Russian ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky paints a bleak picture of the future for Ukraine. Russia confiscates assets of Deutsche Bank. All news about the war against Ukraine in the news ticker.

4:36 a.m.: Russia hit Ukraine again with massive drone attacks on Sunday night. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, the areas affected were Kiev, Sumy, Vinnytsia, Cherkassy, ​​Mykolaiv and Odessa, among others. Explosions were reportedly heard in numerous locations. There had previously been air alerts in large parts of the country. Initially nothing was known about any damage or casualties.

There were also reportedly explosions overnight on the Russian-occupied Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. The air defense in Sevastopol repelled a rocket attack, Crimean Governor Mikhail Razvoshayev, appointed by Moscow, said on his Telegram channel. According to the Sevastopol rescue service, no damage to civilian infrastructure was reported, said Razvoshayev. The information provided by both sides could not initially be independently verified.

Sunday, May 19, 12:01 a.m.: . The federal government has a plan to massively increase military aid to Ukraine this year. According to information from “Bild am Sonntag”, the Federal Ministry of Defense has announced an additional need of 3.8 billion for military support to Kiev.

So far this year, the traffic light has provided 7.1 billion euros for military aid to Ukraine. However, the sum is almost completely planned, only 300 million is still open for new ammunition and weapon purchases, according to government circles. The over-plan expenditure is to be submitted to parliament for approval in June – including counter-financing.

Christian Lindner’s (FDP) Ministry of Finance signals approval. “Germany must not fail to strengthen Ukraine’s defense. If possible, we should deliver more weapons this year,” ministry circles told Bild am Sonntag. It is not necessary to suspend the debt brake. “If consensus can be established within the government, we will find ways forward in the current financial year.”

Germany uses the military aid budget item to pay for war goods that Ukraine buys directly from industry. It will also be used to finance reorders of weapons that the Bundeswehr has given to the Ukrainian army.

The financial negotiations for the 2025 budget are becoming more complicated: According to information from “Bild am Sonntag”, Pistorius has announced an additional requirement of 6.7 billion euros for the Bundeswehr. His ministry is said to be budgeting a record sum of 15 billion euros for aid to Ukraine.

4:05 p.m.: Russian justice has ordered the seizure of assets of Deutsche Bank and the Italian financial institution UniCredit. An arbitration court in St. Petersburg ordered the seizure of 238.6 million euros worth of real estate, securities and accounts belonging to Deutsche Bank at the request of a Russian gas company, according to a decision published online. Deutsche Bank confirmed the seizure.

The Petersburg court also ordered the confiscation of UniCredit assets amounting to 462.7 million euros. The orders were issued on Thursday at the request of the Russian company RusChemAllianz, a subsidiary of the gas company Gazprom.

RusChemAllianz, together with the German company Linde, planned to build a liquid gas plant in Ust-Luga near St. Petersburg. However, after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Linde withdrew from the project. RusChemAllianz then sued the two banks that had guaranteed the project and that were unable to meet their obligations due to Western sanctions against Russia.

Deutsche Bank said in Frankfurt am Main that it “remains to be seen how this decision will be implemented by the Russian courts and what consequences this will have for our operations in Russia.” The financial institution therefore sees itself “fully protected by a compensation agreement with a customer”. In addition, Deutsche Bank recorded a provision of around 260 million euros and a corresponding asset from reimbursements as part of the compensation agreement.

UniCredit, one of the European banks most heavily exposed to Russia before the Ukraine war, said in a statement that it was aware of the Russian court’s decision to confiscate its assets in Russia. This must now be examined “in detail”.

8:29 a.m.: Former Russian oligarch and Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky has painted a bleak future scenario for Ukraine. At the “Russia and the West” conference organized by the Center for Liberal Modernity, Khodorkovsky said, according to “Welt”: “Ukraine will lose Kharkiv by the end of the year, Odessa by mid-2025 and it will wage a guerrilla war by mid-2026.”

For him, the reasoning is “simple arithmetic”: Russia is putting significantly more resources into the war than the West is providing Ukraine.

Zelensky described the situation in the Kharkiv region, where Russia has seized several border towns, as “controlled” but “not stabilized.” The Russian troops advanced five to ten kilometers along the northeastern border before they were stopped by Ukrainian troops.

The Ukrainian president also warned that Russia could intensify its offensive. “They have started their operation, it could consist of several waves. And this is their first wave.”

8:17 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj complained about a lack of equipment in the defense against Russia and criticized restrictions on the use of Western weapons. His country only has a quarter of the air defense systems it needs and needs 120 to 130 F-16 fighter jets, he said in an exclusive interview with the AFP news agency on Friday. He described the restriction not to use Western weapons to attack Russian territory as the “biggest advantage” that Russia has.

Regarding air defense, Zelensky said Ukraine has “around 25 percent of what we need.” In addition, “120 to 130” F-16 fighter jets or other modern aircraft would be needed to end Russian dominance in the air.

In an interview with AFP, Zelenskyj was very critical of the restriction on the use of Western weapons, which means that they cannot be used for attacks on Russian territory. Russia can fire all weapons from its territory at Ukraine. “That is the greatest advantage that Russia has.” Ukraine, on the other hand, cannot harm Russian weapons that are on Russian territory with Western weapons.

Britain and the US have indicated in recent days that these bans could be relaxed. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to Ukraine this week that the country would ultimately have to decide for itself how it wanted to wage its war.

More about the Ukraine conflict on the next page.