Shortly before the decision on Ukraine’s possible status as a candidate for EU membership, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj called for further sanctions against Russia.

“Russia must feel the growing pressure as a result of the war and its aggressive anti-European policy,” said the Ukrainian head of state in his video message on Wednesday night.

In talks with several European heads of state and government, he stressed that a seventh package of sanctions was needed as soon as possible.

In the meantime, fighting is continuing in eastern Ukraine, and in some cases there is a risk of Ukrainian troops being surrounded. The area around the city of Cherson occupied by Russian forces is gradually being recaptured, Zelensky said.

There could soon be movement in grain exports from Ukraine – according to the Kremlin, representatives of Turkey are to travel to Moscow next week to hold talks on the blocked exports, which are leading to dangerous supply bottlenecks in developing countries in particular.

Zelenskyj’s economic advisor Alexander Rodnyansky meanwhile expressed his confidence in his country’s victory against the Russian aggressor. “We can win the war,” he said on the ARD program “Maischberger”.

He hopes that the counteroffensive can begin in August. The support from abroad helps a lot and also arrives, but it takes a while before the weapons can be used.

In any case, one should not indulge in the illusion of a sustainable peace with Russia. Under President Vladimir Putin, the neighboring country is about imperialism – “and it will stay that way”.

According to Russian information, 70 ships from 16 countries are currently stuck in six ports in Ukraine. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, they cannot go to sea unhindered because of the shelling by Ukrainian forces and the high risk of mines.

On the other hand, Ukraine – one of the largest grain exporters in the world – criticizes the fact that Russia is preventing the export of grain by blocking Ukrainian ports and thus provoking a food crisis. The international community has also been demanding that Russia allow the export of Ukrainian grain for weeks.

In the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, 14 adults and one child were killed by Russian attacks, Governor Oleh Synyehubov told the Telegram news service on Tuesday. 16 others were injured.

According to Governor Pavel Kyrylenko, one civilian was killed in the Donetsk region and 19 others were injured. The information cannot be independently verified.

In the heavily contested eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, Ukrainian units around the towns of Solote and Hirske could be surrounded by Russian forces.

According to a report by the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russian troops had gained territory, so that the Ukrainian forces there could be cut off the northern road connection to their other units around Lysychansk. The connection via Wrubiwka, west of Hirske, had already come under Russian control last week.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) swore the citizens of Germany into a long phase of deprivation in view of rising prices as a result of the war. “My concern is that we could have a very worrying situation in a few weeks and months,” said Lindner on ZDF’s “heute journal”.

“It’s about three to four, maybe five years of scarcity. And we have to find an answer for that.” He added: “There is a risk of a very serious economic crisis due to the sharp increase in energy prices, due to supply chain problems, due to inflation too.”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to comment on the upcoming EU, G7 and NATO summits in the Bundestag on Wednesday, which will focus on the war in Ukraine. The 20-minute government statement by the SPD politician is followed by a one-and-a-half-hour debate.