Last week was full of political events, each forming a cornerstone of Ukraine’s future: a visit to Kyiv from the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Romania and the UK; the question of Ukraine’s EU candidate status, and Rammstein-3.

Let’s begin the weekly review with the situation that outlines and determines the agenda – the events on the Russian-Ukrainian front.

Status quo holds in the east

The military situation has not changed significantly over the past week and fierce fighting continues on the frontline. The enemy is still trying – so far unsuccessfully – to surround the Lysychansk-Sieverodonetsk group of the Ukrainian army.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine is holding back attacks on Bakhmut and Sloviansk, while maintaining the Bakhmut-Lysychansk route which is under the control of enemy fire.


In other areas, the Ukrainian army is even trying to conduct counter attacks, such as near Kherson and Izium.

Nothing seems to change.

But such a lack of radical change in favor of the enemy allows Ukraine to hold a strong position on the chessboard and resist Russian disinformation.

Russian narratives

Last week, the Kremlin used all its media and expert resources to promote a single thesis in the information space – that Ukraine will not prevail; that supplying Ukraine with weapons will be in vain; and that it’s time to sit down at the negotiating table and record Russia’s territorial gains.

Information reports have also become widespread about the supposed incompetence of Ukrainians who cannot deal with modern weapons. This is in stark contrast to reports in Western media from March that reported on Ukrainians’ brilliant use of the Javelins.

A striking example of the promotion of such Russian narratives is an article in CNN, which does not even consider the theoretical possibility of a partial victory by Ukraine.

Claiming in-depth analysis and referring to high-ranking U.S. sources, the authors only consider options for Russia’s victory or the transformation of the Russian-Ukrainian war into a frozen conflict.


This seemingly ignores that a range of possible scenarios exist on the ultimate outcome. Publication of the article also conveniently coincides with Russia’s propaganda campaign.

Thanks to the heroism of Ukrainian servicemen, the arguments about the possibility of Ukrainian victory remain pretty solid.

As things stand, the enemy has had no strategic success. Russia not only failed to conquer Kyiv in 72 hours, but in a month and a half before finally retreating.

The fierce onslaught of the enemy in the Donbas is limited to tactical advantages and an advance measured by several kilometers.

Visit from the “European Musketeers”

Last week saw a visit to Kyiv by three “European musketeers” – French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi – accompanied by Romanian President Klaus Johannis.

Three key issues were discussed: EU membership, new arms supplies and anti-Russian sanctions.

As expected, there were no major breakthroughs on arms supplies and new anti-Russian sanctions.

France announced additional deliveries of six ‘Ceaser’ howitzers for which Ukraine was grateful. There was also a loud statement by Olaf Scholz, for which Ukraine was less grateful.


The topic of sanctions is somewhat problematic, with countries guided primarily by their own national interests that often do not coincide with the interests of Ukraine.

Regarding EU membership, the worst-case scenario would be for Ukraine to gain EU candidate status dependent on negotiations with Russia. The “muskateers also tried to “sell” an Italian peace plan which was rejected.

Why this happened is clear – both the majority of society and the Ukrainian government oppose any form of territorial concessions.

The urgent visit of the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson demonstrated that Ukraine still has a friend to rely on. Cooperation within the framework of the military-political alliance announced by the UK is becoming more and more real. Ukraine has a special respect for the proposal to train 10,000 servicemen for 120 days and supply air defense systems.

The leaders of “Old Europe” had no choice but to support Ukraine’s status as an EU candidate. Ukraine is expected to receive this status in the coming days during a meeting of EU leaders. This will be an unconditional victory for Ukraine, which has paid for it with the lives of its best sons and daughters.

However, promising does not necessarily mean getting married any time soon. Turkey applied to join the EU in 1987. It received candidate status in 1999 and began negotiations on accession in 2005, which are still ongoing.


Compared to Turkey, Ukraine now looks like a sprinter who turned on the afterburner from the very first steps of the race. However, the end result will largely depend on the fine print.

If the conditions for membership are vague, Ukraine may only be able to join the EU in the event of another geopolitical cataclysm. And the history of its accession will be reminiscent of Turkey’s efforts and its own efforts to join NATO.

If the requirements for Ukraine are formulated quite specifically, in the form of road maps, it is likely Ukraine will be able to fulfill them, as it was with the visa-free regime. 


The June 15 Rammstein-3 meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels brought together defense ministers from more than 55 countries, as well as representatives of NATO and the EU. Unlike the second meeting, none of the participants expected breakthroughs.

The expansion of the anti-Putin coalition to 50 countries proved to be a pleasant addition to pledges of armed support. It is clear that not all of these countries play the same active role in arms supplies to Ukraine, but the political implications are significant.

“Ramstein” is increasingly becoming a kind of mechanism (or conveyor belt) that implements the decisions of individual countries on arms supplies to Ukraine: distributing roles, coordinating actions, preparing Ukrainian servicemen for the use of new equipment and delivering weapons to the front.


Modern Western weapons are already on the frontline, and with their help the enemy sustains significant losses. But it is important for Ukraine that quantity turns into quality to ensure an effective and resilient counterattack force.

You can get acquainted with past analytical reviews here: ukr, and eng.

Ihor Zhdanov is a co-founder of the Open Policy Foundation, a National Non-Government Organization (NGO) in Ukraine.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (0)
Write the first comment for this!