A senior official of the Ukrainian secret service is said to have spied for Moscow. And Cem Özdemir settles accounts with the grand coalition. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.
4:08 p.m .: According to British Chief of Staff Tony Radakin, speculation about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s poor health is wishful thinking. “Some of the comments that he’s not well or that someone will surely kill him or take him out are wishful thinking, I think,” Radakin told the BBC on Sunday.
As professional military men, he and his colleagues see “a relatively stable regime in Russia.” Kremlin boss Putin managed “to suppress any opposition,” said Radakin. “No one at the top has the motivation to challenge President Putin.”
Speaking about the Ukraine war, the chief of staff said Russia’s ground forces may now pose less of a threat after setbacks in Ukraine. But Russia “remains a nuclear power,” Radakin said.
The country also has “cyber capabilities, space capabilities and special underwater programs.” These programs could threaten the undersea cables that carry data across continents, the chief of staff said.
3:41 p.m .: A high-ranking member of the Ukrainian secret service SBU has been arrested in Ukraine. Investigators said so. He is said to have passed sensitive information to Russia. According to a report by Ukrainska Pravda, the arrested man is the ex-deputy chief of Crimea’s secret service, who was removed from his post in early March.
2:04 p.m .: Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) makes the former federal government responsible for the energy crisis in a sharp manner. “We inherited a catastrophic situation, a disaster,” Özdemir said on Sunday in Munich about the energy policy of the former black-red coalition under Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). “I didn’t think it was a good idea either that we get 60 percent of the gas from a criminal named Vladimir Putin,” Özdemir said at a panel discussion at the Interforst trade fair.
The Greens politician called for a discussion about mistakes made by the previous government: “Please let us work through what has been done in Germany in recent years.” He did not explicitly mention Merkel or the SPD.
The minister also indirectly criticized the CSU: “I didn’t deliberately sabotage renewable energies either, I didn’t decide on wind distance areas either.” This referred to the fact that the Bavarian state government under former Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) had largely brought the construction of wind turbines in Bavaria to a standstill by tightening building regulations.
“I would be ashamed if I handed over the country in this state – that wasn’t Bavaria alone – like that.” The current federal government must now roll up its sleeves to “I would almost say criminal dependence on criminals in the world”. “I don’t want Putin to decide here whether we have enough energy or not,” Özdemir said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
12:14 p.m .: The pro-Russian administration of a region in southeastern Ukraine claims to be exporting grain on a large scale. “More than 100 wagons have already been dispatched, and another contract for 150,000 tons has been signed with a grain dealer,” said the head of the Russian military administration in Zaporizhia, Yevgeny Balitsky, on his Telegram channel on Saturday. Ukraine has been accusing Russia of stealing grain for months.
Balizki did not specify where the grain will be taken. However, the grain can only be transported by rail to Russia or to the Crimea peninsula, which Russia has annexed since 2014. According to Ukrainian sources, around 70 tons of grain can be transported in a typical local railway wagon. According to Balizki, in addition to rail transport, shipping by sea is also planned. “About 100,000 tons will be exported through the seaport of Berdyansk,” he announced.
9:26 a.m .: According to a report by “Welt am Sonntag”, the climate foundation Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is controversial because of its previous connections to Russia, wants to repay debts to the Gazprom subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG as quickly as possible. It is about twelve million euros, reports the newspaper, citing Erwin Sellering, board member of the foundation.
The liabilities are primarily proceeds generated by the foundation from the sale of machinery, equipment and materials, the purchase of which was previously financed by Nord Stream 2. In addition, advance payments for work that was stopped after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 should flow back. According to the newspaper, the repayment could be made considerably more difficult by the sanctions imposed on Russia, since banking transactions are also affected.
Foundation head Sellering confirmed the ongoing talks. It is about clarifying the outstanding financial issues before the start of possible insolvency proceedings against the insolvent Nord Stream 2 AG. “We want to draw a line under the Nord Stream 2 chapter,” Sellering told the German Press Agency.
Sunday, 5:37 a.m .: The Chair of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, has called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to convene a “National Ukraine Conference” as soon as possible. In a letter from the FDP politician to Chancellor. It was available to the German Press Agency in Berlin.
The FDP politician is calling for a meeting at which representatives from politics and the Federal Chancellery, the armaments industry, the trade unions and the Bundeswehr sit around a table and coordinate further steps.
The Ukraine war is in a crucial phase. How long Ukraine can defend itself and how successful this will ultimately be depends “particularly on Germany’s support.” The federal government has done a lot, but “must do more to help Ukraine win this war.” Strack-Zimmermann: “Germany must assume the leadership role in Europe demanded by its Western partners and without a doubt move forward decisively and courageously.”
8:03 p.m .: The meeting of finance ministers on the Ukraine war ended in Indonesia on Saturday without a joint final declaration. At their two-day meeting on the island of Bali, the representatives of the 20 leading industrialized and emerging countries could not agree whether a statement on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine should be included, said Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. However, all participants agreed that the global food crisis must be addressed.
“We all agreed that food supply insecurity requires attention, action and appropriate policies, and that is why we discussed how to address supply disruptions,” said the minister. Your country holds the presidency of the G20 this year and is therefore the host of all meetings. Protectionism must be eliminated so that food can move more easily from the producer to the recipient countries, said the minister.
Some countries have insisted that their views on the Ukraine war should be included in a final statement. “Countries have positions that cannot be reconciled,” Indrawati said.
3:12 p.m .: Russia is apparently trying to track down arms delivery routes in the EU. The reports “Kyiv Independent” and refers to information from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Accordingly, Russian military attachés are said to have been instructed to recruit police officers and civilians involved in arms transports to Ukraine.
Saturday, July 16, 10:59 a.m.: The US government continues to assume that Russia wants to acquire Iranian combat drones. The United States has information that a Russian government delegation has visited an Iranian airport for a demonstration of attack-capable drones, a senior US official said Saturday on the sidelines of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Russia wants the drones “obviously for use in the war in Ukraine”. He added that Russia is banking on Iran in the Middle East. The US, on the other hand, is betting on a more integrated, stable, peaceful and prosperous region.
Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said last Monday that there were indications that Iran wanted to support Russia in a war of aggression against Ukraine. In this context, Tehran is also preparing to provide drones that can also transport weapons. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian then assured Ukraine that it would not deliver drones to Russia. He spoke of an American “propaganda act”.
7:03 p.m .: After the Russian rocket fire in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, the federal government has asked Moscow to stop attacks on civilian facilities immediately. The shelling of Vinnytsia was an “act of cruelty,” said Deputy Government Spokesman Wolfgang Büchner on Friday in Berlin. “The city of Vinnytsia is far from any front lines. The Russian attack hit the Ukrainian civilian population and shows once again that Russia is massively violating the rules of international law in this war.”
According to Ukrainian information, several civilian facilities in the central Ukrainian city were hit in the attack on Thursday. At least 23 people were killed and more than 100 others injured.
The federal government was “horrified” by the attack on Vinnytsia and condemned it “strongly,” said Büchner. “We call on Russia to refrain from any attacks against civilian targets.”
5:19 p.m .: Iran’s Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian has assured Ukraine that it will not deliver drones to Russia. “The American claims in this regard were baseless and more of an act of propaganda ahead of US President (Joe) Biden’s (Israel) trip,” Amirabdollahian told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Friday. According to the IRNA news agency, the Iranian chief diplomat said his country had always advocated a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.
Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, said on Monday that there were indications that Iran wanted to support Russia in a war of aggression against Ukraine. In this context, according to Sullivan, Iran is also preparing to provide drones that can also transport weapons.
4:38 p.m .: According to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the European Union has not only shot itself in the knee with its Russia sanctions, “but in the lung”. In a radio address on Friday, the nationalist Prime Minister called on Brussels to change its policy towards Moscow.
“At first I thought we shot each other in the foot. But the European economy has shut itself into its lungs and is now struggling for air,” Orban said. “There are countries that are convinced of the sanctions policy, but Brussels has to admit that this was a mistake.” The sanctions did not have the desired success “and even triggered the opposite effect”.
Orban is above all a critic of the oil embargo against Russia. The EU decided this in June after weeks of resistance from Hungary. At Orban’s urging, an exception was made for oil delivered by pipeline.
4:10 p.m .: The US space agency Nasa wants to resume cooperation with Russia on flights to the International Space Station ISS despite the Ukraine war. For security reasons and to ensure “the US presence in space”, there will be joint flights by NASA astronauts with Russian cosmonauts in Russian Soyuz rockets again from September, Nasa announced on Friday. Russian astronauts should therefore use the SpaceX rockets flying on behalf of the USA for the first time.
2:33 p.m .: Germany has promised the Republic of Moldova against the background of the Ukraine war millions in aid. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced at an international donor conference in Bucharest on Friday that she would support the country with “up to 77 million euros”. 40 million euros of this are to be made available to cushion the high energy costs for particularly poor households in the Eastern European country.
The energy issue is “a key security issue,” said the Greens politician at a press conference with Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, French State Secretary for Development Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, and Moldova’s Labor Minister Marcel Spatari. Before the conference, Baerbock had said that the federal government wanted to provide the 40 million euros as direct budget support, “because with this high inflation rate, the poorest in Moldova are really on the verge of their existence”.
This applies in particular to energy prices. In relation to the number of inhabitants, Moldova “takes in the most refugees from Ukraine”. At the same time, the inflation rate in the country is 29 percent.
Germany is also helping Moldova secure its border and providing the country with drones, night vision goggles and vehicles, the minister added. The Budget Committee of the Bundestag still has to approve the financial aid.
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