French President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2024 (Ludovic Marin/Reuters)

Thursday’s Coverage: Kyiv Strikes More Russian Oil Facilities

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The European Commission says accession negotiations can begin with Ukraine and Moldova.

The Commission briefed the European Union’s Committee of Permanent Representatives that both countries have taken all the necessary steps to meet preconditions.

Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero told a press briefing in Brussels on Friday:

We can confirm that on the Commission side, we’ve provided all the updates to member states and we considered that all the steps have been met by the two countries….Now the decision is in the hands of the members, and it is for them to adopt the negotiating framework.

Once this step is done, it is the prerogative of the presidency of the EU Council to convene an intergovernmental conference to formally mark the start of negotiations.

Pisonero noted that Ukraine has adopted legislation to increase staffing for the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, lifted restrictions on the powers of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, and enacted a law regulating lobbying in line with European standards.

She added that Ukraine has improved legislation on the protection of minority rights, including minority language education.

The European Council decided last December to open membership negotiations with Ukraine, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, overcoming the blockade of Hungarian Prime Minister — and long-time ally of Vladimir Putin — Viktor Orbán.

Diplomatic sources warned today that Hungary, which assumes the Presidency of the European Council in July, could again prevent consensus among EU members.

“Hungary reiterated that they have conditions that still need to be fulfilled. Otherwise, they will not be able to accept the Commission’s assessment,” one diplomat said.

Another said Budpaest insisted that there was lack of progress over the ethnic minority issue, and is also pressing the EU to “move forward” with Serbia’s and Albania’s accession talks.

“We are all [apart from Hungary] in favor of holding the intergovernmental conference on June 25,” the diplomat said.


Meeting Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Paris, US President Joe Biden has apologized for the 6 1/2-month blockade of American military aid by Trumpists and hard-right Republicans, allowing Russia to seize the initiative on the frontline.

Biden said, “I apologise for those weeks of not knowing….Some of our very conservative members [of Congress] were holding it up. But we got it done, finally.”

The US President told Zelenskiy, “You haven’t bowed down, you haven’t yielded at all, you continue to fight in a way that is … just remarkable. We are not going to walk away from you.”

He assured, “We’re still in. Completely. Thoroughly.”

Zelenskiy responded:

It’s very important that you stay with us. This bipartisan support with Congress, it’s very important that in this unity…all American people stay with Ukraine, like it was during World War II. The United States helped to save lives, to save Europe.


Addressing French lawmakers in Paris, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky drew parallels between World War II and resistance of Russia’s 27 1/2-month invasion.

“Hitler crossed red line after red line, Putin does the same,” Zelenskiy said.

The members of the French National Assembly gave him a standing ovation.

“France, I thank you for being at our side to defend life,” Zelenskiy responded in French.


A Ukrainian drone attack has damaged two radar stations in Russian-occupied Crimea, reports the Telegram channel ASTRA.

The drones struck overnight in the village of Mysovoye. One Russian soldier was wounded, said emergency services.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed 11 drones were downed, without acknowledging any damage of casualties.

ASTRA also reports that five Ukrainian drones hit an electricity substation in the Krasnodar region in southwest Russia, damaging a transformer and causing a small fire.


One civilian was killed and four injured by Russian attacks on the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

The fatality was in Chasiv Yar, near the frontline.


Ukraine’s air defenses downed 48 of 53 Iran-type attack drones and five cruise missiles fired by Russia overnight.

The UAVs and missiles were intercepted over the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa, Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Khmelnytskyi regions.

ORiGINAL ENTRY: France is sending Mirage-2000 fighter jets to Ukraine and will train Ukrainian pilots.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, “You need normally between five to six months [for traning]. So by the end of the year there will be pilots.”

The President also said France will equip and train a brigade of 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers.

Asked about training through French instructors in Ukraine, Macron said France and its allies will decide on the location, but he did not believe the move would be “escalatory”.

Speaking at a Normandy ceremony for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, Macron said:

Thank you to the Ukrainian people for their bravery. We are here and we will not weaken.

Faced with the return of war on our continent….Faced with those who purport to change borders by force to rewrite history, let us be worthy of those who landed here.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attended the ceremony, receiving an ovation from the crowd.

US President Joe Biden also linked World War II to the challenge of repelling the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2024.

Describing Vladimir Putin as a “tyrant bent on domination”, Biden declared, “To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators, is simply unthinkable. If we were to do that, it means we’d be forgetting what happened here on these hallowed beaches.”

He assured:

We will not walk away because if we do Ukraine will be subjugated and it will not end there. Ukraine’s neighbors will be threatened, all of Europe will be threatened.

There are things that are worth fighting and dying for. Freedom is worth it. Democracy is worth it.