On Monday, Vladimir Putin admitted for the first time that Western sanctions are putting pressure on the country. Zelenskyy fired two high-ranking officials on Sunday evening. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.

4.50 a.m .: Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin and Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday. At the summit in the Iranian capital Tehran, talks are officially planned on improving the situation in the civil war country Syria. According to the Kremlin, however, it is about a whole range of international policy issues, including the war in Ukraine. The meeting comes shortly after US President Joe Biden made a multi-day trip to the region. Biden returned from Saudi Arabia – Iran’s major regional rival – just over the weekend.

The three states have negotiated Syria’s future in the past. Russia and Iran support the Syrian government, while Turkey is allied with the opposition. According to dpa information, Syria’s foreign minister is also expected to meet his Iranian counterpart in Tehran on Wednesday.

After the start of the Ukraine war, experts consider a shift in power among the actors in Syria to be possible. According to this, Iran and Turkey could try to fill a power vacuum left by Moscow. Ankara has been announcing a new offensive against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria for weeks. Russia and Iran recently warned Turkey about military action.

4.45 a.m .: Former Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily (SPD) spoke out in favor of Ukraine for a neutral perspective based on the Swiss model. Everyone must recognize that Ukraine wants to remain independent, Schily told the German Press Agency in Berlin. “But at the same time it must be clear that one has to live with one’s neighbors, including with Russia,” said Schily. “Both sides have interests that need to be considered.”

4:30 a.m .: The US House of Representatives supports Finland and Sweden joining NATO. On Monday evening (local time), MPs voted 394 to 18 in favor of a corresponding resolution. In it they express their support for the “historic decision” by Finland and Sweden and call on all NATO members to ratify the accession protocols quickly. Democrat Steny Hoyer, Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, said: “Together Finland and Sweden will add essential capabilities to NATO’s collective defense and make the Baltic region much more secure against Russian attacks.”

Two months ago, Finland and Sweden applied to join the Western Defense Alliance after the Russian attack on Ukraine. According to information from Stockholm, half of the NATO countries have already approved the accession of Sweden and Finland. Particular attention is now being paid to how the ratification process is progressing in Turkey.

3:30 a.m .: The foreign policy spokesman for the Greens parliamentary group, Jürgen Trittin, warned that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s participation in the meeting would make it “a dance on the volcano for the security of Europe and the Middle East”. Turkey is a NATO member. However, Erdogan has repeatedly shown “that his own interests are always closer to him than the defense alliance,” Trittin told RND. He warned Iran against drone deliveries to Russia. The Iranian government must “be clear that it will be very lonely at Putin’s side”.

3:13 a.m .: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Iran raises serious concerns in the traffic light coalition. “Putin’s upcoming visit is just as worrying as the creation of an anti-Western Tehran-Moscow-Beijing axis,” said FDP foreign policy expert Michael Link to the editorial network Germany. “Iran is pursuing a dual strategy: on the one hand, it is negotiating with the West to lift sanctions and, on the other hand, it is seeking rapprochement with Russia. Of course, Putin accepts the outstretched hand of the Iranian regime, as he has hardly any partners left internationally.” Germany and the EU must make it clear that “supporting the illegal war in Ukraine would have further severe economic consequences for Iran.” This also applies to a resumption of the nuclear program.

Tuesday, July 19, 3:03 a.m .: This Tuesday, the EU will start the long-stalled process for accession negotiations with the Balkan countries of North Macedonia and Albania with intergovernmental conferences. The representation of the 27 member states officially announced the dates for the two meetings during the night. A written decision-making process to adopt the guidelines for the EU accession talks had previously been completed.

The two so-called negotiation frameworks are now to be officially presented to the two candidate countries this Tuesday at the conferences in Brussels. They are a prerequisite for the EU Commission to be able to start with the “screenings”. In these procedures, the authority examines the extent to which the national law of the candidate country deviates from EU legislation and requires appropriate adjustments for different areas.

The commission can then make recommendations for the opening of so-called negotiation chapters. In order for them to be implemented, however, a unanimous decision by the EU member states is required again. Overall, the negotiation process can take many years and can be stopped again if problems arise.

10:26 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced the dismissal of 28 employees of the Ukrainian secret service SBU. It’s about posts and functions of different levels, “but the reasons are similar: unsatisfactory work results,” said Selenskyj in his daily video speech on Tuesday evening. The day before he had already suspended his secret service chief and childhood friend Ivan Bakanov and the Attorney General Iryna Venediktova.

Now Zelenskyj promised a revision of the entire work of the secret service. The Ukrainian President recently expressed his anger at the fact that more than 60 employees of the SBU and the General Prosecutor’s Office remained in the occupied territories. Kyiv sees this as high treason. However, the media also pointed out that the 47-year-old Bakanov, as a non-specialist, enjoyed little authority among his employees.

At the same time, it became known that Ukraine also wants to step up the fight against enemy artillery observers. Again and again, Ukrainians are said to betray the positions of their own troops to the enemy and correct enemy artillery fire. The instruction to take action against such traitors comes directly from the president, said his security adviser Oleksiy Danilov on Monday. The military governor of the Mykolayiv region, which was badly hit by Russian shelling, Vitaly Kim had previously offered a bounty of $100 (almost €100) for the capture of artillery observers.

10:24 p.m .: The Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have landed in Iran’s capital Tehran for the summit with their Iranian counterpart. Erdogan and his delegation were received at the capital’s airport in Mehrabad, the state news agency Irna reported on Monday evening. According to the Isna news agency, Putin also arrived in Tehran. Talks with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi are planned for Tuesday at the meeting in the Saadabad palace complex. According to official information, the main topic should be the situation in the civil war country Syria.

The three states have negotiated Syria’s future in the past. Russia and Iran support the Syrian government, while Turkey is allied with the opposition. Observers expect that the Russian war in Ukraine will also be discussed.

6.48 p.m .: The Russian gas company Gazprom justified the lack of gas deliveries to its customer Uniper with force majeure. Uniper has received a letter from Gazprom Export, a spokesman for the energy supplier told the financial news agency dpa-AFX on Monday afternoon in Düsseldorf. Gazprom Export is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian state-owned company.

In the letter, Gazprom Export retrospectively asserted “force majeure” for the previous and current shortages in gas deliveries. However, according to the spokesman, Uniper considers this to be unjustified and has formally rejected this claim. The Reuters news agency had previously reported, without naming the company, that Gazprom had contacted at least one customer with the letter.

“Force Majeure” is understood to mean an external, unforeseeable event which is beyond the control of the contracting parties. This can include, for example, war, natural disasters or pandemics, which mean that a service can only be performed inadequately or not at all.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which is important for Germany, is expected to be maintained until July 21, so that no more gas will flow through the pipes under the Baltic Sea. But even before that, the Russian state-owned company Gazprom had cut deliveries to 40 percent and justified this with a missing turbine. The federal government considers this argument to be false and fears that no more gas will flow through Nord Stream 1 even after the maintenance.

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