Kiev is rowing back and stressing that the deployment of military trainers from France was not agreed. Germany and the USA are demanding that Ukraine not use its weapons against targets on Russian territory. All news about the war against Ukraine in the news ticker.

Wednesday, May 29, 05:40: Amid efforts to raise additional revenue to finance the offensive in Ukraine, Russia plans to raise taxes on top earners and companies. The Finance Ministry’s plans on Tuesday include raising the corporate tax rate from 20 to 25 percent and increasing tax rates for top earners.

The increases would bring in around 27 billion euros per year, reported the news agency Interfax, citing calculations by the Finance Ministry. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the changes were aimed at a “fair and balanced tax system.”

According to the Finance Ministry, exceptions are planned for soldiers fighting in Ukraine. The changes could be passed by parliament this year and come into force next year.

Since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February 2022, government spending has significantly exceeded revenue. Russia recorded a budget deficit of the equivalent of about 68 billion euros in 2022 and 2023. A deficit of the equivalent of about 17 billion euros is expected for the current year, which corresponds to about 0.9 percent of Russian gross domestic product.

7.20 p.m.: Germany and the USA are demanding that Ukraine not use its weapons against targets on Russian territory. According to Bild, however, Ukraine has not adhered to this agreement on at least one occasion. For example, a German Patriot system was used against attacking Russian aircraft.

This resulted in “angry calls” from Berlin and Washington. The threat was made that if the incident were repeated, no more anti-aircraft missiles would be delivered to Ukraine. According to the pro-Ukrainian military blog Tendar, the incident occurred on May 13, 2023. Within a few minutes, Ukraine shot down two Mi-8 helicopters, a Su-34 fighter-bomber and a Su-35 fighter jet over the Russian region of Bryansk.

Several heads of state have declared in recent days that their weapons could be used against Russian targets with immediate effect. On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Ukraine must be able to “neutralize” bases in Russia.

4.41 p.m.: Vladimir Putin has warned NATO countries against allowing Ukraine to use Western weapons to attack targets in Russia. “This constant escalation can lead to serious consequences,” warned the Russian president in Uzbekistan. “In Europe, especially in the small states, they should be aware of what they are playing with.”

11.46 a.m.: According to its Defense Ministry, Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia, is still negotiating with France and other countries about sending foreign military instructors to its country. Defense Minister Rustem Umerov thus corrected statements by Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Olexander Syrskyj on Monday evening that a mission of French instructors had already been decided.

Since February, Kiev has been proposing that Ukrainian soldiers should no longer be sent abroad for training, but should be trained in their own country, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said. “We are currently still in talks with France and other countries on this issue.”

Regarding the documents that were allegedly already signed, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said that they were being prepared: “The Ministry of Defense, together with the General Staff, has begun internal preparation of the relevant documents in order not to waste time coordinating bureaucratic issues once a decision has been made.”

04.45 a.m.: Russia says it has shot down a drone near the capital Moscow. The drone was shot down by air defenses on Monday evening in the town of Balashikha, east of Moscow, regional governor Andrei Vorobyov said via Telegram. The debris fell on a private house, and the people inside the house were brought to safety in time. No one was injured.

Tuesday, May 28, 12:50 a.m.: Following countries such as Germany, Great Britain, France and Spain, Belgium also wants to conclude an agreement on bilateral security cooperation with Ukraine this Tuesday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selensky is expected to meet with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo this morning to sign the document, the government in Brussels announced. A visit to the Melsbroek military airport is then planned for around midday, where Selensky is to be informed about the preparations for the delivery of the promised F-16 fighter jets.

The agreement on security agreements is the result of an initiative by members of the G7 group of western economic powers. They agreed on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania last year that individual states should conclude bilateral agreements with Ukraine in order to guarantee its long-term security. Countries such as Great Britain, Germany and France made a start in January and February. Spain followed suit on Monday.

The agreements guarantee Ukraine arms deliveries, financial aid and political cooperation, among other things. They are intended to help bridge the period until the country’s desired accession to NATO. Germany has, for example, promised Ukraine to continue and expand its military support – including through further arms deliveries and the training of Ukrainian soldiers.

11:21 p.m.: According to official reports, at least one person was killed in recent Russian attacks on the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Another eleven residents of the metropolis were injured in the shelling on Monday, Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote on Telegram.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the devastating Russian attack on a Kharkiv hardware store last Saturday has risen to 18. Authorities are now also reporting that at least 48 people are injured. The bombing of the busy hardware store was the second disaster in Kharkiv within a few days: shortly before, Russian missiles had destroyed one of the country’s largest printing plants in Kharkiv and killed seven people.

09.26: Ukrainian troops are still under pressure in Donbass. Now, proposals are apparently being discussed as to how NATO can better and more directly support Kiev. In future, Ukrainian soldiers will be trained by NATO instructors directly in Ukraine, reports Bild.

In addition, weapons and ammunition could no longer be transported only to the Ukrainian border, but also into the country’s interior. Great Britain, Canada and Estonia are said to be prepared to do this. Air defence of the western part of Ukraine from NATO territory is also being discussed. According to “Bild”, Poland is looking for partners for an “extended air defence”.

However, none of these plans have been decided yet, and they would also need the approval of the USA. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) currently sees no reason to expand the area of ​​operations in the Ukraine war.

Monday, May 27, 2024, 6:54 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Spain on Monday. Zelensky will be received by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchéz at 12:00 p.m., the Spanish government in Madrid announced on Sunday. There will be a press conference afterwards, it said.

Selenskyj had originally planned his visit to Spain for May 17. However, due to the situation in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian president cancelled the visit at short notice.

On May 10, the Russian army launched a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region, making the largest territorial advances in 18 months. According to regional governor Oleh Synegubov, more than 11,000 people in the region had to leave their homes as a result of the fighting.

Zelensky is likely to seek further support in the war against Russia in Madrid. Spain is one of the countries that has the Patriot air defense system.

7.43 p.m.: Russia’s former President Dmitri Medvedev has threatened Poland with “radioactive ash” following comments by Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. The Pole Sikorski had spoken to the British newspaper “The Guardian” about how the USA would presumably react to a Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine.

“The Americans told the Russians that if you detonate a nuclear bomb, even if it doesn’t kill anyone, we will hit all your targets in Ukraine with conventional weapons, we will destroy them all,” Sikorski told the paper. Poland is one of Ukraine’s strongest supporters.

The US did not say anything like that “because they are more cautious,” Medvedev wrote on the social network X. “If Americans hit our targets, it means a world war, and a foreign minister, even of a country like Poland, should understand that,” the deputy head of the Russian Security Council wrote on Sunday.

He claimed that Polish President Andrzej Duda had asked for tactical nuclear weapons from the US to be stationed in Poland. “Warsaw will not be left out and will certainly get its share of radioactive ash. Is that what you want?” Medvedev added. Duda said in April that Poland was ready to accept NATO nuclear weapons as a counterweight to the stationing of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

More on the Ukraine conflict on the next page.