Kyiv has Transnistria as a “bridgehead” in its sights
“We have always viewed Transnistria as a bridgehead from which certain risks can emanate for us,” said presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak on Wednesday evening, according to the Unian agency. The Ukrainian leadership is aware of the dangers emanating from Transnistria, which is why in the Ukrainian regions of Odessa and Vinnytsia “everything is well thought out from the point of view of defense”. He described the recent explosions as an attempt at provocation. “Everything is as the Russian Federation always does.” Support for the separatists in the Moldova breakaway region is a contingent of Russian soldiers stationed there.
Zelenskyj: Russia regards all trade as a weapon
president Zelenskyj meanwhile sharply criticized the Russian freeze on gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. “This week, the Russian leadership started a new series of energy blackmail against Europeans,” he said in a video message. “Russia considers not only gas, but also every other trade as a weapon.” Moscow is only waiting for a favorable moment for this.
“Either to politically blackmail the Europeans. Or to strengthen the Russian war machine, which sees a united Europe as the goal, ”said Zelenskyj. The sooner Europe realizes that it cannot be dependent on Russia for trade, the sooner the stability of the European markets will be guaranteed.
Ukrainian exports to the EU are to be exempted from customs duties
Zelenskyj praised a proposal by the EU Commission to limit exports from Ukraine to the EU temporary exemption from import duties. “Russia is trying to provoke a world price crisis. So that the chaos can start in all basic markets and especially in the food market,” he said. However, Ukrainian exports could help stabilize the markets. “So it’s not just for us, but for all Europeans. To the residents of all countries that may be affected by Russia’s destructive ambitions.”
The European Commissioner responsible for trade Valdis Dombrovskis said the EU had never taken such trade liberalization measures before. Anti-dumping measures against Ukrainian steel exports are also to be suspended for a year. The EU Parliament and EU countries must agree, changes to the proposal are possible.
Russia criticizes US for handing over helicopters to Ukraine
Russia, meanwhile, protested against the US transfer of Russian-made helicopters to Ukraine. The 2011 contract stipulates that the helicopters are intended for Afghanistan and can only be passed on to other countries with Russian approval, said the FSWTS authority, which is responsible for military-technical cooperation. A delivery to the Ukraine is illegal and a gross breach of contract.
Before the start of the Russian war of aggression at the end of February, the United States had given Ukraine five of the Mi-17 helicopters originally intended for Afghanistan. In mid-April, Washington announced that it would send eleven more helicopters to Kyiv. The USA had initially purchased the Russian-built machines for the Afghan armed forces, but the Taliban took over power and did not hand them over.
Deaths and injuries from further shelling
At least three people were killed and six injured, including a 14-year-old child, in the Kharkiv region, according to Ukrainian sources. The local administration blamed Russia for the civilian casualties. Several explosions were reported from the city of Cherson, which Russia had reported taking. The detonations happened not far from the television center, Ukrainian media said. Then a fire broke out. The air defenses shot down a Russian spy drone near Odessa, the Ukrainian army said. The information could not initially be independently verified.
Klitschko has Ukrainian-Russian monument removed in Kyiv
In the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv left the mayor Vitaly Klitschko remove a monument to the friendship of both peoples because of the Russian war of aggression. The huge monument of two workers – a Ukrainian and a Russian – was demolished. The head of the Russian worker fell first, said Klitschko. The picture was seen in many media on Wednesday. Overall, the dismantling was not easy, but ultimately successful. That has symbolic power. “We must expel the enemy and the Russian occupier from our country,” said Klitschko.
That’s going to be important today
Support for Ukraine will once again play a central role in the Bundestag on Thursday. The traffic light coalition and the Union as the largest opposition group want to decide on a joint application for the delivery of heavy weapons. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is continuing his mediation trip and wants to meet President Zelenskyy in Kyiv. As with the previous visit to Moscow, one of the main topics is likely to be the situation in the city of Mariupol, where troops and civilians are surrounded by the Russian army.