Ukraine Takes Back Snake Island: Emerging Europe This Week
You can read all of our coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including explanations and articles offering background and background information here.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian forces said on Thursday they had repelled Russian forces off Snake Island, a strategic island in the Black Sea off the southern coast near the city of Odessa. Ukraine’s recapture of the island weakens any plans Russia may have for a future ground attack on the city.
Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said Ukrainian-made Bohdana howitzers played an important role in keeping Russian forces away from the island, and thanked foreign partners for their support.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said it had “tactically withdrawn” from allowing grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
Snake Island rose to fame when Russia first captured it in February. A Ukrainian soldier stationed on the island told an attacking Russian warship “fuck you”, which has become one of the most popular Ukrainian resistance slogans since the invasion.
At a summit in Madrid, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that the alliance would support Ukraine “to ensure that Ukraine prevails as an independent sovereign state in Europe”.
He described Vladimir Putin’s “brutal” war on Ukraine as “absolutely unacceptable” with ramifications for the whole world.
Wednesday, NATO has invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance in one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused Helsinki and Stockholm to abandon their neutrality.
Ratification of membership in NATO parliaments is expected to take up to a year, but once that is done, Finland and Sweden will be covered by NATO’s Article 5 collective defense clause, the placing it under the protective nuclear umbrella of the United States.
On the battlefield, the frontline city of Lysychansk is under constant bombardment as Russia continues its offensive in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities said on Thursday they were trying to evacuate residents of the town, at the center of the Russian attacks, where around 15,000 people were. Regional Governor Serhiy Haidai told Ukrainian television: “The fighting continues all the time. The Russians are constantly on the offensive. There is no respite. Absolutely everything is bombed.
On Monday, a Russian airstrike hit a busy shopping center in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, setting the building on fire. At least 18 people have so far been killed and many more are still missing.
The attack came on the day of a G7 meeting in Germany where leaders discussed ways to punish Moscow for its invasion and pledged to support Ukraine “as long as it takes”.
In a joint statement, G7 leaders said Putin’s attacks on civilians were a “war crime”.
The statement read: “We, the leaders of the G7, solemnly condemn the horrific attack on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk.”
Ukraine on Wednesday announced the biggest eprisoner exchange of war since the invasion of Russia, securing the release of 144 of its soldiers, including 95 who were defending the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.
“This is the biggest exchange since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion,” Ukraine’s military intelligence said in a Telegram message. “Of the 144 freed, 95 are defenders of Azovstal.”
He added that most of the freed Ukrainians suffered serious injuries, including burns and amputations, and were now receiving medical treatment.
Several public and private websites in Lithuania were temporarily hit by a concerted cyberattack on Monday. According to Jonas Skardinskas, director of the National Cybersecurity Center, the attacks “probably” originated in Russia and have already been “controlled”. Pro-Kremlin group Killnet claimed responsibility in a video on their Telegram account. The incident came just a week after Kremlin officials threatened to retaliate because Lithuania had restricted the transit of steel and ferrous metals to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad under EU sanctions.
Bulgaria this week ordered 70 Russian diplomatic staff to leave the country, saying they were working against Sofia’s interests. Deputy Foreign Minister Irena Dimitrova summoned Russian Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova on Monday to brief her on the expulsions, a Foreign Ministry statement said. The statement said the first reason for the expulsions was “reciprocity” and the second because Bulgarian authorities have determined that the “activity” of Russian officials is incompatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Britain said on Thursday it would send military specialists Bosnia and Herzegovina counter Russian influence and “strengthen the NATO mission and promote stability and security” in the country. “We cannot allow the Western Balkans to become another playground for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s pernicious pursuits. By fanning the flames of secessionism and sectarianism, Russia seeks to reverse the gains of the past three decades in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
The controversy erupted in Albania after the government of Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama proposed a financial and legal amnesty for people who legalize undeclared assets worth up to two million euros by paying a tax ranging from five to ten percent , with no obligation to reveal the source of the assets. The opposition says the system would allow criminals to launder the proceeds of illegal activities, in a country where money laundering and organized crime are a serious concern. A similar program proposed last year was withdrawn following intense pressure from the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund, which said it could aid money laundering.
Poland The government has announced it opposes an EU plan to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 and is trying to form a coalition of countries against it. “I would like to make it clear that the position of the Polish government is negative,” government spokesman Piotr Müller told state broadcaster TVP after a cabinet meeting. “There is currently not enough infrastructure for electric cars in the European Union and in Poland,” he added. “Furthermore, the current range of electric cars is not large enough to justify abandoning the production of internal combustion cars.”
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday that the European Union can implement the global minimum corporate tax with or without the support of Hungary, bypassing Budapest’s veto earlier this month as the bloc came close to reaching a deal. “This global minimum tax will be implemented in the coming months with or without Hungary’s consent,” Le Maire told reporters at a press briefing in Paris. “Europe can no longer be hostage to the ill will of some of its members.” The EU’s inertia to gain unanimous support for the minimum levy has cast a shadow over a global deal that other countries, including the United States, must also endorse.
Czech Investment group PPF, controlled by the wife of billionaire founder Petr Kellner who died last year, is aiming to divest its flagship consumer finance business in China and focus acquisitions on Europe, it said this week. Managing Director Jiri Smejc. PPF, which posted 239 million euros in profits last year and had assets of 42.2 billion euros, is also keen to find partners for its Home Credit consumer credit operations in Southeast Asia. Is in order to get cheap and stable funding, he said. “We are trying to find a strategic partner there (in China) who will get the majority and then take full control of the business, because we believe that without that it is impossible to operate in China under the current conditions. “Smejc told reporters. .
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