European Commission agrees to extend the ban on imports from Ukraine to include another product

The European Commission has agreed to introduce a ban on the import of sunflower oil from Ukraine, but transit of this product will be allowed.

During the interview on Polish radio, Robert Telus, the Minister of Agriculture of Poland said that Poland will not abandon the unilateral blockade of Ukrainian imports until Polish conditions are met.

"We are not going to abandon our actions at this moment if we do not receive appropriate tools that will ensure that the Polish farmer is safe when it comes to issues related to trade, the influx of goods from Ukraine to Poland," Telus said in Luxembourg after talks with the European Commission.

Earlier, the European Commission agreed to introduce a ban on the import of products such as wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower seeds.

"We are still negotiating on other products," the Polish minister said, adding that "in addition to these five, we would like to include flour, honey, sugar, soft fruit (frozen), eggs, meat (especially poultry), milk and dairy products, as well as apple juice and apple concentrate."

As the radio station notes, the European Commission may agree to expand the list of agricultural goods with a ban on imports, help with grain exports or include more agricultural goods in the examination procedure, but the proposed amount of support of 100 million euros is not subject to discussion.

Unofficially, it is known that Polish farmers will receive almost 40 million euros from this fund. Taking into account the possibility of a 200% subsidy from the state budget, this will give a total of 120 million euros.

As reported, the third round of negotiations between Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture, with the ministers of Agriculture of five countries that are struggling with excessive imports of agricultural products from Ukraine ended in failure.

Last week, the European Commission proposed to Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary 100 million euros of support to lift their ban on the import of agricultural products from Ukraine.

The EC also agreed to ban the import of wheat, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds from Ukraine until June. But after that, the ministers of Agriculture of Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary demanded to expand the list of products that fall under the ban. According to media reports, the list's expansion is beginning to irritate the European Commission.

Occupiers attacked Marhanets and Nikopol, and casualties reported

On the evening of 25 April, the Russian military struck Marhanets and Nikopol in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, as a result of which two people were injured, and administrative buildings were damaged.

Serhii Lysak, head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Military Administration, reported: "This evening, the enemy shelled the Nikopol district. They opened fire from heavy artillery on Marhanets and Nikopol. Two women, aged 64 and 77, were injured in Marganets. They will be treated on an outpatient basis."

According to him, two administrative buildings were damaged in the city. 8 private houses, as well as five- and two-story buildings, were destroyed. 2 farm buildings were destroyed, and 12 were damaged. The gas pipeline and power lines were broken. The garage caught fire; firefighters have already extinguished it.

In Nikopol, a private business, an apartment building, a shop and cars were damaged. The survey of territories continues. The information is being clarified.

Rumors about new Russian offensive on Kyiv were disinformation from Russian General Staff

According to a secret document of the US Department of Defence, which appeared on social media as a result of a large-scale leak, the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia reported in February 2023 about "successful efforts at operational camouflage" designed to convince Ukrainian intelligence of the possibility of a new offensive from the territory of Belarus.

According to the Pentagon, the heads of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces said that they "successfully convinced the Ukrainian intelligence services of the possibility of a joint Russian-Belarusian offensive from Belarusian territory."

As evidence of the success of the operation, the representative of the General Staff cited the report of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation on the reaction of Ukraine to the announcement of the joint aerial-tactical training of the Aerial Force units of the Armed Forces of Russia and Belarus, which began on 16 January, about the transfer of Iskander-M operational-tactical complexes from Russia to Belarus, as well as about shifting the focus of Russian-Belarusian exercises from "defensive" to "offensive."

The Armed Forces of Ukraine also allegedly admitted that the training in Belarus of those mobilized for the 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division of the Armed Forces of Russia and the training of units of the 6th Motorized Rifle Division of the 3rd Army Corps of the Russian Federation is an attempt by Russia to secretly form a combat-ready unit for the offensive in the Volyn front; to create interferences in the delivery of Western military aid to Kyiv.

Indeed, on 20 March 2022, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported "a great threat of Belarusian attack on Volyn."

According to the document of the US Department of Defence, the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army recommended continuing the operation to disinformation the Ukrainian command about the likelihood of an attack from the territory of Belarus, dividing it into two phases.

The first phase was to last until 6 March, the second from 6 to 11 March. Plans for both phases were supposed to be sent to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus for approval.

On 21 February 2023, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov stated that he "does not believe" in a new attack on Ukraine from Belarus, saying that joint Russian-Belarusian exercises are aimed at "scaring Ukraine."

According to Reznikov and other Ukrainian officials, there were not enough Russian troops in Belarus at that time for a new offensive: from 9,000 to 11,000 people.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 began with the advance of Russian troops from Belarus.

After fierce battles near Kyiv and the occupation of settlements in Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy oblasts, the Russian army was forced to retreat from these territories. On 2 April, the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced the complete return of Kyiv Oblast under its control.