Massive support for Ukraine is urgently needed as President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he is concerned with further land gains. A success in Ukraine would encourage Putin to expand this war of aggression to other states in order to expand his sphere of influence. It is absolutely useless to shift responsibility to newly created bodies if the federal government is obviously unwilling to support Ukraine adequately.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock clearly rejects conscription in Germany, also in view of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. She does not believe that it makes sense for security – also with a view to the highly specialized times – to commit people to the Bundeswehr or alternative service who may not want it at all, said the Greens politician at a question and answer session on Friday citizens in Munich. “Especially not when we are in a situation where an incredible number of people – younger, but also older – say: We want to volunteer.”
The Foreign Minister pointed out that in Germany, for example, there are all the federal volunteer programs and that the financial resources are not yet sufficient to enable anyone who wants to volunteer to do so.
Baerbock ended her multi-day trip to Germany in Munich on Friday. With the “listening tour”, the Foreign Minister wanted to find out which issues Germans are concerned with in terms of their security. The background to this is that the Federal Foreign Office is responsible for preparing the first comprehensive national security strategy for the Federal Government. (dpa)
After agreeing to end the Russian grain blockade in the Black Sea, the United Nations want to use the diplomatic momentum for further negotiations. Moscow and Kyiv have put their military goals behind the grain deal, at least in some areas. “You can try to build on that and we will try to build on that,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq on Friday when asked whether the United Nations now assessed the chances of negotiating a ceasefire as better. “If the parties can see concrete results from the agreements reached today, I believe this can help create a better climate for future agreements.” (dpa)
A few dozen Russian private clients are demanding compensation from major bank VTB for losses they suffered from foreign investments after Western sanctions. In a letter, they accuse the country’s second-largest financial institution of having stopped the transaction options for private investors too quickly, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to sell their currently frozen assets. VTB declines to comment on this. According to the financial institution, the assets of private investors amounted to the equivalent of 47 billion dollars last year. (Reuters)
The Russian opera star Anna Netrebko performed at the Regensburg Castle Festival. It was the first of the singer’s four planned concerts in Germany. The guest performances are controversial because, according to critics, Netrebko does not distance himself clearly enough from Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, she had spoken out publicly against the Ukraine war. (dpa)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sees a ceasefire without the return of the Russian-occupied territories as critical.
Freezing the conflict will only give the Russian Federation a respite.
According to the US government, it is considering a possible delivery of American fighter jets to Ukraine. However, the National Security Council communications director, John Kirby, stressed on Friday “that these are exploratory considerations that cannot be implemented in the near future”. The tests are not about machines from the ex-Soviet Union, but about American-made aircraft.
Kirby told reporters on the phone that operating modern fighter jets is “a difficult proposition.” Factors such as crew training, maintenance or the delivery of spare parts also have to be taken into account – “an entire supply chain” is necessary to keep an aircraft in the air. He stressed that the US would support Ukraine in the fight against the invading Russian forces for as long as necessary. (dpa)
The US has approved an additional $270 million in military aid to Ukraine, including four new Himar missile launchers. In response to the “atrocities” committed by Russia, US President Joe Biden made it clear “that we will support the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people for as long as is necessary,” White House spokesman John Kirby said on Friday .
This brings the number of Himars missile launchers sent to Ukraine to 20. Ukraine said the missile launchers, which can fire at targets up to 80 kilometers away, are crucial in the fight against Russia.
The newly released aid will also include 500 Phoenix Ghosts drones, which will detonate at their target location, according to Kirby. Artillery ammunition will also be supplied.
Most of that aid comes from a $40 billion package for Ukraine approved by the US Congress in May. (AFP)
The Ukrainian army says it has deployed combat drones at the Enerhodar nuclear power plant, which is occupied by the Russian army. “An attack on a tent city and enemy technology was carried out with kamikaze drones,” the military intelligence service said in Kyiv on Friday. Air defenses and a Grad (Hail) multiple rocket launcher were said to have been destroyed. According to the intelligence service, three Russians were killed and twelve injured. A video released shows tents and people fleeing an explosion.
The Russian occupation administration for the Zaporizhia region had previously reported on the attack around 440 kilometers south-east of the capital Kyiv. Accordingly, eleven power plant employees are said to have been injured, four of them seriously. The information provided by both sides cannot be independently verified.
With six blocks and an output of 6000 megawatts, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was captured by the Russian army in early March. Over half of Ukraine’s electrical energy is generated from nuclear power. The 1986 explosion of a power plant unit at the then Soviet Chernobyl power plant in northern Ukraine is considered the worst nuclear accident in history. (dpa)
The Russian state-owned companies Rosneft and Gazprom can again supply oil to third countries because of an adjustment to the EU sanctions against Russia. According to a statement, the member states of the European Union (EU) have agreed on this. Such a decision was made to “avoid negative consequences for food and energy security in the world.” According to traders, the EU sanctions have caused the Russian oil trade to move into a gray area with weak accident insurance and older ships. (Reuters)
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy support from Britain beyond his own term in office. His country’s continued determination to support Ukraine in the current war will not waver regardless of who becomes his country’s next prime minister, Johnson said in a phone call with Zelenskyy on Friday, according to a spokeswoman. Among other things, they want to further expand the training of Ukrainian soldiers in Great Britain.
A few weeks ago, Prime Minister Johnson announced his resignation following pressure from his conservative faction after a number of scandals. His successor is currently being chosen. The outgoing British head of government is popular in Ukraine – partly because Great Britain is one of the largest arms suppliers. (dpa)
The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, together with Poland and Romania, have called on the EU to do more to counter Russian misinterpretations and distortions of history. In a joint letter released on Friday, the five Central Eastern European countries also called on the EU institutions to take a leadership role in preserving historical memory and preventing the manipulation of facts.
“Russia has never condemned the crimes of the Soviets, and its current leadership tolerates and even enthusiastically supports the Soviet legacy. It is necessary to step up efforts at the EU level to counter Russia’s attempts to rewrite history and use the narratives of totalitarian regimes in the context of the war against Ukraine,” the letter said. “Legal, political and awareness-raising instruments” should be used for this purpose.
Unlike the atrocities of the National Socialists, the memory and knowledge of Soviet crimes have yet to find their place in European consciousness. “Without an accurate, honest and comprehensive assessment of the past, we will not be able to effectively prevent future crimes on our continent or investigate the current ones in Ukraine,” the five leaders said in a letter.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were alternately occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany during World War II. After the end of the war, the three Baltic states remained involuntarily part of the Soviet Union until 1991. (dpa)