10.20 a.m .: The scandal surrounding Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s failed trip to Kyiv has apparently strained the relationship between the Federal President and the Ukrainian head of state Volodymyr Zelenskyj more than previously known. As the “Spiegel” reported on Friday, in the first telephone call between the two presidents after the affront, Steinmeier personally confronted Selenskyj with the case and repeatedly asked him to clarify the background.
Before he wanted to talk about the future relationship between the two and new travel plans, the past had to be discussed first, Steinmeier said, according to insiders during the conversation. The unloading was a historic affront, unprecedented to an ally’s head of state.
Such a breach of diplomatic practice is unacceptable, the Federal President is said to have countered in the telephone conversation on May 5th. He would like an explanation for this. When Selenskyj protested in the conversation that he had known nothing about the process, Steinmeier is said to have gotten angry, the “Spiegel” reported further. The Federal President apparently said he had all the correspondence in front of him, referring to a diplomatic note from the Ukrainian government dated April 12, the day the trip was canceled. “Please spare yourself and me from having to read it all out now,” Steinmeier was quoted as saying.
After further appeasement from Selenskyj, Steinmeier even asked a third time, according to “Spiegel”. He then got an evasive, but probably duly bruised reaction from the Ukrainian. Only then did the Federal President give in.
When asked, the Federal President’s Office informed the magazine that it was not reporting on confidential discussions. Since then, Steinmeier and Selenskyj have had another phone call on June 30, in which the Federal President’s travel plans to Kyiv are said to have been discussed.
Steinmeier originally wanted to travel to Kyiv with his colleagues from Poland and the three Baltic states in mid-April. The Federal President, who as foreign and chancellery minister played a key role in shaping German Russia policy in the past, announced shortly beforehand that the Ukrainian leadership had rejected his visit.
1:50 a.m .: According to his most important foreign policy adviser, Pope Francis could travel to Kyiv this summer. Curial Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the secretary for relations with states and thus something like the Vatican’s foreign minister, told the Italian broadcaster Rai1 on Friday evening. When asked if such a trip was possible in August, Gallagher replied: “It’s possible, I wouldn’t rule it out.”
However, the British archbishop restricted that everything was of course due to the condition and health of Francis. The Argentinian suffers from a knee injury and recently had to sit in a wheelchair most of the time.
He has been calling for peace in Ukraine for months and has always been open to a trip to Kyiv. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyj and Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko had invited him. “The Pope is convinced that if he could make a visit, it would also have a positive effect,” Gallagher said. Francis is also ready to travel to Moscow.
Saturday, July 9, 1:05 a.m.: The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wants to continue to send messages to other countries in the Russian war of aggression against his country. “We work every day and under all circumstances as much as possible on the foreign policy front,” he said in a video message on Friday. His video address to the Slovenian parliament on Friday was the 24th speech to an EU member state’s chamber of deputies. Three speeches to the parliaments of the remaining 27 EU member states are still pending.
“I hope that the three other EU countries will also feel that these appeals are not about politics, but about protecting our common freedom, and that is why we will get to the point where one day I can say: All 27 parliaments of the European Union hear the freedom struggle better than any Russian manipulation,” stressed the President.
10.45 a.m .: In view of the war of aggression in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, the mood between Russia and the West continues to heat up. Most recently, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov left the G20 summit. The head of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, also threatened the United States in a speech. The Russian politician warned states not to seize or freeze Russian assets abroad. He sometimes recalled: “Even Alaska was once Russia”. The Chairman of the State Duma said: “Before you start disposing and making decisions about our resources abroad, you should remember that we too have something to take back.”
10:32 a.m .: The Bundestag has approved the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. A majority of MPs voted in Berlin on Friday for a law that is a prerequisite for the acceptance of the relevant protocols by Germany
9 a.m.: In the dispute over grain exports from Ukraine, Russia is ready to negotiate with its neighbor and Turkey. That’s what Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali. “Ukraine should end the blockade of its ports, demin them or ensure passage through the minefields,” Lavrov said. After that, Russia and Turkey would ensure the safety of the cargo ships outside of Ukrainian sovereign territory so that they could proceed further into the Mediterranean.
Lavrov once again dismissed accusations from the West that Russia’s war in Ukraine was preventing wheat exports and thus endangering world food security. Ukrainian grain accounts for only one percent of the supply, he said. At the same time, Lavrov criticized the fact that Russia could not export its own grain because of Western sanctions, for example because ships were not insured or could not call at foreign ports.
7.16 a.m .: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov leaves the G20 meeting of leading and emerging economic powers on the Indonesian island of Bali early. “Lavrov is still conducting bilateral talks, then he turns to the press and leaves,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the German Press Agency on Friday. He therefore does not take part in the official meal and in the afternoon session.
6:49 a.m .: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left the meeting room after his speech at the G20 meeting of leading and emerging economic powers on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali. The delegation circles reported on Friday on the sidelines of the deliberations.
Lavrov also evaded the reply from Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens). As acting chair of the G7 group of leading democratic economic powers, she was scheduled to be the next speaker. It was initially unclear whether Lavrov would take part in a planned lunch and a second working session in the afternoon.
Friday, July 8, 5:05 a.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Bali on Friday morning for the eagerly awaited talks of the G20 foreign ministers, amid a large media crowd. Lavrov received a polite but reserved greeting from Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi upon his arrival at the luxury hotel Mulia in the seaside resort of Nusa Dua. At the same time, against the background of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, loud shouts could be heard from bystanders: “Stop the war!” and “When will you end this war”?
Indonesia, which currently holds the G20 presidency, previously offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv. All eyes are now on how opponents of the Russian war are dealing with Lavrov. His presence is seen as a test for Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s possible participation in the upcoming G20 summit in mid-November, which is also taking place in Bali. Several states have questioned their attendance should he appear in person.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her counterpart from the USA, Anthony Blinken, also arrived at the seaside resort in the morning. Both were greeted by Retno Marsudi with a smile and a friendly smile.
Shortly after her arrival in Bali on Thursday evening, Baerbock said that in her speech in Lavrov’s presence, she would “find very clear words that we do not accept this breach of international law”. The usual family photo and an official final statement will probably not be given because of Lavrov’s presence in the evening. However, the Indonesian G20 Presidency intends to issue a statement at the end of the deliberations.
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