Polish, Ukrainian first ladies discuss joint projects for Ukrainian people
Poland’s first lady and her Ukrainian counterpart have discussed further Polish-Ukrainian cooperation in providing humanitarian aid and other assistance to the people of war-torn Ukraine, according to the Polish President's Office.
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Ukraine’s Kyiv comes under attack for first time in months
Ukraine’s Kyiv has come under attack for the first time in months, the city’s mayor has said, as large explosions were heard in the capital.
“Strong explosions were heard on the left bank of the capital,” Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Saturday in a post on the Telegram messaging app, referring to the left bank of the Dnipro river.
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Ukraine gets European Commission nod to start EU membership talks
The European Union’s executive has recommended opening formal membership talks with Ukraine, as soon as it meets final conditions, in a major show of support for Kyiv in its battle against Russia.
“This is a strong and historic step that paves the way to a stronger EU with Ukraine as its member,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on social media on Wednesday.
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Ukraine Raises Grain Deliveries to Black Sea Ports
The number of rail wagons heading to the ports of Ukraine's Odesa region continued to rise over the past week thanks to the successful operation of the alternative Black Sea exports corridor, a senior railways official said late on Thursday.
Valeriy Tkachov, deputy director of the commercial department at Ukrainian Railways, said on Facebook that over the last week the number of grain wagons heading to Odesa ports increased by more than 26% to 5,341 from 4,227.
He said up to 970 wagons were unloaded at the ports' silos every day.
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Grenade in birthday gift kills aide to Ukraine’s top commander
A top aide to the commander of Ukraine’s armed forces was killed Monday when a birthday gift exploded, the military leader announced.
In a message published on Telegram, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny said that his assistant, Maj. Hennadii Chastiakov, was killed under “tragic circumstances” while celebrating his birthday with relatives when “an unknown explosive device went off in one of the gifts.” His 13-year-old son was also seriously injured, the National Police of Ukraine said.
Chastiakov was “a reliable shoulder for me” since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Zaluzhny wrote. “The reasons and circumstances [surrounding his death] will be established during the pre-trial investigation,” he wrote.
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Russia strikes civilian ship in Black Sea port of Odesa
At least one person has been killed after a Russian missile struck a civilian ship entering the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa, Ukrainian officials say.
According to the southern defence forces, the Liberian-flagged vessel was struck by an anti-radar missile.
A 43-year-old harbour pilot died, while three Filipino crewmembers and a port worker have been injured.
There was no immediate comment from Russia on the incident.
According to Odesa's Regional Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating, the attack was launched at 16:45 local time (14:45 GMT) on Wednesday. The ship was reportedly moored at the time it was struck.
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Germany Set to Double Its Ukraine Military Aid Under Scholz Plan
German chancellor Olaf Scholz's governing coalition has agreed in principle to double the country's military aid for Ukraine next year to 8 billion euros ($8.5 billion), a political source in Berlin said on Sunday.
If approved by parliament, where Scholz's parties hold a majority, the boost would lift Germany's defence spending to 2.1% of its gross domestic product target, beyond the 2% pledged by all North Atlantic Treaty Organization members, the source added.
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Ukraine’s president rules out holding elections next spring and calls for unity in fighting Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy late Monday ruled out holding a presidential vote in the spring and urged his countrymen to avoid political divides, saying they must concentrate all resources on fighting Russia.
Zelenskyy’s comments in a video address follow increasing discussions about the possibility of a presidential election in March. Zelenskyy, who was elected for a five-year term in March 2019, had previously avoided definitive statements on the question. His associates had said he was pondering various possibilities.
“Now, in wartime, when there are so many challenges, it is absolutely irresponsible to throw the topic of elections into society in a lighthearted and playful way,” Zelenskyy said, adding that ”the waves of any politically divisive things must stop.”
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Russia Makes Big Push Toward Bakhmut and Avdiivka
Kremlin forces have stepped up the intensity of attacks near Bakhmut over the past week, Ukrainian military spokesman Volodymyr Fityo said on local TV. The Donetsk city was the center of a bitter, months-long battle for control. Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said Russia is trying to recapture territory lost around Bakhmut during Ukraine’s summer and autumn offensive. “Enemy attacks are being repelled,” he wrote on Sunday. Separately, Kremlin troops are stepping up air strikes around Avdiivka, also in Donetsk, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, who leads Kyiv’s forces in the area, said on Telegram. Some 30 strikes had been launched in a day, he said.
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Slovakia’s new government rejects aid for Ukraine
The new left-populist government of Slovakia, a country neighboring Ukraine that had been one of its staunchest supporters, on Wednesday rejected a proposed package of military aid for Kyiv, fulfilling a campaign promise by Prime Minister Robert Fico to halt assistance in the war against Russia.
The blocking of the roughly $43 million aid package, which was to include rockets and ammunition, is unlikely to change Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities significantly. But the government’s decision, issued at a cabinet meeting, is a first concrete sign of growing fatigue among Kyiv’s supporters in NATO as Russia’s invasion nears the two-year mark.
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