Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for the United Nations Security Council to remove Russia’s veto power, arguing that “this will be the first necessary step.”
During a speech at Wednesday’s UN Security Council meeting, Zelensky said Ukrainian soldiers are doing on the battlefield “at the expense of their blood” what the UN Security Council “should do by its voting.”
However, any attempt to reform the Security Council would require the assent of the existing five permanent members of the powerful Security Council, otherwise known as the P5, that includes Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United States and China.
Zelensky also called for former President Donald Trump to share his peace plans publicly if the former US president has a way to end the war between Ukraine and Russia, though he cautioned in an interview Tuesday that any peace plan where Ukraine gives up territory would be unacceptable.
On the ground developments
A Russian drone attack hit an oil refinery, sparking a fire in the central city of Kremenchuk on Wednesday, a Ukrainian military official said.
Also, a series of explosions reported in occupied Crimea on the same day were the work of Ukrainian forces, Ukrainian Defense Intelligence confirmed. Elsewhere, saboteurs were responsible for an attack on an airfield near Moscow on Monday, according to Kyiv. Ukrainian Defense Intelligence said Wednesday that “unknown saboteurs blew up two airplanes and a helicopter in the Moscow region.”
Russia says it intercepted 22 Ukrainian drone attacks, including 19 over the Black Sea
Russia intercepted 22 Ukrainian drone attacks early Thursday, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Telegram.
“Air defense systems destroyed 19 Ukrainian UAVs over the Black Sea and the territory of the Republic of Crimea, one over the Kursk region, one over the Belgorod region and one over the Oryol region,” the ministry said.
No casualties or damage have been reported so far by the Russian defense ministry or Russian regional officials.
Ukrainian officials have not yet commented on the strikes.
Russia’s redeployment of troops to the south weakens Bakhmut defense, UK says
Moscow’s attempts to bolster its forces in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia has left its units in the Bakhmut area of Donetsk more vulnerable, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense this week.
“Recent redeployments of Russian airborne forces from Bakhmut to Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine have likely weakened Russia’s defenses around Bakhmut,” the ministry said in an intelligence update on X, formerly Twitter.
In the past week, Ukraine claimed to have liberated the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, a few miles south of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region. Russia said the settlements are in a “gray zone” and are still being contested.
Britain’s Defense Ministry observed that Ukraine’s “tactical success brings Ukrainian forces closer to the T 05-13 road, one of the main supply routes into Bakhmut from the south” but it noted that “Russia continues to hold the railway line which runs along an embankment between Klishchiivka and the T 05-13, creating a readily defendable obstacle.”
Russia’s losses appear to be mounting in southern Zaporizhzhia region, analysts say
Russian losses in the southern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine have increased significantly as Ukraine’s counteroffensive makes gains, according to an analysis from the Institute for the Study of War, released late on Tuesday.
Ukraine has reported a number of advances in the last week in the south and east, with the recapture of two villages — Andriivka and Klishchiivka — just south of Bakhmut in Donetsk. It’s a notable victory, although Russian officials say the settlements are still being contested.
The ISW noted in its analysis that “Russian and Ukrainian sources credited superior Ukrainian combat coordination, more precise artillery fire, and stronger electronic warfare systems for recent Ukrainian advances south of Bakhmut amid continued discussions of significant Russian losses in the area.”
Zelensky and EU leaders discuss free access of Ukrainian agricultural products to EU market
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the possibility of providing free access for Ukrainian agricultural products to European Union countries during a meeting with several EU leaders on Wednesday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Romanian President Klaus lohannis, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel and Zelensky met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The talks were primarily focused on “preserving the single market principle and free access of Ukrainian agricultural products to the EU market,” according to the office of the Ukrainian Presidency.
Zelensky noted that “the Joint Coordination Platform for Export and Transit of Ukrainian Agricultural Products” has been established, and that it serves as “an effective mechanism for maintaining an ongoing dialogue.” He added that it resolves “all problematic issues in the field of agricultural products.”
Zelensky emphasized the importance of protecting “the competitive advantages of each EU member in conditions of free trade.”
In particular, Zelensky discussed “finding effective solutions in the field of logistics, increasing the capacity of ports, including the Black Sea port of Constanta, and river transport on the Danube River” with Romanian and Bulgarian officials.
The participants discussed alternative transportation routes through Romania and Bulgaria, which would “significantly increase transit volumes and reduce the burden on the domestic markets of these countries,” the Ukrainian Presidency office said.
“Over 60% of transit of Ukrainian grain that passes through the EU’s Solidarity Lanes” is through Romania, Zelensky said.
The so-called “solidarity lanes” – established by the EU in May 2022 – are designed to provide alternative land routes for the export of Ukrainian grain after Moscow blockaded docks in the Black Sea region.
The measures include new border posts, flexible customs checks, logistics support, prioritization of Ukrainian agricultural exports and new storage facilities on the EU’s side of the border.
Canadian prime minister urges action over Russia’s “illegal war”
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, called Wednesday for action to be taken over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We need to be one hundred percent clear about what is happening right now. A permanent member of this Security Council, Russia, has launched and continues to wage an illegal war,” Trudeau said at Wednesday’s United Nations Security Council meeting.
He criticized Russia for using its veto right within the Security Council “to facilitate this war and these violations of the principles of the United Nations.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made similar comments earlier Wednesday calling for Russia’s veto power to be stripped — saying it’s making it impossible to stop the war.
For example, in September 2022, Russia vetoed a draft resolution that would have condemned its seizure of Ukrainian territories and called on it to withdraw from Ukraine.
Russia, which has defended its veto power, is one of five permanent members of the powerful Security Council.
“We must take action to stop the tragic deaths and violence, including sexual violence, caused by this unjustifiable invasion,” Trudeau said. “We must not let the world return to a place where might makes right. We must make sure borders mean something, even when a neighbor has a bigger army.”