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Missile defense in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv (photo taken on May 30)

Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka / AP

What happened in the past few hours

A fire apparently broke out in an oil refinery in southern Russia during the night. The fire at the Afipski refinery in the Krasnodar Territory was probably caused by a drone, Governor Veniamin Kondratiev wrote on Telegram. "There are no casualties." The Afipsky refinery is located near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, and the plant is about 250 kilometers away from Russian-occupied Crimea.

Initially, there was no information on whether it was a Ukrainian drone. Moreover, Kyiv usually does not confirm drone strikes on Russian territory.

Russia also reported that four people had been killed and sixteen others injured as a result of Ukrainian shelling in the Luhansk region. According to the report, Ukraine shelled a chicken farm in the village of Karpaty with artillery. Initially, the incident could not be independently confirmed.

In Ukraine, it remained comparatively quiet on Wednesday night, according to the Reuters news agency, hardly any air alarms were triggered. Just the day before, Kyiv in particular had once again come under heavy fire. One person was killed in connection with a Russian drone attack.

This is what Kiev says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has paid tribute to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) for his "determination". During a phone call on Tuesday, he thanked Scholz for the air defense systems that Germany had supplied and thus saved the lives of Ukrainians, Zelenskyy said in an evening video message. "And I thank Olaf, Mr. Chancellor, for his personal determination, which in many ways becomes the destiny for the whole of Europe," he continued.

Zelensky made it clear that an effective anti-aircraft system is one of the main goals of his defense policy. "Russian terror must be defeated every day and night, in the skies of every Ukrainian city and village," he said. Ukraine is experiencing more drone and missile attacks this May than at any time in a month since the start of the war.

This is what Moscow says

Following the drone strikes on Moscow, Russia has threatened Ukraine with retaliatory strikes. In addition to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, who accused Kiev of terror and announced a reaction, his close confidant Ramzan Kadyrov swore revenge: The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus called for the imposition of martial law in Russia in order to take tougher action against Ukraine. Kiev has denied involvement in the attacks.

"We will soon show in the zone of the special military operation what revenge is in the whole sense of the word," Kadyrov wrote in his blog on the Telegram news channel. Once again, he also threatened Western Europe with Russian attacks, Russia could knock on the doors of, for example, Germany or Poland, Kadyrov said.

In the Russian capital, the air defense had shot down several drones on Tuesday morning. According to the authorities, several houses were damaged and two people were injured. Where the drones came from remained unclear.

The situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has formulated guidelines to protect the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. "There must be no attack of any kind from or against the plant, especially against the reactors, the spent fuel stockpiles, other critical infrastructure or personnel," Grossi said on the core of his demands on Tuesday before the UN Security Council in New York.

The fact that Russia and Ukraine agreed to the directive was positively assessed by the IAEA chief. He was "encouraged by the expressed support for our work," Grossi said. In addition to a ban on attacks on the plant, Zaporizhzhia should also "not be used as a warehouse or base for heavy weapons", this also applies to rocket launchers, tanks or military personnel. In addition, "every effort should be made to ensure that electricity from outside is available and secure at all times".

Summit in Moldova approaching – EU adopts sanctions

EU countries have imposed sanctions on seven politicians and businessmen with Moldovan or Russian nationality. Their assets will be frozen and there will be a travel ban in and through the European Union, as the Council of the EU announced on Tuesday evening in Brussels.

Those now sanctioned are said to have tried to destabilize the Republic of Moldova on behalf of Russia, for example by planning violent demonstrations or by illegally exporting capital. Some of them are also accused of supporting the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, for example by cooperating with the Russian occupation authorities.

"The Republic of Moldova is one of the countries most affected by the consequences of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. There are serious, intensified and ongoing attempts to destabilise the country," said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. The sanctions are therefore an important political signal of the EU's support for the Republic of Moldova.

The move comes just ahead of a European Political Community (EPC) summit. The EPC will meet in Moldova on Thursday for its second summit, following a inaugural event in Prague in October. The leaders of 47 countries and the EU institutions are expected to attend. The forum was created in response to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

What is becoming important today

  • Ahead of the EPC summit in Moldova, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will meet Moldovan President Maia Sandu.

  • Informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo: The war in Ukraine, the strengthening of the eastern flank and the upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania on 11 and 12 July will be discussed.

  • A new trial is likely to start against the prominent imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. This time, the oppositionist, who has already been sentenced to nine years in prison for a prison camp, is accused of extremism. If convicted, Navalny faces around 30 years in prison. Initially, according to a spokeswoman for Navalny, it is only a complaint from the Kremlin opponent to get more time to familiarize himself with the very extensive complaint. The actual start of the process could follow later.