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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine signs security agreements with EU, 2 Baltic states

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 28, 2024 12:05 AM 8 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky and President of the European Council Charles Michel attended the European Council Summit on June 27, 2024 in Brussels, Belgium. (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Key developments on June 27:

  • Ukraine, EU sign security agreement in Brussels
  • Ukraine signs long-term security deals with Estonia, Lithuania
  • Russian chemical plant reportedly targeted by drone attack
  • Ukraine repels Russian troops from eastern Chasiv Yar neighborhood, military says
  • Russia has sent around 10,000 immigrants who recently received citizenship to join military fighting in Ukraine, official says

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a security agreement with the European Union on June 27 during the EU leaders summit in Brussels.

The document was signed by European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the side of the EU.

According to the document, Ukraine commits to reforms on its path toward the EU, including in security, intelligence, and defense.

Ukraine must also strengthen transparency and accountability measures regarding assistance received, as well as contribute to the security of the EU.

The EU commits to continuing to support the provision of lethal and non-lethal military equipment and training to Ukraine through the European Peace Facility and the Ukraine Assistance Fund.

The Ukraine Assistance Fund will have a budget of 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) for 2024, according to the security agreement.

The EU and its member states have assisted 108 billion euros (nearly $116 billion) to Ukraine so far, including 39 billion euros (nearly $42 billion) of military support.

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"Further comparable annual increases could be envisaged until 2027, based on Ukrainian needs and subject to political guidance by the Council (of the European Union)," the deal read.

The European Union will continue to provide training to the security and defense forces of Ukraine, in particular via the EU Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM), and to expand the cooperation between defense industries of the EU and Ukraine.

"A stronger cooperation with the Ukrainian defense industry will contribute to strengthening Ukraine's ability to defend itself and will benefit the European defense industry's capacity to support both member states' and Ukrainian needs," the statement said.

The EU and Ukraine will continue to cooperate on counteracting hybrid and cyber threats, foreign information manipulation, and interference, as well as protecting critical infrastructure and demining Ukrainian territories, including the Black Sea region.

The EU also commits to supporting Ukrainian nuclear safety, its energy sector, and its transformation in accordance with EU standards.

The EU will be assisting Ukraine with its path to the EU and related reforms, including Ukraine's economic reforms to integrate it into the EU single market.

Other chapters of the document are dedicated to the provision of protection for those Ukrainians who flee from the country due to Russia's full-scale invasion and further increase pressure on Russia in order to undermine its ability to wage its war of aggression, including imposing new sanctions.

"The European Union will continue to strive for the full and effective implementation of sanctions and for addressing and countering circumvention," the document read.

The European Union also undertakes to facilitate the investigation of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

"The European Union will also continue to support all stages of the accountability cycle from investigation to proper prosecution and trial, eventually ensuring reparation and compensation to the victims."

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Ukraine signs long-term security deals with Estonia, Lithuania

Kyiv signed 10-year bilateral security agreements with Estonia and Lithuania at the Brussels summit on June 26, Ukraine's Presidential Office reported.

The two nations have joined 17 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and France, that have signed similar bilateral treaties to help Kyiv repel Russia's aggression. The agreements are based on a pledge made by the Group of Seven (G7) last July.

Earlier in the day on June 26, Kyiv also signed a security deal with the European Union.

Tallinn and Vilnius will provide Ukraine with long-term military and financial assistance,according to the agreements.

Estonia is expected to supply Ukraine with defense aid worth more than 100 million euro ($107 million) this year and will allocate at least 0.25% of gross domestic product (GDP) annually for military support in 2024–2027, according to the deal.

The document sets out certain components of long-term military assistance, including the types of Estonia-supplied weapons, such as artillery, anti-tank missiles, rifles, unmanned systems, and electronic warfare equipment.

Kyiv and Tallinn will also will launch a regular "strategic dialogue" to discuss security and defense issues in both countries. The two nations also are expected to deepen cooperation in the field of the military-industrial complex.

Vilnius will aim to allocate 0.25% of its GDP annually to support Ukraine's security and defense and will continue to provide humanitarian aid, according to the pact.

"Lithuania will also potentially resume a military training mission in Ukraine," the statementread.

Lithuania also promised to provide Ukraine with security support and modern military equipment in the land, air, maritime, space, and cyber spheres.

The two countries agreed to counter hybrid threats and nuclear risks, as well as strengthening the protection of critical infrastructure and cooperation in the field of intelligence.

Some blocks of the deal relate to bringing Russia to justice, strengthening sanctions against Moscow, and working on a compensation mechanism.

Russian chemical plant reportedly targeted by drone attack

Russia's Defense Ministry confirmed on June 27 that Tver Oblast came under drone attack overnight, hours after Russian Telegram channels claimed a major chemical research plant in the region had been targeted.

Images and videos shared by local residents on Russian Telegram channels appeared to show a large explosion, purportedly in the area of the Redkinsky Experimental Plant.

The Redkinsky plant is located around 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Moscow, and over 500 kilometers (315 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

The Redkinsky plant is an experimental facility that produces chemicals primarily for the aviation and space industries, such as chemicals that make up fuel.

According to its website, the plant is "one of the largest chemical production facilities in Tver Oblast," with 700 employees, and "has an advantageous geographical location close to the railway and Moscow-St. Petersburg highway."

"The plant has been focused on conducting experimental work in the field of chemical industry since the early 1950s," the plant website says.

Tver Oblast Governor Igor Rudenya claimed that a drone was downed over Konakovsky district in Tver Oblast, the same area in which the Redkinsky plant is located.

The situation in Konakovsky district is "under control," Rudenya claimed, adding that there were no casualties and emergency services were at the scene.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the attack was thwarted, and four drones were downed over Tver Oblast, two were downed over Moscow Oblast, and one drone was downed over Belgorod Oblast.

The Kyiv Independent could not verify the reports.

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Ukraine repels Russian troops from eastern Chasiv Yar neighborhood, military says

Ukrainian troops pushed Russian forces out of the Kanal neighborhood in the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk Oblast, Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson for the Khortytsia group of forces, told Interfax Ukraine on June 21.

After capturing Avdiivka in February, Russian forces shifted their focus toward Chasiv Yar, an elevated town that potentially opens for Russia the way to further advances into Donetsk Oblast.

Russian troops refuse to give up on their intention of breaking through near Chasiv Yar towards other settlements in the area, Voloshyn said. Two assault operations are ongoing, he added.

"Ukrainian defenders are reliably holding the line in this area and are giving a rebuff to the Russian aggressor," the spokesperson said.

Russian troops continue intensive shelling of Chasiv Yar, including with TOS-1 "Solntsepek" multiple rocket launchers, according to Voloshyn.

"This is a terrible weapon that hits with thermobaric rockets," said Ukraine's 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade, whose units were redeployed to bolster the defense of Chasiv Yar, sharing on June 26 a video which shows the town under Russia's attack.

The most fierce fighting is ongoing in the area of the Siversky Donets — Donbas canal, the military said.

Russian forces have ramped up their offensive in Donetsk Oblast, focusing one of their main efforts on Chasiv Yar.

By attacking nearby settlements such as Ivanivske, Moscow is attempting to encircle the town, whose capture would allow further advances into the region.

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Russia has sent around 10,000 immigrants who recently received citizenship to join military fighting in Ukraine, official says

Russia has sent around 10,000 immigrants who recently received citizenship to join the military fighting in Ukraine, said Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin at a press conference on June 27.

The individuals are reportedly in Ukraine to "dig trenches and build fortifications," Bastrykin said, implying they might not be directly involved in combat operations.

The 10,000 individuals are out of 30,000 new citizens authorities have reportedly "caught" who shirked their obligation to register for military service, he added.

In October 2023, Bastrykin suggested that individuals who recently received Russian passports but declined to serve in the military could have their citizenship revoked.

Military service is mandatory in Russia for all men aged 18-27, although Russia has vastly widened the scope of who it seeks to see in the military after huge losses suffered in its war against Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on March 31 to conscript 150,000 citizens as part of the regularly occurring spring conscription campaign, but conscripts are not officially allowed to be sent to fight abroad.

Russia has sought to replenish its military ranks through other means, including the recruitment of migrants and new Russian citizens, likely hoping to avoid changing the rules on conscript deployment or a repeat of the unpopular mobilization drive in the fall of 2022.

Migrant workers have also been sent to occupied parts of Ukraine ostensibly for construction work. However, after they arrive, reports allege that their passports are confiscated, and they are pressured to go fight.

Russia has also attempted to recruit foreigners directly from countries in the surrounding region, such as Kazakhstan or Armenia.

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