Mr. Putin, end the suffering and destruction in Ukraine! Withdraw your troops! And don’t refuse direct and serious talks with President Zelenskyy!

A Ukrainian filmmaker used his appearance at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday as a political protest. Maksim Nakonechnyi and his team ran to the sound of sirens at the premiere of his film Butterfly Vision on Wednesday.

The participants then unfurled a banner with the inscription: “Russians kill Ukrainians. Do you find it offensive or disturbing to talk about this genocide?” The film crew held up transparent panes labeled “Sensitive Content” in front of their heads, so the faces behind them looked like they had been censored.

“We, as Ukrainian artists, need to express our attitude and feelings,” the film crew said. “Every day we hear sirens four to five times, it has now started to become a part of our everyday life.” This was the third time this year that there was a political action on the red carpet in Cannes. (dpa)

The US on Wednesday brought Russia closer to the brink of a historic default. The US government has phased out an exemption that has previously allowed Russia to continue making payments to US creditors of its sovereign debt despite sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

Default on at least some of Russia’s $40 billion international bonds now seems inevitable. The Treasury Ministry in Moscow announced that Russia would service its external debt in rubles, which could later be converted into the bonds’ native currency.

By the end of the year, Russia still has to send almost two billion dollars abroad. Failure to do so would bring Russia closer to a default — the first since the 1917 Russian Revolution, when the Bolsheviks refused to recognize Tsarist-era debts. (Reuters)

A Bundeswehr plane with injured people from Ukraine landed on Wednesday afternoon at the capital’s BER airport in Schönefeld, Brandenburg. The Airbus A310, which is stationed at the airport in Cologne-Bonn, took off from Cologne to Rzeszów in Poland on Wednesday. There the injured were taken on board and transported to Schönefeld. “They are now being distributed to clinics in Berlin and Brandenburg,” said the spokesman. The newspaper “B.Z.” (online) had previously reported on the flight.

The Airbus A310 MedEvac will fly back to Cologne on Wednesday. The abbreviation stands for Mecial Evacuation, i.e. the transport of patients from unsafe regions. It was the seventh mission of this kind, said the Air Force spokesman.

As the “B.Z.” reported, there were said to be around two dozen Ukrainian injuries in the MedEvac machine, including an intensive care patient. The Air Force spokesman said he had no knowledge of the numbers. (dpa)

In a simplified procedure, residents of the Zaporizhia and Cherson regions in southern Ukraine should be able to apply for Russian passports. Russian head of state Vladimir Putin signed a corresponding decree on Wednesday. The pro-Russian officials newly appointed in the areas have already expressed their wish for the regions to be annexed to Russia.

Applicants do not have to have lived in Russia, prove sufficient financial means or pass a Russian language test.

A similar presidential decree has also applied to residents of the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine since 2019. Hundreds of thousands of residents of these regions have already received Russian passports. (AFP)