Ukraine’s April 25 Update: What Happened Overnight
- Zelenskyy’s hometown prepares for the Russian attack
Zelenskyy’s hometown, Kryvyi Rih, is preparing for an impending attack by Russian troops. The Ukrainian armed forces expect an offensive in the coming days, local military chief Oleksandr Vikul wrote on the online service Telegram.
Multilevel defense lines have been established and attempts are being made to evacuate civilians from vulnerable areas. Kryvyi Rih is an important industrial center for Ukraine, thanks also to the extraction of iron ore. The city has been the target of missile attacks several times in recent weeks.
- No ceasefire for Orthodox Easter
The fighting and attacks continued on Sunday during the Orthodox Easter celebrations. According to Ukrainian information, Russian military and separatist units supporting them advanced east into the Donbass region. Five civilians were killed. Ukrainian forces recaptured several cities in the Mykolaiv region. In the Poltava region southwest of the city of Kharkiv, Russian troops fired new rockets at the infrastructure.
- Big fire in the Russian oil depot near the Ukrainian border
A major fire broke out in a Russian oil depot near the Ukrainian border Monday night. The fire hit storage tanks in the city of Bryansk, civil protection told the TASS news agency. Firefighting works were in progress.
Initially, there was no information on the possible cause or if there was a link to the war in Ukraine. Videos posted online showed tall flames from afar. Bryansk is less than 150 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
In early April, Russia accused Ukraine of a fire at an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod. According to the Russian report, two Ukrainian helicopters fired rockets at the plant. Ukraine rejected this. Belgorod is less than 50 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
- After ministerial visit: US announces further military aid
During their visit to Kiev, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a gradual return of US diplomats to Ukraine and additional military aid. “Starting this week,” diplomats will travel to Ukraine during the day, a senior US State Department official told reporters waiting for the two US ministers on the Polish side of the border Monday evening.
The US also wants to further expand its military aid and provide $ 700 million (€ 650 million). About $ 300 million will be used to purchase weapons for the Ukrainian armed forces. The rest is going to Ukraine’s regional allies, who have provided aid to the country and need to replenish their arms stocks.
For security reasons, the two ministers’ visit to the Ukrainian capital was only confirmed by the United States after Austin and Blinken left Ukrainian sovereign territory. However, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich had previously confirmed the presence of government representatives in an interview on the YouTube video platform.
- The EU prepares sanctions on Russian oil
The European Union is preparing further sanctions against Russia. “We are working on a sixth sanctions package and one of the issues we are considering is some form of an oil embargo. If we impose sanctions, we must do so in a way that maximizes the pressure on Russia while minimizing collateral damage to ourselves, “European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told the Times newspaper.
- In the year before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia significantly increased its military spending
Russia invested more money in its military in the run up to its invasion of Ukraine than before. Russian military spending increased 2.9 percent year-on-year to $ 65.9 billion in 2021, according to a report by Stockholm-based peace research institute Sipri released Monday. In 2021, Russia allocated 4.1% of its gross domestic product to the military, a significantly higher percentage than Germany, for example.
- The OSCE is calling for the release of four detained employees
The summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) called for the immediate release of four local employees in eastern Ukraine. They were arrested in areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk districts that are not under the control of the Kiev government. “They have been detained without charge for some time and the OSCE and their families are not sufficiently informed about their situation,” said Zbigniew Rau, Polish Foreign Minister and current OSCE President. Local staff remained in Ukraine after the international observers left.
It will be important on Monday
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) receives Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in Berlin on Monday (11.30am). The former Soviet republic of Estonia, like the other two Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania, fears a Russian attack.
The Union has increased the pressure on the traffic light coalition with the draft motion for a resolution by which it intends to force arms deliveries to the Bundestag if necessary. Two months after the arrival of the first war refugees, a meeting of state actors and volunteers will be held in the Chancellery. The goal is to better organize the distribution, housing and integration into the labor market of refugees. UN Secretary General António Guterres will travel to Turkey first before visiting Moscow and Kiev.