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President Zelenskyj bids farewell to his late Interior Minister Monastyrskyj. © Ukrainian Presidency/Planet Pix/Zuma Press/dpa

Ukraine is facing a new Russian offensive. Corruption scandals in its own ranks also undermine demands on the West. current developments.

Kyiv/Moscow – While Moscow reports minor successes in its campaign of conquest against Ukraine, the leadership in Kyiv is preoccupied with itself.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyi bids an emotional farewell to his Interior Minister, who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday. Meanwhile, two ministries, including Defense, so important to the war, are rocked by corruption scandals.

Zelenskyj mourns the death of the Interior Minister

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyi bid farewell to Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, who died in a helicopter crash. “Every day we lose people that we will always remember and that we regret not being able to bring back,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Saturday. The 44-year-old was also previously at the memorial service for the crash victims.

In contrast to most of the other video messages he had released since the start of the Russian war of aggression, Zelenskyy made no reference to current events at the front or to the demands made to the West, where a heated debate over supply of tanks to Ukraine is happening, especially in Germany.

Instead, Zelenskyy recalled the many victims that the war has claimed so far and addressed an emotional message to his compatriots. He wants all Ukrainians to feel the loss. He wishes “that we feel how many lives, how many intelligent people the war costs. I want all of us to honor his memory today…” the president said.

Suspected corruption in the Ukrainian army

According to official information, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will address reports in front of the parliament in Kyiv about excessively priced food purchases for the army. Reznikov has been invited to a hearing, Deputy Chairman of the Rada Committee for National Security, Defense and Reconnaissance Marjana Besugla told national broadcaster Suspilne Media on Saturday. In addition, the Court of Accounts will closely examine the Ministry of Defense.

Earlier, media reports in Kyiv caused a stir that the Defense Ministry was purchasing food to feed its soldiers at prices up to three times higher than retail store prices. The contract for 13 billion hryvnia (a good 300 million euros) is said to be about feeding the soldiers at the front, but in the rear.

Ukrainian deputy minister detained in Kyiv

Meanwhile, according to media reports, the deputy minister has been arrested at another ministry for accepting a six-figure bribe. “The National Anti-Corruption Office searched the house of Deputy Minister of Municipal, Territorial and Infrastructure Development Vasyl Losynsky and arrested him,” the online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda reported on Saturday. The ministry has already responded to the report and fired the senior official.

Russian military report new offensive

According to the Russian army, it has gained ground in a new offensive in southern Ukraine. “In the Zaporizhzhia region, attacks by units of the Eastern Military District could take more favorable lines and positions,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in Moscow on Saturday. According to him, the Russians killed 30 Ukrainians in the attacks and disabled several military vehicles. The information could not be independently verified.

Russian military bloggers had previously reported an offensive in the Orikhiv and Hulyaipolye areas. The first lines of defense were overrun. According to the “Rybar” blog, which is said to be close to the Russian Defense Ministry, several cities were also taken. The Ministry has not yet officially confirmed it. In the morning, the Ukrainian general staff only spoke of shelling in the region, but gave no information about an advance by Russian troops.

The Zaporizhzhia region is considered strategically important. Both sides have stationed large contingents of troops there. From the Ukrainian point of view, a Russian advance would be dangerous because its own troops stationed in the east defending the Donbass could be in danger of being encircled. On the Russian side, there is a fear that the Ukrainians could drive a wedge between the Russian troops with an advance towards the sea, which would make it practically impossible for the units to supply the region.

Increased pressure on Scholz to deliver tanks

Green and FDP politicians continue to urge Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to hand over tanks to Ukraine. The chairman of the Europe Committee in the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter (Greens), told newspapers from the Funke media group (Monday): “It’s not just about Leopard 2, of course, but this is crucial support that Germany can offer”. immediately” to begin training Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard so there are no further delays. FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann had publicly attacked the Chancellor in the tank dispute.

What will be important on Sunday.

Ukraine wants to keep putting pressure on Germany to deliver battle tanks. Russian troops, on the other hand, continue their attacks in the Donetsk and Zaporizhia regions.

The head of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, heads a State Duma delegation to Iran. Both countries want to expand their trade relations. Iran has officially declared itself neutral in the Ukraine war, but Kyiv has accused it of supplying Russian troops with drones to attack Ukrainian cities, among other things. dpa

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