the SPD politician on Wednesday.
They want to coordinate closely with the Ukrainian government, the EU and the international community. “Where bombs are no longer falling, Germany will also help to rebuild a free Ukraine,” declared Schulze.
According to her ministry, the emergency program for Ukraine was recently increased from 122 million euros to a total volume of around 185 million euros with funds approved by parliament. (dpa)
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández have warned far beyond Europe of the consequences of the war in Ukraine and have called for an end to the Russian attack. “It’s a war that also has consequences for the whole world,” Scholz said on Wednesday in Berlin after talking to Fernández.
There are now rising prices for energy and for food. It is feared that countries like Ukraine, which play an important role in the world’s food security, are no longer able to deliver food. “And that will bring with it the danger that there will be hunger.”
“Latin America is suffering from the consequences of the war,” said Fernández. “The sanctions against Russia are not only having consequences in Russia, but all over the world.” There are already regions in Central America that have become deserts as a result of climate change, where agriculture can no longer be practiced. And the war drove up food and energy prices.
Scholz also has the invitation
The Ukrainian military leadership has dampened hopes of launching an offensive to free the fighters trapped in the Mariupol Steel Plant. “As of today, such a deblocking operation would require a significant number of troops because Ukrainian forces are 150-200 kilometers from Mariupol,” Deputy Chief of General Staff Oleksiy Hromov said on Wednesday. Because the Russian troops have also built powerful defense systems in the meantime, such an operation costs many victims.
The port city of Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine has been under siege by Russian troops for more than two months. The last Ukrainian fighters, in addition to marines and units of the nationalist Azov regiment, have entrenched themselves in the Azovstal steelworks there. They are calling on Kyiv and the international community to use either diplomatic or military means to save them.
In the past few weeks, around 500 civilians who were also staying at the steel mill have been rescued via refugee corridors. Russia rejects a free withdrawal of the fighters. They should lay down their arms and go into captivity.
According to the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshchuk, around 1,000 defenders are still in the factory, half of them are injured. According to Russian information, 2,500 Ukrainian fighters and foreign mercenaries are said to have holed up in the steelworks. (dpa)