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Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Zelenskyj Campaigns For EU Membership, Russia Sanctions US Citizens & Ukraine Reports Airstrikes On Russian Troops Near Cherson

The government in Kyiv sees candidate status as crucial for the future of the EU. Violent street fighting breaks out in Sievjerodonetsk. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expects the EU to grant his country candidate status in the coming weeks. "This will not only be a decision for Ukraine, but for the entire European project," Zelenskyy said in his daily video message. That will also decide whether the EU has a future or not.

The Minister for Regional Development, Oleksiy Tschernyschow, is to hold talks in Berlin on Tuesday and Wednesday. Among others, he wants to meet Chancellor Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD), Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens). "The European Union should embrace Ukraine," Chernyshev demanded. But he also emphasized that his country did not want to be given preferential treatment. "We do not expect accession through the back door, nor do we expect a fast track for Ukraine." As the economically strongest and most populous country in the EU, Germany plays a "decisive role" in the accession issue.

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According to Zelensky, Ukrainian troops are currently holding their positions in the embattled city of Sievjerodonetsk. "Our heroes are not giving up their positions in Sieverodonetsk. Fierce street fighting continues in the city." In addition, everything is being done to ensure that the front in the Zaporizhia and Mykolaiv areas holds out. There was also heavy fighting around Lysychansk, Sloviansk, Bakhmut, Sviatohirsk, Avdiivka and Kurakhove in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Russia has imposed sanctions on 61 US citizens. The State Department in Moscow announced that members of the US government as well as current and former top managers of US corporations are on the list. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings are among those affected. The measures are a reaction to the steadily expanding US sanctions against citizens of Russia.

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Ukraine reports airstrikes on Russian troops near Cherson

While the situation in eastern Ukraine is largely unchanged, the Ukrainian military says it has carried out several airstrikes on Russian positions in the south of the country. "Ukrainian helicopters struck against accumulations of enemy troops in the Kherson region - and planes against ammunition depots in the Mykolayiv region," the General Staff said. Ukraine has so far only used its own air force very little in the war because of Russian air superiority.

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The Ukrainian troops recently recaptured several towns on the border of the Black Sea regions of Mykolaiv and Cherson. A Russian counter-offensive in the direction of Losowe - Bila Krynyzja seihad been unsuccessful despite artillery and air force support, the General Staff report continues. The information cannot be independently verified.

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According to military experts from the US Institute for the Study of the War (ISW), the Ukrainians also managed to push the Russian fleet off the Black Sea coast . The Russian Black Sea Fleet is now operating at a safe distance of 100 kilometers, which reduces the pressure on the Ukrainian ports, according to the latest analysis by the ISW. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense made a similar statement yesterday.

Scandal in the UN Security Council: Russia's representative leaves the room

During a speech by EU Council President Charles Michel, Russia's UN Ambassador Wassili Nebensya left the UN Security Council. Michel had directly addressed the Russian representative at the Council meeting on the war in Ukraine and accused the Kremlin of, among other things, stealing grain from Ukraine. As a result, Nebensya left the council. He had previously given a speech and repeatedly rejected allegations made against Russia by representatives of other countries.

You can leave the room, dear Mr. Ambassador, maybe it's easier not to listen to the truth.

(EU Council President Charles Michel)

More events of the night in brief:

The Ukrainian army claims to have pushed back the Russian fleet more than 100 kilometers from the country's Black Sea coast . The Russian fleet was "deprived of total control over the north-west of the Black Sea".

The Russian military and Moscow-backed separatists have said they have completed the capture of the Ukrainian city of Svyatohirsk. In the city is the Arch Monastery of the Dormition, which is one of the most important shrines of Russian Orthodoxy.

Street Fighting In Sieverodonetsk

Before the visit of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to Vilnius, Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda calls for a stronger NATO presence in the Baltic States.

The Union has warned the federal government not to prevent Spain if the country wants to deliver German-made main battle tanks to Ukraine. "If Spain wants to deliver Leopard 2,  the federal government must make it possible quickly," said deputy CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Johann Wadephul.

The Green politician Anton Hofreiter calls for new sanctions against Russia. "When importing Russian oil, the European Union should set up a buyers' cartel to cap payments to Russia," he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised suspicions that Russia is stealing Ukrainian grain for its own profit. Blinken called "credible" reports that Russia is confiscating Ukrainian grain to sell itself.

The United States has accused Russia of attempting to intimidate by summoning US journalists to the Moscow State Department. At the meeting, the Russian government explained to correspondents the  "consequences of their government's hostile line in the media,"  the US State Department said.

US justice has ordered the confiscation of two planes owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

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