President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan greets Russian President Vladimir Putin upon arrival in Astana. Screenshot: video
It is day 624 of the war in Ukraine.
Putin flies to Kazakhstan to meet President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
President Zelensky signs a decree on opening accession negotiations with the EU.
Russia strikes Liberian-flagged ship in Odesa.
Putin in Kazakhstan
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Kazakhstan on Thursday morning for an official visit. Putin was met at the airport in the capital Astana by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, with the pair due to hold talks and sign agreements at the Ak Orda Presidential Palace.
According to the Kremlin, Putin and Tokayev will discuss bilateral cooperation and current global issues, and then give statements to the media. It is the two leaders’ fifth meeting this year.
Zelensky signs decree on accession talks with the EU
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a decree on opening accession negotiations with the EU. “Our people deserve to be in the European Union — together with all the free peoples of our Europe.” Zelensky said in his evening address. “Ukraine is doing its part. This is our top priority.”
On Wednesday, the European Commission recommended starting accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, as well as granting Georgia EU candidate status.
According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukraine has completed more than 90% of the necessary reforms previously outlined by the bloc as pre-conditions to starting entry negotiations.
Zelensky addressing the nation. Screenshot: Zelenskiy_official Telegram
Russian missile strikes civilian vessel in Odesa
One person was killed and four others were injured when a Russian missile hit a Liberian-flagged commercial vessel as it entered the port of Odesa in southwestern Ukraine on Wednesday, according to Ukrainian military sources.
Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that the ship had been due to transport iron ore from Ukraine to China. Russia has yet to comment on the incident.
This was the 21st attack on ports in the Odesa region since Russia’s withdrawal from the grain deal between the two countries in July, Kubrakov said.