Ukraine update: Ukrainian army takes two settlements near Cherson | Current Europe | DW

Germany |  Lloyd Austin at Ramstein Air Base

The essentials in brief:

  • Selenskyj reports further successes of his army
  • US Secretary of Defense: Support for Ukraine ‘as long as necessary’
  • Germany participates in the financing of 16 howitzers
  • More than 180 Russians summoned to try to escape at the border
  • Pope calls on Putin to end ‘spiral of violence’

Arkhanhelske and Myrolyubiwka are the names of the towns in the Cherson region that the Ukrainian forces recaptured from Russia. This was announced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a nightly video message. Earlier, he said the Ukrainian soldiers’ success was not limited to recapturing the strategically important small town of Lyman.

Selenskyj called the recent illegal annexations by Russia meaningless. “As soon as the Ukrainian flag has returned, no one remembers the Russian farce with any papers and any annexations,” said the president. Hours earlier, he had said that Ukrainian troops had regained full control of Lyman in the eastern Donetsk region after the Russian withdrawal. Around seven months after the start of the war, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin annexed the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Cherson in addition to Donetsk on Friday. The incorporation of the regions, parts of which Russia has not even conquered, in violation of international law, is not recognized internationally.

In his video, the Ukrainian President described the kidnapping of the head of the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Ihor Murashov, as a Russian act of terrorism. Russia must be held accountable and punished for this. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Russian authorities previously stated that they had temporarily arrested Murashov for questioning.

Austin: Support for Ukraine ‘as long as necessary’

The United States assures Ukraine of continued support – regardless of the further course of the war. Combat operations are currently developing positively for the Ukrainian army, Defense Minister Lloyd Austin said on the news channel CNN. It is difficult to predict the further course, he restricted. “But I would say that no matter which way this goes, we will provide security support to the Ukrainians for as long as necessary.”

Germany |  Lloyd Austin at Ramstein Air Base

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, here on a visit to Ramstein

In the interview, Austin did not directly address the question of whether the United States should also supply longer-range missile systems to Ukraine after Russia illegally annexed four regions. Ukraine wants such missiles with a maximum range of around 300 kilometers. The reason for the previous American reluctance is the concern that targets in Russia could also be attacked. With the annexation, however, Moscow now also regards the illegally incorporated Ukrainian regions as its territory. The United States has already pledged or delivered more than $16 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and equipment to Ukraine since Russia’s war of aggression began more than seven months ago.

Germany participates in the financing of 16 howitzers

Denmark, Norway and Germany are jointly funding the production of 16 howitzers for Ukraine. As the Federal Ministry of Defense announced, the project is worth 92 million euros. The three countries therefore share the costs equally. The Zuzana 2 self-propelled howitzers are built in Slovakia. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2023. The project goes back to agreements at the Copenhagen donor conference for Ukraine in August.

Latvia |  Summer Shield military exercise with the Zuzana 155 mm howitzer

Latvia also uses the Zuzana howitzer

After her return from a visit to Ukraine, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on television that Germany would “still get involved in many different ways and again – as before – together with partners”. She emphasized that “Ukraine can now be quickly supplied with about a hundred tanks” via ring exchange procedures. The exchange of rings is about Ukraine getting tanks of Soviet design; the countries that are giving up receive modern western tanks from Germany in return. Such exchanges have been agreed with Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Greece.

More than 180 Russians summoned to try to escape at the border

According to its own statements, Russia stopped more than 180 conscripts trying to flee from being drafted into the military on the border with neighboring Georgia. The Interfax news agency reports, citing the military commissariat of the region of North Ossetia, which borders on the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, that they were handed a draft notice directly at the Verkhny Lars border crossing.

The partial mobilization ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin about ten days ago triggered a mass flight in Russia. Tens of thousands of men fled not only to Georgia in the South Caucasus, but also to the Central Asian ex-Soviet states of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Due to the influx of refugees, the North Ossetia region had imposed transit restrictions last week. In addition, it had already been announced that men of military age should now be checked more intensively at the border.

Parliament in Moscow will discuss the annexations on Monday

According to a media report, the Russian parliament will deal with the ratification of the treaties and laws for the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions this Monday. The Russian news agency RIA refers to the speaker of the lower house, Vyacheslav Volodin. Meanwhile, the Russian Constitutional Court confirmed the admissibility of the treaties connecting the regions. The transition period for the integration should last until January 1, 2026.

Pope calls on Putin to end ‘spiral of violence’

Pope Francis has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the “spiral of violence” in Ukraine. During Sunday prayers on St. Peter’s Square in Rome, he deplored the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions by Moscow, which contradicted international law. It was the first time that the Argentine pope addressed Putin directly in a speech since Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine began on February 24.

Vatican |  Pope Francis

Pope Francis addresses the faithful in St. Peter’s Square in Rome in August

The situation that has arisen in the past few days increases the risk of a nuclear escalation and gives rise to fears of “uncontrollable and catastrophic consequences worldwide,” said the Pope. That mankind is again confronted with a “nuclear threat” is “absurd”. The head of the Catholic Church appealed to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be open to “serious peace negotiations”. Since the start of the Ukraine war, the Vatican has been walking a tightrope, condemning Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine on the one hand and trying to keep the possibility of a dialogue with Moscow open at the same time.

Macron wants to work towards new sanctions against Moscow

Before a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron exchanged views with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. During the call, Macron reiterated France’s determination to help Ukraine restore its full sovereignty and territorial integrity and to work towards new sanctions with its European partners, the Élysée Palace said. Macron is expected in Berlin this Monday.

Russia - Ukraine conflict I Lyman

A badly damaged building in the village of Zalyman, Kharkiv region

The French President also condemned the arrest by Russian forces of the director of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Both presidents have stressed that it is urgently necessary to enable the exchange of Ukrainian personnel who ensure the operation and safety of the power plant, sources in Paris said.

kle/wa (afp, dpa, rtr)

This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.


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