The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said Friday the EU is confident of a deal on a Russian oil embargo. Borrell made the announcement on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in northern Germany. The EU is continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunitions. He also said he believes that the embargo on Russian oil can be lifted in the next few days.
EU foreign ministers reach agreement on new 500 million euro military aid to Ukraine
EU foreign ministers have agreed to inject 500 million euros into a military aid fund for Ukraine. The announcement is significant as it represents a major step forward for the EU, which had previously dampened hopes for an accelerated enlargement to Ukraine. This move comes in the wake of Russia's unprovoked invasion of the country. According to Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief, the new funds will be used to support Ukraine's armed forces.
The EU's statement came a day after President-elect Petro Poroshenko's call for NATO full membership and security guarantees, as a prelude to new EU military assistance to Ukraine. Despite the conflict in Ukraine, the UN has reported that over 3.3 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to other countries. Meanwhile, Germany's parliament paid tribute to Boris Romanchenko, a former Nazi concentration camp survivor killed in the Russian strike on Kharkiv on February 24. A senior US defense official has warned that Russian combat power in Ukraine has declined to levels seen before the invasion. A senior US defense official has warned of heavy losses on both sides.
The EU foreign ministers also discussed how to best apply new sanctions against Russia. They also assessed the situation in Mali, which is undergoing a coup regime. They also adopted the Strategic Compass, a new defense action plan. In addition, the EU allocated more than 500 million euros in humanitarian assistance for Ukraine. As part of its efforts to support the Ukrainian people, the EU is now sending thousands of additional anti-tank weapons and personal protective equipment to Ukraine.
As the conflict in Ukraine continues to spread, it is vital that the victims' families and relatives know the truth about the fate of their loved ones. A ceasefire could save 50 civilian lives and prevent up to 70 civilian injuries and twelve disabilities. Additionally, it would allow thousands of civilians to leave hostilities safely. Moreover, a ceasefire would make it more difficult for armed groups to carry out their actions.
U.S. supplies weapons and ammunitions to Ukraine daily
The U.S. State Department declared an emergency on Friday to approve $165 million in weapons and ammunition for Ukraine. This is the first time the State Department has declared an emergency since the Biden administration and the second time under the Trump Administration. The U.S. military has established strong ties with Ukraine's military, but there are still blind spots in the US' information. For example, the US has limited information about Ukraine's S-300s, which are widely used by the Ukrainian military.
The Pentagon is supplying Ukraine with modern armed drones, such as the Phoenix Ghost. Several dozen Ukrainian soldiers were already training with the new technology. These drones are carried in a backpack and can be flown directly at a tank or a group of troops. Once they hit the target, they explode. This provides a significant advantage for Ukraine. In addition, the U.S. is providing Ukraine with the technology and equipment to fight the Russians in the conflict.
The Russians, meanwhile, cannot find any weapons in Ukraine. Because of this, they are running out of munitions and don't want to spend them on random trucks. In response, the Russians are destroying a depot near Lviv that was holding large consignments of weapons. However, CNN was unable to confirm or deny this claim. However, there is still one possible explanation for the massive U.S. supply.
The U.S. supplies weapons and ammunitions to Ukraine every day, according to the needs of Ukrainian troops. A previous announcement stated that the U.S. was sending missiles and anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. The U.S. has given more than seven hundred Javelins to the Ukraine, which are highly effective against Russian tanks. But these weapons are still in the process of being trained and upgraded by the Ukrainian National Guard.
Although Russian forces continue to redeploy northwards, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has pushed Russian forces back to the Russia-Ukraine border. This week, Ukrainian forces liberated several towns near Kharkiv City and pushed northwards from Staryi Saltiv. The Russian military claimed that Ukrainian forces had advanced to within ten kilometers of its border, though ISW cannot independently verify that claim. Russian forces are also reportedly redeploying in the Izyum area, which has become a major staging area for its troops in the Donbas region. This is a crucial area for Russian forces to advance to as a launching pad to attack Ukrainian forces in the northeast.
On Wednesday, the Russian military struck communities near the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, while the Ukrainians defended towns in the north. In a recent attack, Russian forces attacked Izium, which was one of the humanitarian corridors established during the fighting. Other towns, including Lysychansk, were shelled. The shelling damaged four residential buildings, including one that was used by civilians.
Meanwhile, in Poland, more than a quarter of NATO's troops are based there, which is strategically important given Poland's large border with western Ukraine. NATO announced on Monday that they will double the number of battlegroups in Eastern Europe to eight. The move signals that NATO is growing increasingly concerned about Russia's aggression. These new battlegroups will be stationed in Hungary and Bulgaria, and will join similar forces in Poland and the Baltic States.
Earlier on May 8, the Ukrainian counteroffensive advanced in northern Kharkiv, closing in on ten kilometers of the Russian border. Meanwhile, the Russian forces are continuing to redeploy near Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, while trying to stop Ukrainian forces from pushing closer to the Russian border.
Red Cross and UN representatives meet with Russia to negotiate evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers from Azovstal
The meeting between the Red Cross and UN representatives and the Russian delegation on the situation in Ukraine comes after the Secretary-General of the UN urged a humanitarian corridor through Mariupol and the evacuation of Ukrainian troops from Azovstal. The Secretary-General emphasized that all states should respect the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of other states, and that Ukraine cannot be an exception.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett raised the issue with Putin, telling the Russian president that Kyiv must order the remaining Ukrainian forces to lay down their weapons. Russia's ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, has told Sky News that it was "deeply disappointed" by the news that Finland and Sweden have joined NATO. Meanwhile, Seva undertakes resupply missions to eastern Ukraine and meets with troops waiting to be deployed to the front line.
Meanwhile, the situation at the Azovstal steel plant has also captured international attention, with leaders from across the globe calling for the evacuation of civilians from the area. The UN and the Red Cross have teamed up to help nearly 500 civilians escape. Guterres hopes the evacuations will allow Russia to temporarily pause military operations and create a humanitarian pause to allow evacuees to leave.
The meeting comes as the world prepares to celebrate Victory in Europe Day, which commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. The Ukrainian government has been trying to reach out to international organizations, including the UN, for help. The G-7 leaders are expected to meet Zelenskyy on Sunday. Their meeting will take place just before the Victory Day holiday in Russia.
The Secretary-General has repeatedly called for a ceasefire. He also strongly condemned the killing of civilians in Bucha and urged a credible independent investigation of the incident. The Secretary-General's visit to Moscow and engagement with the Russian Federation's leaders is also welcomed. However, the conflict in Ukraine is also affecting the region and the United States as well. Its effects are particularly severe on developing countries, as many of them are heavily dependent on the Russian Federation for food and energy.