BERLIN — Germany’s vice chancellor says Russia’s continued income from high fuel prices “hurts” but the Russian economy is collapsing and “time is working against Russia.”
Robert Habeck, who is also Germany’s economy minister and responsible for energy, told parliament Thursday that “the income that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin has obtained in recent months because of high prices hurts, and we can only be ashamed that we haven’t yet managed to reduce this dependence more significantly.”
But he argued that looking at Russia’s gas and oil income doesn’t tell the whole story. Habeck said that “Putin is still getting money, but he can hardly spend it any more” because of Western sanctions. He pointed to big drops in exports to Russia, including from Germany.
Habeck said that “time is not working for Russia. It is working against Russia, it is working against the Russian economy.” He added that “no one wants to invest in Russia any more.”
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— Photo Gallery: 100 days of extraordinary images from Ukraine
— US, Germany agree to supply Ukraine advanced weapons
— Ukraine’s quest to qualify for the World Cup surges on during war
— Ukrainian stabs Ukrainian at New York bar, thinking he’s Russian
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said Thursday that he expects Denmark to join the European Union’s common defense on July 1.
In a referendum on Wednesday, two-thirds of voters decided to abandon a 30-year-old waiver that kept the Scandinavian EU country out. With 100% of the votes counted, 66.9% voted in favor of abandoning the 30-year opt-out and 33.1% against.
The move is the latest example of a country in Europe seeking closer defense links with allies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The referendum follows historic bids by fellow Nordic countries Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
LONDON — Britain says it will send sophisticated medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine, in a move coordinated with the United States.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace says the UK will send an unspecified number of M270 launchers, which can send precision-guided rockets up to 80 kilometers (50 miles).
Britain says the decision has been coordinated closely with a US decision to send Ukraine High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. The two missile systems are similar, though the American one has wheels while the British one — also US-built — runs on tracks.
Britain says Ukrainian troops will be trained in the UK to use the equipment.
Ukraine has implored its Western allies to send longer-range missiles to help it counter Russian artillery assaults in the eastern Donbas region, the focus of Moscow’s offensive.
The US said Ukraine has promised not to launch the weapons into Russia. But Russia accused Washington of “pouring fuel on the fire” of the conflict.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s emergency officials said Russian shelling overnight set a school in the city of Kharkiv on fire and that a woman died in the blaze.
Another man sustained injuries, Ukrainian officials said Thursday. Fires from the shelling also occurred in other areas of the Kharkiv region.
Russian forces overnight also shelled the Dnipropetrovsk region, its governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, said on Telegram. He said the shelling took place on the border with the Kherson region, much of which is under Moscow’s control.
In the Sumy region that borders Russia, three people were wounded as a result of overnight missile strikes, governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi said.
In the east, according to Ukraine’s General Staff, Russian troops continued storming the key city of Sievierodonetsk. Moscow’s forces also stormed the town of Komyshuvakha in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, large parts of which are under Russian control, the General Staff’s morning update said.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia has signed a deal to deliver eight Slovak-made Zuzana howitzers to Ukraine.
The Slovak Defense Ministry announced the deal between the state-run Konstrukta Defense company and the Ukrainian side on Thursday.
Unlike previous arms supplies from Slovakia to Ukraine, this is a commercial deal. Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad says it’s worth more than 40 million euros ($43 million).
Among other arms, Slovakia previously donated a Soviet-era S-300 air defense system at the request of the Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
LVIV, Ukraine — A Russian missile hit rail lines in the western Lviv region, a key conduit for supplies of Western weapons and other supplies, officials said.
Lviv region Gov. Maksym Kozytskyy said five people were injured in the strike, adding that more information would be available Thursday.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the country’s interior minister, said the Russians hit the Beskidy railway tunnel in the Carpathian Mountains in an apparent effort to cut a key railway link and disrupt shipments of weapons and fuel.
However, the head of Ukrainian railways said the damage to the railroad was still being assessed but the tunnel was spared.
The strike reportedly delayed three passenger trains, but all later resumed their journeys.