Germany receives request for cruise missiles
Ukraine has sent the German government an official request for deliveries of Taurus air-to-ground cruise missiles with a range of at least 500 km, the German Ministry of Defence told AFP on Saturday.
“We have received a request from the Ukrainian side over the last few days”, the spokeswoman said, without giving details of the quantities involved.
It now remains to be seen whether or not Berlin will grant the request, which is likely to spark heated internal debate.
The German government has significantly increased its arms supplies to Kyiv in recent months, but has so far been reticent about providing cruise missiles or support for the Ukrainian air force, such as assistance with the delivery of F-16 fighters.
The Taurus is an air-to-ground cruise missile carried by fighters and developed by the German-Swedish company of the same name. Because of its range, it would be capable of hitting targets a long way behind the current front line in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian soccer plays on with contest for top title
Two soccer teams exiled from cities in war-battered eastern Ukraine will play each other Sunday in the safer western part of the country with the league title at stake.
The showdown between competition leader Shakhtar Donetsk and second-place Dnipro-1 at Arena Lviv will be decisive in a soccer season that is finishing on schedule in remarkable circumstances.
The stadium was one of four in Ukraine, including Shakhtar’s home in Donetsk, secure enough in 2012 from Russian aggression to co-host that year’s European Championship with Poland.
Shakhtar leads by five points and needs just a draw this weekend to secure the title ahead of the last scheduled round on June 4.
“I think it will maybe be one of our best matches ever,” Ukrainian league chief executive Ievgen Dykyi told The Associated Press this week in a call from Kyiv. “Because the situation now is really hard, and all the players understand about this.”
Russia fails to block Ukraine at World Health Organisation
Russia suffered a setback on Friday when it failed to block Ukraine’s entry to the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The ten countries that joined the Executive Board for three years – among them both Ukraine and North Korea – are usually elected by acclamation during the World Health Assembly, the 76th session of which is currently taking place in Geneva.
But because of Moscow’s attempt to prevent Ukraine from joining this forum of 34 member countries, which plays an important role in the governance of the WHO, it was necessary to hold a vote for the first time since 1977.
The result was clear: the candidates, nominated by each of the WHO’s 6 regions, were elected by 123 votes to 13 abstentions.
“Today’s vote was a resounding defeat for Russia, which failed in its reckless attempts to undermine the authority of the WHO Regional Committees and disrupt the work of the World Health Assembly and its Executive Board”, said a delighted Yevheniia Filipenko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva.