Russians attack Mariupol also from the sea
Mariupol, under siege by Russian forces for days, was also attacked from the Sea of Azov. This was reported by Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of the Ukrainian town, specifying that the attacks by warships are added to the air raids. “The first missiles,” he said, “were launched from a ship near Bilosaraiska Kosa, towards the city”. Furthermore, the Mariupol regional hospital continues to be occupied by Russian forces “who force doctors to treat their wounded” and “also use patients as a shield against attempts by our soldiers to regain control of the hospital”. Telegram Ukraine Now channel quotes a message sent by one of the doctors, saying, “We cannot leave the hospital. There are shootings and bombings. We remain in the hospital basement. No car can approach the hospital and this has been the situation for two days. The Russians forced over 400 people who were nearby to enter the hospital. We are not allowed to go out.”
Russian ships bomb coasts south of Odessa
Russian ships in the Black Sea have begun bombing the coasts near the city of Odessa, the third largest in Ukraine and the country’s main port. Anton Gerashchenko, Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, wrote on social media that rockets and artillery shells were fired. The targets of the shots are positions of the Ukrainian armed forces and military infrastructure south of the city, in the Belgorod-Dnestrovsky area. However, it seemed no landing attempts by troops have been reported.
Explosions heard in Kiev
Explosions were heard during the night on the outskirts of Kiev while anti-raid sirens continue to sound in the capital of Ukraine. CNN reports the explosions started after dark.
EU leaders meet Zelensky
On day 20 of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, residents in the capital Kyiv were placed under a 35-hour curfew – but that did not stop the prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic from travelling there by train and have a briefing with their Ukrainian counterpart Denis Shmyhal and President Volodymyr Zelensky, who thanked them for the “powerful” gesture of support. They were accompanied to Ukraine by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party.Shmyhal told the delegation that to date, over $500 billion would be needed for the reconstruction in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. “The EU is already giving strong help,” he added, “and each of the countries represented here is making a strong contribution. We expect support in terms of financing the reconstruction of Ukraine.” Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki said Ukraine could count on the help of its friends.
Biden to travel to Brussels for NATO summit
President Biden is expected to travel to Brussels next week for an “extraordinary” NATO summit on Russia’s war in Ukraine. According to the White House, Biden will discuss the ongoing deterrence and defence efforts in response to what he called “Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine” as well as to reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies”. Biden is also set to join a scheduled European Council Summit to discuss “shared concerns about Ukraine, including transatlantic efforts to impose economic costs on Russia, provide humanitarian support to those effected by the violence, and to address other challenges related to the conflict”. Vice President Kamala Harris, who returned home over the weekend, travelled to Europe last week to represent the United States in bilateral meetings with European leaders.
Biden under pressure for Mig and S-300
Internal and external pressure continues on the Biden administration for the supply of heavier weapons to Ukraine. Informed sources to CNN report, both the US Congress and President Zelensky, who will speak to American deputies and senators today, are aiming in particular at Soviet-made weapons such as Mig fighter jets and S-300 surface-to-air missile systems. The sources point out the US State Department was working to identify which countries have the S-300 air defence systems and was examining how they could be transferred to Ukraine. But it is not clear what armaments the United States would give to those countries in return.
Nato fears Russian false flag operations – Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance was “concerned that Moscow may stage a false flag operation, perhaps even with chemical weapons”. Defence ministers of the NATO member states will meet at what Stoltenberg called “a decisive moment” later today, adding that Putin was causing death and destruction” that shook the international order. “They claimed they had no intention of invading Ukraine, but they did. They said they were withdrawing their troops, but they sent in even more. They claim to protect civilians. but they are killing civilians. Now they are making absurd claims about biological laboratories and chemical weapons in Ukraine. This is just another lie.” He also called upon China “to uphold international law”.
Zelensky admits Ukraine cannot enter NATO
Meanwhile, President Zelensky has told the Joint Expeditionary Force in London, “Ukraine realises that it is not in NATO. We have heard about open doors for years, but we have also heard that we cannot enter, and we must recognise it”. But Putin replies with a closure: “Kiev does not show a serious desire to find mutually acceptable solutions”. For the Ukrainian mediator, however, “there is room for compromise”. And the negotiations continue, with Zelensky himself speaking of “more realistic positions, even if it takes time”. Meanwhile , Poland is taking a strong stand in defense of Ukraine , asking for a NATO “peace mission” to deliver aid, “protected by armed forces”.
Biden signs $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid
President Biden has signed a $1.5 trillion measure that will fund federal operations through September and provide Ukraine $13.6 billion as the country continues to fight back Russia. Speaking before signing the bill, Biden said the US was “moving further to augment support to the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country”. The billions of dollars will be used to fund defensive training and military equipment for Ukrainians, as well as aid for nearly three million Ukrainian refugees.
Moscow imposes sanctions
Russia has imposed sanctions on US President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and other American officials. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the sanctions include blocking entry into Russia and freezing assets but do not prevent high-level contacts “if necessary”. Tass, citing the Russian ministry, writes that Moscow has banned President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from entering Russia.
Russia withdraws from the Council of Europe
The secretary general of the Council of Europe has received formal notification that Russia was withdrawing from the organisation. Spokesman Daniel Holtgen told Ansa he had information on Moscow’s intention to denounce the European Convention on Human Rights”.
Russian anti-war journalist fined and released
A mocow court has mades it known that the Russian television journalist who was arrested for showing a sign against the war in Ukraine live was sentenced to pay a fine of 30,000 roubles (€250) and was released. The woman, Marina Ovsyannikova, had interrupted a live broadcast of the Russia’s First Channel TV to deliver her anti-war message, carrying a sign that read “Stop the war, no to war.” Ovsyannikova, who faced 10 days in prison, pleaded not guilty to violating the laws on demonstrations.