Tanks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are seen during drills at an unknown location near the border of Russian-annexed Crimea, Ukraine, in this handout picture released by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine press service April 14, 2021. Press Service General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Crimea is Ukrainian territory, so any destination there is legitimate for us.

To strengthen European defense capabilities in the short term, 500 million euros could soon be made available from the EU budget. The EU Commission presented a plan on Tuesday according to which the money is to be used to support, among other things, the expansion of production capacities in the defense industry. However, a prerequisite for EU funding would be that such projects are supported by a consortium of companies from at least three member states.

“Member States have taken bold steps in transferring much-needed defense equipment to Ukraine. In the same spirit of solidarity, the EU will help them replenish these stocks,” said Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager.

At the same time, according to them, incentives for the joint procurement of weapons and other armaments should be given. The proposal is “a historic milestone” in the realization of the European Defense Union, said the Dane. (dpa)

The European Union wants to ease some of its sanctions on Russian banks so as not to affect global food supplies. According to a proposal by the EU Commission, which was presented to the AFP news agency on Tuesday, blocked Russian transactions should be able to be released again if they relate to trade in grain or fertilizers. Ukraine had warned the EU against making concessions to Moscow.

According to the text, the authorities of a Member State can “authorize the release of certain frozen funds (…) if they determine that these funds or economic resources are used for the purchase, import or transport of agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers , required are”.

According to the information, this exception affects seven sanctioned Russian banks, including the state-owned foreign trade bank VEB. The EU countries wanted to “make it clear that the sanctions in no way impede the transport of grain from Russia or Ukraine,” said a diplomat in Brussels.

The Europeans are also reacting to warnings of famine, especially from African countries. Before the Ukraine war, these countries imported more than half of their grain from Ukraine or Russia. According to diplomats, the EU states want to formally adopt the revised sanctions by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. (AFP)

Russia’s railway company RZD is severely affected by the sanctions imposed by the West in the wake of the Ukraine war and is asking the EU to withdraw the punitive measures. They are socially unfair, the state-owned company argued on Tuesday on the Telegram news channel. “EU sanctions are aimed at limiting RZD’s ability to carry out its humanitarian missions and are discriminatory towards the people of Russia.”

RZD was one of the first companies to end up on the sanctions list after troops and military equipment for the attack on Ukraine had been transported to the site, mostly by rail. “The EU Council of Ministers classifies trains as ‘luxury goods’ for Russian citizens and blocks their deliveries and repairs,” it said. However, it is an environmentally friendly means of transport, especially for the socially disadvantaged in Russia. Pensioners, the disabled and large families are affected. In addition, the sanctions violate the principle of free competition.

While the Russian leadership mostly tries to portray the Western sanctions as largely insignificant, the RZD request is an admission that the punitive measures are working. They complicate the financing and modernization of the railway. (dpa)