Ukraine's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mykola Tochytskyi addresses the United Nations General Assembly during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York City, New York, U.S., August 1, 2022. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accuses Russia of using the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant as a nuclear shield. He explains that Russian troops have set up positions in the immediate vicinity of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and will open fire on Ukrainian troops from there. “Of course the Ukrainians can’t shoot back to avoid a terrible accident at the nuclear power plant.” (Reuters)

The US government has announced further arms deliveries to Ukraine in the amount of 550 million dollars. This includes, among other things, ammunition for the Himar multiple rocket launcher system and 75,000 artillery shells, the US Department of Defense announced on Monday. Overall, since US President Joe Biden took office a good year and a half ago, the United States has pledged weapons and equipment to Ukraine worth around $8.8 billion. The US would continue to work with its allies and partners to help Ukraine fight the invading Russian army, it said. (dpa)

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) made a jump in profits in the first half of the year, also thanks to the sale of its Bulgarian subsidiary. The group result has more than doubled to 1.71 billion euros after 612 million euros, as the bank, which operates in many countries in Eastern Europe as well as in Russia and Ukraine, announced on Monday evening. This also includes a gain of 453 million euros from the sale of the Bulgarian unit. The bank is thus above the expectations of analysts, who had expected an average net profit of 854 million euros in the second quarter. The bank named a consolidated profit of 1.27 billion euros for the months of April to June.

The bank has not yet made a decision regarding its Russian subsidiary. The different options for Russia and Belarus would be evaluated, it said. The bank is under a lot of pressure because of its activities in Russia. All options up to and including an exit would be examined. Bank boss Johann Strobl has already announced that the test will take a long time. (Reuters)

Should Ukraine’s heroic resistance fail to withstand Putin’s imperial plans, Poland and the Baltic states would be directly threatened by a further expansion of Russia’s sphere of influence into Central Europe.

According to information from Kyiv, the Mars II multiple rocket launchers delivered by Germany have arrived in Ukraine. This was announced by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Twitter on Monday. He would like to thank “Germany and personally my colleague, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, for the systems,” wrote the 56-year-old politician.

In addition, Germany has already handed over anti-aircraft vehicles of the Gepard type and artillery systems of the Panzerhaubitze 2000 type to Ukraine in terms of heavy weapons.

Mars is an abbreviation for Medium Artillery Rocket System and can fire missiles of different modes of action – such as guided rockets with a GPS system or mine-ejecting rockets to block sections of terrain. The launch batteries with a combat load of twelve rockets are mounted on tracked vehicles that can develop speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour. The range of the bullets is sometimes more than 100 kilometers.

Mars II is the third long-range artillery system the West is supplying to Ukraine, along with the US-supplied Himars multiple rocket launchers and the UK-supplied M270 MLRS. (dpa)

Russian MPs want to ban citizens from “unfriendly” states from adopting Russian children. A draft law on this was published on Monday on the website of the State Duma, the parliament. A corresponding law for US citizens has been in force since 2012. It was decided at the time in response to US sanctions against Russian officials.

According to the state news agency Tass, only 240 Russian children were adopted by foreigners in 2019, compared to more than 2,600 in 2012.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the West has imposed numerous sanctions on Russia. Moscow then expanded its list of “unfriendly” states. All EU member states, among others, are now on it. (AFP)

Austria’s conservative-green government sees progress in cutting off Russian natural gas and storing it. “We have already stored more than 50 terawatt hours of the 76 required terawatt hours,” said Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) on Monday evening after a crisis summit in the Chancellery on the subject of energy supply. “This is a clear achievement, especially when you consider that we started in March with over 15 terawatt hours of gas stored.”

According to Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens), dependence on Russian gas has been reduced to less than 50 percent. Previously, up to 80 percent of the natural gas consumed in the country came from Russia. Along with Germany, Austria was one of the most exposed countries. Around 55 percent of the annual consumption is currently stored in the storage facilities. The goal of filling the natural gas storage tanks 80 percent by the start of the heating period is still achievable, said the minister. I have contributed to the fact that all storage facilities in the country have been made usable.

“Since 6 a.m. today, storage has also been taking place in the Haidach storage facility,” Gewessler continued. The previously unused storage facility on the Bavarian border belongs in part to the Russian Gazprom. The energy giant had recently stopped using the storage facility. The government therefore decided to have the reservoir filled by law. (Reuters)

According to Turkish information, the cargo ship “Razoni”, loaded with around 26,000 tons of corn from Ukraine, will arrive in Istanbul later than initially expected. The Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that the arrival would not be expected until Wednesday night. Minister Hulusi Akar initially spoke of an arrival on Tuesday afternoon (2 p.m.). The ship is expected to be inspected on Wednesday morning, it said. The ministry did not provide any information about the reason for the delay.

The freighter, flying the Sierra Leone flag, will not enter a port, but will anchor off the coast of Istanbul, it said. The ship left the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Monday, becoming the first ship loaded with grain since the Russian war of aggression began in late February. After the inspection in Istanbul, the ship will continue to Lebanon. (dpa)

Despite the war in Ukraine, Russia has confirmed that it does not want to start a nuclear war.

We assume that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that it must never be started.

In doing so, he countered growing fears since the beginning of the war that Moscow might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

The fears were based, among other things, on the fact that Putin had put the Russian nuclear forces on increased alert shortly after the attack on the neighboring country. Previously, Russia’s leadership had always ruled out a nuclear first strike and presented operational plans only for a so-called counter-strike, i.e. the military response to an attack.

Putin has now stressed that Russia is fulfilling and will continue to fulfill its obligations as a founding member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the same time, the head of the Kremlin called for “equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community.” In addition, all countries that fulfilled the provisions of the NPT should have access to the civilian use of nuclear power. Putin’s demand may have been aimed at Iran’s civilian nuclear program, which is supported by Russia. (dpa)

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has sharply condemned Russia’s nuclear threats. Russia is endangering everything that the Non-Proliferation Treaty has achieved in more than 50 years, Baerbock said in New York on Monday.

At the start of a review conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the German Foreign Minister stressed that Ukraine had committed to giving up its nuclear weapons. The efforts for nuclear disarmament and the NPT itself face an uncertain future. Nevertheless, states must continue to pursue the goal of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. “If we fly down the flag of nuclear disarmament today,” the NPT and everything it stands for would be dead, Baerbock stressed. (epd)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Russia of using its nuclear weapons to make ruthless threats of war. Earlier statements by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin that military aid could have unprecedented consequences for Ukraine are “dangerous nuclear saber-rattling,” said Blinken on Monday at the start of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in New York. The statements are contrary to international agreements. “There is no place in our world for nuclear deterrence based on force and intimidation or blackmail. We must stand together to reject this.”

Blinken said the United States would only consider using nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies and partners. (dpa)

According to the governor there, the Ukrainian armed forces have recaptured more than 40 towns in the Kherson region in recent weeks. So far, 46 towns in the region have been “liberated,” Ukrainian governor Dmytro Butriy said on state television on Monday. According to him, most of the recaptured places are in the north of the region, others are south near the Black Sea.

Governor Butriy now said that some of the villages that have since been recaptured were “90 percent destroyed and are still under constant fire today”. He described the humanitarian situation in the region as “critical”.

In its counter-offensive, the Ukrainian army attacked Russian positions and camps behind the front line and damaged bridges on supply routes for the invading forces. Military experts blame the modern rocket launcher systems supplied from the West for the fact that the Ukrainian army is now able to conduct attacks much deeper into the areas occupied by Russia. (AFP)

In view of numerous crises worldwide, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned of the increasing risk of nuclear annihilation.

The world is in a period of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War. Humanity is in danger of forgetting the lessons forged in the terrible fires of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Geopolitical tensions have reached a new high. Eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee that they will never be used. At the same time, Guterres emphasized that the peaceful use of nuclear technologies – including for medical purposes – must be promoted. (dpa)

According to the insurance interest group Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), numerous points are still unclear regarding grain deliveries by ship from the Ukraine. These would have to be resolved so that empty ships could dock for new cargo, LMA manager Neil Roberts told Reuters. It’s about standardized processes for the ships and questions about the crew. “We still have quite a way to go.” (Reuters)

The Russian Foreign Ministry has imposed sanctions on another 39 British politicians, businessmen and journalists. The most prominent name on the blacklist published Monday on the agency’s official website is ex-Prime Minister David Cameron. Russia had previously sanctioned large sections of the UK’s political elite.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow justified the expansion of the sanctions with the fact that those affected “support London’s hostile course, which aims to demonize our country and its international isolation”. All persons appearing on the list are now banned from entering Russia.

All in all, Moscow’s black list for the UK has been extended to 255 names. In addition, the Russian leadership also declared the non-profit British organization Calvert 22 Foundation, which specializes primarily in cultural exchange with Eastern Europe, to be an undesirable organization in Russia, which effectively amounts to a ban. (dpa)