The British foreign minister accuses China of sending weapons to Russia. Military expert Carlo Masala is sounding the alarm. “Putin’s plan is working at the moment,” he warns. Ukraine collects pledges for a peace conference. All news about the war against Ukraine in the news ticker.

Thursday, May 23, 2024, 6:51 a.m.: Ukraine continues to collect commitments for the planned peace summit in Switzerland in mid-June. “Today I spoke with the heads of state and government of Chile, Albania, Austria and Mozambique,” ​​reported President Volodymyr Zelensky in his video message on Wednesday. “Four other countries at the summit – I thank them.” It is known that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will be traveling to the meeting for Germany.

According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the heavy ground battles against Russia’s attacking troops continued. In the evening report for Wednesday there was talk of 121 battles. The majority of these occurred in the Donetsk region in the east. At the same time, the Russian offensive in the border area near the city of Kharkiv continued. On Thursday, Ukraine counts the 820th day of the full-scale Russian invasion.

At the request of Ukraine, Switzerland is organizing the event on 15/16. A summit meeting on the Bürgenstock near Lucerne in June. It is intended to mobilize more international support for the attacked country. Ukraine hopes to convince neutral or even Russian-friendly southern states of its position. China in particular is being courted. The first step is not about negotiations with Russia; Moscow is not invited and refuses to take part anyway. 

“Russian aggression has tried to turn the UN Charter into a museum exhibit,” Zelensky said in Kiev. “Our peace summit and the participation of world leaders can restore the UN Charter to full effectiveness and protection for all nations.”

Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) will take part in the meeting from Austria, the Chancellery in Vienna confirmed. Nehammer called the conference an important step towards making peace possible again. What is needed is a “broad alliance of allies for peace, even outside the echo chambers of the EU”.

6:35 p.m.: Following condemnation from some NATO members, the Russian draft decree proposing to change Russia’s border in the Baltic Sea has been deleted from the Russian government’s website. The draft was published on Tuesday. 

In it, the Russian government stated that it wanted to revise the borders. The areas around the Kaliningrad exclave and several islands would be affected. The postponement would therefore be at the expense of Lithuania and Finland. Russia gave the reason that the existing border was established in 1985 on the basis of outdated nautical charts. Russia has not yet made a public statement about why the draft was deleted.

The proposal met with immediate resistance from many NATO countries. Putin has been accused of seeking dominance in the Baltic Sea.

1:19 p.m.: According to British information, China is supporting Russia with combat equipment for the war of aggression against Ukraine. According to British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, British and US intelligence agencies discovered that “lethal supplies” were being flown from China to Russia and then taken to Ukraine for use. Shapps did not provide any concrete evidence on Wednesday.

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to China and the roughly two-thirds increase in trade between the two countries show that there is a deeper relationship, Shapps said at a conference in London.

The cooperation between the two nuclear powers “should worry us,” said the minister. At the start of the war, China tried to present itself as a moderating influence on Putin. “It’s time for the world to wake up,” said Shapps. Concrete plans and capabilities are needed within NATO. “And that starts with laying the foundations for an alliance-wide increase in spending on our collective deterrence.”

Wednesday, May 22nd, 8:09 a.m.: Ukrainian President Zelensky indicated in an interview with the Reuters news agency that the Russian offensive near Kharkiv is achieving its goal.

Although the situation there has been “stable” for around a week, “no one” is paying attention to any real danger: the situation in the east, for example near the mountain fortress of Chasiv Yar. The experts from the “Institute for the Study of War” write in their daily briefing on the war that the Russian army is accelerating the pace of its offensive in Chasiv Yar.

The experts see Russia’s mountain fortress as the greatest chance for operational success in the war against Ukraine. If Putin’s troops succeed in occupying the city, the elevated terrain would give them control of the surrounding area and could thus launch an attack on Ukraine’s “fortress belt” in Donbass.

11:18 p.m.: According to the USA, Russia has sent a satellite into space, which is probably a space weapon. The satellite can probably attack other satellites and is in low-Earth orbit, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said on Tuesday. The start took place on May 16th. The Russian satellite is now in the same orbit as a US government satellite, Ryder continued. When asked whether the Russian satellite posed a threat to the US satellite, Ryder said: “Well, it is a space defense weapon in the same orbit as a US government satellite.” There have been similar Russian launches in 2019 and Given in 2022.

5.04 p.m.: Russia has announced the start of nuclear weapons exercises near the Ukrainian border. The Russian Defense Ministry announced that the exercise was a “response to provocative statements and threats from certain Western representatives.” Russia had announced the exercise in early May.

The first stage of the maneuver, which is intended to increase the readiness of the nuclear forces, has begun in the southern military district, the Defense Ministry announced in Moscow on Tuesday. The Iskander and Kinschal missile complexes are also involved. These tactical weapons can be equipped with nuclear warheads.

These are nuclear weapons that can be used selectively against enemy troops and other military targets. As a rule, they have a significantly lower explosive power than the strategic nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were developed specifically for deterrence. In view of Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, which has been defending itself against the Russian war of aggression for more than two years, the maneuver is seen as an additional threatening gesture by Putin.

According to the ministry, what is being tested is the covert movement of the rockets to a specific position from which they are fired. According to the ministry, the exercise aims to “maintain the readiness of personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons units to respond to provocative statements and threats made by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation and to unconditionally protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state to ensure”.

Tuesday, May 21st, 7:02 a.m.: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock traveled to Ukraine on a solidarity visit in light of the recent Russian offensive. The Green Party politician arrived in the capital Kiev on Tuesday morning for a visit that was not announced for security reasons.

In view of the current Russian offensive, she urgently calls for more international support for Ukraine in air defense. “In order to protect Ukraine from the Russian hail of missiles and drones, it urgently needs more air defense,” demanded the Green politician on Tuesday.

“We must now join forces so that Ukraine can survive (…) and so that Putin’s troops do not soon find themselves at our own borders,” Baerbock appealed to the international partner countries with a view to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The global initiative for more air defense that she launched together with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) raised almost a billion euros to provide additional support for the Ukrainian air defense forces. “And we are working intensively to ensure that this becomes even more.” The minister added: “We are turning over every stone several times and have led the way with an additional patriot unit.”

5:00 a.m.: As announced, Spain wants to deliver more older Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks to Ukraine by the end of June. Defense Minister Margarita Robles confirmed this at the video conference of the Ukraine Contact Group, the government said in Madrid. The promised delivery dates will be met and additional Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and various types of ammunition will also be sent.

The left-wing government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had already sent ten Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine last year. In March it announced the deployment of a total of 19 more tanks of this type this year. The first ten have been promised by the end of June, with nine more to follow in September.

More on the Ukraine conflict on the next page.