Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced the creation of a new parliamentary commission to oversee the use of Western weapons. There are no allegations of misuse of weapons from the West, Zelenskyj emphasized in his video speech on Tuesday. “But in order to eliminate all manipulations by Russian propagandists and those who help them in Ukraine or elsewhere, such an additional parliamentary control tool will be established,” he said.
After the recent dismissals in the security organs, which fell victim to Zelenskyy’s childhood friend Ivan Bakanov as head of the secret service, the Ukrainian president also wants to push ahead with the realignment of these authorities. Zelenskyi appointed new heads of the SBU secret service in five regions. He also reported another layoff at the top. He fired another SBU deputy chief, Zelenskyj said.
The restructuring of the security apparatus after almost five months of war is apparently based on the leadership in Kyiv’s increasing dissatisfaction with the results of the secret service’s work. “Unsatisfactory work results” had already been mentioned by Selenskyj the day before as a reason for the dismissal of dozens of agents. (dpa)
The US government assumes that Russia wants to annex more areas of Ukraine. The model is the action on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014, said the communications director of the National Security Council in the White House, John Kirby, on Tuesday. Intelligence information indicated that Russia wanted to hold “sham referendums”. According to Kirby, Russian bank branches are to be set up in the affected regions in order to introduce the ruble as a currency there.
Internet access should also be checked. Moscow also wants to force people to apply for Russian citizenship. “The Kremlin has not announced the schedule for the referendums, but Russian officials in those areas claim they will take place later this year, possibly in conjunction with September’s Russian regional elections,” Kirby said. The regions affected include the Cherson and Zaporizhia regions, as well as the entire Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
The Kremlin has not yet confirmed such plans. However, the administrations deployed by Russia in the occupied territories have repeatedly stated that they want to hold referendums on accession to Russia. (dpa)
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has again accused the West of NATO’s eastward expansion. Had Russia not taken the initiative in the war of aggression against Ukraine, another conflict would have erupted, Khamenei said during a meeting with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin in Tehran on Tuesday, state broadcaster Irib reported. He was alluding to an argument put forward by Russia, according to which Moscow felt restricted by the inclusion of Eastern European states in the defense alliance and, above all, by Ukraine’s potential NATO membership.
Khamenei, who according to the constitution has the final say in all strategic matters in Iran, pledged his support to Russia. Relations are good for Russia and Iran as both states are hit by US sanctions. The 83-year-old also demanded that the US military should withdraw from the civil war in Syria. (dpa)
The US puts Russia on a blacklist of countries involved in human trafficking and forced labor. The list is part of a report by the US State Department. The government in Moscow is also accused of recruiting child soldiers and kidnapping children to Russia. Millions of Ukrainians have fled the Russian attack, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation, the report said. (Reuters)
To strengthen European defense capabilities in the short term, 500 million euros could soon be made available from the EU budget. The EU Commission presented a plan on Tuesday according to which the money is to be used to support, among other things, the expansion of production capacities in the defense industry. However, a prerequisite for EU funding would be that such projects are supported by a consortium of companies from at least three member states.
“Member States have taken bold steps in transferring much-needed defense equipment to Ukraine. In the same spirit of solidarity, the EU will help them replenish these stocks,” said Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.
At the same time, according to them, incentives for the joint procurement of weapons and other armaments should be given. The proposal is “a historic milestone” in the realization of the European Defense Union, said the Dane. (dpa)
The European Union wants to ease some of its sanctions on Russian banks so as not to affect global food supplies. According to a proposal by the EU Commission, which was presented to the AFP news agency on Tuesday, blocked Russian transactions should be able to be released again if they relate to trade in grain or fertilizers. Ukraine had warned the EU against making concessions to Moscow.
According to the text, the authorities of a Member State can “authorize the release of certain frozen funds (…) if they determine that these funds or economic resources are used for the purchase, import or transport of agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers , required are”.
According to the information, this exception affects seven sanctioned Russian banks, including the state-owned foreign trade bank VEB. The EU countries wanted to “make it clear that the sanctions in no way impede the transport of grain from Russia or Ukraine,” said a diplomat in Brussels.
The Europeans are also reacting to warnings of famine, especially from African countries. Before the Ukraine war, these countries imported more than half of their grain from Ukraine or Russia. According to diplomats, the EU states want to formally adopt the revised sanctions by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. (AFP)
Russia’s railway company RZD is severely affected by the sanctions imposed by the West in the wake of the Ukraine war and is asking the EU to withdraw the punitive measures. They are socially unfair, the state-owned company argued on Tuesday on the Telegram news channel. “EU sanctions are aimed at limiting RZD’s ability to carry out its humanitarian missions and are discriminatory towards the people of Russia.”
RZD was one of the first companies to end up on the sanctions list after troops and military equipment for the attack on Ukraine had been transported to the site, mostly by rail. “The EU Council of Ministers classifies trains as ‘luxury goods’ for Russian citizens and blocks their deliveries and repairs,” it said. However, it is an environmentally friendly means of transport, especially for the socially disadvantaged in Russia. Pensioners, the disabled and large families are affected. In addition, the sanctions violate the principle of free competition.
While the Russian leadership mostly tries to portray the Western sanctions as largely insignificant, the RZD request is an admission that the punitive measures are working. They complicate the financing and modernization of the railway. (dpa)
Crimea is Ukrainian territory, so any destination there is legitimate for us.