Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovych has justified the planned extension of martial law by 90 days into August. The war that Russia started will last until the fall, Arestovych said on Ukrainian television on Wednesday. The Ukrainian population is only being given false hope if martial law is only ever extended by 30 days, as has been the case up to now. Honest communication with society is necessary in war, said the advisor, who primarily speaks out on military issues.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy published draft laws on Wednesday that would extend martial law and mobilization by three months because of the Russian invasion. After the confirmation by the deputies, which is considered certain, the state of war will apply until August 23. (dpa)
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has increased pressure on Russia over the blockade of Ukrainian grain in the face of historic numbers of people suffering from hunger around the world. “Russia must allow the safe export of grain stored in Ukrainian ports,” Guterres said at a US-hosted foreign ministers’ meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock accused Russia of using the blockade of grain exports from Ukraine as a weapon of war. “Russia has started a grain war that is fueling a global food crisis,” Baerbock (Greens) said in New York on Wednesday. Moscow does this by not only blockading Ukrainian ports, but also destroying silos, roads, railways and fields.
According to the federal government, Russia is preventing Ukraine from exporting 20 million tons of grain, most of it in the port of Odessa. “Russia is not only waging its brutal war with tanks, missiles and bombs,” Baerbock said. “Russia is waging this war with another terrible and quieter weapon: hunger and deprivation.”
Guterres said it was necessary to bring Ukraine’s extremely important grain producer back to the world market, as well as food and fertilizers produced by Russia and Belarus. The war Russia started threatens to plunge tens of millions of people into food insecurity and trigger a crisis “that could last for years”. Together, Ukraine and Russia produce nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley and half of the world’s sunflower oil, according to Guterres.
According to the United Nations, global hunger has reached a new high: “In just two years, the number of people with severe food insecurity has doubled, from 135 million before the pandemic to 276 million today,” said Guterres. More than half a million people are at risk of starvation – five times more than in 2016. In addition to Covid-19, the climate crisis and finally the Ukraine war have recently aggravated the situation. (dpa)
According to Kiev sources, Russian troops fired on the north-east Ukrainian regions of Sumy and Chernihiv from Russian territory on Wednesday. The Ukrainian border guard reported seven attacks using heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, and tube and rocket artillery. The village of Shostka near the border in the Sumy region was shelled with mortars for more than an hour. But there were no victims.
The reports were initially not independently verifiable. The Russian Ministry of Defense has also reported rocket attacks on northern Ukraine in the past few days. (dpa)
In view of Western sanctions, the Russian government expects production of its important export goods, oil and gas, to fall in 2022. Production of oil and oil condensate could fall by around 9 percent to 475.3 million tons after 524 million tons in 2021. The Russian Ministry of Economy published this forecast in Moscow on Wednesday. Oil exports will remain almost stable at 228.3 million tons after 231.0 million tons in 2021. Last year, however, significantly higher exports were expected for 2022.
The production of gas and gas condensate could decrease to 721 billion cubic meters from 764 billion cubic meters last year, Russian agencies reported according to the data. The ministry forecast exports of 185 billion cubic meters in 2022, up from 206 billion cubic meters the year before. Again, the latest predictions for 2022 were even more optimistic. (dpa)
Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, who lives in exile, spoke out against the war in Ukraine to thunderous applause at the Cannes Film Festival. “No to war,” he cried Wednesday after the screening of his film, Tchaikovsky’s Wife, which opened the Palme d’Or competition. “I am absolutely convinced that culture and the people in the culture industry are able to ensure that this war in Ukraine stops.”
“That end will come, it will come eventually and it will be peace,” he added, hiding behind his sunglasses. Serebrennikov, 52, is known for his daring films and support for the LGBTQ community. His opening film in Cannes tells the story of Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s unhappy marriage to his wife, whom he married to hide his homosexuality.
Serebrennikov was sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence in June 2020 for alleged embezzlement of public funds. After serving half of his sentence, however, he was allowed to leave the country at the beginning of April and now lives in Berlin. The trial against Serebrennikov had been criticized at home and abroad as politically motivated, the director rejected the allegations. (AFP)
Ukrainian reservists say they used an explosive device to attack an armored Russian train in an occupied part of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Territorial Defense announced on Facebook that it detonated directly under a wagon carrying Russian troops. The attack took place in Melitopol in the Zaporizhia region. No information is given on the extent of the damage. A statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense is not available. (Reuters)
According to the Ukrainian army, it has made another gain in territory near the eastern Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv. Due to an advance, the village of Dementijivka was liberated north of the megacity, the general staff announced on Facebook on Wednesday. The village is about eight kilometers from the Russian border.
In recent weeks, the Ukrainian army has pushed back Russian troops in northern and north-eastern Kharkiv. However, the Russian military is said to be attempting a counterattack near Ternowa, north-east of Kharkiv.
On the border with the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, there was also fighting for the village of Dowhenke, about 25 kilometers from Sloviansk. Heavy fighting continued at Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and at Sievjerodonetsk in the neighboring Luhansk region. The Russian troops would be supported by heavy Luftwaffe bombardments at various sectors. However, they would not have achieved territorial gains. (dpa)
On the top of Mount Everest, the Ukrainian Antonina Samoylova made an appeal for help to the world. As the 33-year-old mountaineer reported to the AFP news agency on Wednesday, she scaled the highest mountain in the world with the flag of her home country in hand. When she spread them out on the summit, tears welled up in her eyes, Samoylova said. The 33-year-old’s father and brother are fighting Russian troops in their homeland.
“Stand with Ukraine” read the blue and yellow flag Samoylova held aloft on Mount Everest. Global attention to her country is dwindling, the 33-year-old told AFP after returning to Kathmandu. “It’s not good for us Ukrainians because we need more help. We need the whole world to help us.”
Samoylova was on Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest mountain, when she learned of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to her own statements, she received the first information about the war from her sister, who had sought protection in an air raid shelter in Kyiv. Her father and brother volunteered for the Ukrainian army, says Samoylowa.
Before she climbed Mount Everest, she had not had any contact with them for days. In the meantime, however, she has learned that it had recently been quiet in the region of the two. “I thought: ‘Phew, thank God!'” says the climber. Samojlowa has set herself the goal of climbing the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Before climbing Mount Everest, she already scaled Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus and Mount Vinson in Antarctica.
Before she continues her climbing tour, Samojlowa wants to travel to Croatia, where her sister and nephew have found refuge. Afterwards she wants to visit her father and brother in Ukraine. “I just want to hug her,” she said. (AFP)
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wants to have the martial law imposed because of the Russian invasion and the ordered mobilization extended by three months. The corresponding draft laws were published on Wednesday. After the confirmation by the deputies, which is considered certain, the state of war will apply until August 23. A day later, Ukraine traditionally celebrates its Independence Day.
Zelenskyi first declared the state of war on February 24 – a few hours after Russia’s attack – and then had it extended twice by 30 days each. The general mobilization, on the other hand, applied immediately for 90 days. Many experts see the duration of the state of war as an indicator of how long Kyiv is currently preparing for possible fighting. (dpa)
According to a media report, Russia wants to pay for the reconstruction of parts of Ukraine that it has brought under its control. The roads that connect these areas with Russia would be repaired, the RIA news agency quoted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnullin as saying. He described these parts of Ukraine as “liberated”. The Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which was captured by Russian soldiers, is said to supply electricity to Russia and also to Ukraine if they pay for it. (Reuters)
In Russia, spending on the military rose nearly 40 percent in the first four months of the year. This is according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Finance. Accordingly, the government in Moscow spent 1.7 trillion rubles (25.1 billion euros) on defense from January to April. This corresponds to almost half of the funds earmarked for the whole of 2022. (Reuters)
According to pro-Russian separatists, a good thousand Ukrainian soldiers, including their commanders, are still in the besieged steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Initially, more than 2,000 fighters were on the site of the Azov steelworks, said separatist leader Denis Puschilin from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on Wednesday in Mariupol. Since more than 900 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered since Monday, “just over half” are still at the plant.
“Commanders and senior fighters of the Azov regiment have not come out so far,” said the separatist leader, speaking to journalists during a press trip to Mariupol organized by the Russian Defense Ministry. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 959 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered at the Mariupol plant since Monday.
Pushilin said the Ukrainian soldiers ran out of supplies and had no choice but to surrender. “The first option is to raise the white flag and lay down your arms. The second option is to die there, just die. They chose the first option,” he said.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 80 people were injured. They were taken to a hospital in the city of Novoazovsk in Russian-controlled territory. Pushilin said some of the wounded were also being treated in the city of Donetsk. The others were taken to a prison camp.
Kyiv is hoping for a prisoner swap for Mariupol soldiers with Russia. Moscow has not yet commented on this. Pushilin indicated that Russia wants to put some of the soldiers on trial. “Courts must decide the fate of war criminals and nationalists who lay down their arms,” he said. (AFP)
US actor Ashton Kutcher (44) is convinced that Ukraine needs a lot more outside help in the Russian war of aggression. “It’s just not enough. We must not lose this war,” he said on Wednesday at the OMR digital festival in Hamburg. It is therefore important to support the refugees and the military in Ukraine.
Kutcher and his wife Mila Kunis (38), who was born in Ukraine, had called for donations via an Internet platform after the outbreak of the war. “When we saw what was happening, we knew we had to do something. We dropped our kids off at school, went home and said, let’s raise money.” The crazy thing was that at first it felt like you were throwing a party and didn’t know if there was one comes. In the end, the couple had raised at least $35 million. (dpa)
Russia has announced the closure of the Moscow offices of Canadian broadcaster CBC. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said it was a “retaliatory measure in connection with Canada’s actions.” Zakharova said the CBC journalists would be stripped of their accreditations and visas for Russia.
Canada banned the Russian state broadcaster RT in March. Zakharova called Canada’s decision to ban RT “anti-Russian”. CBC spread “propaganda noise”. Any “alternative point of view” is “described as disinformation from the Kremlin” in the station.
Since the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, numerous Western countries have imposed broadcast bans on the Russian state media RT and Sputnik. For its part, Russia has imposed entry bans on hundreds of Canadians in recent weeks, including government officials, members of parliament and journalists. (AFP)
As part of a ring exchange, Germany wants to deliver 15 Leopard 2 A4 tanks to the Czech Republic – and thereby enable Czech weapons to be transferred to Ukraine. “Czech Republic is supplying heavy weapons, we are helping to close the gaps with Leopard tanks from German industrial stocks,” said Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) on Wednesday in Berlin.
The exchange of rings is a “very good example of how we can quickly and easily support Ukraine in its courageous fight against Russian aggression”. The Czech cabinet approved the exchange procedure on Wednesday. According to information from the Federal Ministry of Defense, the Leopard tanks come from the stocks of the German defense industry. In addition to the tanks, ammunition and spare parts are also to be delivered to the Czech Republic. In addition, the Bundeswehr will support the training of Czech soldiers. The federal government will bear the costs.
The Czech Republic wants to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons from ex-Soviet stocks that Ukrainian soldiers are familiar with. In order to avoid gaps in the Czech Republic’s ability to defend itself, Germany pledged in the exchange of rings “to adequately compensate for this levy,” according to the ministry. It is a “significant” support. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had already announced the exchange of rings with the Czech Republic at the beginning of the month. (AFP)
According to sources, the EU Commission is considering including sanctioned Russian assets in the reconstruction of Ukraine. A corresponding legal basis is being worked on, according to circles of the Brussels authority. The frozen assets of Russian oligarchs would be affected on the one hand, and deposits by the Russian central bank in the European Union on the other.
However, a legal basis is required for confiscation. The legal situation in the Member States is currently still very different. A Europe-wide, criminally watertight line is needed for this, it was said in the circles. In Italy, the possibilities of expropriation are easier than in other member states because of the Mafia laws in force there. There are also examples in Germany, for example in the fight against clan crime. The basis for this is a corresponding court decision.
After an expropriation, the legal basis must also be created in order to be able to channel the money to Ukraine. The Russian central bank has deposits in the EU states with a volume of 300 billion euros. In the case of the assets of the oligarchs, the sum is much lower and at most corresponds to a double-digit billion amount.
The US, on the other hand, is not currently planning to confiscate the frozen assets of the Russian central bank. That would not be legal in the US at the moment, said Finance Minister Janet Yellen in Germany on Wednesday shortly before the meeting of the seven leading industrial nations (G7) in Bonn. On Thursday and Friday, the G7 group at least wants to discuss whether it is possible to go further – for example using the funds for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Yellen said the debate on Ukraine’s longer-term reconstruction was just beginning. In view of the enormous destruction caused by the Russian attack, it was only natural to hold Russia accountable. Moscow would have to bear at least part of the huge costs. According to experts, around five billion euros in external aid per month are needed to keep the Ukrainian state running. The reconstruction of the country after the war is likely to be much more expensive. Some economists are assuming one to two trillion euros. However, the estimates are considered unreliable as long as the war continues. (Reuters)
Russia has acknowledged difficulties and mistakes in its war of aggression against Ukraine, but has announced that fighting will continue. “Despite all the difficulties, the military special operation will continue to the end,” Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev said on Wednesday.
Despite the arms deliveries from the West to Ukraine, the operation is continuing. All “tasks – including demilitarization and denazification as well as the protection of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics – will be fully implemented,” said the former interior minister.
The head of the Russian republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus, Ramzan Kadyrov, even spoke of “mistakes” at the start of the February 24 war against Ukraine. “In the beginning there were mistakes, there were some shortcomings, but now everything is 100% according to plan,” Kadyrov said at a political forum. The tasks set by President Vladimir Putin would be fulfilled in full. Kadyrov’s troops are fighting in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. He said around 200 other volunteers had signed up to work in Ukraine.
The Chechen fighters, who were also deployed in Syria, are notorious for their brutality. Kadyrov, who was notorious as a dictator, also criticized the policy of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who “behaved like a schizophrenic” and not like a “head of state” in view of the western arms deliveries. (dpa)