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    War against Ukraine: This is the situation

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    President Zelensky reports successes in protecting Ukrainian airspace. The EU imposes new sanctions against Russia. However, Moscow is apparently finding ways to circumvent the punitive measures. The news at a glance.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has praised the country's air force for shooting down seven Russian fighter jets. The Sukhoi fighter jets were shot down within a week, the head of state said in his evening video message broadcast in Kiev. “I am grateful to our air force and everyone who protects our airspace,” said Zelensky. One of the most important tasks in the war is protecting the airspace and positions at the front from Russian air and missile strikes.

    Ahead of the second anniversary of the start of the war, Zelensky also announced new major security agreements with Ukraine's allies. Among other things, it is about defense aid for the soldiers and very specific financial guarantees for the state, said Zelensky. He didn't give any details. Most recently, Ukraine concluded security agreements with Great Britain, Germany and France. The president announced that more should follow in the coming weeks.

    London: Russia steps up attacks in southern Ukraine

    According to British sources, Russian troops are stepping up their attacks near the village of Robotyne in southern Ukraine. The British Ministry of Defense in London said that the Russian 58th Army and Airborne Forces in the area suffered heavy losses in the Ukrainian counter-offensive last year. However, the slower pace of operations and strong recruitment efforts likely allowed Russian forces on that front to rally and strengthen, it said, citing intelligence.

    Robotyne in the Zaporizhia region was liberated by Ukrainian units in the summer of 2023. The village, in which a few hundred people originally lived, was further close to the front.

    Russian troops have also recently increased their attacks on other sections of the front, it said in London. The aim is presumably to disperse the Ukrainian troops.

    EU imposes new sanctions on Russia

    The EU imposes new sanctions on Russia on the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine. Representatives of the 27 member states agreed in Brussels to significantly expand the list of people and entities whose assets in the EU must be frozen. In addition, other companies that contribute to Russia's military and technological strengthening or to the development of its defense and security sector should also be sanctioned. No more military-use goods and technologies will be allowed to be sold to them from the EU.

    Most recently, the EU also used this instrument to target companies based in China, Uzbekistan, Iran and the United Arab Emirates and which are said to be involved in circumventing EU punitive measures.

    Study: Russia circumvents sanctions via Türkiye, among others

    According to a new study, Russia is circumventing Western economic sanctions on former Soviet republics, China and one NATO state: Turkey. This is the conclusion reached by economic researchers from the Munich Ifo Institute and Econpol. The evaluation is based on an analysis of Russian trade flows. Accordingly, Russian imports of important economic goods and military-important components from these neighboring regions have multiplied in recent years.

    “Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey exported fifty times more goods to Russia in 2022 that are critical to the Russian economy or important for the military industry than they exported in general goods to all destination countries in 2019,” Feodora said Teti, the deputy head of the Ifo Center for Foreign Trade. “This indicates a very high probability of sanctions evasion.”

    The EU has specified in two lists which economically important goods (economically critical goods) and militarily important components (common high priority items) may no longer be exported to Russia. The first list includes machines, engines or cranes. The second list sanctions the export of electronic, electrical and mechanical components that Russia needs for the construction of rockets or attack helicopters. These include, for example, semiconductors and memory chips. According to the study, many semiconductors come from Hong Kong. Exports of goods from the first list mainly go through Turkey.

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