Ukraine President Zelenskyy says Crimea must be returned

The Ukrainian president hosted an Iftar with Muslim officials, including the Crimea's Tatars. Meanwhile, Kyiv said it will resume electricity exports to Europe after a six-month halt

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy
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DW

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said that there was "no alternative" for Ukraine other than the return of Crimea into its control.

"The world should know: Respect and order will only return to international relations when the Ukrainian flag returns to Crimea - when there is freedom there," Zelenskyy said in a video message posted by his office.

The Ukrainian president hosted on Friday an official iftar for Muslims in the country, including military servicemen, officials and diplomats. He said the event, which represents breaking the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, would be the first in a new tradition.

Zelenskyy also condemned Russia's treatment of Crimea's Muslim Tatar community. The Muslim ethnic minority is indigenous to the Crimean peninsula. However, many have recently fled, fearing persecution, while others are currently detained by Russia.

The Ukrainian president thanked Muslims, saying they also "long for peace and protection from evil."

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently proposed that Kyiv give up the Crimean peninsula, illegally annexed by Russia in 20214, as a compromise in a potential peace deal with Moscow.

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Saturday, April 8:

Ukraine says ready to resume electricity exports to Europe

Ukraine will resume electricity exports to Europe, following a six-month halt as Kyiv struggled under Russian missile attacks targeting the country's infrastructure.

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Friday that Ukraine's power grid has been functioning without consumption restrictions for nearly two months, without resorting to a power reserve.

"The most difficult winter has passed," Halushchenko was quoted as saying. "The next step is to resume electricity exports, which will allow us to attract additional financial resources for the necessary reconstruction of destroyed and damaged electricity infrastructure."

Ukraine is allowed to export a maximum of 400 megawatts to the European energy grid. However, the actual amount of exports will depend on Ukrainian consumers' needs, the minister said.

Despite the war, Ukraine continued to export electricity to the European Union and neighboring Moldova until October, when Russia began targeting Kyiv's infrastructure.

Ukraine energy situation 'likely to improve,' British Defense Ministry says

Meanwhile, the UK Defense Ministry predicted in its daily briefing on the war that Ukraine's energy situation would start looking up as the weather gets warmer.

The ministry said preparations for the coming winter were already under way. It added that Russian strikes on energy infrastructure have become rare throughout the past month.

"Russia's campaign to severely degrade Ukraine's unified energy system (UES) within the 2022-23 winter has highly likely failed," the ministry said. It added that though smaller scale strikes remained ongoing, they were believed to have less impact on the unified energy system.

Russia likely behind classified US documents leak

Russia or pro-Russian elements were believed to be behind a leak of classified US military documents which detail US and NATO aid to Ukraine.

The Reuters news agency said three US officials blamed Russia for the incident.

The documents are dated from February 23, 2023, until March 1, 2023. They are also labeled as secret.

They appear to detail deliveries of weapons and other equipment going into Ukraine with more precise timelines than the US generally provides publicly.

However, anonymous US officials told Reuters that the documents appeared to have been altered to lower the number of Russian casualties, according to their own informal assessment which is separate from the official investigation into the leak.

The US Justice Department on Friday launched a probe into the possible leak. But the documents may have been altered or used as part of a misinformation campaign, some US officials said.

More on the war in Ukraine

The UK Defense Ministry said Russia has "regained some momentum" in the battle for Bakhmut. Meanwhile, US media reported that secret plans of a spring offensive in Ukraine have been leaked online. Follow DW for more.

Without arms from the West, Ukraine has no hope in retaking territory from Moscow, but its forces have a more urgent problem: Finding ammunition to keep the weapons it already has running. DW reports on how so-called "shell hunger" affects how this war is being fought.

Germany's old-fashioned peace movement is increasingly divided on how to respond to the war in Ukraine. Their traditional Easter marches are growing less and less relevant to younger generations.

rmt/kb (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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