Ukraine war: Ukraine meeting started in Malta – Russia not there

Ukraine-Talks started in Malta – Russia not there

Saturday, October 28th, 10:44 a.m.: A third major international Ukraine meeting began in Malta on Saturday for a possible later peace summit to end the Russian war of aggression. “International support for the Ukrainian peace formula is growing,” said the head of the presidential office in Kiev, Andriy Yermak, at the start. Top diplomats and national security advisors from numerous countries will gather at the conference this weekend. Jermak spoke of 65 states represented, significantly more than in the summer in Saudi Arabia.

“This is truly a demonstration that the world is interested in justice and in a victory for Ukraine,” Yermak said. “Russia’s misrepresentations about a waning interest in Ukraine have not come true.” The focus of the Malta meeting is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj’s ten-point “peace formula,” which essentially provides for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.

Russia is not invited and criticized the talks as an “obviously anti-Russian event”. China, which launched its own peace initiative as an ally of Russia, is reportedly staying away this time, unlike in the summer. The USA, Germany and Great Britain as well as the European Union are considered Ukraine’s most important supporters.

Nevertheless, Ukraine is concerned about the crumbling support in the West. There are also discussions about billions in aid in the USA. Before the meeting, Yermak said in an interview on the US television channel Fox that Kiev continues to count on Washington’s help. “Our victory will be a common victory, because a defeat of Russia is in the strategic and political interests of the United States.” At the same time, he said: “And winning this war will be very difficult – or even impossible without the help of the United States and other partner.”

Ukraine is expected to use the two days of negotiations until Sunday as an opportunity to drum up support for Zelensky’s peace plan. Similar to the previous conferences in Copenhagen and Jeddah, the topics of energy, food and nuclear safety as well as humanitarian issues and the restoration of Ukraine’s borders will be discussed.

Several injured after shelling of Kherson in southern Ukraine

7:50 p.m.: According to official reports, several people were injured in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson as a result of heavy Russian shelling. More than ten residential buildings in the city center were damaged, the head of the city administration, Roman Mrotschko, said on Telegram on Friday. There were several injured, the exact number has yet to be determined. One person was therefore taken to hospital.

It is currently unclear whether it was artillery fire or an attack with rockets and drones. At least it was known that two Russian-made combat drones were said to have been intercepted over the area.

Meanwhile, the neighboring Mykolaiv region also reported shelling. According to its own information, the Ukrainian air defense intercepted three Ch-59 air-launched guided missiles there.

Moscow: Drone attacks on Kursk nuclear power plant repelled

12.25 p.m.: According to official information from Moscow, Russia’s air defense repelled three drone attacks against a nuclear power plant in the Kursk region, which borders Ukraine. The Moscow Defense Ministry accused Kiev of attempted “terrorist attacks” against objects in the Russian Federation. Russia’s nuclear power plant operator Rosenergoatom confirmed on Friday that there had been three “enemy drone attacks” against the Kursk nuclear power plant the evening before.

“The event did not affect the work of the station. The Kursk nuclear power plant is working according to plan,” it said in a statement. There are neither injuries nor destruction. “The legal protection authorities are on site,” Rosenergoatom said. No increased radiation was detected either. According to information from the independent Russian portal Baza, an explosive device on board a drone exploded at a depot with nuclear waste. The facade of the storage facility was damaged.

The authorities in the Kursk region repeatedly complain about shelling from the neighboring country, where Russia is waging a war of aggression. Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin has repeatedly accused Ukraine of attacking energy infrastructure, including nuclear facilities. Since last fall, Putin has repeatedly had energy infrastructure in Ukraine destroyed by Russian shelling. The comparatively low damage in Russia caused by Ukrainian counterattacks is disproportionate to the severe destruction and high damage in the country attacked by Moscow.

EU organizes film festival in Moscow

Friday, October 27th, 5:25 a.m.: Despite Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the European Union is organizing a film festival in Moscow again in November after a break last year. Under the slogan “Cinema united”, 21 films from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and other EU countries will be shown, mainly online and free of charge, from November 1st to 15th, like the EU representation announced in Moscow. Even in the difficult context of the Russian war against Ukraine, the EU wants to show that relations between Europeans and Russians can be continued, said EU Ambassador Roland Galharague in Moscow.

The EU ended its cooperation with the Russian government because of the war of aggression; But this shouldn’t reflect on the people in Russia. “Cinema unites people,” said the diplomat in a Moscow cinema in front of hand-picked guests. “Russian culture and art also serves as a source of enrichment for filmmaking in Europe,” said Galharague. Two co-productions with Russian participation will also be shown.

Many Russian artists have left their homeland because they can no longer work freely in a country where Western culture is sometimes officially demonized. Filmmakers in particular repeatedly complain about censorship by the Russian Ministry of Culture, which, for example, refuses licenses for the distribution of cinema films. At the EU event to introduce the film festival in Moscow, keywords such as freedom and human rights also flickered across the screen. Some guests at the unannounced film screening spoke of a climate of intimidation and fear in all spheres of society in Russia.

The films, including documentaries, are shown in their original language with subtitles in the Coolplay online cinema. Access without prior registration is only available to people in Russia or abroad with Russian network access (VPN), said a diplomat from the EU representation of the German Press Agency in Moscow. Some of the films were shown at European and international film festivals and appealed to both critics and viewers, it was said.

Zelenskyj thanks new military aid from the USA and Denmark

10:26 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked the US and Denmark for new military aid worth hundreds of millions of euros. It is important that the enemies of freedom do not have the illusion that the defenders of freedom cannot endure an arms marathon. Zelensky said this in his evening video speech in Kiev on Thursday. Ukraine has been fending off a Russian invasion for over 20 months.

The new US package for 150 million US dollars (around 142 million euros) includes, among other things, AIM-9 missiles for air defense, Stinger missiles and ammunition for multiple rocket launchers of the Himars type.

According to government information, Denmark is providing Ukraine with artillery, modernized tanks and armored personnel carriers of Soviet design, recovery vehicles and ammunition. This 13th aid package from Copenhagen is worth 3.7 billion crowns (approx. 500 million euros). Zelensky also spoke on the phone with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday.

Kiev denies reports of closure of Black Sea corridor

8:41 p.m.: The Ukrainian government has officially denied reports of an alleged blockage of the Black Sea shipping corridor. “All existing routes established by the Ukrainian Navy are valid and used by civilian ships,” the Infrastructure Ministry in Kiev said on Thursday. 23 ships are currently being loaded in the three Black Sea ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyj.

With the shipping corridor, Ukraine is defying a Russian naval blockade. Since the end of the grain agreement in July, Moscow has wanted to prevent shipping traffic to and from Ukraine via the Black Sea. However, in recent months Ukraine has pushed Russian forces away by shelling the occupied Crimean peninsula to such an extent that their planes and ships can hardly operate in the western Black Sea. A Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian tanker also showed Moscow how vulnerable its own oil export route across the Black Sea is.

The report about a closure of the corridor from Ukraine towards the Bosphorus came from the Ukrainian agricultural consulting firm Barva Invest. She in turn referred to alleged military reports that Russian aircraft had dropped propellant mines. Semi-official sources in the Odessa region also reported a lockdown.

“Since the corridor was established in the extremely difficult conditions of Russia’s military aggression, its operation depends on the military situation and weather conditions,” the Infrastructure Ministry said. Minister Oleksandr Kubrakow wrote on the social network X (formerly Twitter) that shipping traffic was continuing. Since the corridor was established in August, 51 ships have called at Ukrainian Black Sea ports. 33 freighters exported 1.3 million tons of grain and other goods.

Jean Harris

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