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.