- Poland’s prime minister announces his country will no longer supply Ukraine with weapons at a time of high tensions between the two countries over grain imports.
- Several Ukrainian cities were targeted by Russian attacks overnight, killing two people in Kherson while falling debris from downed missiles caused multiple injuries in the capital, Kyiv.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will make his second wartime visit to Washington for talks with President Joe Biden and a visit to the Pentagon as he seeks more weapons, including longer-range missiles, to boost Ukraine’s forces.
- Slovakia’s election could see Kyiv lose a staunch ally because the frontrunner promises to “not send a single round to Ukraine”.
Ukrainian forces operating armoured vehicles beyond Russian defensive lines: ISW
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington, DC-based think tank, said Ukrainian forces appear to have operated armoured vehicles beyond Russian anti-tank defences in a key stretch of the frontline in an “important sign of progress in the Ukrainian counteroffensive”.
“These small tactical steps may be the start of a larger and more significant advance, although it is too soon to make confident forecasts” ISW wrote on X.
Zelenskyy seeks more air defence systems after overnight attack
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reiterated the need for more air defence systems after Russia launched a series of air strikes across Ukraine overnight.
“Last night, Russian terrorists launched another massive attack. In particular, on infrastructure. Most of the missiles were shot down. But only most of them. Not all of them,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.
“More air defence. More sanctions. More support for Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines,” he wrote during a visit to the US, where he said air defence systems would be on the agenda of talks.
Ukraine’s military says it struck Russian air base in Crimea overnight
Ukrainian forces struck the Saky air base in Crimea overnight, Ukraine’s military said on Thursday, confirming an attack that had earlier been reported to Reuters by an intelligence source.
“Ukrainian defence forces have carried out a combined attack on a military air base near the city of Saky in temporarily occupied Crimea,” the military said on the Telegram messaging app.
The intelligence source told Reuters the attack had inflicted “serious damage” on equipment at the base.
Russia has not commented on the reports. The Russian military said it had destroyed 19 Ukrainian drones over Crimea and the Black Sea earlier on Thursday, and gave no details on casualties or damage.
Warsaw, Kyiv split over Germany gaining a permanent seat on UN Security Council
Poland opposes Germany gaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told Polish public radio on Thursday after Zelenskyy spoke out in favour of such a move on Wednesday.
The proposal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is “rather strange” and “a great disappointment” from Poland’s point of view, Blaszczak said.
He then said that Kyiv appeared to have forgotten that Germany did not initially come to Ukraine’s aid, at the beginning of Moscow’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Germany should first take responsibility in its relationship with Poland for the destruction caused during World War II, Blaszczak added. “The demand for war reparations that we made to Germany is still valid.”
Last October, Poland’s national-conservative PiS government demanded Berlin pay 1.3 trillion euros ($1.38 trillion) in World War II reparations in a diplomatic note.
Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces spokesperson under investigation
Junior Sergeant Sarah Ashton-Cirillo has been suspended from her duties as the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces spokesperson while an investigation is under way, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has announced.
The native New Yorker, who is 45 years old, appears to have been removed from her post after saying in a video that “Russian devils [will] pay for their crimes”.
French far-right party says Russian loan has been repaid
France’s far-right National Rally (RN) party has repaid a loan originally from a Czech-Russian bank that political opponents said demonstrated its ties to the Kremlin.
The remaining 6.1 million euros ($6.5 million) of the original 9.4 million euros ($10 million) was paid back “in advance” to the Russian firm Aviazapchast, which had bought the debt, the party said in a statement Tuesday.
RN officials hope getting out from under the debt can end attacks like Presidential Emmanuel Macron’s last year when he accused their candidate Marine Le Pen of being “dependent on the Russian regime” and President Vladimir Putin during an election debate. Le Pen is “talking to her banker when she talks to Russia,” Macron said at the time.
The loan “is used as an argument by my opponents, in my opinion unfairly, and I don’t plan on giving my opponents any arguments,” RN chief Jordan Bardella told daily Le Monde.
Ukrainian and Polish ministers agree to work out solution to trade dispute: Kyiv
In a phone call with his Polish counterpart, Ukraine’s farm minister agreed to work out a solution to a trade dispute that is in the interests of both countries, the Ukrainian agriculture ministry said on Thursday.
The ministry released a statement which said the two sides had confirmed their “close and constructive ties and agreed to work out an option to cooperate on export issues in the near future”.
Poland announced restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports on Friday after the European Commission decided not to extend a ban on imports into Ukraine’s five EU neighbours.
Ship with Ukrainian grain arrives in Turkey
The cargo ship Resilient Africa arrived off Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait on Thursday, the first vessel loaded with grain from Ukraine to sail in and out of the Black Sea using a temporary corridor.
The ship left the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk this week with 3,000 metric tonnes of grain, Kyiv had said.
Ukraine last month announced a “humanitarian corridor” to release ships bound for African and Asian markets, and to circumvent a de facto blockade after Russia abandoned a deal this summer that had guaranteed its exports during the war.
Slovakia, Ukraine agree grain trade system to replace ban: Slovak ministry
Slovakia and Ukraine’s farm ministers have agreed to set up a licensing system for trading in grains, which would allow a ban on imports of four Ukrainian commodities to Slovakia to be lifted once the system is set up, the Slovak Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said on Thursday.
Ukraine also agreed to halt a complaint over the import ban it had filed against Slovakia with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the ministry said in an emailed statement.
Poland will still send previously agreed supplies of weapons and ammunition
Poland is only carrying out previously agreed supplies of ammunition and armaments, including those resulting from the contracts signed with Ukraine, government spokesperson Piotr Muller was quoted as saying by state-run news agency PAP.
This follows Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s comments on Wednesday that Warsaw would no longer supply weapons to Ukraine.