Sahra Wagenknecht, damals Fraktionsvorsitzende der Partei Die Linke, steht im Bundestag am Rande eines dpa-Interviews. Wagenknecht, bekommt nach eigener Aussage positive Rückmeldungen auf ihr viel diskutiertes neues Buch. (zu dpa: «Wagenknecht: «bissige» und positive Reaktionen auf neues Buch») +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Mr. Schröder has absolutely no understanding of what Russia is really doing, how it is acting. Russia does not want negotiations, Russia wants territories to be conquered.

The first ship with grain exports from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression is not supposed to dock in the Lebanese port of Tripoli on Sunday as planned. “We would like to inform you that the arrival of the ship ‘Razoni’ scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed,” the Ukrainian embassy in Lebanon told AFP on Saturday.

When asked about the reasons for the postponement, the embassy stated that it currently has “no further information”. According to a source familiar with the matter, the ship is unlikely to dock in Lebanon if it can sell its cargo to a trader in another country.

So far it had been planned for the freighter “Razoni” to dock in Tripoli on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. local time (09:00 a.m. CEST). The “Razoni” left the port of Odessa in Ukraine on Monday for Lebanon with 26,000 tons of corn on board. Turkish and Russian experts inspected the ship off the coast of Istanbul on Wednesday.

According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, three more ships carrying grain from Ukraine started on Friday morning. The freighters loaded with corn would call at Ireland, Great Britain and Turkey, the ministry said. At the same time, a freighter is on its way to the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk to load grain. (AFP)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been alarmed by the shelling of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia during fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops. IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi on Saturday warned of the risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond. He was “extremely concerned” about Friday’s events. Any military firepower aimed at or emanating from the facility would be playing with fire, with possible catastrophic consequences,” Grossi explained. Endangering the security of Zaporizhia must be avoided “at all costs”.

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was occupied by the Russian army in March, but is still operated by the Ukrainian state-owned company Energoatom and its workforce. Ukraine and the US accuse Russia of using the nuclear power plant as a protective shield. Russia rejects this.

On Friday, Energoatom shut down one of the six reactors after an artillery shell damaged a high-voltage power line that is vital to the operation. Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the shelling and accused each other of risking a nuclear disaster. According to Energoatom, no radioactivity escaped. (Reuters)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is again pushing for access to the Russian-held facility after the shelling of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Friday’s attack “underscores the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in a statement on Saturday. He stated that damage had occurred on the site, but that the reactors were intact and no radioactivity had escaped.

A site visit by an IAEA team would help stabilize nuclear safety on site and provide independent information on the state of the nuclear plant. Grossi called on Ukraine and Russia to finally make such an IAEA mission possible together.

While Moscow blamed Ukrainian troops for the shelling, Kyiv said the Russians had shelled the area themselves. The information cannot be verified independently. (dpa)

Is the Pope going to Ukraine soon? The Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican fueled this rumor after an audience with Francis on Saturday. Ukraine has been waiting for the head of the Catholic Church since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, Andriy Yurasch wrote on Twitter. And they will be happy to “welcome him before his trip to Kazakhstan”. The pontiff is planning a three-day trip to Kazakhstan for September 13.

The Vatican did not make any details of the conversation with Jurasch public, but only confirmed the meeting on Saturday morning. The ambassador, on the other hand, reported that Francis had underlined his closeness to the Ukrainian people and expressed his willingness to show this closeness during a visit.

Since the outbreak of the war, the 85-year-old Argentine has repeatedly said that he would like to visit the country to promote peace. At least a trip to Kyiv seems very unlikely at the moment, because Francis is physically ailing and a long and arduous train journey can hardly be expected of him. It is still not possible to fly to the capital of Ukraine. (dpa)

A ship carrying 33,000 tons of corn from Ukraine arrived in Istanbul on Saturday for inspection. This was announced by the Turkish Ministry of Defense on Twitter. It is the second grain carrier since Turkey brokered an international agreement on Ukrainian exports across the Black Sea. Two more ships are expected shortly.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that Turkey will henceforth pay for Russian gas supplies in rubles and will also make greater use of the Russian payment system Mir. A new plan to strengthen economic cooperation will serve as a “source of power between Turkey and Russia in financial matters,” Erdogan said on his return flight from the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi, according to the Anadolu Agency. There he met President Vladimir Putin on Friday. The use of the Mir payment system will also make it easier for Russian tourists to stay in Turkey, Erdogan said. (dpa)

According to the Ukrainian state operator, one of the nuclear reactors was shut down after attacks on the site of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. The “emergency protection system” was triggered by the air strikes and the reactor was switched off, Energoatom said on Saturday in the online service Telegram. Ukraine and Russia blame each other for Friday’s attacks.

According to Energoatom, the bombings “seriously damaged” an “auxiliary building” and a nitrogen and oxygen station. There is still a risk of radioactive radiation and an increased risk of fire, the operator explained. However, the Ukrainian staff is working and the power plant continues to produce electricity.

On Saturday, the EU condemned “Russia’s military activities surrounding the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant”. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted: “This is a serious and irresponsible violation of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms.”

Russian troops took control of the largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine and Europe in March shortly after the troops marched into the country. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been trying to send inspectors to the facility for weeks. Ukraine has so far refused to do so, saying it would legitimize Russia’s occupation of the site in the eyes of the international community. (AFP)

Ukrainian journalist in Russian captivity – Ukrainian NGOs call on international community for help

Maksym Butkevych, journalist, human rights activist and co-founder of Hromadske Radio, the independent radio station in Ukraine, has been taken prisoner by the Russians. The Alliance of Ukrainian Organizations is now appealing to the international community to obtain Butkevych’s release and to spread information about his situation.

Between June 21 and June 24, 2022, he was captured by the Russian army along with 13 other soldiers from his military unit in the Luhansk region. He had previously voluntarily joined the Ukrainian army in March.

Butkevych’s parents have had no contact with him recently and learned of his fate from the Russian media at the end of June. His exact whereabouts are unknown.

Human rights activists, friends and colleagues of Butkevych in Ukraine and other countries are now appealing to the international and European community: “Please help determine the exact whereabouts of the prisoners of war and gain access to Maksym and other Ukrainian prisoners.”

The Alliance of Ukrainian Organizations (AOU), an association of Ukrainian civil society organizations in Berlin, joined this appeal. Oleksandra Bienert, a Berlin-based Ukrainian activist, describes her collaboration with the human rights activist as follows: “Maksym Butkevych was and is one of our most important partners in human rights engagements in Ukraine. A prominent example was our engagement with the Nigerian student Olaolu Femi, who was the victim of a racist attack in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk.”

Butkevych is co-founder and coordinator of the “No Borders” project, which helps asylum seekers and migrants in Ukraine, as well as refugees from the eastern Ukrainian regions occupied by Russia since 2014. Butkevych is also a prominent figure in Kyiv: he taught as a guest lecturer at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University and was a member of the Ukrainian board of Amnesty International. Oksana Meleshchenko