| 24 April 2024, Wednesday |

Explosions in Kyiv as African leaders visit

As African leaders arrived in Kyiv on a peace mission, air raid sirens blared and at least two explosions were reported in the Ukrainian capital on Friday. The delegation, led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, arrived in Kyiv by train with the aim of mediating between Ukraine and Russia.
Ramaphosa, who is visiting Ukraine for the first time since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country, will hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday before traveling to St. Petersburg on Saturday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Accompanying Ramaphosa are Senegalese President Macky Sall and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, plus representatives of Egypt and the Comoros, as African leaders look to make the continent’s voice heard in the conflict.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said that African leaders should take note of Friday’s air raid on Kyiv, just as they arrived.

“Putin ‘builds confidence’ by launching the largest missile attack on Kyiv in weeks, exactly amid the visit of African leaders to our capital,” he tweeted. “Russian missiles are a message to Africa: Russia wants more war, not peace.”
German defense minister Boris Pistorius has announced the “immediate” delivery of additional missiles for Ukraine’s Patriot air defense systems.

“The Federal Government has decided to immediately provide 64 further guided missiles,” said Pistorius, speaking at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Friday.

He said it was “an important signal” of support for Ukraine’s efforts to fend off Russian air attacks “in this particular phase of the war” – even as Russian cruise missiles targeted Kyiv.

The announcement came a day after the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands had pledged hundreds of additional air defense missiles to Ukraine, with actual logistics already underway and delivery set for the coming weeks.

Earlier this year, Germany provided the Ukrainian Armed Forces with one of its US-made Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.
Meanwhile on the frontline, the Russian Defense Ministry has promised bonuses for Russian troops who have destroyed NATO-supplied armor, including German Leopard tanks and US Bradley fighting vehicles.

“Payments are currently being made to servicemen of the Russian Federation Armed Forces who in the course of military operations destroyed Leopard tanks, as well as armored fighting vehicles made in the USA and other NATO countries,” the ministry announced.

The ministry claimed that, up until the end of May, a total of 10,257 Russian personnel had been rewarded for destroying 16,001 items of Ukrainian and Western military equipment, with armored vehicles valued at 50,000 rubles ($596; €546) and tanks at 100,000 rubles ($1,195; €1,091).

On Sunday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu awarded the “Hero of Russia gold star” medal to soldiers who the Kremlin said had destroyed NATO-supplied equipment being used by Ukraine in its burgeoning counteroffensive.

  • DW