Unlike Ukrainians, some seem to be sitting in two chairs
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy immediately welcomed the European Commission’s decision to recommend granting European Union candidate status to Ukraine as a “first step on the EU membership path that will certainly bring our victory closer.”
Zelenskiy thanked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who announced the recommendation, for the Commission’s “historic decision” and said he expected that EU leaders would give Ukraine a “positive result” at next week’s summit.
“We all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us the European dream,” von der Leyen said at a press conference in Brussels. ”Yes, Ukraine should be welcomed as a candidate country. This is based on the understanding that good work has been done, but important work also remains to be done,” von der Leyen said.
According to polls, 91% of the Ukrainians, 82% of whom in Eastern Ukraine where fierce fighting is now taking place, support the entry into the EU.
Dutch seek ‘rigorous” EU approach to Ukraine candidacy
According to EuObserver, the Netherlands asks the European Commission to carefully spell out the conditions for Ukraine’s further approach to membership in the European Union. Amsterdam insists on the need for fair and strict conditions for Kyiv.
“The Netherlands reaffirms its commitment to the EU enlargement process. We reaffirm that the Commission's recommendation must be of high quality,” the relevant document say.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that it wouldn’t have been possible granting European Union candidate status to Ukraine if not for Russia’s invasion.
Macron told CNN on Friday that “Ukraine normally should not be a candidate” and that they were “doing it because of the war and because we think it’s good.”
Boris Johnson in Kyiv again
Volodymyr Zelensky discussed with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the latter’s visit to Kyiv the issue of security guarantees for Ukraine.
In a joint video address with Zelenskyy from Kyiv, Johnson said that he understands the need to continue financial support for Ukraine, to unblock grain exports that Putin has held hostage in an attempt to deprive the world of food. He assured that his country is ready to continue providing weapons to Ukraine and organizing military training for its use.
“Due to this, the Ukrainian people and the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be able to do what Ukrainians really want to do, namely, drive the aggressor out of Ukraine,” Boris Johnson stated.
Russians to be stripped of visa-free travel in Ukraine
The Cabinet of Ministers on Friday approved a resolution “On the termination of the Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Russian Federation on visa-free travel,” said the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal.
“We are finally severing all ties with Russia. In order to counteract unprecedented threats to national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state, the Government today, on the commission of the President of Ukraine, decided to terminate the agreement with Russia on visa-free travel,” stressed Denys Shmyhal.
The Prime Minister noted that Russian citizens will not be eligible to travel or be admitted to Ukraine without a visa. The decision comes into force on July 1 this year.
“Vasily Bekh” tug shot down
About the defeat of the tug “Vasily Bekh”, which was carrying occupiers and weapons to the Ukrainian island of Serpents, the press center of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on June 17. According to the publication “Dumskaya”, the missile attack was launched on June 17 at 3.55. The operational command “South” clarified that as a result of a missile hit, 70% of the crew were hit, the fate of the remaining 30% is unknown.
BBC News Ukraine reported that Vasily Bekh was shot down as a result of the first use by the Ukrainian military of the American Harpoon missile.
From trenches of information warfare
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi likely asked President Volodymyr Zelensky “behind closed doors” to negotiate with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, German newspaper Die Welt reported on June 16.
The publication said that the economic damage that the EU countries are suffering because of the war is becoming greater and more difficult to handle.
Zelensky’s spokesman denies that Macron, Scholz, Draghi ‘tried to persuade’ Ukrainian leader to negotiate with Russia. According to Sergii Nykyforov, Ukraine’s foreign partners are merely interested in Ukraine’s having most advantageous negotiating position.
“On the contrary, at yesterday’s meeting (it was) stated that Ukraine alone can determine when and under what conditions to sit down at the negotiating table with Russia,: Nykyforov said.
Biden says a recession “is not inevitable”
In an interview with Associated Press, Joe Biden outlined some of the hard choices he has faced, saying the U.S. needed to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine in February even though tough sanctions imposed as a result of that war have caused gas prices to surge, creating a political risk for Biden in an election year. He called on oil companies to think of the world’s short-term needs and increase production.
Asked why he ordered the financial penalties against Moscow that have disrupted food and energy markets globally, Biden said he made his calculation as commander in chief rather than as a politician thinking about elections.
“I’m the president of the United States,” he said. “It’s not about my political survival. It’s about what’s best for the country. No kidding. No kidding. So what happens? What happens if the strongest power, NATO, the organizational structure we put together, walked away from Russian aggression?”
Putin, a master of gaslighting
The foreign minister said that according to Western leaders, the Russian president can launch new campaigns of international aggression. Like, Putin can become even more dangerous and it will be harder to deal with. Some fear he may even use nuclear weapons.
“But Putin is not suicidal; Ukraine’s victory will not lead to a nuclear war. Such fears could be deliberately fueled by the Kremlin itself for strategic purposes. Putin is a master of gaslighting, and I’m sure the Russians are spreading concern Western Ukraine, “Kuleba wrote.