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mikenov on Twitter: Pope will not meet Kirill or visit Kyiv thetablet.co.uk/news/15338/pop…

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mikenov on Twitter: Selected Articles – The News And Times Review: Germany: Hundreds of far-right extremists working in security services thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2022/05/select… thesun.co.uk/news/18308066/…

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Selected Articles – The News And Times Review: Germany: Hundreds of far-right extremists working in security services thenewsandtimes.blogspot.com/2022/05/select… thesun.co.uk/news/18308066/…


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mikenov on Twitter: RT @the_ins_ru: NBC News: конгрессмены США попросили соцсети заархивировать доказательства военных преступлений России. https://t.co/A3aue8…

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NBC News: конгрессмены США попросили соцсети заархивировать доказательства военных преступлений России.
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mikenov on Twitter: Ukraine’s president reiterates readiness to talk to Putin news.yahoo.com/ukraines-presi… via @YahooNews

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Ukraine’s president reiterates readiness to talk to Putin news.yahoo.com/ukraines-presi… via @YahooNews


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mikenov on Twitter: RT @alfrig409: #Energia #Sanzioni #Russia #Gas La legge per la #sicurezza #energetica della #Germania startmag.it/energia/german…)

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#Energia #Sanzioni #Russia #Gas La legge per la #sicurezza #energetica della #Germania startmag.it/energia/german…)


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US, Russian defense chiefs speak for 1st time since invasion

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu spoke with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday after months of refusing direct contact with his American counterpart. But officials said the call didn’t appear to signal any change in Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

A senior Defense Department official said Friday that while Austin believes the hour-long conversation was important in the effort to keep lines of communication open, it didn’t resolve any “acute issues” or lead to any change in what the Russian are doing or saying as the war enters week 12.

The call — initiated by Austin —- marked the highest level American contact with a Russian official since the war began in late February. Over the past several months, Pentagon officials have repeatedly said that Russian leaders declined to take calls from Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This is the first conversation between Austin and Shoigu since Feb. 18, a week before the war started. Another senior official said Friday that Milley is expected to also reach out to his counterpart, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russian chief of the general staff.

In a statement, the Pentagon said that Austin “urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.”

Several officials described the call as a positive step, but said there was no clear reason why the Russians decided to go ahead with the conversation Friday. The defense official said that the U.S. hopes it will serve as a springboard for future conversation and that it appeared that Austin’s request for future communication was received. The official characterized the tenor of the call as “professional” but provided no other details on its content.

Direct communications between the U.S. and Russian defense and military leaders is considered crucial in order to avoid any misunderstandings or unwarranted escalation in hostilities. The U.S. and Russia have also set up a so-called deconfliction line that can be used by the militaries in the event of any emergency or perceived threat to NATO allies around Ukraine. It has not been used, but U.S. officials say that the Russians have answered the phone during tests to ensure it works.

U.S. and other Western officials have described Russia’s fight in Ukraine, particularly the effort to wrest greater control over the eastern Donbas region as more than two weeks behind schedule, and failing to make consistent progress.

On Friday, Russian forces suffered heavy losses in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they were using to try to cross a river in the east, in what Ukrainian, British and U.S. officials said is another sign of Moscow’s struggle to salvage a war gone awry.

Ukraine’s airborne command released photos and video of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River and several destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby. The command said its troops “drowned the Russian occupiers.”

The battle for the Donbas, which has heated up since Russia’s bid to take Kyiv failed, has become a daily grind, as towns and villages change hands.


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Putin and Parkinson′s: What experts say about his health | Science | In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW

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From US Senator Marco Rubio to political science university professors to the UK tabloids, many people appear to have an intimate understanding of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health.

But one important voice has been missing from the flurry of articles and discourse speculating that Putin, who is leading the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has Parkinson’s or thyroid cancer: Medical experts.

Putin was shown tightly gripping a table during a 12-minute video clip of a meeting with Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu. He tapped his foot and slouched throughout the course of the clip, which was released by the Russian government late last week. His face was noticeably bloated.

The video prompted some online commentators, including former UK Conservative Party parliamentarian Louise Mensch, to draw the conclusion on Twitter that the Russian president has Parkinson’s disease.

The claim has also been reported by a number of UK tabloids. The stories featured comments from a professor of strategic communications, a couple of political analysts and a professor of body language. But no doctors.

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Parkinson’s disease – our interview

No diagnoses without examinations

That’s probably not a coincidence.

“Real neurologists are unlikely to comment because they are taught never to comment on people who are not their patients,” John Hardy, a neurogeneticist at the UK Dementia Research Institute, told DW.

Stressing the fact that he’s a neurogeneticist, not a neurologist, Hardy shared his opinion on Putin’s condition as someone who has studied brain diseases.

“No sign of parkinsonism in my view,” he said. “He did not look well…but not Parkinson’s disease.”

Ray Chadhuri, a neurologist at the University of London, agreed.

“Looking at the short clip, I can find no evidence that I can tell of parkinsonism in Putin,” Chadhuri told DW.

Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism are incredibly difficult to diagnose and can only be determined by thorough neurological examination in person, Chadhuri explained.

“Bloating of [the] face or tremors can be caused by many reasons and I did not see any tremor either,” said Chadhuri.

Caroline Rassell, chief executive of Parkinson’s UK, echoed Hardy when asked for an expert opinion on the clips. She said Parkinson’s is a complex condition with over 40 symptoms ranging from physical to mental, and it is therefore impossible to diagnose via a 12-minute video clip.

“It affects everyone differently,” said Rassell. “With no definitive diagnostic test, it’s something that can only be confirmed after examination by a neurologist or specialist. Media and online speculation is unhelpful.”

A tight-lipped Russia makes speculation inevitable

It is not uncommon for people to speculate about the health conditions of the world’s most powerful leaders. The media extensively covered former US President Donald Trump testing positive for COVID in 2020, former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s shaking episodes in 2019, and Pope Francis’s colon surgery last summer.

For years, the Kremlin has kept tight-lipped about the state of Putin’s health, prompting journalists and political scientists to analyze the president’s every move in attempts to detect any sign of frailty or illness. Rumors claiming Putin has thyroid cancer, serious back problems and even psychosis have become part of the regular discourse surrounding the president.

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Western intelligence: Putin mislead by inner circle

This was compounded during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Putin went into full isolation, refusing to come near other world leaders at world summits and conferences and requiring those he met with to isolate and test themselves repeatedly before seeing him.

Russia’s Putin-directed invasion of Ukraine in February saw media outlets and analysts speculate that with Putin in isolation and most intelligence coming from a select few people who may or may not have been telling the full truth, the president could have plunged into a state of narcissistic psychosis.

Journalists seemed to latch onto this idea as a way to explain Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, which has left at least 1,800 Ukranian people dead and thousands injured.

Whether Putin is on his death bed and is using this war as a way to cement his mark on history, or whether he’s truly being guided by a kind of psychosis  without any information from the Kremlin, it’s all speculation.

And at the end of the day, no one — neither the Twitter commentators, the neurologists watching Kremlin-released video clips, nor the so-called Russia experts — knows what’s happening in Putin’s brain.

  • Putin welcomes Merkel in Moscow in 2002 (picture-alliance/dpa)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    Up-and-coming leaders

    In 2002, Angela Merkel was the head of what was then Germany’s main opposition party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Putin was the fresh-faced president of a new and modern Russia. After meeting Putin in the Kremlin, Merkel reportedly joked to her aides that she had passed the “KGB test” of holding his gaze — an allusion to Putin’s earlier career in the Soviet security agency.

  • Merkel and Putin shake hands in Russia's Berlin embassy in 2005 (imago/photothek/T. Koehxler)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    New chancellor in town

    Putin had built a friendship with Angela Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, and the two men remain close to this day. By late 2005, however, it was clear that Merkel was set to dethrone the Social Democrat Schröder. Talking to Merkel in Russia’s Berlin embassy, Putin pledged to expand the ties between the two countries. Merkel described the dialogue as “very open.”

  • Merkel and Putin in Dresden 2006 (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Hiekel)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    A friendly ear for Putin

    About a year later, Putin shared his impressions of the woman who had since become Germany’s chancellor: “We don’t know each other on a very personal level, but I’m impressed by her ability to listen,” he told Germany’s public broadcaster MDR from Dresden, adding that listening was a rare skill among female politicians.

  • Merkel and Putin sit at a table in Sochi with Putin's dog looking on (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Chirikov)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    A gap in Merkel’s armor

    The German chancellor has a well-known fear of dogs. Still, Putin let his black lab Konni wonder around the Sochi venue when he welcomed Merkel there in January 2007. Was he trying to intimidate her? Merkel seems to think so: “I believe the Russian president knew very well that I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of meeting his dog, but he still brought it with him,” the chancellor said in 2015.

  • Merkel answers questions while sitting next to Putin in Sankt Petersburg, 2012 (picture-alliance/dpa)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    Too thin-skinned on media

    By 2012, Vladimir Putin had taken on a harsher course towards the press and political dissenters. When asked about media freedom while in Saint Petersburg, Merkel responded with a barely hidden jab at her fellow leader: “If I were to get sulky every time I opened a newspaper, I wouldn’t last three days as chancellor,” she said.

  • Putin being interviewed by Bild reporters in Sochi (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Nikolskyi)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    Talks continue into the ice age

    Relations between Moscow and the West took a steep plunge after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. However, Putin told German media that he still maintained a “business-like relationship” with the German chancellor. “I trust her. She is a very open person. She, like anyone else, is subject to certain limitations, but she is honestly attempting to solve the crises,” he told Bild, a German daily.

  • Putin in Sankt Petersburg, 2017 (picture-alliance/AP Photo/D. Lovetsky)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    No insult intended but …

    “I don’t mean to insult anybody, but Ms. Merkel’s statement is an outburst of a long-accumulated anger over limited sovereignty,” Putin told the press in 2017, commenting on an election campaign address that the German leader had given in Munich. Merkel’s so-called “beer tent” speech saw her urge Europeans to rely on themselves amidst disputes with US President Donald Trump.

  • G20-Gipfel in Hamburg Merkel und Putin (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Schreiber)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    Rolling with it

    Just a month after Putin’s remarks on sovereignty, the two leaders were photographed talking at a G-20 summit in Hamburg. While the topic remains a mystery, both Merkel and Putin used strong gestures. At one point, as Putin wags his finger Merkel looks away from him and rolls her eyes. The moment quickly went viral.

  • Putin welcomes Merkel with flowers in 2018 (picture-alliance/Sputnik/S. Guneev)

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    ‘We have to talk to each other’

    When Merkel arrived in Sochi in 2018, Putin welcomed her with a bouquet of flowers. An offer of peace? An act of gallantry? Sexism? The rationale didn’t really matter in the big picture. Appearing alongside Putin, Merkel said dialogue needed to go on. “Even if there are grave differences of opinion on some issues, we have to talk to each other, because otherwise you just sink into silence.”

  • Merkel und Putin shaking hands

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: Through good times and bad

    Handshake in 2020

    Angela Merkel met with the Russian President in the Kremlin in January 2020. Later, relations again deteriorated over the Russian involvement in Ukraine, but also over its treatment of dissidents. Most notably of dissident Alexei Navalny who was arrested upon his return to Russia from medical treatment in Germany.

    Author: Jan D. Walter, Darko Janjevic

Edited by: Louisa Wright


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Ukraine: Germany′s Scholz and Russia′s Putin discuss stalled peace talks — as it happened | News | DW

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  • The EU pledges an additional €500 million in aid to Ukraine for ‘heavy weapons’
  • Russia’s Putin and Germany’s Scholz speak on phone in first call in weeks
  • Ukraine in new bid to negotiate the evacuation of Azovstal fighters
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia’s strategic defeat is already ‘obvious’
  • First war-crimes trial of Russian soldier starts in Kyiv

These live updates are now closed. For more coverage on Russia’s war in Ukraine, click here

Georgian breakaway region announces referendum on joining Russia

The president of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov, on Friday announced the territory would hold a referendum on July 17 on whether to become part of Russia.

South Ossetia is a small largely mountainous region with a population of around 60,000. It borders North Ossetia, which is part of Russia.

Moscow recognized South Ossetia and the coastal region of Abkhazia as independent after fighting a war with Georgia in 2008.

Bibilov said on March 30 that South Ossetia would take steps in the near future to join Russia, prompting Georgia to denounce the idea of a referendum as unacceptable. Georgia has not yet commented the latest announcement.

Biden discusses NATO bid with Finnish, Swedish leaders

US President Joe Biden spoke on Friday with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland.

The leaders discussed the close defense and security cooperation between three countries, the White House said in a statement.

President Biden underscored his support for NATO’s Open Door policy and for the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy, and security arrangements.

The leaders also reiterated their shared commitment to continued coordination in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people affected by the war.

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Finland is a ‘security asset’ for NATO: former Finnish PM Alexander Stubb

Ukraine says Russia has destroyed 27 fuel depots

Russia has destroyed 27 fuel depots and the Kremenchuk oil refinery in central Ukraine since it launched its invasion on February 24, First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said on Friday.

According to Svyrydenko, Ukraine has signed contracts to import 300,000 tonnes of diesel and 120,000 tonnes of petrol to cover consumption in May.

Fuel shortages create long lines in Ukrainian cities, as many petrol stations limit the selling of petrol to 10 liters per consumer.

Austin urged Shoygu for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine

In their first conversation since Russia invaded Ukraine, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu on Friday to move immediately to implement a ceasefire in Ukraine.

“Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication,” the Pentagon said. According to its statement, Austin also stressed the importance of maintaining lines of communication between Russia and USA.

The call came as Russian and Ukrainian forces battle along a long front line in eastern and southern Ukraine, with the Pentagon maintaining that Russia is weeks behind goals set in its war plan.

It was the first time Austin had spoken with Shoygu since February 18, six days before Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

UK and US defense ministers discussed aid to Ukraine

On Wednesday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and his US counterpart. Lloyd Austin, discussed the next steps to help Ukraine, including military aid, in talks held in the US on Wednesday, the UK’s Ministry of Defense said Friday. 

“We will continue to work with unity and resolve to provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked invasion,” Wallace said.

Also discussed was AUKUS (a defense pact between Australia, the United States and Britain), the future of NATO, and other security issues.

Sweden, Finland say to discuss NATO bid with Turkey

Sweden’s and Finland’s foreign ministers said on Friday that they were hoping to meet their Turkish counterpart in Berlin on Saturday to discuss their countries’ potential NATO bids.

Earlier on Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey did not have a “positive opinion” about Finland and Sweden’s ambitions to join the military alliance.

He accused both countries of harbouring “terrorist organisations” in his unfavourable assessment of the membership bids. Turkey has long accused Nordic countries, especially Sweden, of harbouring extremist Kurdish groups as well as supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based preacher wanted over a failed 2016 coup.

Sweden, in particular, has a large immigrant community that hailed from Turkey, many of them Kurdish and some granted political asylum after decades of sporadic conflict between Kurdish groups and Turkey’s security forces.

Turkey’s opposition could pose a problem for Sweden and Finland given new NATO members need unanimous approval from existing ones.

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How did Germany get Russia so wrong?

Russian clubs appeal UEFA decision to bar them from competition

Four Russian Russian Premier League clubs have filed an appeal against European football’s governing body, UEFA’s decision to bar Russian clubs from European competition next season.

“Zenit Football Club are supported in this action by FC Dynamo Moscow, FC Sochi and PFC CSKA Moscow in appealing against the decision of UEFA, and respectfully request this appeal to CAS [the Court of Arbitration for Sport] be dealt with expeditiously,” Zenit said in a statement.

Last week, UEFA announced that men’s and women’s teams in Russia would be excluded from European club competitions in the 2022/23 season as a result of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Scholz and Putin discuss situation in Ukraine in first call in weeks

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Friday for the first time in weeks to discuss stalled Ukraine peace talks, both governments confirmed.

Putin reportedly told the German leader that peace talks on the conflict had been “essentially blocked” by the Ukrainian government, the Kremlin said in a statement. Putin also told Scholz Moscow was fighting “Nazi ideology” in Ukraine.

In a Tweet, Scholz confirmed the call took place, saying he’d urged Putin for a rapid ceasefire in Ukraine. He also emphasized that the Russian leader’s claim that Nazis are in charge of the country is “false.”

“I also reminded him about Russia’s responsibility for the global food situation,” the German chancellor added.

A German government statement said the call lasted 75 minutes. In addition to quickly implementing a ceasefire, Scholz called on Putin to quickly “improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and [make] progress in the search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.”

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Germany’s Scholz calls Putin for first time in weeks

UK announces sanctions on Russians individuals  

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said London is imposing a new round of sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s network, including his ex-wife, alleged girlfriend and cousins.

“We are exposing and targeting the shady network propping up Putin’s luxury lifestyle and tightening the vice on his inner circle,” Truss said in a statement.

“We will keep going with sanctions on all those aiding and abetting Putin’s aggression until Ukraine prevails.”

The sanctioned individuals include Putin’s ex-wife Lyudmila Ocheretnaya and Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gymnast who the British government said was “alleged to have a close personal relationship with Putin.”

First war crime trial of Russian soldier starts in Ukraine

A Russian soldier is appearing before a court in Kyiv over the killing of a 62-year-old unarmed Ukrainian civilian. 

Ukrainian prosecutors say the 21-year-old Russian soldier shot the man in the head through an open car window in the northeastern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka.

The trial is the first prosecution of a Russian military member for a war crime in Ukraine since the war started on February 24. 

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova’s office is looking into more than 10,700 potential war crimes involving more than 600 suspects.

On May 4, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) posted a short video of the same Russian soldier speaking in front of a camera and briefly describing how he shot the man. 

The SBU described the video as “one of the first confessions of the enemy invaders.”

Ukraine has been criticized by rights groups who say Kyiv is violating the Geneva Conventions by publishing footage and images of prisoners of war. 

A coordinator for the Center for Civil Liberties, one of Ukraine’s biggest human rights groups, said activists would be monitoring the trial to ensure the suspect’s legal rights are protected, noting that it can be difficult to maintain judicial neutrality during wartime. 

The observance of the trial’s rules and norms “will determine how similar cases will be handled in the future,” said Volodymyr Yavorskyy of the Center for Civil Liberties.

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Russian soldier to be tried for war crimes in Ukraine

Germany’s Scholz wants to hold talks with Putin: report

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told lawmakers that he wants to hold fresh talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, lawmakers from his Social Democratic Party (SPD) were quoted as saying by the dpa news agency. 

“I heard, clearly heard that the chancellor also announced a new initiative for talks with Putin,” dpa quoted as saying lawmakers Wolfgang Hellmich after a Bundestag defense committee meeting.

According to Hellmich, Scholz had earlier said that the conflict could not be resolved without channels for dialogue. 

The German leader had spoken to Putin multiple times since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24.

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German chancellor: Putin miscalculated in attacking Ukraine

German minister: Russia ‘stealing’ grain from eastern Ukraine ‘repugnant’

During a meeting with his G7 and Ukrainian colleagues Friday, German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir said grain theft by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine was “repugnant.”

“This is an especially repugnant form of war that Russia is leading, in that it is stealing, robbing, taking for itself grain from eastern Ukraine,” Özdemir said at the start of a G7 meeting. 

Ukraine’s Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi said he feared “great losses” in this year’s wheat harvest because of the war

Solskyi called for support for Ukraine in transporting grain, saying his country cannot solve the issue “singlehandedly.”

Ukraine is traditionally a major wheat exporter. According to Solskyi, the country’s harvest this year will be much smaller than last year’s because half of the wheat cultivation land for winter is located in areas that are either witnessing intense fighting or are occupied by Russian forces.

The minister said Ukraine’s allies must work to end a blockade on Black Sea ports for grain export.

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Is Russia deliberately stoking the world food crisis?

EU to provide Ukraine with another €500 million in military aid

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, announced that the bloc was set to increase military aid to Ukraine with a further €500 million ($520 million). 

Borrell made the announcement on the sidelines of a G7 foreign ministers meeting in Germany. 

“A new impetus for military support. [It will be] more pressure on Russia with economic sanctions and continuing the international isolation of Russia and countering misinformation,” he said.

The latest aid package would increase the EU’s funds for Ukraine’s military support to a total of €2 billion, Borrell said. 

The EU’s top diplomat also said optimistic that an EU embargo on Russian oil imports could also be agreed in the coming days.

“I am sure we will have an agreement. We need it and we will have it. Because we have to get rid of the oil dependency from Russia,” he said.

“If there is no agreement at the level of ambassadors, then on Monday the ministers when they gather they have to provide the political impetus.” 

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Why does Germany now support an embargo on Russian oil?

UK’s Truss calls for further G7 pressure on Russia

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said supplying Ukraine with more weapons and imposing further sanctions on Russia was needed to increase pressure on Moscow.  

“It is very important at this time that we keep up the pressure on [Russian President] Vladimir Putin by supplying more weapons to Ukraine, by increasing the sanctions,” Truss said as she arrived for a second day of talks with her G7 counterparts in Germany.

“G7 unity has been vital during this crisis,” she added. 

The three-day meeting, running until Saturday, brings together diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the US and the EU to a 400-year-old castle estate in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus in Germany.

The foreign ministers of Ukraine and its neighbor Moldova, which is feared as a possible first target of another attack by Russia, were also attending.

German Foreign Minister  Annalena Baerbock expressed the G7’s support to Moldova as she spoke with her Moldovan counterpart on the sidelines of the summit. 

Baerbock told Moldova’s Nicu Popescu it was a pleasure to see him for the third time in three months, even though “the situation is the opposite of a pleasure.”

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Ukraine: German Foreign Minister on the responsibility of the G7 nations

Ukrainian forces gaining momentum amid ‘fierce fighting’ in Donbas

DW correspondent in Kyiv Fanny Facsar said Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the east of the country “seems to be working.” 

Facsar said there has been “fierce” fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces trying to maintain control of villages in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. 

Facsar said that while Russian forces were making “headway” in the region, Ukrainian forces were making their own advances as weapons from the West begin to arrive. 

“But the question is whether this momentum that seems to now be working for Ukrainian forces can be maintained,” she said. 

UK: Russia ‘investing significant effort’ to isolate Ukraine forces in east

The British Defense Ministry said Russia was “investing significant effort” near the eastern Ukrainian cities of  Izium and Severodonetsk to isolate Ukraine’s forces.

According to a UK defense intelligence report, Russia’s main goal is to “envelop” Ukrainian troops to isolate them from support from the west of the country. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine foiled an attempt by Russian forces to cross a important river in Donbas, the report said. 

“Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky manoeuvre and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine,” it added. 

“Russian forces have failed to make any significant advances despite concentrating forces in this area after withdrawing and redeploying units from the Kyiv and Chernihiv Oblasts.”

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Germany to send seven self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine

German industrial giant Siemens AG exits Russia

European industrial manufacturing company, Siemens AG, has announced that it will be exiting Russia after nearly 170 years of operating.

“We condemn the war in Ukraine and have decided to carry out an orderly process to wind down our industrial business activities in Russia,” said CEO Roland Busch on Thursday.

According to its statement, Siemens was one of the first companies to put all new business in and international deliveries to Russia on hold while it evaluated the situation to ensure the safety of its 3,000 employees in the country. 

Russian soldiers ‘targeted Ukrainian society’ with rape — Ukrainian human rights lawyer

The United Nations along with several aid organizations say that women are bearing the brunt of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There have been an increasing number of reports from civilians of sexual violence in areas that had been under Russian control.

Human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk heads up the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv and told DW that sexual violence is what she called “the most hidden crime.”

“It’s very difficult to speak. And that’s why sexual violence is the most hidden crime. And survivors of sexual violence very often not apply to police nor to human rights defenders, because they consider this crime as a shame.”

Matviichuk said that rape was a way of targeting Ukrainian society and that one of the consequences has been fear, which has allowed Russian forces to gain a level of control.

“Through the concrete victims of rapes, Russian soldiers targeted Ukrainian society… Some people feel guilty because they couldn’t protect and stop it and other people feel fear to be treated in the same way. So in some in result, it’s provide a frozen effect to resistance. And that’s why we consider that Russians use rapes as a part of terror against civilians in order to quickly obtain control over the region.

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Russian soldiers target Ukrainian society through rape: Human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk

Ukraine hopes for more German assistance on path toward EU Membership

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, said he expects Germany to do more to help Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

“Besides arms deliveries and the tightening sanctions, our main goal is to get support for accession to the EU,” Melbyk said in a preprinted report by German newspaper network Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND).

A decision on Ukraine’s candidate status is expected by the end of June.

Ukraine looking for fresh talks to rescue besieged troops — report

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuck has said that efforts were underway to try and rescue besieged troops still holed up in the Azovstal steelworks complex in Mariupol.

“We have started a new round of negotiations,” Vereshchuck said, according to local publication, Ukrayinska Pravda.

“We would like to have a deal signed on how the evacuation from Azovstal will proceed — we are ready to sign,” Vereshchuk said.

The deputy prime minister said the priority would be to evacuate 38 seriously injured soldiers. Ukraine is also willing to exchange Russian prisoners of war in return for the injured Azovstal fighters.

Russia has demanded the surrender of the Ukrainian soldiers in the complex and has thus far refused an evacuation of the remaining forces.

Last week, Ukraine said the remaining women, children and elderly had been evacuated from the steel plant after having spent weeks under siege. 

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Proposed prisoner swap ‘unlikely’: DW’s Amien Essif in Lviv

Russia’s strategic defeat ‘obvious’ — Zelenskyy

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Moscow’s defeat is “obvious to everyone in the world, and also to those who still communicate with them [the Russians].”

Zelenskyy said that rather than admit defeat, Russia has hid behind artillery bombardments. 

“They are cowards and try to hide this behind new missile, air and artillery attacks,” Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian president’s remarks come as Russia continues its offensive in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. 

Ukraine’s military said it had recapturing some towns and villages in the country’s northeast outside of Kharkiv, but acknowledged that Russian forces have seen “partial success” farther south.

“In the area around Sievierodonetsk, the enemy is conducting attacks on Kudryashivka and Sievierodonetsk and is meeting partial success,” the Ukrainian General Staff said in its daily briefing late Thursday.  

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Parade without victory: Is Putin leading Russia towards disaster?

Summary of Thursday’s events in Russia’s war on Ukraine

The UN refugee agency said that more than 6 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, with a total of 2.4 million people having moved beyond Ukraine’s immediate border countries. 

A thousand bodies have been recovered near the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in recent days, with many of the killings possibly amounting to war crimes amid the Russian invasion, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

The EU has called on member states to urgently find ways to transport essential agricultural goods from Ukraine via land routes to stabilize global food supplies. Russia’s blockade of key ports in the Black Sea has caused global food prices and shortages to hit record levels

Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, said that her office has charged a 21-year-old Russian sergeant in connection with the killing of an elderly civilian who was gunned down while riding a bicycle.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin have said their country must apply to join the NATO military alliance as quickly as possible, a policy turnaround that has been prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

kb/wmr (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)


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