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    War against Ukraine: This is the situation

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    Western arms deliveries to Ukraine have been stalling for months. President Zelenskyj admits massive problems and warns of an erosion of solidarity. The overview:

    After a visit to the front, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj described the situation there as “extremely difficult.” There are problems on sections of the front where the Russians have concentrated the largest reserves, Zelensky said in his daily video address. “They are taking advantage of delays in aid to Ukraine.”

    Zelensky complained about the lack of artillery shells, anti-aircraft systems near the front and long-range missiles. Kiev is working hard to resume aid from its Western partners, the Ukrainian head of state assured his compatriots.

    Zelensky had previously visited the Kupiansk sector of the front in the Kharkiv region. The Russians, who were driven out of the city in autumn 2022, have been advancing on the small town with the railway junction, which is considered strategically important, for weeks, also because the Ukrainians have too little ammunition. In his speech, the President thanked the Ukrainian companies that were driving forward arms production in their own country. However, the country is currently not yet able to provide itself with weapons and ammunition and is still dependent on aid, he said.

    In his speech, Zelensky also addressed the protests of Polish farmers against Ukrainian agricultural exports. The blockade of border crossings by Poles was a devastating signal of the “erosion of solidarity,” he said. Since only five percent of Ukrainian agricultural exports cross the Polish border, the problem is not with grain, but with politics. Joint decisions aimed at the common good are needed to resolve the situation, he said.

    Withdrawal from Avdiivka officially ended

    The Ukrainian armed forces have now declared their withdrawal from the city of Avdiivka in the east of the country, which was heavily fought over for months, to be over. After the capture, Russian soldiers allegedly shot several seriously wounded Ukrainians who remained there, contrary to an agreement, according to information from Kiev. The enemy agreed to evacuate the wounded, provide them with assistance and later exchange them, the 110th Brigade, which was withdrawn from Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, said on Facebook. However, at least five of those who remained were later identified as dead in videos posted by the Russian side. One soldier's whereabouts are uncertain.

    The General Staff in Kiev spoke of a difficult operational situation on the fronts in the east and south of Ukraine. A total of 56 battles were registered on various sectors of the front, the military leadership reported on its Facebook page. During the course of the Russian attacks, residential areas also came under artillery and rocket fire. There were deaths and injuries among the civilian population. This information could not be immediately independently verified.

    Putin sees war in Ukraine as a “matter of life or death”

    According to Kremlin chief Putin, Russia considers the situation around Ukraine to be “vital.” For the West, however, it is just a question of tactics, said Putin in an interview on state television, from which the state agency Tass quoted.

    While the West is taking tactical positions around Ukraine, for his country it is “a matter of fate, a question of life or death.” If the West didn't get involved, “the war would have ended a year and a half ago.”

    Defected Russian helicopter pilot reportedly dead

    A Russian helicopter pilot who defected to Ukraine is dead, according to information from Kiev. “We can confirm this fact,” Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov told public television on Monday. He did not provide any further information about the circumstances of his death.

    According to media reports, the body was found in Spain. “He brought his ex over and was found shot,” wrote the internet portal Ukrayinska Pravda, citing its own intelligence sources. There was no confirmation from Spanish authorities.

    The pilot flew from Russia to Ukraine in August last year with a fully equipped Mi-8 army helicopter. After landing at a Ukrainian military airfield, the other two crew members were shot while trying to escape, according to Ukrainian sources. The Russian received the equivalent of over 460,000 euros from Kiev for the crime. State television in Moscow reported in the fall that the Russian secret service had received the order to kill the man who was considered a traitor.

    Long-range weapon systems from Germany?

    The coalition factions want to call on the federal government to supply additional, long-range weapons systems to Ukraine. In the draft for a joint coalition proposal, the Taurus cruise missiles, which Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has so far resisted, are not mentioned by name. The paper by the parliamentary group leaders, which is available to the magazine “Stern” and the German Press Agency, calls for “the delivery of additionally necessary long-range weapon systems and ammunition in order to enable Ukraine (…) to carry out targeted attacks in accordance with international law to strategically relevant targets far in the rear area of ​​the Russian aggressor”.

    According to “Stern”, the proposal from the SPD, Greens and FDP will be put to a vote in the Bundestag this week. The formal occasion is the tenth anniversary of Russia's invasion of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

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