The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said ahead of an EU-Ukraine summit next week that Ukraine had unconditional support from the bloc and needed to prevail against Russian attacks to defend European values. “We stand by Ukraine’s side without any ifs and buts. Ukraine is fighting for our shared values, it is fighting for the respect of international law and for the principles of democracy and that is why Ukraine has to win this war.”
A Russian strike killed three people in a residential district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka on Saturday, the regional governor said. Fourteen other people were wounded in the attack, which also damaged four apartment buildings and a hotel. According to Ukraine’s defence ministry, Russia carried out attacks on Konstantynivka with multiple rocket launchers.
Russia accused the Ukrainian military of deliberately striking a hospital in a Russian-held area of eastern Ukraine on Saturday. It said a strike killed 14 people and wounded 24 patients and medical staff. The strike hit a hospital in the Russian-held settlement of Novoaidar and was carried out using a US-supplied Himars rocket launch system, the Russian defence ministry said. The claims could not be independently verified, AP reported.
Kyiv and its western allies are engaged in “fast-track” talks on the possibility of equipping Ukraine with long-range missiles and military aircraft, a top aide to Ukraine’s president says, AP reported. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Ukraine’s supporters in the west “understand how the war is developing” and the need to supply planes capable of providing cover for the armoured fighting vehicles that the United States and Germany have pledged.
Ukraine said on Friday it would take its pilots about half a year to train for combat in western fighter jets such as US F-16s, as Kyiv steps up its campaign to secure fourth-generation warplanes. Ukraine got a huge boost this week when Germany and the United States announced plans to provide heavy tanks to Kyiv, which is now hoping the west will also provide long-range missiles and fighter jets.
North Korea on Saturday denounced US pledges of battle tanks, claiming Washington was “further crossing the red line” to win hegemony by proxy war, Reuters quoted state media KCNA reporting. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, made the remarks in a statement, saying that North Korea will “stand in the same trench” as Russia against the United States.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, will hold a meeting with Lynne Tracy, the new US ambassador to Moscow, early next week, the RIA news agency reported.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday redoubled his efforts to stop Russian athletes participating the 2024 Olympics, saying they would try to justify the war against Ukraine if allowed to compete. Zelenskiy said on Friday that Ukraine would launch an international campaign to keep Russia out of the summer games, which will be held in Paris. Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday that any attempt to squeeze Moscow out of international sport because of what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine was “doomed to fail”.