US House Speaker Mike Johnson (File)

Thursday’s Coverage: A Critical Situation in Kharkiv City

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Germany is asking dozens of countries for more air defence systems to protect Ukraine from the “murderous onslaught” of Russia;s missiles.

In a letter to other NATO members, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin is launching a global initiative to bolster Ukraine’s air defences.

They noted a “wide range of non-NATO partners” have been approached.

Baerbock and Pistorius explained that Russia’s aerial attacks are trying to destroy the port city of Odesa and Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv. Assaults energy infrastructure are even more damaging than Vladimir Putin’s “energy war” of 2022-23.

It is up to us to help Ukraine defend itself against this murderous onslaught

We appeal to you to take stock of all [air defense systems in your arsenals and consider what could be transferred to Ukraine, whole systems or parts of them either permanently or for a limited period.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday at a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels:

We know the amount they need and we know that we should be able to get that done. We know that many countries have [US-made] Patriot systems but maybe do not want to deliver directly. We can buy from them and we can deliver to Ukraine. We have the money available. It’s crucial.


The search and rescue operation has been completed after Thursday’s deadly Russian missile strike on a residential neighborhood in Chernihiv in northern Ukraine.

The attack killed 18 and wounded 78, including four children (see 0642 GMT).


Russia is using its invasion of Ukraine for a global order free from “American dominance”. according to a secret document of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The April 2023 document, obtained by The Washington Post from a European intelligence service, calls for an “offensive information campaign” in the military-political, economic, trade, and informational psychological spheres against a “coalition of unfriendly countries” led by the US.

We need to continue adjusting our approach to relations with unfriendly states.

It’s important to create a mechanism for finding the vulnerable points of their external and internal policies with the aim of developing practical steps to weaken Russia’s opponents.

The document sets out propaganda campaigns to subvert Western support for Ukraine and disrupt the domestic politics of the US and European Union through promotion of isolationist and extremist policies.

See also Ukraine War, Day 703: Russia’s Disinformation Campaign in Germany


The toll has risen to 18 killed and 78 injured from Thursday’s Russian missile strike on Chernihiv city in northern Ukraine.

Among the wounded are four children and three people rescued from rubble. The search operation is continuing.

More than 20 apartment buildings were damaged by the attack.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: After a 6 1/2-month blockade by Trumpists and hard-right Republicans, House Speaker Mike Johnson has scheduled a vote on Saturday for $61 billion in aid for Ukraine.

A Republican from Lousiana, Johnson had enabled the blockade since becoming Speaker last October, following the ouster by the Trumpists and hard-right of his predecessor Kevin McCarthy. He maintained the stalling tactics when the Senate passed its version of the legislation — also including assistance for Israel and Taiwan and funds for border security — in January.

He finally gave way after intense lobbying not only by the White House and foreign leaders such as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, but also by Republican legislators. Their effort was assisted by Iran’s missile and drone strikes on Israel last Sunday.

However, Johnson still refused to allow a vote on a single bill including all of the Senate’s provisions. Instead, on Wednesday afternoon the House Rules Committee posted text for three separate bills with the funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The text of a fourth bill, including measures to redirect seized Russian assets toward Ukraine and force the sale of Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok, was to be released later on Wednesday.

The Ukraine bill retains the $61 billion from the Biden Administration’s proposal last autumn and maintained by the Senate. However, more than $9bn in economic assistance is through “forgivable loans”.

Israel’s legislation authorizes $26 billion, including more than $9 billion in humanitarian assistance amid Israel’s military operations in Gaza. US allies in the Indo-Pacific would receive $8 billion under their measure.

If all three bills are adopted, they will be combined and sent to the Senate. The House will also vote on a border security measure, after Trumpists and the hard right demanded — and then objected to — its inclusion with any Ukraine legislation.

With only a two-vote majority in the House and some in the Trumpist/hard-right faction threatening Johnson with retribution, Democratic support will be essential to advance the bills.

President Joe Biden bolstered that effort with a statement: “The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow. I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: we stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed.”

Rep. Rose DeLauro, the leading Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said:

After House Republicans dragged their feet for months, we finally have a path forward to provide support for our allies and desperately needed humanitarian aid. We cannot retreat from the world stage under the guise of putting “America First”.

In contrast, the Republican conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is leading an effort to remove Johnson, tweeted to the Speaker: “You are seriously out of step with Republicans by continuing to pass bills dependent on Democrats. Everyone sees through this.”