Ukraine update: What happened in the night
Two months after the Russian invasion, US officials spoke to Lavrov about the end of the war
Just two months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, former top US officials reportedly spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about ways to end the war in Ukraine. This is reported by the US medium “NBC News”.
However, the government of US President Joe Biden is said not to have approved the talks. That writes the news agency Reuters. A spokesman for the US State Department also confirmed this to Reuters. “And as we have said repeatedly, nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” the spokesman said.
Zelenskyj: “We shouldn’t be surprised if Kadyrov marches on the Kremlin”
In a meeting with Bulgarian politicians, Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke about Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The current Russian leader is so weak that he is unable to protect the Russian oblasts from his own fighters,” says the President of Ukraine. “So we should not be surprised if someone – Prigozhin or, say, Kadyrov – marches on the Kremlin.”
The remnants of Russia’s combat troops are currently deployed in Ukraine, while Russia’s security forces are not motivated to protect their president. Zelenskyj’s consequence: we must increase our collective pressure on Russia.”
EU wants to boost production of ammunition and missiles with lots of money
On Friday night, representatives of the governments of the EU member states and the European Parliament agreed on a plan with which the European armaments industry should be given financial incentives to rapidly expand production capacities for ammunition and missiles. It was proposed by the EU Commission in May and envisages spending 500 million euros from the EU budget.
The background to the project is the difficulties of the EU states in supplying Ukraine with sufficient ground-to-ground and artillery ammunition and missiles for the defensive war against Russia. An expansion of production should now prevent further bottlenecks in the Ukrainian armed forces and also ensure that the EU states remain capable of defending themselves and can keep sufficient supplies. The agreement still needs to be confirmed by the Council of Member States and Parliament and could enter into force before the end of July.
Six dead in rocket attack on western Ukrainian city of Lviv
At least six people were killed in a rocket attack on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv (Lemberg) in a residential area. Authorities reported late Thursday evening that another woman had been pulled from the rubble of a destroyed building. According to official information, around 40 people were injured. Search and rescue operations continued. There is information that people are still trapped under the rubble, it said. Two houses are said to have been completely destroyed.
According to the information, more than 60 people were evacuated from the destroyed houses. Seven people were rescued from the rubble. Overall, damage to 35 buildings was mentioned. A mourning was declared in the city for two days.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that there would be “definitely a response to the enemy.” “A noticeable one,” he said on Telegram. Videos show badly damaged and in some cases almost completely destroyed residential buildings on an entire street. Zelenskyj wrote: “Consequences of the night attack by Russian terrorists.”
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi spoke of the worst attack on Lviv’s civilian infrastructure since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began more than 16 months ago. He announced that the destroyed houses would be rebuilt.
Russia had attacked Lviv with Kalibr cruise missiles shot down from the Black Sea, the Ukrainian Air Force said. Seven out of ten Russian missiles were able to destroy the air defense.
Zelenskyj expects a clear signal from the NATO summit in Vilnius
Zelenskyj expects a clear signal for membership in the western defense alliance from the forthcoming NATO summit. “What is ideal for us? We want to be invited to NATO,” he said after meeting his Czech colleague Petr Pavel. The moment had come to demonstrate the alliance’s unity and courage. At the same time, Selenskyj admitted resistance. Some people are still looking to Moscow, criticized the 45-year-old.
Pavel spoke out in favor of Ukraine starting NATO accession negotiations immediately after the end of the war. “It is also in the interest of our security, it is in the interest of regional stability and economic prosperity,” emphasized the former NATO general. The Czech Republic will also work to ensure that Ukraine’s accession negotiations to the EU should begin this year.
Selenskyj thanked the Czech Republic for the support both in the form of arms deliveries and by taking in hundreds of thousands of war refugees.
The NATO heads of state and government will meet in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius on Tuesday and Wednesday for a summit. After political talks in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Zelenskyy announced that Kiev needed a signal at the NATO summit “to motivate Ukraine to defend Europe”. He was convinced that Ukraine would become a member of the military alliance after the war. But one sign is important right now. “That is not such a high price to pay for such war and suffering.”
Selenskyj admits slow counter-offensive: “It’s not fast, that’s for sure”
Zelenskyy has also admitted that his army’s counter-offensive is “not progressing quickly” – but has assured that Kiev’s troops are still advancing. “The offensive is not fast, that’s for sure,” the Ukrainian President told journalists in Prague on Thursday after a meeting with Czech President Petr Pavel. “But still we are advancing and not retreating like the Russians are doing,” he added.
What will be important on Friday:
Selenskyj is now also expected in Turkey. The Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported that he would meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. There was initially no confirmation from the Ukrainian side. According to Anadolu, the meeting will deal, among other things, with the agreement to ship Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, which expires on July 17. Russia is threatening not to renew the agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last summer.
Ukraine update: what happened today
US government considers sending cluster munitions to Ukraine
According to media reports, the US government is planning to deliver cluster munitions to Ukraine. This was reported on Thursday, among other things, by the “New York Times”, citing unnamed government sources. The Pentagon did not want to confirm this at first. “I don’t have anything specific to announce today,” Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said. The White House had previously said it was examining the transfer of cluster munitions to Ukraine, which had been attacked by Russia. According to CNN, the plans could now be officially announced this Friday.
Cluster munitions are rockets and bombs that burst in the air over the target and scatter or release many small explosive devices – so-called submunitions. The type of ammunition has been criticized because a significant percentage of the explosive devices often do not detonate but remain on site as duds, thus endangering the population. Germany and many other countries have signed a treaty banning cluster munitions. The United States, however, did not sign the agreement.
“I would note that the Russians have already used cluster munitions on the battlefield,” Pentagon spokesman Ryder said. The USA had cluster munitions in their stocks. Ryder pointed out that older ammunition had a higher rate of duds. “We would carefully select bullets with a lower dud rate for which we have current test data,” Ryder said.
Five dead and dozens injured in attack on residential area in Lviv, Ukraine
At least five people have been killed in a Russian rocket attack on a residential area in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, according to Ukrainians. 37 other people were injured, as the authorities and the rescue service announced on Thursday. According to Mayor Andriy Sadovy, it was the largest attack on civilian infrastructure in Lviv since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi announced a “tangible response”.
Previous Ukrainian information had mentioned four deaths in Lviv. The attack hit a residential building and completely destroyed the third and fourth floors, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram. Rescue workers tried to free people from the rubble.
More than 50 apartments had been destroyed, Mayor Sadowyj explained on Telegram. A dormitory of the Polytechnic University, a school and an office building were also damaged.
The Kremlin allegedly knows nothing about Prigozhin’s whereabouts
According to the Kremlin, it has not been informed of the whereabouts of mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. “No, we are not following Yevgeny Prigozhin’s relocation, we lack the ability and the will to do so,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday, according to the Interfax news agency. After the failed uprising by Prigozhin’s private army Wagner against Russia’s military leadership almost two weeks ago, one of the conditions for an amnesty was the oligarch’s departure to Belarus.
This condition is still in force, confirmed Peskow. Belarus’ ruler Alexander Lukashenko had previously stated that, to his knowledge, Prigozhin was in the Russian metropolis of St. Petersburg. “He is not on the territory of Belarus,” Lukashenko said at a press conference. The headquarters of Prigozhin’s Concord corporate empire and his residence are located in St. Petersburg.
Meanwhile, photos of Prigozhin’s residence have been circulating in the Russian media since Wednesday. These were made during house searches on the day of the revolt. In addition to the luxurious furnishings of the property, you can also see weapons, gold and large amounts of money that were stored there. However, Prigozhin is said to have gotten these possessions back in the meantime. The publication of the photos apparently serves to damage the image of a simple man from the people that he has built up himself.
Zelenskyj comes to Prague
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is on his way to the Czech Republic after his visit to Bulgaria on Thursday. The 45-year-old wrote on Twitter that he would conduct “substantial negotiations” with President Petr Pavel and Prime Minister Petr Fiala, among others.