Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a press conference at the chancellory in Berlin, February 16, 2024 (Markus Schreiber/AP)

EA/Times Radio Special: Another Failed Putin Gamble in Ukraine?

Monday’s Coverage: Kyiv Strikes Russia’s Most Advanced Warplane for 1st Time

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Addressing Germany’s Bundestag, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said:

He emphasized his point with reference to the years after World War II.

A divided Europe was never happy. And a divided Germany was never happy. You don’t need me to tell you this, you know it from your own experience.

That’s why you can understand why we Ukrainians are fighting against attempts to divide us…why we are doing everything, everything, absolutely everything so that we do not allow a wall to be created in our country….

Russia must pay for the damage its mission has caused to our country and our people. It is in all our interests that Russia loses.

Pushing back on defeatist rhetoric, he compared today’s Ukraine with the Germany of the 1980s.

You can probably remember that a year or two before the fall of the Berlin Wall, no one could have predicted how quickly this could come about. It seemed to some that the wall would remain forever.

But the wall disappeared. And that was down to the leadership of the politicians and many people. It depended on that alone. And now, when people are shouting that Putin will last forever, and there is no end to this war, that’s not the case. This is an illusion…that can be destroyed by passion, by decisions, by success. And we will do this together.


Ireland’s security services have identified fake online accounts, linked to the Kremlin, generating “anti-government” messages in the run up to last Friday’s European and local elections.

Irish police contacted social media providers. Some accounts were suspended on suspicion that were connected with the Russian State or operated by groups backed by Russian intelligence services.

Ireland’s National Cyber-Security Centre thwarted attacks by Russian hackers against the websites of State services, including Irish Rail, Bus Éireann, and a voting registration service.

The Department of Communications cited an organized campaign across European Union countries. Irish police worked with other European intelligence agencies, monitoring efforts to disrupt processes around elections.

In recent weeks, authorities and journalists have identified Russian political warfare, influence operations, and sabotage plans across Europe, including support of European Parliament members on propaganda and disinformation platforms.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Monday that Russia may have been behind an attempted arson attack on Prague city buses last week. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday that 10 people have been arrested in recent weeks for acts of sabotage.

The Presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia said in a statement on Tuesday:

We are deeply concerned about Russia’s recent malignant hybrid activities on Allied territory, which constitute a threat to Allied security.

We will act individually and collectively to address these actions, boost our resilience and continue to coordinate closely to ensure that the Alliance and Allies are prepared to deter and defend against hybrid actions or attacks.


A court in Yekaterinburg has sentenced a local man to three years in prison, after he challenged an 11-year-old boy for wearing a “Z” baseball cap.

“Z” is the symbol for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The court heard that the boy was wearing the cap to honor his deployed father.

The defendant was only fined in an initial hearing, but politicians demanded a retrial.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told the Ukraine Recovery Conference that the country can restore damaged energy facilities before winter, provided it has the help of partners.

Russia is trying to break Ukraine with intense missile and drone strikes on energy infrastructure. Half of Ukrainian generating capacity has been affected, with almost 3/4 of Ukrainian thermal power plants damaged, and rolling blackouts have been instituted to reduce consumption.

The Kyiv School of Economics estimates that reconstruction will cost $50.6 billion, with Ukraine’s energy sector suffering direct losses of more than $16.1 billion during the Russian invasion.

The President stressed the need for air defenses — including at least seven Patriot systems — to protect Ukraine from Russian strikes as the power system is restored. He said air superiority is Russia’s “greatest strategic advantage” in its invasion.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed to the conference that Berlin is sending a third Patriot air defense system, as well as IRIS-T and Gepard anti-aircraft systems, missiles, and ammunition to Ukraine in forthcoming weeks and months.

Zelenskiy reported on his meeting with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The Finance Ministries of the two countries signed a joint Declaration of Intent to bolster bilateral cooperation in support of reconstruction.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said:

We are not limiting ourselves to the form of support that Ukraine needs to win the war.

We want to contribute now so that Ukraine can set the course for future growth through its reconstruction.

This is not just about financial resources, but also about building institutional capacities to support private companies in Ukraine and promote investment.


Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov says strikes on missile launchers inside Russia — including with US-supplied HIMARS rocket systems — has reduced Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s second city.

Attending the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Terekhov said spoke of relative “calm” after months of intense Russian missile and drone strikes.

“This has helped,” he explained. “That is why maybe Kharkiv has… this period of…calm the last couple of weeks…There were no great strikes as it was, for example, in May.”

Last month, the US finally relaxed its ban on use of American-supplied munitions inside Russia, after Moscow launched a cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region.

Terekhov told reporters:

We are in a war and it is a brutal war. Every day in Kharkiv people lose their lives. Yesterday too was no exception. We’d already arrived in Germany and we felt safe and secure. While our city was under attack at the same time.

According to the latest statistics published in May, we have had 76 such attacks from the air via Russia. 193 alarms were sounded in the city….Regardless of these facts, Kharkiv is not giving in. Kharkiv continues to run, continues to work. Kharkiv is alive.


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that accession talks with Ukraine to join the European Union the Ukraine Recovery Conference taking place in Berlin will start at the end of June.

Von der Leyen told the Ukraine Recovery Conference that Kyiv has fulfilled all the necessary requirements for reform to join the EU.

Last week the Commission recommended the start of the accession negotiations. The EU’s 27 members must now provide unananimous approval — that may be jeopardized by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, an ally of Vladimir Putin.

Von der Leyen added that Ukraine will receive €1.5 billion ($1.6 billion) in profits from frozen Russian assets in July and €1.9 billion ($2 billion) from the Ukraine Facility this month.

“We have always said that Russia must be held accountable for its crimes, and now we make Russia pay,” she said.


The US is lifting its ban on use of American weapons by Ukraine’s Azov Brigade.

The Brigade has far-right and ultra-nationalist roots. However, it was absorbed into the Ukraine National Guard in November 2014, and subsequently distanced itself from the political leadership of the Azov Movement.

It was prominent in the defense of the port city of Mariupol, in southeast Ukraine, against 12 weeks of Russian bombing, ground assaults, and siege. Many fighters were captured when Azov finally surrendered at the Azovstal steel mill.

The State Department said in a statement, “After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting,” referring to the “Leahy Law” that prevents US military assistance from going to foreign units credibly found to have committed major human rights violations.

The Department found “no evidence” of such violations.


A 77-year-old man has died in hospital after a Russian attack on Kharkiv city on Monday.

Russian troops targeted a residential area with three glide bombs. Five men and three women were injured.

The slain man was rescued from rubble after two hours.


Ukrainian defenses have downed another Russian Su-25 fighter jet in eastern Ukraine.

The Ukraine General Staff said the Su-25, which supports Russian ground operations, was intercepted in the Pokrovsk sector of the Donetsk region on Monday.

Amid Russian offensives in the east, Ukraine shot down six Su-25s in May.

On Saturday, Ukraine struck Russia’s most advanced warplane, the Su-57 fighter jet, for the first time. The attack was on the Akhtubinsk airfield in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia, 589 km (366 miles) from the frontline.

Ukraine damaged three surface-to-air defense systems in Russian-occupied Crimea early Monday. One S-400 anti-aircraft missile unit was hit near Dzhankoy, and two S-300 anti-aircraft units were attacked near Chornomorske and Yevpatoria.

The radars of the Russian systems stopped working “immediately” after the strikes.

The General Staff also confirmed its responsibility for an attack last Wednesday that damaged one of Russia’s largest oil refineries, Novoshakhtinsk, in the south of the country.

“According to intelligence reports, as a result of the strike, the invaders lost 1.5 million metric tons of oil and petroleum products, which amounts to about $540 million,” the General Staff said in a statement.

The governor of Rostov Province, Vasily Golubev, acknowledged operations at Novoshakhtinsk suffered “significant disruptions” from a fire following the drone attack.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will attend an international conference in Berlin on Ukraine’s postwar recovery today.

Zelenskiy, who will also have discussions with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said measures for Ukraine’s damaged energy sector will be the priority. He also cited military aid, including air defenses and joint manufacture of munitions, and the coordination of positions for the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland on Saturday and Sunday.

Preparations for the Berlin conference were hindered on Monday with the revelation that the head of Ukraine’s reconstruction agency, Mustafa Nayyem, resigned in late May.

Nayyem claimed, in an interview with the Financial Times, that he was prevented from going to Germany. He added that he left “due to systemic obstacles that do not allow me to effectively exercise my powers”.

He maintained that his agency faced “constant opposition” and “resistance” with “a negative impact on the country’s defence capability, cargo logistics, protection of critical infrastructure and export of our goods”.

Two weeks before his resignation in late May, Nayyem told two dozen official from the US Agency for International Development and other Western agencies that he expected to be fired with investigation of the work of the Infrastructure Ministry under his ally Oleksandr Kubrakov.

Kubrakov — the Deputy Prime Minister for the Reconstruction of Ukraine and Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure — was dismissed by Ukraine’s Parliament on May 9. The Government is seeking to separate the Ministry of Community Development from the Ministry for Reconstruction.

He announced his resignation in a Facebook post after criticism of the Government in a strongly worded e-mail to some of Kyiv’s foreign partners.

Two agency officials responsible for anti-corruption policy and procurement also quit.

Government officials said Nayyem’s travel request to Berlin was denied because a meeting to review his agency’s work is scheduled for June 12 in Kyiv. A Cabinet spokesperson said Nayyem’s statements “appear to be an attempt to avoid reporting on today’s critical issues”.