US judges have ordered the confiscation of two planes owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. The US Department of Justice justified the measure in court documents published on Monday by saying that the machines were used to violate the Russia sanctions imposed because of the Ukraine war. The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and the Gulfstream G650ER business jet flew to Russia in violation of the sanctions requirements.
The Justice Department estimates the combined value of the two planes at $400 million. However, the planes are apparently out of reach of the US authorities. According to media reports, the Gulfstream G650ER is said to be in Russia, the Boeing machine possibly in Dubai. The US Department of Justice will take “active steps” to confiscate the two planes, Department Representative Andrew Adams said in New York. According to him, the measure aims to induce people with close ties to the Kremlin to “distance” from the Moscow power center and from the Russian state.
Parallel to the Justice Department’s order, the US Commerce Department released a letter formally accusing Abramovich of intentionally violating US restrictions on the export of technology and goods to Russia. These allegations can result in large fines. Abramovich is said to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP)
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth wants to help the Ukrainian city of Odessa apply for UNESCO World Heritage status. The Greens politician assured the Ukrainian Minister of Culture Olexandr Tkachenko and the mayor of the south-west Ukrainian city, Hennady Trukhanov, on Monday. “Germany supports this application,” said Roth on behalf of the federal government.
The city is obviously in an emergency situation, everywhere you can see how works of art are being protected from the attacks. “The Ukrainian government is not alone,” Roth assured. She also wants to campaign for Odessa’s application to her colleagues in other countries. (dpa)
During a speech by EU Council President Charles Michel, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebensia left the UN Security Council. Michel had previously addressed the Russian representative directly at the Council meeting on the war in Ukraine on Monday in New York, accusing the Kremlin of stealing grain from Ukraine, among other things.
As a result, Nebensia, who had previously given a speech and repeatedly rejected allegations made against Russia by representatives of other countries, left the Council. “You can leave the room, dear Mr. Ambassador, maybe it’s easier not to listen to the truth,” Michel commented. (dpa)
Because of the Ukraine war, the corona pandemic and climate change, the United Nations’ outlook on the global food crisis has deteriorated further. “We are deeply concerned by the combined impact of overlapping crises that are threatening people’s ability to produce and access food,” Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu said in Rome on Monday.
20 so-called hunger hotspots are affected, in which the situation could deteriorate between June and September of this year. Millions of families who have been able to keep their heads above water are being crushed, said World Food Program director David Beasley. According to the report, the situation is particularly bad in Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, where the highest hunger warning level applies. Since the last report in January, Afghanistan and Somalia have been added to this category. 750,000 people are threatened with starvation.
The UN also sees bad forecasts for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Sudan and Syria. Another new hotspot country is Ukraine, which has been hit by the Russian war of aggression. The war in the Eastern European country has led to a further rise in food and energy prices, affecting the economies of all regions.
The effects of the corona pandemic also weighed on the economies and led to wage losses among the poorest. Climate phenomena like La Niña could intensify further in 2022 and drive more people into acute hunger. In addition, there are unexpected droughts in East Africa and, on the other hand, floods that drive people from their homes, for example in South Sudan. The UN is now calling for preventive measures to be taken to prevent disasters. (dpa)
Latvia stops broadcasting all TV channels registered in Russia after blocking several Russian state channels. This is what the chairman of the National Council for Electronic Mass Media (NEPLP) Ivars Abolins told the Latvian news agency Leta on Monday. Accordingly, 80 television stations are affected by the ban that will come into force on June 9th.
According to Abolins, the broadcasting ban is based on changes to the law on electronic mass media. Accordingly, TV channels registered in a country that threatens the territorial integrity and independence of another country are not allowed to be broadcast in Latvia. The ban will remain in effect until Russia ends its war against Ukraine and returns annexed Crimea to Ukraine.
Latvia had already blocked several Russian-language television channels following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. According to the NEPLP, this should prevent dangers to the national security of the Baltic EU and NATO country with a large Russian minority.
Abolins also announced that the NEPLP has decided to grant a broadcasting license to the independent Russian channel Dozhd. The online broadcaster, which had temporarily suspended its work in early March due to the crackdown by the Russian authorities, will be registered in Latvia from June 9. (dpa)
Italy’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador over ongoing allegations against Italian media and representatives of institutions. At the meeting, Secretary General Ettore Francesco Sequi rejected Russian accusations that some Italian representatives and the media were behaving immorally, the Italian Foreign Ministry said in Rome on Monday.
The diplomat also denied the suspicion that Italian media were involved in an “anti-Russian campaign”. A statement from the Russian representation in Italy later said that the “propaganda line” in the Italian media could hardly be described as anything other than “hostile”.
A report by the Russian Foreign Ministry previously spoke of an “open anti-Russian campaign” in Italian media. Information is based only on Western or Ukrainian sources, which influences the behavior of Italians towards Russians living in Italy. (dpa)
Greece will only deliver around 100 Soviet-design infantry fighting vehicles from GDR stocks to the Ukraine if the promised German infantry fighting vehicles have actually arrived in Greece. This was emphasized by government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou at a press conference in Athens on Monday.
The background is the country’s conflict with Turkey: Athens had already announced in May that heavy weapons would only be supplied to Ukraine if they were replaced immediately, because the Greek islands should not remain unprotected. Turkey is currently questioning the sovereignty of a number of islands in the eastern Aegean. The Greek armed forces are therefore on alert.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had promised Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week that tanks would be exchanged in principle. The Greek armed forces have armored vehicles of the Soviet type BMP-1. For this they could receive German armored personnel carriers of the Marder type. However, the Greek government subsequently came under fire from the opposition, which said the islands should not be left unprotected by the ring swap. (dpa)
Russia imposes sanctions on 61 US politicians and managers. Among them are Finance Minister Janet Yellen and Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm, according to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. The sanctions were also aimed at leading managers from the defense industry and the media sector. It was in retaliation for expanding US sanctions against Russian officials.
According to the State Department in Moscow, among the US business representatives on Russia’s sanctions list are the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, Jeffrey Sprecher, the head of the rating agency Fitch, Paul Taylor, and the head of the airline Delta, Edward Bastian. The sanctioned persons would be prohibited from traveling to Russia. (Reuters)
According to the Ukrainian army, it has managed to push back the Russian fleet more than 100 kilometers from the country’s Black Sea coast. The Russian fleet had been “deprived of total control over the north-west of the Black Sea,” the Ministry of Defense in Kyiv said on Monday via the online service Telegram. However, Russia is trying to regain control of the sea area, and the cities on the coast are still threatened by Russian missile attacks. In addition, the Russian fleet continues to block civilian shipping, the ministry said.
In response to Ukraine’s successes in the Black Sea, Russian forces should have deployed coastal defense systems to the Crimean peninsula and the Russian-held area around the city of Kherson. In addition, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, additional Russian forces were stationed on Russian-occupied Snake Island. The information could not initially be verified independently. (AFP)
80,000 euros for families of fallen Russian soldiers
The families of every soldier of the Russian National Guard killed in Ukraine or Syria are to receive almost 80,000 euros. President Vladimir Putin has signed a corresponding decree, reports the Tass news agency. (Reuters)
Minister of Culture Roth in Odessa
Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth arrived in Odessa on Monday for a two-day visit. The Green politician is the first member of the federal government to visit the port city on the Black Sea after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Roth is in Odessa at the invitation of the Ukrainian Minister of Culture Olexandr Tkachenko.
The city has an incredible amount of culture, Roth said at the start of the trip. “We want to show that we’re there,” Roth said, “we want to show the culture being attacked.” She wants to find out in Odessa what the face of the war looks like beyond the question of heavy weapons. Offers of humanitarian aid are still rarely mentioned in the debates. The city is not only considered a cultural metropolis, but is also of strategic importance.
Roth has already campaigned several times to support Ukrainian artists in their country and refugee cultural workers in Germany as well as Ukrainian cultural institutions. In Odessa she will meet, among others, the governor of the Odessa Oblast, Maksym Marchenko, and the mayor of the city, Hennady Trukhanov. The Minister of State for Culture also wants to visit the Odessa Film Studio, the city’s Philharmonic Theater, as well as the opera, ballet and the Odessa Scientific Library. (dpa)
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, up to 75 million tons of grain could be stuck in Ukraine by the autumn. Kyiv needs anti-ship weapons that could ensure the safe passage of its exports, says Zelenskyy in the capital.
However, the idea of a third-country navy guaranteeing the passage of Ukrainian grain exports through the Russian-ruled Black Sea was also discussed with Great Britain and Turkey. However, the best guarantee for this is the arming of Ukraine, Zelenskyj told journalists. (Reuters)
According to US media insiders, Russia is threatening to withdraw its accreditation if the treatment of Russian journalists in the United States does not improve. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova threatened countermeasures should Russian reporters not be able to work freely in the US, say three insiders with knowledge of Zakharova’s meeting with US media in Moscow. If the situation does not change, US journalists would have to leave the country.
Zakharova did not respond to a request for official comment. According to the RIA agency, representatives from the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Associated Press, NPR and Alhurra TV attended the meeting. Initially, there were no comments from the US media. Some western media left Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. Others, including the Reuters news agency, stayed in the country and continue to report from there. (Reuters)
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia has the majority in the embattled eastern Ukrainian city of Sieverodonetsk. But Ukraine has the ability to defend itself, Zelensky said at a press conference. If Russia breaks through in Donbass, it will be difficult for Ukraine. From the Donbass, Russia could attack strategic industrial targets in central Ukraine. (Reuters)
Russia wants to push Ukrainian forces further away from its borders in the face of announced western deliveries of longer-range weapons. “The greater the range of the delivered systems, the further we will remove the Nazis from the line from which the Russian-speaking countries and the Russian Federation could be threatened,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced at a press conference.
The US and UK have agreed to supply state-of-the-art M142 Himars and M270 multiple rocket launchers to reach targets up to 80 kilometers away. Since the invasion began on February 24, Russia has repeatedly said it wants to rid Ukraine of “Nazis.” (Reuters)