DThe Biden administration has unofficially encouraged the Ukrainian leadership to signal a willingness to negotiate with Russia. Ukraine should end its public refusal to participate in peace talks with President Putin, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the talks. According to the newspaper, the urging of US officials is not aimed at bringing Ukraine to the negotiating table, but rather in a calculated attempt to secure the support of countries whose citizens fear war for many years to Kyiv. “Ukraine fatigue is a real thing for some of our partners,” the Washington Post quoted a US official as saying.
Zelenskyy accuses Tehran of lying
After Tehran admitted to having supplied combat drones to Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Iran of lying. “Even with this confession, they lie,” said the Ukrainian leader in his daily video message on Saturday. The number of Iranian combat drones shot down by the Ukrainian air defense exceeded the “few” drones mentioned by Iran, Zelenskyj justified his accusation.
Iran had admitted drone deliveries to Russia for the first time on Saturday. Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian said the Islamic Republic provided Russia with a limited number of drones ahead of the war in Ukraine, state-run IRNA news agency reported. However, the chief diplomat denied further arms deliveries after the beginning of the Russian war of aggression and the provision of missiles.
According to the Ukrainian military, it has shot down hundreds of Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones. “Eleven Shahed drones were shot down yesterday alone,” Zelenskyy said. The Ukrainian military leadership suspects that Russia has ordered 2,400 such drones, with which the Russian military has recently increasingly attacked the Ukrainian energy supply.
Scholz calls for a clear no to nuclear strike
Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called on Russia to clearly rule out the use of nuclear weapons in a war of aggression against Ukraine. “It is not allowed, it is unacceptable to use nuclear weapons in this conflict,” said Scholz on Saturday at the SPD debate convention in Berlin. “We call on Russia to clearly state that it will not do this. That would be a limit that must not be crossed.”
On Friday, Scholz warned of a nuclear escalation during his visit to Beijing together with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Scholz called Russia’s nuclear threats “irresponsible and highly dangerous”. Xi said, “The use of nuclear weapons or the threat of using them must be rejected.”
Heavy fighting around Cherson
Around the southern Ukrainian city of Cherson, Ukrainian troops and Russian occupying forces fought heavy fighting on Saturday. According to the Russian account, various front sections in the region came under heavy artillery fire. In some places larger troop transfers and movements of Ukrainian armored units have been registered. “Apparently the Ukrainian troops are preparing a new attack,” speculated the Russian-appointed deputy chief of administration of the occupied region, Kirill Stremusov.
The Ukrainian military had previously reported heavy fighting and artillery duels in the Cherson area. After initial successes, the Ukrainian leadership still wants to completely liberate the region in the south of the country.
Cooling systems at Zaporizhia NPP reconnected to power grid
The external power supply to the Ukrainian nuclear power plant at Zaporizhia has been restored after a two-day interruption. As reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Saturday evening, two lines were repaired. While the Russian-held nuclear power plant is not currently operational, the facility still needs electricity to cool core materials and prevent a nuclear accident.
The two lines were damaged after a shelling in Ukrainian-controlled area about 60 kilometers from the nuclear power plant. The electricity supply to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was secured until it was repaired with emergency generators, which have enough fuel for around 15 days.
Zelenskyj wants crowdfunding for sea drone fleet
After the surprise attack by Ukrainian sea drones against the Russian Black Sea Fleet in its naval port near Sevastopol in Crimea, Ukraine wants to buy more weapons of this type. “We will start another fundraising campaign next week, we want to collect funds for a whole fleet of sea drones,” announced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his video address on Saturday evening. The purpose of these drones is clear. “Everyone has already seen how this works.”
According to the Ukrainian account, three Russian warships were hit during the attack on Sevastopol last weekend, including the new flagship “Admiral Makarov”. The Russian military has only admitted some minor damage without providing more details.