Ukrainian soldiers captured in the Mariupol battle have accused the Russian military of severe abuse after their release from captivity. In an online press conference on Monday, former Azov regiment fighters said, among other things, that prisoners had broken bones as a result of beatings. The information provided by the former soldiers could not be independently verified.
The men were captured after the Russian takeover of Mariupol in May and later released in a prisoner exchange. One of the released soldiers spoke of observing instances of “severe torture”.
Mariupol was finally under Russian control in May after weeks of fierce fighting. At that time, the last fighters of the Azov regiment had surrendered, who for weeks had put up fierce resistance to the Russian siege of the city in the huge Azov steelworks. The Azov Regiment is a former volunteer battalion, controversial for its links to far-right extremists and labeled by Russia as a “neo-Nazi” group.
In 2014, the combat group was formally integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard. At that time, Azov members took part in the fight against Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. “They stripped us and forced us to squat naked. If one of the boys raised his head, they hit him immediately,” said Ukrainian soldier and Azov fighter Denys Tscherpouko at the press conference on Monday. Former prisoner Vladyslaw Shaivoronok spoke of cases of “severe torture”: “Some had needles stuck into their wounds, some were tortured with water,” said Shaivoronok. (AFP)
Russia, of course, is trying to split the world community. And also those who have banded together to support Ukraine… That’s why it’s important that we don’t fall into Putin’s trap and stick together and stand together.”
Russia has requested a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation surrounding Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. This is reported by the state news agency RIA, citing the Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky. (Reuters)
Six months after the start of the war, Ukraine wants to hold an online summit this Tuesday to reclaim the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia had annexed in 2014. At the so-called Crimea platform, which is taking place for the second time after 2021, a speech by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is expected. Also speaking are Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. A total of over 50 participants from Europe, Asia, America and Africa have been announced. (dpa)
Bulgaria’s interim energy minister believes it is necessary for the EU country to talk to Gazprom about resuming gas supplies that were interrupted in April. Rossen Hristow did not say on Monday when negotiations with the Russian energy company would begin. But talks are needed to secure cheaper gas for Bulgaria. “Given the demands of business and unions, talks with Gazprom on gas supply renewal are inevitable,” Hristow told reporters.
Bulgaria had met more than 90 percent of its gas needs with Russian supplies until Gazprom halted supplies to the EU country in April. Because the previous government in Sofia had refused to pay in rubles in the course of sanctions because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The long-term contract with Gazprom expires at the end of 2022. (Reuters)
MEPs are calling for a drastic expansion of EU travel bans against supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war on Ukraine. At least the more than 6,000 people who are on a list of the foundation of the imprisoned Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny should be subject to punitive measures, according to a letter sent on Monday to the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. In addition to an EU entry ban, the sanctions should also include the freezing of assets.
The public debate about Russians being given visas for holiday trips in the EU despite their country’s war against Ukraine is cited in the letter as the background to the demand. It is also likely to be an issue at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague next week. So far, according to EU figures, 1,214 Russians are on the EU sanctions list for supporting their country’s Ukraine policy.
According to Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, the letter to Borrell was signed by a total of 48 MPs. From Germany, they include the Vice President of Parliament, Nicola Beer (FDP), the Green politician Sergey Lagodinsky, as well as Damian Boeselager from the pan-European Volt party and Martin Buschmann from the Animal Welfare Party. (dpa)
According to a media report, the joint venture Salym Petroleum Development (SPD) of the energy companies Shell and Gazprom Neft is to be subject to Russian law. This was decided by a court, reports the Interfax news agency, citing the verdict. The newspaper “Kommersant” reported last week that Gazprom Neft had filed a corresponding lawsuit. Shell announced in March that it would discontinue its business in Russia. The two companies each control half of SPD. (Reuters)
The fear of bottlenecks drove gas prices up at the beginning of the week. The gas price for futures contracts for delivery in the coming month rose on Monday afternoon on the central European stock exchange in Amsterdam by 18 percent to 292.50 euros per megawatt hour. The futures contract, which is trend-setting for European gas trading, has repeatedly risen significantly over the past five weeks.
German contracts for electricity supplies in the coming year rose again by 27 percent to 705 euros per megawatt hour – a record value on the German market. In France, the price increased by 16 percent to 840 euros per megawatt hour, in the United Kingdom by 23 percent, as reported by the news company Bloomberg.
According to the Reuters news agency, the worsening of the energy crisis is also affecting the euro. The currency fell as much as 0.5 percent to $0.9988. As a result, it once again fell below parity with the dollar.
The Russian gas exporter Gazprom announced on Friday that it would stop operating the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline from August 31 to September 2. The reason for this is further maintenance work. As a result, Germany will again temporarily not receive any gas via Russia at the end of the month. (Alexandra Best, Tsp)
Ukraine, along with neighboring Moldova, has revived a disused railway line in southern Ukraine’s Odessa Oblast. “Renovation of this route became vital against the background of constant Russian attacks on the bridge over the Dniester estuary,” Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Monday. The route should primarily serve to improve the connection between the Danube ports of Reni and Ismajil. Kyiv expects a turnover of ten million tons a year there.
The 22-kilometer single-track section between Basarabeasca (Moldau) and Beresyne (Ukraine) was closed in 1999. After the Russian invasion six months ago, the Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which are important for trade, were blocked by the Russian fleet. However, Kyiv was able to handle part of its sea trade via the river ports in the Danube Delta. Three Black Sea ports are now back in operation as a result of a grain deal. (dpa)
On the European day of remembrance for the victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes this Tuesday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made serious allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin has brought the horrors of war back to Europe this year and reminded us that peace cannot be taken for granted,” the German politician wrote on Monday. Russia’s war against Ukraine is illegal and unjustified.
In addition, the state-controlled propaganda distorts history and spreads conspiracy theories. Anyone opposed to this will be punished. Von der Leyen assured that they would not rest until Ukraine had prevailed. “Citizens of Ukraine give their lives to protect the values on which our Union is based.”
The Europe-wide day of remembrance for the victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes has been celebrated on August 23 since 2009. This also reminds us of the so-called Hitler-Stalin Pact. The German-Soviet non-aggression treaty signed on August 23, 1939 is considered a document that paved the way for the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. (dpa)
According to a poll by the Ukrainian think tank Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF), 92 percent of the Ukrainian population believe that Ukraine will win the war against Russia. 31 percent expect a victory before the end of the year. 34 percent assume that it will take another one to two years until the end of the war, seven percent expect three to five years. Only four percent of those surveyed do not believe, or rather not believe, in a Ukrainian victory.
When asked what participants would interpret as a victory, more than half said Russian troops were driven out of Ukraine and the borders restored as of January 2014. More than 20 percent would see the destruction of the Russian army and the outbreak of revolts within Russia as a victory.
Few Ukrainians would consider an end to the war with certain concessions by Ukraine to be a victory. Around nine percent would see the expulsion of Russian troops from Ukraine, with the exception of the annexed Crimean Peninsula, as a gain in the war. Only three percent see it as a victory if the war ends and Russia retains its supremacy in the conquered territories.
A majority of respondents see the relationship between Ukraine and Russia as significantly damaged even after the war. Three quarters are in favor of completely breaking off relations with the Russian Federation after the end of the war.
The DIF survey was conducted in early August in collaboration with the Razumkov Center, the University of Bremen and the International Renaissance Foundation. More than 2000 people in 112 communities in the areas controlled by the Ukrainian government took part. (Alexandra Best/tsp)
This war was also declared on the Germans. And it won’t be possible to just duck away and believe: this fate will pass us by.