The Situation in the War Against Ukraine

news 21-Jun-2023 Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj sees the Ukraine Recovery Conference, which begins today in London, as a new strength for his country, which has been marked by the Russian aggression. Selenskyj stated in his evening video message released yesterday in Kiev, that "a reconstructed Ukraine, a transformed Ukraine, a stronger Ukraine is... a security guarantee, protection against any form of Russian terror." During the meeting, which lasts until tomorrow, states and large corporations will announce aid for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

"Meetings have already begun in London," said Selenskyj. There have already been discussions about reconstruction aid in Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy. The president said that the focus is not only on construction projects, but also on protecting Ukraine. He himself plans to present his philosophy of a Ukrainian transformation via video today, and the "complete vision" will be presented in the country by the end of the month.

Baerbock and Schulze at the Reconstruction Conference in London

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) is expected to attend the two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference. The focus is on how private companies can be encouraged to invest in the country. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) are also attending. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is expected to attend as well.

According to the British government, hundreds of international companies have already indicated their willingness to participate in the reconstruction of Ukraine. To provide more security for these companies, the framework for war risk insurance will be created, covered by G7 countries. The agenda includes topics such as investment guarantees, which can help reduce the risks for these companies on a governmental level. Kiev will also be obliged to implement reforms, such as controlling corruption in the country.

Blinken warned Kiev yesterday, at a meeting with his British colleague James Cleverly in London, to strengthen its democratic institutions. He pledged the support of the United States and other allies to do so. Germany plans to host the Ukraine Recovery Conference next year.

Kiev: Ukrainian Army Active Against Enemy in South and East

In his video message, Selenskyj once again stated that Ukrainian fighters are actively fighting against Russian occupiers. "Our fighters are actively destroying the enemy in the south and east of Ukraine, and physically cleaning up Ukraine," stated Selenskyj. "That will continue in the future."

Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maljar announced in the evening that Russian troops are resisting some of the efforts and that there are booby-trapped areas. The southern offensive is running according to plan, she said. It is moving forward with small but determined steps. Recently, Ukraine has gained ground and freed several villages. Maljar stated that some Ukrainian forces are on the defensive, while the Russians are on the offensive. She emphasized that the main attack of the offensive was yet to come.

Stoltenberg: NATO Supports Ukraine in Military Modernization

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promised Ukraine additional support for the modernization of its military. "As part of the summit, the Allies will adopt a multi-year aid package that will bring Ukraine closer to NATO standards," Stoltenberg said to the "Tagesspiegel" with regard to the meeting of the heads of state and government of the 31 member states in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in July.

"With our help, the Ukrainian military should transition from an army based on old Soviet models to a modern military that operates according to NATO standards."

US Government Overestimates Costs for Ukraine Military Aid

The US government has made more than $6 billion available to support Ukraine due to incorrectly calculated costs for military aid. "In a significant number of cases, replacement costs were used for services instead of net book value, overestimating the value of equipment taken from US stocks and provided to Ukraine," said Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh.

As a result, Washington now has an additional $6.2 billion (approximately €5.7 billion) available. The Ministry of Defense reportedly has the authority to use the funds for military assistance and stressed that there are no implications for further aid packages.

UN Secretary-General Disappointed with Implementation of Grain Agreement

Meanwhile, Ukraine is facing a halt in its grain exports via the Black Sea. UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed disappointment with the current state of implementation of the grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine. Among other things, ships are now being inspected more slowly, which means fewer freighters are reaching and leaving Ukrainian ports and less grain is reaching the recipients, Guterres said, according to a spokesman yesterday in New York. Food exports enabled by the agreement fell by about three-quarters in May compared to last October.

The grain deal between Russia and Ukraine was brokered by the UN and Turkey last summer and ended Moscow's blockade of Ukrainian ports. The agreement has been extended several times, but most recently only for two months at a time. The current extension runs until mid-July.

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