Although Belarus has not taken an active part in the war so far, Belarusian armed forces have now deployed additional units in the border area. The threat of missile and air strikes remains for Ukraine. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.
3:50 p.m .: The Ukrainian ex-boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko has called for Russia’s complete isolation because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The war will last as long as the world trades with Russia,” said the 46-year-old on Monday in a round of talks at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
He also called for Russian athletes to be excluded from the Olympic Games. “It has nothing to do with the nationality or the athletes, but they represent the aggressive regime of Russia,” he said. At the same time, the ex-boxer emphasized that Ukraine would not give up its resistance: “We will fight as long as we live.”
His brother Vitali, Mayor of Kyiv, who was also present, said of the bitter resistance against the Russian attackers: “We Ukrainians defend our children, families and the future of our children – and the Russian soldiers fight for money.” Russia invaded the country three months ago , because it sees Ukraine as part of the Russian Empire. “Don’t believe the Russians, they always cheat,” said Vitali Klitschko.
3:33 p.m .: The Russian Attorney General’s Office has declared the German Heinrich Böll Foundation an “undesirable organization” and thus effectively banned it in the country. The foundation’s activities pose “a threat to the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation,” the agency said in Moscow on Monday. However, since the Heinrich Böll Foundation had to close its Moscow office in April under pressure from the Russian authorities, it was initially unclear whether the new classification would have any practical effects at all.
In Russia, the classification as “undesirable” is accompanied by additional penal consequences in the event that an affected organization continues to work despite the ban. If they do, they face up to eight years in prison. The Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is close to the Greens, is already the 56th foreign non-governmental organization to be described as “undesirable” by the Russian authorities.
2:15 p.m .: Boris Bondarev, Russia’s adviser to the United Nations in Geneva, has resigned. In a written statement, Bondarev described Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine as “the most serious crime against the Russian people”.
He also wrote: “Never have I been so ashamed of my country.” Bondarev, who also worked at the Russian Foreign Ministry, added: “Unfortunately, I have to admit that in all these 20 years, the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the State Department has become higher and higher.”
12:57 p.m .: The Polish government has decided to terminate its gas supply contract with Russia, which has been in force since 1993. As the Polish news agency PAP reported on Monday, both Climate Minister Anna Moskwa and the Government Plenipotentiary for Energy Infrastructure, Piotr Naimski, confirmed this.
“After almost 30 years, it can be said that gas relations between Poland and Russia have ceased to exist,” Naimski announced on Polish Public Radio and on Facebook. Minister Moskva said on Twitter: “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has determination confirmed to the Polish government to become completely independent of Russian gas. We have always known that Gazprom is not a reliable partner.”
As PAP explained further, citing the two government representatives, the Polish government’s decision was made at a cabinet meeting on May 13. However, because it is an international treaty, according to Minister Moskwa, a formal note from the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw to the Russian government is necessary. Moskva announced that this written statement would be sent out later on Monday.
PAP pointed out that the cancellation of the Polish-Russian agreement affects not only gas supplies to Poland, but also gas transit through the Yamal gas pipeline further to Germany. However, this connection was most recently used in the opposite direction anyway, to deliver gas from Germany to Poland.
11:58 a.m .: In the first Ukrainian war crimes trial, a 21-year-old Russian soldier was sentenced to life imprisonment. The court in Kyiv on Monday saw it as proven after the man’s confession that the tanker shot a 62-year-old civilian after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This was the first case to go to court after global outrage at Russian atrocities in Ukraine.
Monday, May 23, 8:34 a.m.: The former Soviet Republic of Belarus, which has not yet actively participated in the Russian-Ukrainian war, is assembling forces at the border, according to information from Kyiv.
“The Belarusian armed forces are conducting increased reconnaissance and have set up additional units in the border area,” said the Ukrainian general staff in its situation report on Monday. Accordingly, the danger of rocket and air attacks on Ukraine from Belarusian territory remains.
5:38 a.m .: In Austria, 254 million euros have so far been frozen by Russian oligarchs in connection with EU sanctions. The funds were parked in 97 accounts, as reported by the Chancellery in Vienna on Sunday.
The Directorate for State Security and Intelligence also found five entries in the land register which, according to the Chancellery, were apparently used to conceal assets. The investigation of suspected cases is made considerably more difficult by international company constructs, trust companies and straw men, it said.
9:22 p.m .: The President of the World Economic Forum, Børge Brende, has called for a Marshall Plan to rebuild Ukraine. “Even without a peace agreement, which is not very likely at the moment, we have to start working on reconstruction, at least in the areas that are under Ukrainian control,” Brende told the Süddeutsche Zeitung (Monday). It’s about infrastructure, electricity, schools, roads and bridges. “We need a Marshall Plan for Ukraine.”
With the Marshall Plan, named after the then US Secretary of State George Marshall, the United States had supported reconstruction in Western Europe with billions in the years after the Second World War. Brende said he wants to press ahead with the call for such a plan at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which begins on Monday.
5:41 p.m.: Ukraine’s application to join the European Union will take at least “15 or 20 years,” French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told Radio J on Sunday.
“If we say that Ukraine will join the European Union in six months, a year, two years, then we are lying. It’s probably 15 or 20 years,” Beaune was quoted as saying by the news portal “CNN”.
Beaune is said to have said: “I don’t want us to sell illusions and lies. If we say to the Ukrainians: ‘Welcome to the European Union, but you haven’t read the whole treaty, the footnote says: Hey, it’s time in 15 years’, then I think we are preparing the ground for the disappointment of a whole generation of Ukrainians.”
The French minister supports the recent proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to create a new political community in Europe. Countries that are not in the heart of the European Union but want to get closer to the Union should also be able to join. Macron cited Ukraine as an example, but also Great Britain or Western Balkan countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a speech on Saturday that any alternative to Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union would be a “compromise” with Russia in response to Macron’s proposed project.
10:24 a.m .: After the resignation of the supervisory board post at the Russian energy group Rosneft, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) called on former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to stop further activities for companies in the country. “We note that it is now happening to one and the others must follow,” said Scholz on Saturday in Hildesheim on the sidelines of the SPD state delegate conference. The Federal Chancellor stressed that Schröder stands alone with his attitude.
Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) welcomed Schröder’s move, but said it was too late. There has been a war in Ukraine for three months.
Rosneft announced on Friday that Schröder would not extend his term as head of the supervisory board. Schröder is also nominated for the supervisory board of the Russian energy company Gazprom and works as a leading lobbyist for the Gazprom subsidiaries Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2. The Gazprom general meeting is scheduled for June 30th. In his only interview with the New York Times since the beginning of the Ukraine war, Schröder left open whether he would accept the nomination for the supervisory board post.
9:21 a.m .: The CEO of the energy company RWE, Markus Krebber, assumes that Russia will gradually reduce gas supplies to Europe. “We are in an economic war and the Russians are taking every opportunity to make it harder for us by reducing delivery volumes, which leads to higher prices,” Krebber told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper. “I expect a further shortage of gas supplies and not that someone turns off the gas completely.”
Krebber added that Germany could be independent of Russian gas by spring 2025 if the necessary infrastructure is expanded quickly. “The supply problems would perhaps be manageable to some extent a year earlier.”
In the event of a gas shortage, Krebber advocated leaving the distribution of the gas largely to the market. “We need a three-stage process: There are certain customers who absolutely deserve protection, for example in the healthcare sector. Secondly, price signals are the best means of efficiently distributing a tight supply, even in shortage situations,” said the top manager. “Thirdly, we need incentives to substitute and to save.” Private households cannot be forced to make savings.
RWE itself is now largely independent of Russian gas, the CEO told the newspaper. “We still have a contract for a residual quantity from Russia, which expires at the end of next year. But the scale doesn’t really matter to us. The situation is manageable for us.”
8:59 a.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj gave an interview with his wife, Olena Zelenska. “Nobody takes my husband away from me, not even the war,” she told the British broadcaster BBC. “But yes, he lives for his job and we hardly see him.” For two and a half months they could not have met in person at all, only on the phone. There are now several opportunities.
Apparently asked about the moment the war broke out, Olena Selenska describes: “I remember waking up at night because I heard strange noises. It was dark outside, almost night and I saw that Volodymyr was not next to me.” She got up and found her husband fully clothed. “I said, ‘What’s going on?’ And he said: ‘It has started.’ I can’t describe the emotions – fear, numbness. He said that to me and left. After that, we didn’t see each other for a very long time.”
It is a rare interview by the Ukrainian first lady and only the second joint appearance between the two since the outbreak of war. Otherwise, Selenska is in an unknown location with their two children for their own safety.
Sunday, May 22, 8:53 a.m.: Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has returned to the capital Kyiv to support Ukraine, which has been scarred by Russia’s war. The Polish presidential administration in Warsaw announced that on Sunday he would be the first head of state to give a speech in the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, since the war began three months ago. Duda is committed to ensuring that Ukraine is granted EU candidate status as quickly as possible.
The Polish head of state had already visited Kyiv after the outbreak of war in April and also met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj there. Upon his return, Duda accused Russia of waging a “total war” in Ukraine. He will never forget the impressions of Borodjanka, which was destroyed by air raids and rockets, Duda said in mid-April in Przemysl in southern Poland. He had visited the country with the Presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
At the time, Duda originally suggested that Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also take part in the trip. However, there were signals from Kyiv at the time that Steinmeier was not welcome there. The upsets are now considered cleared. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was the only member of the German government to have been in Kyiv this month since the outbreak of war.
6:05 p.m .: According to an internal Bundeswehr paper available to “Bild”, Germany could have Marder-type tanks for Ukraine. So far, the Ministry of Defense has always stated that it is not possible to deliver Marder tanks to Ukraine from Bundeswehr stocks. According to the Ministry of Defense under Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), all 343 martens owned by the Bundeswehr are “simply indispensable”. All martens are bound in the “national and alliance defense”, the ministry continues. Statements that provoked sharp criticism, especially from the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andriy Melnyk.
In the internal paper, which was written in mid-May, it now says according to “Bild”: The Bundeswehr has “over 62 SPz MARDER in configuration status A3 (MILAN), which are no longer used”. And further: “Of these, 32 vehicles could be repaired if necessary and then used again.” A further 30 martens would therefore be “only suitable for obtaining spare parts”. The 32 available martens “could be repaired within a period of nine to twelve months if necessary and would then be ready for use again,” quotes “Bild” from the paper. A faster repair is possible with the involvement of the armaments industry, the newspaper reports, citing an insider.
5:16 p.m .: In order to join NATO, Turkey has asked Sweden to end its support for “terrorist groups” and an arms embargo. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned these demands to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Saturday, Erdogan’s office said. During the phone call, both heads of state and government discussed, among other things, Sweden’s application to join NATO, which Turkey had initially blocked.
Sweden must end its “political, financial and military support” to terrorist groups and end “defense industry embargoes” imposed after a Turkish military operation against the Syrian Kurdish militia, the Ankara statement said. Erdogan told the Swedish Prime Minister that these are two “concrete and serious steps” that show that Stockholm shares Turkey’s security concerns.
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