US President Joe Biden wants to negotiate nuclear weapons control with Russia. Vladimir Putin meanwhile confirms that he does not want a nuclear first strike, but presents a new hypersonic sea missile. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker.

7:31 p.m .: Despite the war in Ukraine, Russia has confirmed that it does not want to start a nuclear war. “We assume that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that it must never be started,” President Vladimir Putin wrote in a greeting to participants at the NPT conference in New York published on the Kremlin’s website on Monday. In doing so, he countered growing fears since the beginning of the war that Moscow might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine (see below).

The fears were based, among other things, on the fact that Putin had put the Russian nuclear forces on increased alert shortly after the attack on the neighboring country. Previously, Russia’s leadership had always ruled out a nuclear first strike and presented operational plans only for a so-called counter-strike, i.e. the military response to an attack.

Putin has now stressed that Russia is fulfilling and will continue to fulfill its obligations as a founding member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. At the same time, the head of the Kremlin called for “equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community.” In addition, all countries that fulfilled the provisions of the NPT should have access to the civilian use of nuclear power. Putin’s demand may have been aimed at Iran’s civilian nuclear program, which is supported by Russia.

7 p.m.: US President Joe Biden has urged Russia and China to engage in talks on nuclear weapons control. In a statement released on Monday, the US President reiterated that his administration is ready to negotiate “expeditiously” on a replacement for New Start, the US-Russia strategic nuclear arms limit treaty. This expires in 2026.

“Russia should show that it is ready to resume work on nuclear arms control,” Biden said. In particular, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, he sees responsibility in Moscow.

Russia’s “brutal and unprovoked aggression in Ukraine” has “shattered the peace in Europe” and represents “an attack on the fundamental pillars of the international order,” Biden said. He stressed that Russia and the US in particular, as nuclear superpowers, have a responsibility to set the tone and ensure the viability of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology around the world.

The Kremlin reacted with surprise to Biden’s statements: “Is this a serious message or was the White House website hacked?” Reuters news agency quoted a representative of the Russian foreign ministry as saying.

10.41 a.m .: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned of the energy crisis in the European Union escalating as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. “Since Russia has already partially or completely cut off gas supplies to twelve member countries (of the EU), we all have to prepare for the worst situation,” said von der Leyen in an interview with the Spanish newspaper “El Mundo” (Monday edition).

However, the European emergency plan agreed last week to curb gas consumption will “help to cover our need for winter supplies”. She stressed: “In just one week, the EU has agreed to take a decisive and unprecedented step to counter (Kremlin chief Vladimir) Putin’s threat to shut down gas supplies entirely.”

Like other EU countries, Spain initially opposed the emergency plan, but ultimately approved the plan after making concessions. Von der Leyen, who responded to El Mundo’s questions via email, welcomed the Spanish government’s decision, saying: “Once again, this is about European solidarity.” is not the first time Russia has tried to divide us. It has failed before and will fail again. We have to stick together.”

8:25 a.m .: For the first time since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, a ship with grain has left the port of Odessa. The cargo ship “Razoni” loaded with corn left for Lebanon on Monday morning, reported the broadcaster CNN Türk, citing the Turkish Ministry of Defense.

07.15 a.m .: After an agreement to end the Ukrainian grain blockade, the first ship loaded with corn will leave the port of Odessa on Monday morning, according to Turkey. The cargo ship Razoni, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, is scheduled to leave the Ukrainian port at 7:30 a.m. CEST for Lebanon, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Monday. The grain delivery is taking place as part of the agreement concluded on July 22nd, further exports are to follow, it said.

Monday, August 1st, 1:20 a.m.: In the debate about cushioning the high energy prices, medium-sized companies have spoken out in favor of a temporary suspension of value added tax on energy supplies. “From the point of view of small and medium-sized businesses, a possible temporary exemption of energy supplies from VAT would be a first step in restoring consumer confidence,” said Markus Jerger, the federal director of the Bundesverband Der Mittelstand, the newspapers of the Funke media group (Monday). There is no need for higher gas prices as an incentive to save energy. “Everyone understood what it was about,” said Jerger.

1:15 p.m .: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin put a new naval doctrine into effect on “Naval Forces Day” in St. Petersburg. Russia’s sea borders, including those in the Arctic and the Black Sea, were also defined there. “We will ensure protection hard and by all means,” emphasized the Kremlin chief at a parade with warships on Sunday.

At the same time, he announced that the new hypersonic naval missile “Zirkon” would soon be put into service. It is said to be the Russians’ next super weapon, capable of reaching speeds of up to 11,000 km/h and being virtually unstoppable. “Zirkon” can be equipped with both armor-piercing and nuclear warheads. Delivery of the missiles will begin in the next few months, with the frigate Admiral Gorshkov being the first to be equipped with them.

The new doctrine declared that the US quest for dominance of the world’s oceans was a “challenge to Russia’s national security.” The document, which Putin ceremonially signed, also stipulates that the military infrastructure on the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea will be expanded. According to the doctrine, the construction of modern aircraft carriers is also planned.

At the performance in front of thousands of spectators, Putin did not directly address the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. He thanked the Navy for its missions, which it has carried out for centuries, and praised its high level of defense readiness. Russia also has numerous warships deployed in the Black Sea in attacks against Ukraine.

Before his speech, Putin inspected the parade on a boat during a trip from Kronstadt to St. Petersburg under overcast skies and intermittent rain. Shortly thereafter, in a demonstrative act of signing, he also confirmed the naval doctrine.

Regarding the new hypersonic weapon Zirkon for the naval forces, Putin said that there were no obstacles for them. Their entry into service in 2021 was announced for the beginning of this year after reports of successful tests. The hypersonic weapons have a multiple of the speed of sound of around 343 meters per second. They are a reaction to NATO, Putin said last year. Where exactly they will be put into service should be determined according to Russia’s national interests, it said.

“Zelenskyj is of course a product of the oligarchs. He could never have achieved his great popularity without working with the major TV channels owned by the oligarchs Dmytro Firtash and Ihor Kolomoiskyi,” Rudenko said. But: “Since 2020, Zelenskyj has declared war on the oligarchs. Apparently he didn’t want to have to ask anyone for anything anymore.”

But Rudenko doesn’t want to exaggerate the criticism. “I don’t think it’s a good thing to overly criticize the President while the war is going on. It endangers the unity of the country and society. It destroys trust in the government at the time when people are dying in the country,” Rudenko told Der Spiegel.

For him, however, one thing is clear: “I am convinced that Ukraine, which existed before February 24, must no longer exist after the war,” said Rudenko, referring to the corruption in the country.

2:58 p.m .: After reports of tens of thousands of casualties in the war against Ukraine, the head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6 has mocked the Russian army. “You’re running out of breath…” Richard Moore tweeted on Saturday. He quoted a tweet from the British Ministry of Defense from the previous day. “The Kremlin is desperate. Russia has lost tens of thousands of soldiers and is using Soviet-era weapons. Their outdated missiles are killing and injuring innocent Ukrainians,” the agency wrote. “Russia will not win this unjustified war.”

MI6, otherwise known for its secrecy, has been much more transparent since the beginning of the Russian war, and secret service chief Moore keeps looking for the public. In addition, the British Ministry of Defense publishes the latest secret service findings on the course of the war on a daily basis. London wants to counter statements from Moscow.

1:39 p.m .: The Russian embassy caused a stir with a tweet on Friday evening. Shortly after the attack on a prison in eastern Ukraine that killed “more than 50” Ukrainian prisoners, according to Zelenskyy, the embassy posted: “The Azov military deserve the execution. Not by firing squad, but by hanging, because they’re not real soldiers. You deserve a degrading death.”

Russia denies firing at the prison and blames Ukraine, which in turn blames Russia. However, there are indications that the attack was carried out by Russian forces.

11:27 a.m.: Poland is asking Germany for a better offer for a ring swap of tanks to support Ukraine. Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote a letter to his German colleague Christine Lambrecht (SPD), which was published by the Wpolityce portal in Warsaw on Friday evening. He hopes for a “serious offer” that will “contribute significantly to strengthening Polish and regional defense capacities”.

Poland gave Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia, arms worth almost 1.7 billion euros, the minister wrote. These included tanks, armored personnel carriers and other heavy weapons, some of post-Soviet design and some of the most modern like the Krab howitzer. “These shipments have created gaps in our defense capabilities.”

Poland had not shown itself to be satisfied with the previous Berlin offer of 20 Leopard 2 tanks with piecemeal delivery from 2023. When dissatisfaction became public in Warsaw, Lambrecht explained again in a letter to Blaszczak how small the German holdings were. She suggested both countries should order new Leopard 2 together. Poland should be given priority on extradition. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported on this letter.

“I would like to emphasize that we do not expect undeserved benefits,” Blaszczak replied. It is about “used capabilities that are well known to our military and that can be easily and quickly deployed in the Polish Armed Forces.”

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