Ukrainian War: kyiv asks for German missiles as counter-offensive looms
Germany receives request for cruise missiles
Ukraine has sent an official request to the German government for deliveries of Taurus air-to-surface cruise missiles with a range of at least 500 km, the German Defense Ministry told AFP on Saturday.
“We have received a request from the Ukrainian side in recent days,” the spokeswoman said, without giving details of the quantities involved.
It remains to be seen whether or not Berlin will accede to the request, which risks sparking a heated internal debate.
The German government has dramatically increased its arms deliveries to Kiev in recent months, but has so far been reluctant to provide cruise missiles or support to the Ukrainian air force, such as aid to delivery of F-16 fighters.
The Taurus is a fighter-carried air-to-ground cruise missile developed by the German-Swedish company of the same name. Due to its range, it would be able to hit targets far behind the current front line in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian football plays with a contest for the supreme title
Two football teams exiled from towns in war-ravaged eastern Ukraine will face off in the safer western part of the country on Sunday with the league title at stake.
The showdown between competition leader Shakhtar Donetsk and second-placed Dnipro-1 at Arena Lviv will be decisive in a football season that ends as planned under remarkable circumstances.
The stadium was one of four in Ukraine, including Shakhtar’s home in Donetsk, secure enough in 2012 against Russian aggression to co-host that year’s European Championship with Poland.
Shakhtar lead by five points and only need a draw this weekend to secure the title before the final round scheduled for June 4.
“I think it might be one of our best games ever,” Ukrainian league general manager Ievgen Dykyi told The Associated Press this week on a call from Kyiv. “Because the situation now is really difficult, and all the players understand that.”
Russia fails to block Ukraine at World Health Organization
Russia suffered a setback on Friday when it failed to block Ukraine’s entry into the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board.
The ten countries that have joined the Executive Council for three years – including Ukraine and North Korea – are usually elected by acclamation at the World Health Assembly, whose 76th session is currently being held in Geneva.
But due to Moscow’s attempt to prevent Ukraine from joining this forum of 34 member countries, which plays an important role in the governance of the WHO, a vote had to be held for the first time since 1977.
The result is final: the candidates, nominated by each of the 6 WHO regions, are elected by 123 votes against 13 abstentions.
“Today’s vote was a resounding defeat for Russia, which has failed in its reckless attempts to undermine the authority of WHO regional committees and disrupt the work of the World Health Assembly and of its Executive Council”, rejoiced Yevheniia Filipenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to the UN in Geneva.