260 days since the start of the war: President Selensky is happy but skeptical about the Russian withdrawal from Cherson. Amnesty International has accused Russia of abducting civilians. All information on news blog.
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Von der Leyen has pledged 250 million euros in financial aid to Moldova
5:42 PM: In response to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union is providing €250 million in financial aid to Moldova. “European solidarity with Moldova is unbreakable,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Chisinau on Thursday. As part of the “energy support package”, Moldova will receive a 100 million euro grant and a 100 million euro loan to “meet its gas needs” from January. Another 50 million euros will be made available as “budgetary support,” according to von der Leyen.
Moldova’s pro-European President Maia Sandu warned that her country of 2.6 million people could run out of gas and electricity as winter sets in. He said on Thursday it was “the worst crisis in three decades” for the eastern European country. He accused Russia of using its “energy resources as a weapon against democracy”.
Moldova is highly dependent on Russian gas. Russian concern Gazprom is expected to cut deliveries by half this month, according to Chisinau. Until now, Moldova received a third of its electricity from Ukraine. But Kyiv has halted exports due to Russian attacks on local energy infrastructure.
Chechen leader Kadyrov supports Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson
5:29 pm: Ramzan Kadyrov, the ruler of the Russian republic of Chechnya, considers the withdrawal of Russian troops from the southern Ukrainian city of Cherson and the entire right bank of the Dnipro as the right decision. The new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, Sergei Surovykin, has saved thousands of soldiers from virtual encirclement, Kadyrov wrote on his Telegram channel on Thursday. Surovykin made “a difficult but correct decision between making meaningless sacrifices for loud proclamations and saving the lives of invaluable soldiers”.
Kadyrov has previously repeatedly criticized Russia’s conduct of the war. He also criticized the Cherson case. Kherson is a difficult area without a stable and regular supply of ammunition and a strong rear guard formation. “Why wasn’t this done in the early days of Special Operations?” Surovykin, however, acted with foresight and now placed his troops in a more advantageous strategic position. There is no reason to call Cherson’s “task”.
Kadyrov has emerged as one of the most vocal supporters of the campaign since Russia’s war of aggression began more than eight months ago, and has also sent Chechen forces into Ukraine. He regularly criticized the leadership of the Russian army – often with Yevgeny Prigozhin, financier of the private combat unit of the “Wagner” group – as too soft.
The EU will not recognize Russian passports issued in Ukraine
4:23 PM: The European Union no longer wants to recognize Russian passports issued in Ukraine and Georgia. “Russia’s practice of issuing international Russian passports to residents of occupied territories,” member states said on Thursday, following a preliminary agreement with the EU Parliament. Travel documents will no longer be recognized for issuing visas or for entry into the Schengen area.
As for the agreement with Georgia, Russian passports from there will not be accepted due to “Russia’s unilateral decision to recognize the independence of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008”.
After launching its military operations in Ukraine on February 24, the Russian army mainly occupied the eastern and southern regions of the country. Russia has issued Russian passports to some residents of occupied territories. Moscow has already followed this practice over the past few years in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine. The preliminary agreement still needs to be formally sealed by member states and the EU Parliament.