The first multiple rocket launchers have arrived in Ukraine. EU candidate status for Ukraine is the main topic of Thursday’s EU summit. And: The Kremlin calls Germany’s accusation in the dispute over gas supplies “strange”. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.
Sunday, June 26, 2022, 12:48 p.m.: According to a Downing Street spokesman, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the G7 summit: “Ukraine is on a knife edge and we must turn the tide of the war in their favor.”
11:15 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to recapture the cities occupied by Russia. He said so in his evening video address on Saturday. He referred to Sievjerodonetsk, Donetsk and Lugansk. Melitopol and Mariupol have not been forgotten either. “All other cities in Ukraine that are temporarily occupied will be Ukrainian.” Russia had announced the capture of Sievjerodonetsk in the evening.
According to Zelenskyy, his country was hit by 45 Russian missiles within half a day on Saturday. “They are further confirmation of our position that sanctions against Russia are not enough.” His country needs more military aid.
Ukraine is in a morally and emotionally difficult phase of the war. “We understand that we can still protect the state,” said the head of state. However, he does not know how great the losses and efforts will be until victory appears on the horizon.
7:42 p.m .: According to President Vladimir Putin, Russia will soon deliver nuclear-capable missiles to Belarus. As Putin announced on Saturday at a meeting with Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko, Russia will deliver the Iskander-M missile system to Belarus “in the coming months”, which can also be equipped with nuclear warheads.
Lukashenko had already announced the planned purchase of Iskander missiles and S-400 air defense systems from Russia in May. Putin has now also promised Lukashenko to help upgrade Belarusian warplanes so that they can also transport nuclear weapons in the future.
The Belarusian army has many Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jets, which could be “improved” accordingly, Putin said at a meeting with Lukashenko in St. Petersburg. The modernization must be carried out in aircraft factories in Russia, and at the same time staff training can begin.
The rearmament plans in the midst of the Ukraine conflict are likely to cause new tensions between Moscow and the West. Belarus borders Ukraine and several NATO countries, but is a close ally of Russia. The Russian military offensive in Ukraine has repeatedly provided diplomatic and logistical support to Belarus, and attacks on Ukraine have also been launched from Belarus.
Since the military operation began in late February, Putin has spoken publicly about nuclear weapons several times, which is seen as a warning to the West not to intervene in the Ukraine conflict.
6:53 a.m .: The wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj compared the Russian troops in her country with the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) and accused them of sex crimes. Olena Selenska referred in the “Welt am Sonntag” to the Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, who had been enslaved by the IS and said: “It’s terrible to say that, but many Ukrainian women experience the same thing under the occupation.” Selenska added: “Because the Russian occupiers are no better than IS terrorists.” Ukrainian women are experiencing the horror right now.
Murad survived crimes by the terrorist organization Islamic State against Yazidis in Iraq. She has been the UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Human Trafficking Survivors since 2016. In 2018 she received the Nobel Prize together with the Congolese doctor and human rights activist Denis Mukwege.
Olena Selenska thanked Germany for granting asylum to many of her compatriots. “I am very grateful to Germany and the German people for taking in our refugees – I only feel gratitude here, gratitude from the bottom of my heart,” said Selenska. As First Lady, she is not responsible for armament issues. “But if someone can also help Ukraine at the front – and not just with humanitarian issues – then of course it’s Germany.”
She appealed to her fellow countrymen who had fled to return to the country when it became safe again to help with reconstruction. “Ukrainians who have had to seek refuge around the world should know: they are waiting for them in Ukraine, their country needs them.” More than 1,600 schools, 600 hospitals and countless apartments have already been ruined. “But we are already starting to rebuild so that at least some of the hospitals and schools can be used again by autumn.”
3:20 a.m .: Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) sees the distribution and reception of war refugees from Ukraine in Germany as largely positive. “We have made sure that refugees with us have good medical care, social security and direct access to jobs. The best way to do this is through the job centers, which have prepared intensively to support many refugees,” said Faeser of the “Rheinische Post” (Saturday).
Nevertheless, this remains a great effort. The same applies to the schools and day-care centers that have taken in refugee children. “In large cities, we also need additional accommodation to relieve private landlords,” emphasized the SPD politician. The federal government continues to support the municipalities and states in this task.
Faeser gave four reasons why it was possible to take in and care for so many people quickly and well.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, more than 850,000 people have come to Germany and been recorded here. “We assume that many of them have already returned to Ukraine,” said Faeser. Almost 40 percent of those who have fled to Germany are children, most of them of primary school age. Almost 80 percent of adults are women. The war continues to cause “unbelievable suffering,” added the politician.
1:59 a.m .: In view of the high prices for food, gas and fuel as a result of the Ukraine war, the SPD in the Bundestag is bringing special payments to employees to secure their livelihood into play. “If employers and unions agree on one-off payments to employees in order to cushion particularly difficult moments in the coming months, then the state could also supplement this in a meaningful way,” said parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich of the Funke media group (Saturday).
In view of the severely curtailed gas supplies from Russia, Mützenich said: “Looking ahead to autumn and winter is certainly worrying.” The federal government is doing everything possible to have enough gas reserves to bridge this critical period. “No one can guarantee that this will succeed.” The risks are considerable, he warned. “When production comes to a standstill, this has unforeseeable consequences for workers.” Inflation will probably remain high and there could be a recession in the global economy. “In the next few months we will face very serious economic and social challenges that will affect everyone,” he said.
With regard to energy prices, Mützenich said that there would be “sometimes horrendous increases in utility bills”. Therefore, he also wanted to say clearly: “We will not be able to cushion everything.”
Saturday, June 25, 12:41 a.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is confident that his country, which has been attacked by Russia, will meet the criteria for EU membership. Ukraine is now concentrating on EU requirements, the head of state said in his evening video address. “But does that scare us? no Because we have successfully completed hundreds before that.” The criteria for accession include the rule of law, the fight against corruption, guarantees of fundamental rights and a functioning market economy.
Zelenskyy called on his compatriots to be happy about the decision of the EU summit to give Ukraine candidate status. He compared the path to membership to climbing Mount Everest. Anyone who talks about how difficult the further route will be in the last 1848 meters devalues his success in having already conquered the mountain at 7000 meters.
Ukraine has acquired candidate status, Zelenskyj said. “It didn’t fall from the sky. Ukraine has done a lot for that.”
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