France is ready for action to end the blockades of the port of Odessa. Poland wants to expand grain transport from Ukraine. Meanwhile, Selenskjy is pushing for speed in Ukraine’s EU process. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker.
1:33 p.m .: The CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen raises serious allegations against Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) because of his behavior in relation to the Ukraine war. Overall, Scholz’s actions were aimed at “not doing anything that would seriously damage his ability to talk to Putin. And I think that’s a serious mistake,” said Röttgen of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” on Saturday.
“It is tragic that now, in the most difficult and costly weeks for Ukraine, nothing can be expected from the federal government in terms of weapons that it needs right now,” Röttgen continued Artillery weapons are missing.”
The CDU politician also sharply condemned the fact that Scholz repeatedly telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin. “After Putin’s ongoing and clear intention to go to war, such phone calls are not only superfluous but harmful,” he said. The talks “repeatedly gave the false impression that there is a basis for reaching an agreement with Putin.”
The mistake in Germany’s Russia policy for years was “that we were guided by wishful thinking and not by reality,” added Röttgen. “That should end now, once and for all.”
12:37 p.m .: Poland has accused the federal government of a lack of commitment to the promised delivery of tanks. “The talks have stalled. You don’t see any good will, let’s hope that changes,” said the head of the National Security Office under the President, Pavel Soloch, on Saturday on radio station Rmf.fm. The defense ministries are in contact.
Berlin had asked for tanks to be used to replace tanks that Poland had given to Ukraine, Soloch said. “German military aid – be it to Ukraine or be it support of countries that provide this aid – falls short of expectations.”
Poland supports its neighbor with Soviet T-72 tanks. Warsaw has already made it clear that it expects compensation from NATO partners, including Germany. A large part of the tank arsenal in the Polish Armed Forces consists of German Leopard tanks.
10.36 a.m .: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv on Saturday for talks on Ukraine’s application for EU membership. Among other things, the top German politician wanted to discuss open points in the application for admission with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The EU Commission is expected to publish its assessment next Friday on whether Ukraine should be granted candidate status for EU membership.
9:06 a.m .: According to US President Joe Biden, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ignored warnings of a Russian invasion shortly before the start of the war. There was “no doubt” that Russia would “cross the border,” Biden said at an event in Los Angeles on Friday. “Zelenskyj didn’t want to hear that, and neither did many others.”
“I know a lot of people thought I was exaggerating,” he said, referring to US warnings of a possible Russian attack. However, the US government had data to support its assessment.
The United States had warned against taking such a step long before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. At the time, the statements were met with disbelief and even criticism from some European countries. Some countries accused Washington of alarmism.
08:29: The Telegram channel “General SVR” reports that Putin has been granted “urgent medical assistance”. The channel claims to be operated by a well-informed Kremlin insider.
The Kremlin boss reportedly suffered from “severe nausea, weakness and dizziness” as he got up from his desk after a 90-minute virtual session. His doctors then advised Putin not to make any more “tedious” public appearances. The report does not give an exact date for the incident.
However, “General SVR” also writes that the emergency is the reason for the postponement of Putin’s annual “question and answer session” on state television. In fact, the traditional TV public question hour “The Direct Wire” will not take place in June this year as it has often done before. The preparations Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax agency last Wednesday that there was no concrete date for the event, but he ruled out holding it in June.
7.40 a.m .: The FDP wants to work in the governing coalition for a quick and direct delivery of Marder armored personnel carriers to Ukraine. The federal government should give the Ukrainians more support for the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, said the deputy FDP parliamentary group leader Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Saturday edition). “We as the FDP also say that Germany can and should do more,” added the foreign politician. “We hope that we can reach a consensus on this in the federal government.”
Lambsdorff emphasized that the Marder is an armored personnel carrier and not a battle tank. “They are ready in the yard, they could be prepared and delivered,” he added. “As the FDP, we are of the opinion that this should also happen.”
Lambsdorff was more reluctant to deliver the Leopard I tanks that Ukraine also wanted. “With the Leopard, we’ll see what the allies are doing,” said the FDP parliamentary group leader. “There are no French, British, Italian or American main battle tanks in Ukraine. In this respect there is also no German Leopard tank.”
This will not change with the planned delivery of the Panzerhaubitze 2000 either. “Howitzers are not battlefield weapons and should therefore not be confused with main battle tanks that can carry out direct battles,” stressed Lambsdorff.
7:31 a.m .: Clinics in Germany have so far taken in more than 200 sick and injured people from Ukraine using the so-called cloverleaf concept. “Of a total of 620 requests for assistance at European level, Germany has already taken on 220 patients for treatment as part of this procedure,” said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Health to the editorial network Germany (Saturday): “More than 50 further patient takeovers will soon – partly delayed due to the war – be completed be.”
It went on to say: “Of the 220 patients taken over, 52 were taken to the south cloverleaf, 50 to the north cloverleaf, 44 to the east cloverleaf, 39 to the west cloverleaf and 35 to the southwest cloverleaf.”
7:18 a.m .: According to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is having an effect as far as the Indo-Pacific. “Therefore, countries across the region have been quick to roll out humanitarian assistance to the suffering people of Ukraine, including vital contributions from Singapore, Thailand, India and Vietnam,” Austin said in a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shows what happens “when oppressors trample on the rules that protect us all” and “when great powers decide their imperial desires are more important than the rights of their peaceful neighbors,” Austin warned.
In order to avoid a future “world of chaos and unrest” “in which none of us would want to live”, the international community must come together. “Let’s use this moment to strengthen the rules-based international order,” the US Secretary of Defense called on his audience.
The security conference for the Asia-Pacific region, the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, is named after the luxury hotel of the same name where it takes place. It meets from Friday to Sunday.
10:14 p.m .: Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) promised Ukraine support for the care of the seriously injured during a visit. “Ukraine needs humanitarian aid just as urgently as our military support,” Lauterbach said on Friday in Lviv, western Ukraine, according to a statement from his ministry. Lauterbach was received by his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Lyashko.
In Lemberg, Lauterbach wanted to take part in a donor conference to set up a rehabilitation center for war invalids. The program also included visiting several hospitals. The aim of the visit is, among other things, to support Ukraine in setting up trauma centers for the injured, according to the ministry.
Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir has also pledged German support to Ukraine in order to maintain its agriculture and grain exports in the ongoing Russian war. “The success of Ukrainian agriculture is not only important for Ukraine, it is important for all of us,” said the Greens politician on Friday during a visit to an agricultural college in Nemishayev near Kyiv. The trip also discussed alternative routes for the country’s exports to global food security in the face of blocked ports. Specifically, Germany wants to help with money for veterinary medicines, among other things.
Özdemir made it clear that his visit is primarily about showing solidarity with the attacked Ukraine. The most important question is that the war started by Russian President Vladimir Putin ends as soon as possible, he said after a meeting with his counterpart Mykola Solskyj in Kyiv. All the problems with the food supply in Ukraine and in the rest of the world, for which Ukraine traditionally plays an important role, would not exist without Putin’s “cowardly war of aggression”.
7 p.m.: France wants to take part in a possible operation to end the blockade of the Ukrainian port of Odessa. The Elysee Palace announced on Friday that the aim is to allow ships to pass through to export the grain stored in Ukraine. France is striving for a “victory for Ukraine”, it said. President Emmanuel Macron plans to visit Romania and Moldova next week.
There is still no date for the President’s visit to Kyiv, the Elysée said. Macron has repeatedly emphasized that he wants to travel to the Ukrainian capital as soon as it is useful. There had been speculation several times about a joint trip with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).
Macron met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv for the last time before the war began. Both heads of state regularly telephone each other.
France stationed a new surface-to-air defense system in Romania in May to secure the NATO base. In March, NATO announced that it would send four additional combat units to the eastern flank, including Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria.
4.40 p.m .: Poland wants to expand the options for transporting grain from Ukraine. “If we work very hard on it, we can reach 1.5 million tons per month in the near future,” said Agriculture Minister Henryk Kowalczyk on Friday after a meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. At present one is in the process of increasing the clearance capacities at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossings.
Ukraine has expressed the expectation of being able to export up to five million tons of grain overland via Poland. However, Kowalczyk conceded that this could not be done because Poland was not technically prepared for it. The biggest problem is the different track widths of the railways – in the Ukraine, tracks are laid in Russian broad gauge. In addition, there is a lack of containers for transport, said Poland’s Minister of Agriculture. At his meeting with Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir on Thursday, he therefore asked him for Germany to help out with containers.
3:23 p.m .: According to Ukrainian information, the two Britons sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are regular soldiers. “All the people who come to fight on the Ukrainian side sign military documents, which gives them official status,” Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Hajday told BBC Radio 4 on Friday. “Therefore, they are defeated of the Geneva Convention if they are taken prisoner of war.” They should not therefore be sentenced to death, even if they are not Ukrainians, said Hajdaj. The men were sentenced to death together with a Moroccan as mercenaries on Thursday.
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