EU aid for Ukraine: Construction industry fears disadvantages for EU companies
Friday, November 17th, 4:15 a.m.: Without conditions for the EU’s billions in aid to Ukraine, the domestic construction industry fears disadvantages for European companies. The German and European construction industry is demanding that tenders for reconstruction projects financed by Ukraine aid are only accessible to companies from the EU and from countries that also provide aid, as Alexander Tesche from the Main Association of the German Construction Industry said.
The association announced that Turkish or Indian companies, for example, could win contracts for the reconstruction of Ukraine because they are in a position to submit significantly cheaper offers. This is because they do not implement the EU’s social and environmental standards. It is important that funds are allocated based on aspects such as quality or social and ecological sustainability.
In the summer, the EU Commission proposed providing billions more to support Ukraine in the coming years, including for the reconstruction of the country. Specifically, up to 50 billion euros are to be raised for grants and loans for the period 2024 to 2027.
ISW reports successes near Kherson: Ukraine pushes Russia back eight kilometers
Thursday, November 16th, 7:32 a.m.: Ukrainian troops continue extensive operations in Kherson Oblast and establish a buffer zone on the Dnipro. The ISW confirms that Ukraine is making significant progress and is successfully pushing back Russian forces.
Russia admits Ukrainian advance on Moscow-controlled Dnipro bank
8:39 p.m.: According to Russian sources, Ukrainian forces have managed to advance to the Russian-controlled side of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine. Around “one and a half” Ukrainian companies were “in small groups” on the eastern bank of the river, the Moscow-appointed governor of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, said on Wednesday in the Telegram online service.
“We have deployed additional forces,” Saldo added. Ukrainian soldiers are stuck in a “fire hell” in the village of Krynky and are being shot at with artillery, rockets and drones, among other things.
The AFP news agency could not independently verify the reports and the number of Ukrainian forces. According to the military glossary of the Russian news agency Tass, a company can consist of 45 to 360 soldiers.
With Saldo’s comments on the online service Telegram, a high-ranking Russian representative admitted for the first time that Ukraine had succeeded in encroaching on the Russian-controlled bank of the Dnipro. The Kremlin has so far refused to comment on such reports.
The chief of staff of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said on Tuesday that Ukrainian armed forces had “gained a foothold on the left bank of the Dnipro”. However, he did not provide further details.
The wide Dnipro has been the front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces in southern Ukraine for a year. The western bank is held by Ukraine, while Russia controls the opposite bank. Ukrainian soldiers had tried several times to cross the river to further push Moscow’s troops back.
Deaths due to shelling Ukraine – also rescue workers among victims
3:38 p.m.: According to official reports, at least five civilians were killed and 17 others injured by Russian shelling in the south and east of Ukraine on Wednesday. According to civil defense officials, at least three men died in the embattled Zaporizhzhia region after several Russian missile strikes. Two of the dead were rescue workers. They had carried out clean-up work after the first impacts. 14 people were injured.
Initially, the regional military governor Yuri Malaschko spoke of one dead and seven injured. According to authorities, a multi-story residential building was hit by a Russian missile in the eastern Ukrainian city of Selydove in the Donetsk region. Two people – including an 85-year-old woman – were killed and three other people were injured.
According to police reports, a total of four S-300 rockets hit Selydove at dawn and damaged 26 houses. Two deaths were confirmed – but rescuers assumed there were two more people buried. The rescue work continued.
8:55 a.m.: Kiev Mayor Vitalia Klitschko said on the sidelines of the German-Ukrainian municipal partnership conference in Leipzig that he was afraid that Ukraine would fall out of the focus of other countries after the outbreak of the Gaza war. “The result is that Russia is not punished and simply carries on.” In addition, more options would open up for Russia.
In Ukraine there is currently “an illusion of life that can be destroyed at any second,” said the politician, describing the situation in his home country. The people there dreamed of peace. Giving part of Ukraine to Russia is unthinkable. “We are also fighting for our European future,” said Klitschko.
In February 2022, Russia attacked Ukraine. There has been war there ever since. An end? Not foreseeable at the moment, said Klitschko. His city is well prepared for the approaching winter – also thanks to the help from partner cities like Leipzig. “But you cannot rule out the possibility that Russian missiles will destroy our infrastructure,” warned the 52-year-old. This is also why he advises his citizens to be prepared for the worst, i.e. to have enough food, drinking water and warm clothing ready. “Everyone has to be ready.”
Eastern Europeans demand more commitment to ammunition plan for Ukraine
3:41 a.m.: There are calls from Eastern Europe for decisive attempts to rescue the EU’s ammunition plan for Ukraine, which is threatened with failure. If sufficient ammunition cannot be organized from our own warehouses and through our own new orders from industry, we should be prepared to buy from third countries, said Estonia’s Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur in an interview with the German Press Agency. This is one of the possible solutions.
Pevkur pointed out that, according to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, significant quantities of ammunition produced in the EU are delivered to other countries due to existing contracts. In his opinion, negotiations could be held with these countries in order to redirect the ammunition to Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russia. “The production is there,” he said.
The Estonian politician responded with calls for the slow progress on the EU plan to deliver one million artillery shells to Ukraine by spring 2024. The German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius therefore declared on Tuesday on the sidelines of EU consultations that he would Expect failure. “The one million will not be reached. “We have to assume that,” said the SPD politician. The reason is insufficient production capacity.
General: Have trained about 8,000 Ukrainian soldiers
Wednesday, November 15th, 12:40 a.m.: The Bundeswehr and its partners have now trained around 8,000 Ukrainian soldiers to defend their country against Russian attackers. “My expectation is that by the end of the year we will have trained around 10,000 in around 200 training modules,” said Lieutenant General Andreas Marlow, commander of the multinational Special Training Command. It is based in Strausberg near Berlin and controls the work of the EU training mission (EUMAM) for Ukraine, which was launched a year ago.
The training includes various levels from basic training through specializations – such as medics, snipers or tank crews – to the training of military command personnel. Some accents have changed, Marlow said. He cited a shift from defensive to offensive operations. According to previous information, a bottleneck remains the lack of translators due to complex security requirements.
Marlow made it clear that the Bundeswehr itself also benefited from the training and gained knowledge about Russian warfare. He described the training of the Ukrainians as a give and take and referred to the Ukrainians’ greater experience in drone warfare or in how to deploy a Russian-style positioning system.
By the standards of the Bundeswehr, the training period for training Ukrainians is short. They have shorter schedules during war but also in their own country. “They need six weeks of basic training and then maybe another six weeks of advanced training before the soldiers are sent off to war,” said Marlow when asked what time Ukraine gives for training new soldiers.
The Bundeswehr, which has military prowess as its old and new maxim for defense against a possible attacker, also wants to gain fundamental insights from this. Marlow: “I have now commissioned the Army Training Command to investigate how and to what extent we could reduce training under war conditions to the essential level that is needed for war or combat, in order to also reduce this period of time can.”