Zelenskyy: Putin's goal is not occupation of separate territories but complete destruction of Ukraine

In a recent interview with the Italian TV channel Rai 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin's ultimate goal is not merely the occupation of specific territories but the complete destruction of Ukraine. Zelenskyy highlighted that Putin's actions, including strikes on civilian facilities, intimidation of the population, and statements from Putin's inner circle, indicate a broader mission to obliterate Ukraine and integrate it into the territory of Russia.

The Ukrainian President dismissed the idea that Putin is solely interested in annexing Crimea or parts of Donbas, emphasizing that these territorial claims are rhetoric and distractions. According to Zelenskyy, Putin's true plan is to deprive Ukraine of its independence, either through military force or political means.

Zelenskyy also warned against advocating for a pause in the war, stating that it would pose a serious challenge for protecting Ukraine and its future. He drew parallels with the situation in Crimea and parts of Donbas, where a frozen conflict has persisted after the Russian occupation.

Moreover, Zelenskyy cautioned against viewing a pause in the war as a diplomatic solution, describing it as a "pause for Putin." He emphasized the importance of recognizing the larger geopolitical ambitions behind the conflict and the potential consequences of allowing Ukraine to lose its independence.

The interview provides insight into Zelenskyy's perspective on Putin's motives and the ongoing conflict, emphasizing the need for vigilance and international support to safeguard Ukraine's sovereignty.

Children to be mandatorily evacuated from 4 settlements in Donetsk Oblast

In response to the worsening security situation, Ukraine's Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories has issued a mandatory evacuation order for children in four settlements of Donetsk Oblast. The decision was unanimously supported by the Coordination Headquarters for mandatory evacuation under martial law.

A total of 28 children, accompanied by their parents or legal representatives, will be evacuated from the specified settlements. The evacuated individuals will receive free shelter in safer regions, along with financial and humanitarian aid, as well as psychological support.

The Ministry of Reintegration emphasized that the evacuation is free of charge and encouraged those eligible to register for evacuation by contacting the Donetsk Oblast Military Administration's evacuation hotline or reaching out to the Ministry of Reintegration through various communication channels.

This move follows a similar order in Kharkiv Oblast, where families with children from 18 settlements on the Kupiansk front were mandated to evacuate. The coordinated efforts aim to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable populations amid escalating tensions and security threats.

Ukraine is ready to take further steps to unblock the border

In a joint briefing with Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced that Ukraine is prepared to take further steps to unblock the border, facilitating the export and transit of Ukrainian products. Shmyhal expressed Ukraine's commitment to coordinating with neighboring EU member states and the European Commission in this effort.

During the briefing, the prime minister highlighted the progress achieved by the Coordination Platform on the Export of Ukrainian Agricultural Products in developing collaborative solutions. Shmyhal also commended the European Commission's initiatives to extend autonomous trade liberalization measures, expressing hope for a favorable vote on the matter by the European Parliament without any amendments. The collaborative efforts aim to restore trade operations and ensure the smooth flow of Ukrainian products through the border.