The traffic light is proud of an agreement on the Bundeswehr special fund. Zelenskyj calls on the EU heads of state and government to agree on the next package of sanctions against Russia as soon as possible – but Hungary stands in the way. And a moderator finds frightening words on Russian state television. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.
9:17 p.m.: In a program on Russian state television, host Olga Skabeeva said it might be time to admit that the “special operation in Ukraine” is over, “in the sense that a real war has started – moreover, it is World War III,” claims Skabeeva. In Russia it is forbidden to call the Russian invasion of Ukraine a “war” or “invasion”, which is why the Kremlin and the media close to the Kremlin always speak of a “special operation”.
Skabeeva also says on the show: “We are forced not only to demilitarize Ukraine, but all of NATO.” Meanwhile, she leaves open what she means by that.
So far, NATO has not intervened. The Western military alliance only acts when a member country is effectively attacked. However, the individual member states, including the USA and EU countries such as Germany and France, supply weapons.
From the very beginning of the war, Russia cited NATO’s eastward expansion as one of the reasons for the invasion, along with the “liberation” of Ukraine and alleged Nazi rulers.
8.30 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has called on the EU heads of state and government to unite and to agree on the next sanctions package against Russia as soon as possible. “Internal disputes only lead to Russia increasing the pressure on Europe,” said Zelensky in his almost ten-minute video message at the start of the special EU summit in Brussels on Monday.
He thanked everyone who wants to advance the sixth package of sanctions. “Unfortunately, it’s not that far yet,” he said. In contrast to an earlier speech by the Ukrainian President at an EU summit, he did not address individual heads of state and government but all 27.
“It’s time for you to act not individually, but together,” said Zelenskyy. “Why do you depend on Russia and Russian pressure, and why isn’t it the other way around,” said the Ukrainian president, alluding to the European dependence States of Russian gas and oil supplies.
According to information from EU diplomats, the heads of state and government discussed the consequences of the Ukraine war in the afternoon. It was also about ways to secure the export of grain stored in Ukraine. There are fears that Russia is spreading the rumor that EU sanctions are responsible for the food crisis, it said. Later on, dinner should primarily be about energy.
The sixth package of sanctions, which includes the controversial Russian oil embargo, is not officially on the agenda, but it has shaped the summit from the start. According to the latest proposal, deliveries via pipelines are to be excluded. This corresponds to about a third of oil deliveries and mainly affects Hungary, which has no access to the sea.
7.31 p.m .: France’s new Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna has promised Ukraine further military aid in the fight against the Russian invading troops. Paris will “further step up arms deliveries,” Colonna said at a press conference in Kyiv on Monday with her Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba. The new weapons should therefore arrive in the coming weeks.
According to her ministry, with her first visit to Kyiv, Colonna wanted to express “France’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people”. In addition to Kuleba, she also met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The focus of their discussion was the blockade of the Ukrainian ports imposed by Moscow and its impact on global food security.
Colonna is France’s top government official to visit Ukraine since the Russian war of aggression began on February 24. At the press conference, she defended President Emmanuel Macron against criticism for his frequent phone calls with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
Colonna said there seemed to be no prospect of negotiations for a diplomatic solution at the moment. But “the day of dialogue” between the two Presidents Putin and Zelenskyy will have to come. Should Ukraine then wish it, “we stand by their side to make this possible”.
7.16 p.m .: Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the agreement with the Union on the Bundeswehr special fund. “The German Bundeswehr will be strengthened. It will be able to fulfill its defense mandate better than ever, and it will be able to make its contribution to NATO so that we can defend ourselves against attacks from outside at any time,” said the SPD politician at Hanover on Monday Industrial fair. “This will help make Germany and Europe more secure. It is the right answer to the turning point that started with Russia’s attack on Ukraine.”
The special fund of 100 billion euros is a “big step for our country,” said Scholz. He was grateful that a cross-party understanding was found.
7:00 p.m .: The Juso Federal Chairwoman Jessica Rosenthal wants to reject the planned Bundeswehr special fund in the Bundestag in the form now planned. “I’m not willing to tinker around with the Basic Law for a Bundeswehr special fund, although the mistake lies elsewhere,” wrote the SPD MP in a guest article for “Spiegel” published on Monday.
She did not reject the 100 billion euro special fund on principle, Rosenthal continued, but because the associated circumvention of the debt brake was “too small a solution for a much bigger problem”. Democracy must be defended externally, but also internally. A special fund just for the Bundeswehr is therefore far too limited. The Juso boss called for a move away from the debt brake.
“What should we answer when nurses ask why 100 billion euros are there for the Bundeswehr, but no money for better pay or a fully funded hospital infrastructure?” asked the Juso boss. It is also “absolutely understandable when parents ask why their children do not want to use the school toilet because there is allegedly no money for the renovation”.
The honest answer to this is: “Money is there – with those who no longer know what to do with it and also in the state budget. But we prefer to comply with the debt brake instead of investing in our society,” criticized the SPD politician. The state needs more financial leeway, she justified her demand for the abolition of the debt brake and an increase in inheritance tax.
“Whoever says turning point must mean turning point. It must not be a mantra that only means the Bundeswehr, but not the entire defensiveness of democracy, both internally and externally,” said Rosenthal. The Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24 “required self-criticism from me and my party and a course correction “This must also apply to the FDP and CDU/CSU, both of which adhere to the debt brake in the Basic Law.
On Monday night, the coalition and the CDU/CSU had reached an agreement on outstanding issues relating to the special fund, which is intended to remedy deficits in the Bundeswehr’s equipment. The Bundestag is now expected to vote on Friday.
6:35 p.m .: The Russian state-owned company Gazprom no longer wants to deliver gas to the Netherlands from Tuesday because the gas importer does not want to pay his bill in rubles. Gazprom will not deliver ordered two billion cubic meters of gas from May 31 to September 30, the Dutch gas company GasTerra announced on Monday in Groningen. However, major consequences for companies and households are not expected.
In response to the sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow decided that European countries must pay for energy in Russian currency. Otherwise the delivery stop was threatened. The Netherlands is not the first country to carry out this threat. Energy supplies had previously been stopped for Poland, Bulgaria and Finland.
According to GasTerra, however, there will be no supply bottlenecks because gas has already been purchased elsewhere. The contract with Gazprom expires on October 1 anyway. Energy Minister Rob Jetten does not expect any major disadvantages for households and the economy either. “The government will monitor the situation closely in the near future,” he said in The Hague.
The Netherlands gets about 15 percent of its gas needs from Russia, about 6 billion cubic meters a year. However, the government had already taken measures to stop being dependent on Russian energy by the end of the year. The gas storage tanks should be full by winter. In addition, more liquid gas is to be imported.
So far, the government has ruled out that production from its own gas fields in Groningen in the north-east will be restarted. But it is unclear whether this is still tenable now that Gazprom supplies have ended prematurely.
Due to major damage caused by a large number of smaller earthquakes, production in Groningen had been greatly reduced. Production was scheduled to end this year. Therefore, the Groningen company GasTerra will also cease operations by the end of 2024.
4:16 p.m .: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban currently sees no compromise for an EU oil embargo against Russia. “There is no agreement at all,” Orban said upon arrival at the EU summit in Brussels on Monday afternoon. Hungary is not fundamentally opposed to the next EU sanctions package, but needs additional guarantees.
“We are ready to support the sixth package of sanctions if there are solutions for Hungary’s energy supply,” Orban said. The proposed pipeline exemption is “a good approach” but does not go far enough. Budapest had previously requested financial support in particular for the conversion of its energy infrastructure.
The Hungarian made serious allegations against the EU Commission, which had proposed the oil embargo: “We are in a very difficult situation because of the irresponsible actions of the EU Commission.” that there is no agreement today”.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had previously shown himself optimistic that a compromise was possible. For her part, von der Leyen considered an agreement at the summit on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels to be unlikely.
Postponing the next package of sanctions, including the oil embargo, would be a setback for the EU, which wants to make it more difficult for Russian President Vladimir Putin to finance the war of aggression against Ukraine.
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