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The Ukrainian President Zelensky is in Germany on his first official visit since the war with Russia. He met with his counterpart followed by meeting with Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz where he thanked Berlin for its fantastic solidarity.
#russiaukrainewar #zelensky #germanyvisit
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- Four Russian aircraft have been shot down near the Ukrainian border, per a Russian news outlet.
- It may be the most Russian aircraft lost in a single day during the war, a pro-Russia blog said.
- Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
Two Russian fighter jets and two military helicopters have been shot down in Russia near the Ukrainian border, Russian news outlet Kommersant reported.
The outlet said that one Su-34 fighter-bomber, a Su-35 fighter, and two Mi-8 helicopters had been shot down in Russia’s Bryansk region, killing all four crews.
The “air group most likely fell into an air ambush,” said Kommersant.
The jets were supposed to launch a coordinated missile and bomb attack on Ukraine’s Chernihiv region, while the helicopters were there to provide support and to pick up Su crews if they were shot down, the outlet reported, citing preliminary data.
Kommersant did not provide evidence that the four aircraft had been downed, but several Russian pro-war military bloggers made the same claim, Reuters reported.
Regional Russian authorities have confirmed the crash of one helicopter, per Russian state news agency Tass.
Footage circulating on social media appears to show the helicopter catching fire and falling from the sky. Insider was not able to independently verify the videos.
—Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 13, 2023
The governor of Russia’s Bryansk region, Alexander Bogomaz, said that five houses were damaged and a woman was injured due to the helicopter crash in the town of Klintsy.
—Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) May 13, 2023
Russian military bloggers and aviation experts have speculated that the aircraft had either been caught by friendly fire or shot down by Ukraine, according to The Telegraph.
A pro-Russia Telegram channel with close links to Russia’s air force, called Fighterbomber, said it was the highest number of Russian aircraft lost in a single day “since March last year.”
Ukraine has not officially commented on the reports, but Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted that the aircraft were downed by “unidentified persons,” adding that it was “instant karma.”
Since the war began, there have been several mysterious explosions on air bases inside Russia, with analysts suggesting Ukraine could have used long-range weapons.
Western allies like the US and the UK have asked Ukraine for assurances that their donated weapons would only be used to strike targets within Ukraine and not inside Russia.
Zelenskyy thanks Germany and assures partners that their military aid won’t be used to attack Russian territory.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday Kyiv and its Western supporters could make a Russian defeat in the war in Ukraine “irreversible” as early as this year and thanked Germany for being a “true friend” during a visit to Berlin.
Zelenskiy secured a large military boost on his visit, with the German government announcing a 2.7 billion euro ($3 billion) of military aid to Ukraine on Saturday, its biggest such package since Russia’s invasion in February last year.
“Now is the time for us to determine the end of the war already this year, we can make the aggressor’s defeat irreversible already this year,” he said during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Scholz meanwhile underscored Germany’s pledge to continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary, brushing aside a question about earlier tensions in bilateral relations and side-stepping another question about Kyiv’s hopes to join NATO.
Germany, which is Europe’s largest economy, faced criticism at the start of the war for what some called a hesitant response, but it has become one of Ukraine’s biggest providers of financial and military assistance.
Ukraine is expected to launch major counter-offensive operations in the coming weeks to try to recapture tracts of its east and south from Russian forces.
On his first visit to Germany since the Russian invasion began, Zelenskiy said Kyiv was prepared to discuss outside peace initiatives from other states but that those proposals should be based on Ukraine’s position and its peace plan.
“The war is happening on the territory of our country and so any peace plan will be based on Ukraine’s proposals,” he said, wearing his trademark khaki combat trousers and a black sweater.
Kyiv has ruled out the idea of any territorial concessions to Russia and has said it wants every inch of its land back. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and since last year has claimed to have annexed four other Ukrainian regions, which Moscow now calls Russian land.
“Ukraine is ready for peace. But it demands, rightly and with our support, that this cannot mean to freeze the war and have a form of dictated peace by Russia,” said Scholz.
Zelenskiy met on Saturday with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Pope Francis. He is seeking to shore up support from Ukraine’s financial and military backers as they contend with a growing cost of living crisis at home.
Zelenskiy left open the prospect of a “risk that if the (counter)offensive is not very successful that there will be less support, but I don’t think this is the general view”.
“There are some countries that are thinking about it, but I don’t think they’ve been very strong in their support for Ukraine throughout this period,” he added, without specifying which countries could waver in their backing for Ukraine.
Zelenskiy visited Germany for the Munich Security Council in February last year, just before the war broke out. Germany was constrained in its support for Ukraine at that time both by its energy dependence on Russia and the pacifism that emerged from its bloody 20th century history.
Increasing its support required a major policy upheaval and a shift in mindset that Scholz dubbed a “Zeitenwende”, or turn of era, in a landmark speech just days after the war broke out.
Zelenskiy flew to Berlin on a German government plane escorted over German airspace by fighter jets of the Luftwaffe air force, arriving in the middle of the night.
He was expected to travel on Sunday afternoon to Aachen in west Germany to receive the prestigious Charlemagne prize in honour of services to Europe.
The Ukrainian people, under Zelenskiy’s leadership, are fighting not only for their country “but also Europe and European values”, the prize committee said in a statement.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Germany to discuss arms deliveries CBS Philadelphia
- Germany Announces Its Biggest Military Aid Package Yet for Ukraine The New York Times
- Germany announces $3 billion military package for Ukraine | Latest News | WION WION
- Russia’s war in Ukraine: Live updates CNN
- View Full Coverage on Google News
Ukrainian president’s visit comes after Germany announces further €2.7bn of military aid
- Russian missiles strike home town of Ukraine’s Eurovision entry
- What we know on day 445 of the invasion
The UK Ministry of Defence has posted an update on the situation in Ukraine.
It states that while Russian forces retain the same organisational structure to when it invaded Ukraine last February, it is, in fact, a very different military force.