| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

US to host Ukraine defense talks in Germany

As US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host allies at Ramstein Air Base to discuss Ukraine’s security needs, Britain’s defense ministry said in a Tuesday intelligence update that the town of Kreminna in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region has reportedly fallen to Russian forces.

Russian troops are attempting to advance north to Sloviansk and east to Kramatorsk, according to the ministry.

“Russian forces are likely attempting to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in the east of Ukraine,” the intelligence update said, adding that Ukrainian forces have been preparing defenses in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia.
The UK has dropped tariffs on all goods coming from Ukraine, following a direct request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“The UK will continue to do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion,” British International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said.

The average tariff on Ukrainian imports was about 22%.

The British government said it would also impose further export bans on products to Russia, including cash, maritime goods and technology, and energy-related goods.

Ukraine wants UN to seek Mariupol evacuation
Ukraine has urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to press Russia for an evacuation of the besieged port of Mariupol. Guterres is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.

The UN chief “should focus primarily on one issue, evacuation of Mariupol,” Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press in an interview.

“This is really something that the UN is capable of doing. And if he demonstrates political will, character, and integrity, I hope that will allow us to make one step forward,” he said.

Russian forces have surrounded fighters in the last Ukrainian stronghold in the Azovstal steel plant, but an estimated 100,000 civilians are also trapped in the city.

Kuleba also said he was concerned Guterres could fall into a Kremlin “trap.” He cited trips to the Russian capital by foreign officials ahead of the invasion on February 24 as evidence of the Kremlin dictating diplomacy.

On Thursday, Guterres is expected to head to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Kuleba.

  • DW