Russian forces continued their attacks in eastern Ukraine. Once again, the city of Bakhmut was the focus of attention, the Ukrainian General Staff reported in its situation report in the evening. At Bakhmut, Limansk and Maryinka, around 50 Russian attacks were repulsed. "Russian occupying forces continue to suffer heavy losses on the battlefield, and all medical facilities in the temporarily occupied territories are overcrowded with wounded occupying soldiers," it added. The information provided by the military could not be independently verified. For months, Russian troops have been trying to expand the territories they occupy in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. intelligence warns of authoritarian states

U.S. intelligence has warned that states such as China or Russia want to reshape the "rules-based international order." Director of Defense Intelligence Scott Berrier, speaking at a hearing in the U.S. Congress on Thursday, cited Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, "China's military assertiveness" in the Indo-Pacific, an "unprecedented number of North Korean missile launches" and "Iranian actions against U.S. forces in the Middle East" as examples. Authoritarian countries would show a "greater risk tolerance" to a possible escalation.

With regard to Russia's war against Ukraine, intelligence coordinator Avril Haines warned that the prospects of concessions from Moscow in possible negotiations are currently low. These are only to be expected if domestic political weaknesses change the thinking of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. However, it is unlikely that Russia will be able to conduct a significant offensive operation this year.

Zelensky in the Netherlands

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the Netherlands on Thursday. There he demanded, among other things, criminal prosecution of Russia for the war of aggression and war crimes. Without justice, no peace is possible, he said in The Hague.

Zelensky praised the efforts of the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague. The latter had already initiated investigations shortly after the Russian invasion and also issued an international arrest warrant against Putin for alleged war crimes in March.

In the afternoon, Zelensky was received by King Willem-Alexander. He thanked the Dutch king "for his support in defending our freedom," as the presidential office in Kiev announced in the evening. "Since the first days of the Russian attack, we have felt that the Netherlands and the entire Dutch people stand with Ukraine," Zelensky was quoted as saying.

Subsequently, Zelensky, together with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, visited an air base and met Ukrainian soldiers who are in the Netherlands for training. Zelensky was shown the weapons and systems on which Ukrainian soldiers are trained. "All of this brings us closer to victory, our common victory. We will defeat Russian evil and protect our freedom, our common European way of life," he said.

Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense shoots down its own drone over Kyiv

Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses shot down a drone of its own armed forces over the capital Kyiv on Thursday. Military had lost control of the unmanned flying object, the Air Force said in the evening. In order to avoid possible "undesirable consequences", it was decided to shoot down the drone of the Turkish type Bayraktar. "It's a pity, but that's the way the technique is, and such cases happen," the statement circulated on Telegram said.

In Kiev and the surrounding area, an air alarm had been triggered because of the drone in the evening. Video footage on social networks showed how the drone was shot down over the center of Kyiv. The air alarm was lifted after a short time.

What will be important on Friday

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and his Danish counterpart Troels Lund Poulsen visit the Bundeswehr base in Klietz in northern Saxony-Anhalt. There, Ukrainian soldiers are being trained on Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks.