Dhe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has dampened expectations of the ongoing Kiev offensive. “We must understand very clearly – as clearly as possible – that the Russian armed forces in our southern and eastern areas will do everything possible to stop our soldiers,” Zelenskyy said in his evening video address on Friday. Therefore, one must be grateful for every kilometer that one’s own troops advance and for every success in battle, he said. The statement is an indication of the difficulties faced by the Ukrainian military in its offensive.
After the NATO summit in Vilnius, from which Zelenskyi returned with promises from the G7 about a security partnership instead of an invitation to join NATO, the head of state’s attention was once again focused on current events at the front. At a meeting with the military leadership, the combat operations, the supply of the troops and the coordination with the partners in the supply of weapons and ammunition were discussed, the 45-year-old said. He also announced an upcoming reform of military training.
In early June, Ukrainian troops in the south began their offensive to recapture areas that Russia had occupied at the beginning of its more than 16-month war of aggression. So far, the Ukrainians’ gains in territory have been small. Both sides report heavy fighting.
Ukraine: Need more reconstruction money from abroad for 2023
Ukraine complained about insufficient international funding for the “rapid reconstruction” projects planned for this year. Of the expected equivalent of around 12.5 billion euros, only just under 3.5 billion euros have been made available, said Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko, according to a statement on Friday. “Rapid reconstruction” is a priority, as it ensures safe living conditions for the Ukrainians and economic recovery. Key areas include vital infrastructure and the energy sector, home repair and mine clearance.
Abbot of Kiev Cave Monastery now in custody
The abbot of the world-famous Kiev Cave Monastery, Pavlo, who was previously under house arrest, has now been taken into custody by a court in the Ukrainian capital. The metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is being accused of justifying Russia’s war of aggression and national hate speech, national radio Suspilne Media reported on Friday. The detention is valid until September 14th.
The Ukrainian authorities have been taking action against the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for months. Selenskyj sees the church as being riddled with spies loyal to Moscow. In fact, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was closely allied with the Moscow Patriarchate until the beginning of the war. Only then did she break away from Moscow. Despite this, she is considered politically unreliable in Kiev. The political leadership therefore wants to hand over the Kiev Cave Monastery to the still young Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Estonia extradites suspected Russian arms smuggler to US
Estonia has extradited a Russian citizen with suspected links to Russia’s FSB secret service to the United States. He is said to have helped circumvent sanctions. The charges against Wadim K. were to be read out on Friday, according to the US judiciary. The defendant is suspected of helping the domestic intelligence agency FSB to smuggle both military and civilian technology and large quantities of ammunition from US companies to Russia to support the “Russian war machine”. In doing so, he violated US export controls and economic sanctions. If convicted, K. faces up to 30 years in prison.
The 48-year-old used front companies to cover up his criminal activities, the statement said. Estonia is said to have served as a transhipment point for smuggling goods from the USA to Russia. At the request of the United States, Estonian authorities arrested K. on October 27, 2022, when he tried to bring about 35 different types of semiconductors and electronic components, several of which came from the United States and were subject to export controls, to Russia . He was extradited to the United States on Thursday.
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