The EU has overturned a Lithuanian ban and cleared the way for Russian transports to Kaliningrad. Scholz spoke in a press conference after the NATO summit and Ukraine is now exporting electricity to the EU. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker.
9:45 p.m .: More than four months after the start of the war in Ukraine, the ruler of the ex-Soviet republic, Alexander Lukashenko, who was loyal to Russia, threatened the West. If there is an attack on Belarus, his country will react immediately, Lukashenko said on Saturday, according to the state news agency Belta, in a speech on the country’s upcoming Independence Day.
“Less than a month ago I gave orders to the armed forces units to target what you can now call the decision centers in their capitals,” said the 67-year-old. He did not explain exactly what he meant by that.
He added: “Don’t touch us – and we won’t touch you.” Despite the fact that Russia itself attacked Ukraine, Moscow and its ally Minsk have repeatedly presented themselves as victims of supposedly hostile Western and NATO policies in particular.
Since the end of February there have been fears that Belarus could officially join the war on Russia’s side. Lukashenko has already admitted that in the first weeks of the war, Russian rockets were fired at Ukraine from Belarusian territory.
7.30 p.m .: The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko has accused Ukraine of rocket attacks on his country. “About three days ago, maybe more, an attempt was made from Ukraine to attack military targets in Belarus,” said Lukashenko on Saturday, according to the state news agency Belta. “Thank God our anti-aircraft systems intercepted all missiles fired by Ukrainian troops,” he said.
11:24 a.m .: According to a report, Germany is even more dependent on Russian crude oil than recently stated by Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens). A response from Habeck’s ministry to a request from Jens Spahn (CDU), a member of the Bundestag, shows that in May 27.8 percent of the crude oil imported by Germany came from Russia, as reported by “Welt am Sonntag”. Habeck said at the end of April that the proportion was only twelve percent at that time.
According to the report, the Economy Ministry explained the discrepancy between the minister’s statement and the actual number by saying that oil-importing companies had signaled at the time that they could withdraw from existing contracts with Russian suppliers at short notice if Russia stopped deliveries or imposed a complete embargo.
Spahn said about the discrepancy in the minister’s statement and the actual quota: “The reduction in dependence on crude oil to twelve percent announced by Economics Minister Habeck weeks ago was apparently more of a spontaneous estimate.” The deputy CDU chairman criticized the fact that the dependence on Russia has hardly decreased in oil recently. In March, the rate was 37 percent.
There was also criticism of the slow decline from the coalition: the still high import share of Russian oil was “absolutely unsatisfactory”, said the energy policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Michael Kruse, the “Welt am Sonntag”.
5:02 a.m .: Argentina is increasingly relying on diplomacy to end the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “I had a phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during which I expressed my support for all negotiations to end hostilities and achieve a final peace,” Fernández wrote on Twitter. “Latin America rejects the use of force and encourages dialogue to resolve conflicts.”
Chile’s President Gabriel Boric wrote on Twitter that he had expressed his solidarity with Zelenskyy. “I also told him that he could count on Chile’s support on humanitarian issues.” Zelenskyj wrote on Twitter that he continues to build relations with an important region – Latin America.
At the beginning of February, Fernández and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visited Moscow and offered Russian President Vladimir Putin to deepen relations. Argentina could help Russia enter the Latin American market, Fernández said in the Kremlin at the time. He also thanked Putin for the delivery of corona vaccines. Argentina condemned the attack by Russian forces on neighboring Ukraine.
Saturday, July 2, 1:50 a.m.: The US government sees the recapture of Snake Island as a success for the Ukrainian military. Russia’s claim that the withdrawal was a goodwill gesture lacks credibility, a senior US Defense Department official said on Friday. “The Ukrainians have made it very difficult for the Russians to maintain operations there,” he said, according to the Pentagon. That is the reason why the Russians left the island. Russia occupied Snake Island shortly after attacking Ukraine on February 24 and announced its withdrawal on Thursday.
11:20 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has condemned the rocket attack on a residential building in the southern Ukrainian region of Odessa as “deliberate, targeted Russian terror”. “It was a simple house with about 160 people. Ordinary people lived in it, civilians,” he said in a video message on Friday.
So far, 21 dead and around 40 injured have been counted. “Unfortunately, the death toll is increasing.” Neither weapons nor military equipment were hidden in the building – “as Russian propagandists and officials always tell about such attacks”. The impact of the three rockets was neither a mistake nor an oversight.
Twelve Russian rockets also fell in various places in the city of Mykolaiv in the south, Zelensky said. “It’s just one night and one morning.” He sends his condolences to all the relatives and friends of the victims, the President emphasized.
8:39 p.m .: Ukraine has accused the Russian army of attacking Snake Island in the Black Sea with phosphorus bombs. Moscow’s troops “twice carried out airstrikes with phosphorus bombs” on Friday evening, Ukrainian army chief Valeriy Zalushny wrote on Telegram. Only on Thursday did the Russian army announce its withdrawal from the Ukrainian island, which it had previously occupied for four months.
8:02 p.m .: The historian Christopher Clark, who teaches in Cambridge, calls for an article for the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” to get away from one-to-one comparisons along the lines of “Putin equals Hitler”. These equations would appeal to emotions, but almost always lead to a dead end, because the similarities are always limited and partial. In his essay, Clark refers to the large number of historical comparisons that have not been drawn by historians in recent months, but mainly by politicians and decision-makers who aim to legitimize their own actions.
According to Clark, the Russian case is about the whole ensemble of historical analogies, through which “the public perception of the political situation is to be framed and steered”. If Putin uses his new self-comparison with Peter the Great to “think about the need for a long-term struggle for the western territories bordering Russia,” this is a prospect that makes the Baltic states and Finland think twice. “One should not underestimate the systematics behind this noise carpet of historical manipulations,” warns Clark. And: “Politicians are mainly fishing in the 20th century, because that’s where the big emotions are to be found.”
12:43 p.m.: Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has acknowledged that his country is isolated in Western alliances with its stance on the Russian war against Ukraine. “We don’t need sanctions (against Russia), but an immediate ceasefire and immediate peace negotiations,” said the right-wing politician on state radio on Friday. However, apart from Hungary, no one else in NATO and the EU takes this position, he added. “For now, no one but us will strike that note.”
“Everyone is on the side of the Ukrainians, because people tend to side with the attacked and keep their fingers crossed for the attacked,” Orban continued. But at the same time, one has to face the “military realities”. Russia’s superiority leads to this that “the war zone will be closing in on Hungary much faster than most Hungarians think.” Hungary, which has been part of NATO since 1999 and the EU since 2004, shares a northeastern border with Ukraine.
The current theaters of war are more than 1,000 kilometers from the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. Orban, who maintains a good relationship with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, initially only half-heartedly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. When the EU’s most recent package of sanctions was imposed, he used his veto threat to ensure that Russian oil supplies to Hungary remain exempt from the EU’s oil supply boycott.
8:08 a.m .: Petro Andryushchenko, advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, wants to expropriate refugee residents of the port city in the future. According to the portal “The New Voice of Ukraine”, every citizen whose housing is destroyed should be accommodated in an apartment of refugees. Anyone who does not claim their property within three months will be expropriated. Otherwise, this would immediately go to the city conquered by the Russians.
6:32 a.m .: The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has distanced itself from controversial statements by its ambassador in Germany. Andriy Melnyk had denied that there was evidence of the mass murder of Jews by supporters of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera in World War II. “Bandera was not a mass murderer of Jews and Poles,” said Melnyk in the video interview with journalist Tilo Jung that was published on Thursday night. He would confirm this again and again, according to the Ukrainian ambassador in Germany.
In a statement, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has now turned its back on Melnyk and clarified: “The opinion expressed by the Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, in an interview with a German journalist is his own and does not reflect the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.”
Among other things, Melnyk pointed out that Stepan Bandera, whom he described as a “freedom fighter”, was arrested by the Germans just a week after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Born in 1909 in what was then Polish Galicia, Bandera was murdered in Munich in 1959 by a Soviet agent. According to Melnyk, the character Banderas was deliberately demonized by the Soviet Union.
5:05 a.m .: According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine has started to export electricity to the EU. “An important stage in our rapprochement with the European Union has been reached,” said Zelenskyy in a video message on Thursday evening. Ukraine “has started to export electricity to the territory of the EU through Romania in a significant way.” This is “only the first stage. We are preparing an increase in deliveries.”
“Ukrainian electricity can replace a significant part of the Russian gas consumed by Europeans,” said the President. “It’s not just about export earnings for us, it’s a matter of security for all of Europe.”
Ukraine was connected to the European power grid in mid-March. Before the Russian war of aggression against the country began on February 24, the Ukrainian network was synchronized with the Russian network.
On Thursday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter that Ukraine could now export electricity to the EU market. “It will provide the EU with an additional power source. And Ukraine’s much-needed revenue. That’s why we both benefit.”
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