Ukraine and Russia have agreed to export grain and fertilizer through the Black Sea war zone. The agreement is a “beacon of hope,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday in Istanbul during the signing ceremony. It will bring relief to developing countries and starving people.
According to senior UN officials, these are two agreements on safe export corridors for cargo ship traffic through the Black Sea. One is about food shipments from Ukraine. The other includes agricultural exports and fertilizers from Russia. The parties agreed that the ships should not be attacked.
The two signed agreements are therefore initially valid for 120 days, but are to be extended. According to the information, the Ukraine deal regulates exports via the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yushni. The mines in the waters around Ukraine are not to be cleared because such an operation would be too time-consuming. Instead, Ukrainian pilots are supposed to navigate the ships safely past the explosive devices. Ukraine and Russia are among the largest grain exporters in the world. (epd)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip expects grain exports from Ukraine to start soon. “With the shipping traffic starting in the coming days, we will open a new airway from the Black Sea to many countries around the world,” Erdogan said on Friday in Istanbul when signing an agreement to end the grain blockade as a result of the Ukraine war. It was a “historic day”.
Both Russia and Ukraine separately signed an agreement with Turkey in Istanbul that makes the export of Ukrainian grain possible again. Among other things, a coordination center is to be set up in Istanbul. (dpa)
Authorities in Russia have launched an investigation into a Siberian opposition politician who criticized the lavish funerals for soldiers killed in Ukraine. As the Russian investigative committee responsible for prosecuting serious crimes announced on Friday, city councilor Chelga Pirogova has been accused of “publicly disseminating misinformation about the deployment of the armed forces”. You face three years imprisonment.
On July 15, Pirogova responded to an article on the independent Russian-language website Mediazona on Twitter. It reported on lavish funerals for Russian volunteers killed in Ukraine. “These luxurious funerals are organized for nothing,” the 33-year-old wrote. She wanted to “revive” the dead, “beat them and send them back to their graves”.
Pirogova’s comments sparked a scandal, which was picked up by the pro-Kremlin media. They demanded a punishment for the young politician, who has since deleted the tweet in question. In a message on Facebook, Pirogova wrote that she had reacted “too emotionally” to the report. She was shocked by the authorities, who tried to compensate for the pain of relatives living “in poverty” with opulent funerals.
Pirogova is a city councilor in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia. In 2020 she campaigned there with supporters of the imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. She attracted attention back in March by appearing at a meeting of the Novosibirsk City Council in a blue blouse and a wreath of yellow flowers, Ukraine’s national colors. (AFP)
The EU is providing another 500 million euros for the supply of arms and equipment to Ukraine. On Friday, the Council of the European Union formally decided on the support measures after the foreign ministers had already agreed on them in Brussels on Monday. With what is now the fifth tranche, EU military aid has risen to 2.5 billion euros.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU remains firmly committed to supporting Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and independence. “Ukraine needs more weapons; we will deliver them,” Borrell said.
As with the previous package, 490 million euros are earmarked for arms and ammunition, 10 million for personal protective equipment, first aid kits and fuel.
The funds come from the so-called European Peace Facility, which was set up in March 2021 and has a volume of almost 5.7 billion euros by 2027. According to the approach, the money should primarily be used to prevent conflicts, maintain peace and strengthen international stability and security. The fund is financed outside the actual EU budget by contributions from the member states. According to the federal government, the German compulsory contribution is just over a quarter. (KNA)
The human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Russian army of torture, illegal arrests and deprivation of liberty of civilians in southern Ukraine. “Russian troops have turned the areas they have occupied in southern Ukraine into an abyss of fear and wild anarchy,” said HRW Ukraine representative Yulia Gorbunova.
In addition to torture, Gorbunova also mentioned “inhuman treatment”, “arbitrary arrests” and “deprivation of liberty” in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions. The Russian authorities must ensure that this abuse ends immediately.
According to HRW, they interviewed more than 70 Ukrainians, who described more than 40 cases of abuse and torture. They therefore testified that they were tortured or witnessed torture. The victims were beaten or electrocuted, they suffered injuries to their ribs or teeth, burns or concussions.
More than a million people lived in the Kherson region before the Russian invasion. After the invasion began on February 24, the region was almost completely occupied by Russians.
Around 1.7 million people lived in the Zaporizhia region east of Cherson before the war. The region is now partially controlled by Russian troops, in particular the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. (AFP)
According to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the billion-euro rescue of the gas importer Uniper can also be a success story for taxpayers. He referred to the discounted purchase of Uniper shares by the federal government and the example of the Lufthansa rescue, said the Chancellor on Friday in Berlin. In this case, draw a success story. “Of course we hope for the company and for all of us that it will be like this again here.” (Reuters)
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) sees Russia as an unsafe gas supplier. It won’t be any safer than it is, Scholz said on Friday in Berlin. He made it clear that Germany could no longer rely on Russia. “That’s why we prefer to play it safe.” Scholz referred to measures that have already been decided to reduce gas consumption. We will do everything we can to get through this situation as a country. (dpa)
In view of the high prices for energy, the federal government wants to further relieve the burden on citizens. There will be a major housing benefit reform at the beginning of next year, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on Friday in Berlin. Among other things, the circle of beneficiaries will be expanded. “It will be very important that the citizens’ income actually comes by January 1, 2023,” said Scholz. This is designed for people with lower incomes and retirees.
According to Scholz, the planned relief is “a joint decision by the government”, which was made in consultation with Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner, among others. (dpa, tsp)