France wants a military Ukrainian victory against Russia that reestablishes the territorial integrity of the country, including Crimea that was seized by Russia in 2014, a French diplomatic source said on June 16.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised Ukraine world-class weapons — from self-propelled howitzers to multiple launch rocket systems and an air defence shield capable of protecting a “large city” from Russian strikes.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 15 expressed his readiness to play a “constructive role” to help settle the Ukrainian crisis, according to the Chinese state-TV.
Egypt, Israel, and the European Union on June 15 signed a deal to increase liquified natural gas sales to European Union (EU) countries, who aim to reduce dependence on supply from Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on.
Here are the latest updates:
EU Commission backs candidate status for Ukraine
The executive arm of the European Union recommended Friday that Ukraine be granted candidate status to one day join the 27-nation bloc.
The European Commission recommendation is the first step on the long road toward membership and comes a day after four European Union leaders vowed to back Kyiv’s candidacy. The recommendation will be discussed by leaders of the 27-nation bloc during a summit next week in Brussels. Launching accession talks requires unanimous approval from all member countries.
Ukraine says it hit Russian naval tugboat with missiles
Ukrainian missiles hit a Russian naval tugboat transporting soldiers, weapons, and ammunition to the Russian-occupied Zmiinyi (Snake) Island south of the Odesa region on Friday, the regional governor said.
Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko identified the vessel as the Vasiliy Bekh.
Ukraine’s Naval Command said the tugboat had a TOR anti-air missile system on board but this had failed to stop the strike. – Reuters
Ukraine says evacuation from Sievierodonetsk chemical plant ‘impossible’
The evacuation of 568 civilians sheltering in bunkers under the Azot chemical plant in the embattled city of Sievierodonetsk is currently impossible due to shelling and heavy fighting, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region said on Friday.
In a post on Telegram messenger, he said there were 38 children taking shelter in the bunkers at the chemical plant. – Reuters
Nuns survive under shelling on Ukraine frontline
Under near-constant bombardment by Russian forces, a group of Orthodox nuns and pilgrims live in one of the villages closest to Ukraine’s frontline, near the city of Sloviansk.
Entrance to the religious community, known as a skete, in the village of Adamivka is only possible with permission from the Ukrainian military based in the area.
Beyond the village and two neighbouring settlements are fields and then Russia’s forces, firing at Ukrainian artillery positions. – AFP
Putin’s health: Pivotal yet shrouded in uncertainty
Baths in blood extracted from the antlers of Siberian deer. Excrements scooped up by loyal officials to evade analysis. Mysterious absences for emergency medical treatment.
The claims made about the health of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will be 70 in October, are lurid and macabre, as well as impossible to verify.
But they illustrate how little is known about the health of a leader whose medical condition is fundamental to the future of Europe, all the more so after he ordered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – AFP
EU to give fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine membership bid
The European Commission will meet Friday to give its fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine’s bid for EU candidacy, a step closer to membership for the country a day after the bloc’s most powerful leaders visited Kyiv as it battles Russia’s invasion.
Never before has an opinion been given so quickly on EU candidacy, which must be approved by all 27 member states.
The opinion will serve as a basis for discussion at next week’s EU summit, where leaders are expected to approve Ukraine’s candidate status, but with stern conditions attached, and membership may take years or even decades. – AFP
Macron Says Ukraine Will Decide Political Conditions for Peace
French President Emmanuel Macron offered his strongest support for Ukraine yet after comments on the need to communicate with Russia sparked a backlash.
“Ukraine will decide when the conditions are met to build peace, and what these political conditions are,” Mr. Macron said on Thursday, during an official visit to Kyiv with Germany’s Olaf Scholz and Italy’s Mario Draghi. – Bloomberg
Leaders of France, Germany and Italy head for Kyiv as U.S. pledges more military aid
The leaders of France, Germany and Italy were on a train bound for Kyiv on June 16, a day after the United States announced $1 billion worth of new arms for embattled Ukrainian forces.
Kyiv’s troops are resisting a fierce onslaught in the Donbas region by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces, which are pushing to seize a swathe of eastern and southern Ukraine.
In a show of support, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi are visiting Kyiv. – AFP
As war rages on, the long wait for Ukraine-returned Indian students continues
A cloud of uncertainty hangs over thousands of students who were forced to return from Ukraine earlier this year following the Ukraine-Russia war. Continuation of the war, coupled with the delay in the government’s decision on rehabilitation, has cast a shadow over their education.
Since being evacuated to the safety of their homes, most students, barring those who studied in Ukrainian universities in the eastern parts, are attending online classes.
The ray of hope now is the Supreme Court of India, which directed the National Medical Council in May to take appropriate action about the future education of the Ukraine-returned students within two months.