#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Zelensky suggests von der Leyen to start negotiations. Moscow bombs Kiev. Holland: Yes to F-16s to Ukraine


9 May is Victory Day in Russia and again this year military parades and celebrations were held in all regions of Russia and again in the CIS states and some Balkan countries. Missing from the parade in Moscow were the special units, and instead of the regulars there were cadets from military schools, present were the war veterans, with tears in their eyes, during the parade. The air force was absent, but nevertheless, the Defence Minister achieved his goal of bringing 10,000 military personnel to Red Square.

The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin once again insisted on the socio-economic paradigm shift underway: ‘Today civilisation is again at a decisive turning point, a real war has been unleashed against us. Decisive battles for the fate of our homeland have always become sacred, we are proud of those who participate in the special operation. It is important that the leaders of the CIS have gathered today in Moscow, I see in this a grateful attitude towards the achievement of our forefathers. They fought together and won together’.

In many countries of the former Warsaw Pact, however, it was forbidden to celebrate as if the end of World War II and the defeat of Nazism were not a common element between Russia and Europe. Furthermore, Germany, Poland and Austria prevented Russian ambassadors in their respective countries from laying flowers in honour of the fallen. In Moldova, they fined those wearing St. George’s brooch.

In Ukraine they declared that Victory Day would henceforth be Europe Day and, above all, no longer a public holiday. Apparently what was the terror of anti-Soviet politicians in the 1990s of the last century has become reality. Ukrainian politician Vyacheslav Chernovol, in a speech in 1996, called on Ukrainians to change their minds, to prevent the rise to power of nationalist radicals, who would divide Ukraine into two parts: ‘Whether Russian-speaking in Luhansk or Ukrainian-speaking in Lvov, we are all full citizens of Ukraine’.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen on 5 May named three key elements of the 11th sanctions package against Russia. “We continue to do everything in our power to undermine Putin’s military machine and his revenues,” von der Leyen, during a press conference in Kiev. According to her, the eleventh package will contain three key elements: clarifying existing instruments, adding more products to the EU transit ban; proposing a new instrument to counter sanctions evasion; and a proposal to ban ‘shadow’ organisations of Russia and third countries that deliberately evade EU sanctions.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the European number one to Kiev on 9 May. And suggested to him that the President of the European Commission open EU-Ukraine negotiations: ‘The time has come to remove the artificial political uncertainty in relations between Ukraine and the European Union. The time has come for a positive decision on opening negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union,’ the Ukrainian president said.

Zelensky stressed that he expects a positive provisional assessment by the European Commission on Ukraine’s progress on the path to European integration to be presented in June. Prime Minister Zelensky also said: ‘We can defeat the aggressor. “As for defence, Ukraine proves every day the effectiveness of our defence against Russian aggression. Every terrorist missile shot down, every success of our soldiers in repelling Russian assaults is proof that we can defeat this aggressor. The main thing is the proportionality of our capabilities to the capabilities of the aggressor,’ Zelensky said during the meeting with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.

Ukraine meanwhile received another EUR 189 million loan from the World Bank to pay salaries to state employees.

And in terms of the Russia-Ukraine arms ratio, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that talks were underway with Denmark, the UK, the US and other countries to transfer F-16 fighter planes to Ukraine. Which the Ukrainians do not know how to fly.

NATO has increased allied air force readiness in the Black Sea area in connection with Russian air force actions, Reuters reported. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that “Peace in Ukraine is impossible now”.

The head of the Skadovsk administration, Lyudmila Khotienko, denied Ukrainian media reports about the evacuation of Russian officials from the city. It is also reported that the Italian Embassy in Ukraine has again called on its citizens to leave the country urgently.

Croatia has delivered nine of the 14 Mi-8 helicopters planned for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which were decommissioned in the country due to the exhaustion of their operational life. Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine received ten Polish MiG-29s.

Fighting continues on the line of contact. The Ukrainian Armed Forces hit the building where PMC ‘Wagner’ was holding Ukrainians, Wagner’s number one Yevgeny Prigozhin reported. According to him, on a preliminary basis, the attack was carried out by HIMARS. It is not yet known exactly how many prisoners died.

Also via social media, it is claimed that shelling is taking place in the border area with Ukraine. For seven days Ukrainian formations have been shelling border areas in the Belgorod region. In the urban district of Grayvoron, the village of Spodaryushino was again shelled on 9 May. On 8 May, the Ukrainians shelled at least eight settlements, damaging residential buildings and infrastructure. According to the latest figures, five people were injured, all residents in the town of Shebekino. In the Bryansk region, in the early morning hours of 9 May, the village of Kurkovichi was targeted by the Ukrainian armed forces: one of the shells exploded a few metres away from the kindergarten, and there were problems with the electricity supply in the village.

In the early afternoon of 9 May, a message was posted on the social sphere that Bachmut was in the hands of Wagner. Official communication from the Russian Defence Ministry is awaited.

In the night between 8 and 9 August Russian troops attacked Ukrainian targets in the area of Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye. Earlier, targets in Odessa, Kiev, Kramatorsk and Slavyansk, as well as in the regions of Vinnitsa, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr were under fire by Russian forces.

Belgorod region in the urban district of Valuysky, air defence crews shot down a Ukranian missile and UAV: according to preliminary data, there were no casualties or damage.

Ukrainian formations shelled residential buildings and infrastructure in Shebekino, Krasnoe, Spodariushino, Leonovka, Kaznacheevka, Biryucha, Pankovo . At least five civilians were injured in the latter.

Starobilsk direction: In this direction, the situation at the front has not changed significantly: the sides are conducting mutual reconnaissance and artillery duels. Ukrainian formations launched a HIMARS MLRS rocket into the village of Molodezhnoye, there were no reports of damage or casualties.

Soledar direction: Ukrainian strike groups made another attempt to attack Russian positions on the outskirts of Vil’shana. The Russians responded with artillery fire. In the western districts of Bachmut, Russian forces engaged in hard battles for the Bubka College of Olympic Reserve.

In the south, Wagner PMC assault groups are advancing along Tolbuhina St and Levchenko St, pushing Ukranian forces out of the city, metre by metre.

Donetsk direction: north of Avdiivka, positional battles continue near the H20 highway near Novobakhmutovka. In the south, Russian troops are striking Ukrainian strongholds on the northern outskirts. Ukrainian formations attacked settlements in the Donetsk agglomeration: residential buildings, cars and a gas pipeline in the DPR capital were targeted. Artillery clashes in Vuhledar.

Zaporozhzhia Directorate: The situation has not changed significantly. The Ukrainian formations continue to build up forces, the artillery and air force of the Russian Armed Forces are working on Ukrainian points deemed detected. At the Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant, the operation of power units has been suspended to avoid Ukrainian provocations.

Southern Front. Cherson direction: Against the background of the offensive announced by the Ukrainian armed forces, artillery is actively working on both sides. From the right bank of the Dnepr, which is controlled by the Ukraine, there are reports about the movement of personnel and equipment of the Ukrainian formations. According to sources that cannot be verified: ‘Units of Russian troops have taken control of access to all islands at the mouth of the Dnepr in the Cherson region’.

In the south, cruise missiles hit Ukranian locations in the Odessa and Bilhorod-Dnistrovs’kyi districts. In Kiev, Russian ‘Geran-2’ UAVs hit military facilities and military infrastructure. Targets hit by the Russians in the Svyatoshyns’kyi and Solom’yans’kyi districts of the capital were reached by kamikaze drones.

In the Sumy region, Ukrainian air defence systems also proved impotent against Russian ordnance. The position of Ukranian units near Znob-Novhorods’ke was hit.

Graziella Giangiulio

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