European Union leaders will meet in an attempt to address complex questions about the bloc’s laws and what they would mean for a potential Ukrainian membership.
EU Council President Charles Michel, in his invitation letter for the summit taking place in Grenada, Spain, stressed the need to address “critical questions, such as: What do we do together? How do we decide? How do we match our means with our ambitions?”
Ukrainians are reeling from a Russian missile attack on a cafe and grocery store in the Kharkiv region that killed 52 people, and one that Western leaders vocally condemned as “horrific.” It was one of the worst Russian attacks of the war in terms of civilian death count.
U.S. condemns ‘horrifying’ Russian attack on Ukrainian village that killed 52 people
The Biden administration condemned a Russian attack on a Ukrainian grocery store and cafe in the Kharkiv region’s Hroza village that killed 52 people, calling it “horrifying.”
In a press briefing after the missile strike, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “Let’s stop and think about what we’re seeing: 49 innocent people who were killed by a Russian airstrike while they were shopping for food at a supermarket.” The death toll later rose to 52.
“Can you imagine just walking to the grocery store with your kids, trying to figure out what is it that you’re going to make for dinner, and you see an explosion happen where bodies are everywhere. And it’s horrifying,” she said.
“This is why we’re doing everything that we can to help Ukraine,” she added, “to help the brave people of Ukraine to fight for their freedom … to fight for their democracy.”
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also condemned the attack along with other Western leaders, saying that it “demonstrated the depths of depravity Russian forces are willing to sink to,” according to a spokesperson.
— Natasha Turak
Russia lifts ban on most of its diesel exports
Russia’s government on Friday said it had withdrawn a ban on diesel exports delivered to sea ports via pipelines, removing a large chunk of restrictions it put in place last month.
The Kremlin said in a statement that it had “lifted restrictions on the export of diesel fuel delivered to seaports by pipeline, provided that the manufacturer supplies at least 50% of the diesel fuel produced to the domestic market,” according to a Google translation.
The announcement comes shortly after Russia imposed an indefinite ban on the export of diesel and gasoline to most countries, sending shockwaves through global markets. The restrictions for gasoline exports currently remain in place.
Read the full story here.
— Sam Meredith
Ukraine says at least 49 civilians dead after Russian missile strike on grocery store
Ukraine said that at least 49 people were killed in a Russian strike on a grocery store in the Kharkiv region in the east of the country. The attack was reported to be one of the worst attacks on civilians since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attack as “demonstrably brutal” and said “Russian terror must be stopped.”
“A missile attack on an ordinary grocery store, a completely deliberate act of terrorism,” Zelenskyy said via Telegram, according to an NBC translation. “My condolences to all those who have lost loved ones! Assistance is provided to the wounded,” he added.
Russia did not immediately comment on the accusations from Ukraine.
— Sam Meredith
Dutch PM Mark Rutte says he’s ‘absolutely convinced’ U.S. will continue supporting Ukraine
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Thursday that he’s “absolutely convinced” the U.S. will continue supporting Ukraine’s war effort.
“Not at all,” Rutte said when asked whether he was concerned about the prospect of President Joe Biden’s administration reducing its long-term support for Kyiv amid Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Rutte said senior Democrat and Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives had recently visited the Hague and they were “in total agreement on the need to continue the support for Ukraine because this about our common values [and] it is about our common security.”
“We cannot accept one country in 2022, 2023 invading another nation so I am absolutely convinced that they will solve this issue,” he added.
Asked whether the EU could step in if the U.S. does not resume its support for Ukraine, Rutte said, “It is not necessary. The EU will do what is necessary [and] the Netherlands is among the top countries in terms of contribution for Ukraine … but I am absolutely convinced that the U.S. will stay on board.”
— Sam Meredith
EU’s top diplomat says Europe can do more but it cannot replace U.S. support for Ukraine
The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Europe would not be able to replace U.S. support for Ukraine amid Russia’s full-scale invasion.
“Well, I was in Kyiv some days ago just at the moment when we knew that the U.S. Congress had not included support to Ukraine on the big deal about the budget in order to avoid the shutdown,” Josep Borrell told reporters Thursday in Granada, Spain, for a summit of the European Political Community.
“That was certainly not expected, and it is certainly not good news, but I hope it is not going to be a definite position of the U.S.” he continued. “Ukraine needs the support of the European Union, which is sure, they will have it and we will increase it. But also, the support of the U.S.”
Asked whether Europe can fill the gap left by the U.S. amid concerns about Washington’s long-term support for Kyiv’s war effort, Borrell replied “Certainly Europe cannot replace the U.S.”
— Sam Meredith