Barely two and a half months after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia’s strategic defeat is “obvious”. Moscow’s defeat was “obvious to everyone in the world and also to those who still communicate with them (the Russians),” Zelenskyy said in his daily video message on Thursday evening. Only Russia does not have the courage to admit defeat. “They are cowards trying to hide this truth behind new missile, air and artillery strikes.”

The Ukrainian leader has criticized the recent Russian attacks, which hit a school in Chernihiv in the north of the country. “Of course, the Russian state is in a state where any education only hinders it,” said Zelenskyy. Russian commanders who issued such orders to shell educational institutions were “simply sick – incurable”.

In addition, 570 health facilities in Ukraine have been destroyed by Russian attacks since the beginning of the war, including 101 hospitals. “What’s the point?” Zelenskyj asked. “That’s nonsense, that’s barbarism.” For him, this is a sign of Russia’s self-destruction.

Zelenskyi’s adviser Oleksiy Arestovych attributes his occasionally erroneous analyzes of the events of the war to the “terrible idiocy” of Russia’s political and military leadership. “I actually consider them to be people of average minds,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s adviser said, according to a Unian agency report. “But then they do something that would never have occurred to me because it’s so stupid.”

Russia recently “scraped together” another 15 combat units to throw them into battle. “In the past five and a half thousand years of military history, no greater idiocy can be found,” said Arestovych. Recently he had not ruled out a new offensive by the Russian army against the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and spoke of a “senseless suicide”.

With international support, the Ukrainian leadership is continuing its efforts to rescue the soldiers at the besieged Azovstal Steelworks in the port city of Mariupol. “We have opened a new round of negotiations,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, according to Ukrayinska Pravda. Kyiv has given the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross the mandate to hold talks with the Russian side, and Turkey is now involved as a mediator.

The aim is an evacuation in several stages – the first priority is the rescue of 38 seriously wounded defenders from Azovstal. If this works, “then we move on”. Among other things, Ukraine is ready to exchange Russian prisoners of war for the wounded from Azovstal. In an interview with the ARD daily topics, one of the fighters described the difficult situation. “Our lives mean nothing, my life means nothing,” said Illia Samoilenko. At the same time, he had little hope for the future: “It could be our last conversation.”

The last Ukrainian defenders have holed up in the sprawling steelworks in the port city. Russia has so far refused any evacuation and is demanding surrender from the Ukrainians at the plant. According to Ukrajinska Pravda, Turkey suggested that the Russian military evacuate all Ukrainian soldiers from Azovstal by sea. They were then to remain in Turkey until the end of the war.

The industrial city of Kremenchuk in central Ukraine was hit by a series of Russian rockets on Thursday, according to Ukrainian sources. In the biggest attack on the city since the beginning of the war two and a half months ago, a refinery was also damaged, said regional military chief Dmitry Lunin, according to the Unian agency.

A crowdfunding project launched by the Ukrainian leadership to support the country has already raised millions in a week. As Digital Minister Mykhailo Fyodorov announced, donations of 25.8 million dollars (24.4 million euros) were received via the United24 website. “The support came from 72 countries around the world.” The money will now be divided among the ministries to finance the currently most necessary projects. Ukraine created this state donation platform because of the Russian war of aggression.

In Ukraine, all branches of the Russian Sberbank and VEB.RF, the former Vnjeschekonombank, will be nationalized with immediate effect. This was decided by the parliament in Kyiv, as announced by presidential spokesman Andryj Yermak, according to the online newspaper “Dumskaya”. All shareholder rights of the affected banks and their deposits with other Ukrainian financial institutions are now being transferred to state ownership.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due to report to the Bundestag’s defense committee on Friday (8:00 a.m.) on Germany’s position on the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, in particular on arms deliveries.

At their meeting in Weißenhäuser Strand on the Baltic Sea on Friday (9.30 a.m.), the foreign ministers of the group of seven major industrial nations (G7) will continue their deliberations on the consequences of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. The foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova, Dmytro Kuleba and Nicu Popescu, are also expected to attend the meeting.

The Agriculture Ministers of the G7 meet in Stuttgart to discuss the consequences of the Ukraine war for global food security. The Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture Mykola Solskyj is also expected at the meeting at Hohenheim Castle (11:00 a.m.).

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