Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht sees little opportunity to send weapons from the Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine. The EU will completely suspend its visa agreement with Russia All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.

3:28 p.m .: The EU will completely suspend an agreement concluded with Russia to facilitate the issuing of visas for travelers. This was announced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Wednesday after the foreign ministers’ consultations in Prague. The move is another punitive measure in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has been going on for more than half a year.

It aims to enable member states to easily impose entry restrictions on Russians and to increase the costs and workload for applicants. For example, the basic setting of the visa fee at 35 euros will no longer apply, and the standard processing time of ten calendar days after receipt of the application will no longer apply. Borrell said the suspension of the visa agreement will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that in future it could take months for Russians to submit applications. At the same time, according to them, it will still be possible to allow students and journalists to enter the country, for example. The aim is also to prevent people from turning against the EU rather than against their own president out of frustration about Western sanctions.

So far, the visa facilitation agreement that came into force in 2007 has only been suspended for business people, government officials and diplomats. This decision was made on February 25, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

11:17 a.m .: Germany is promoting an eighth package of EU sanctions against Russia. Suggestions have been made about this, said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Wednesday at the sidelines of an EU meeting in the Czech capital of Prague.

The Green politician did not give any details. After the most recent deliberations at the level of the G7 group of the leading democratic economic powers, however, the German government is likely to press for the introduction of an international upper price limit for Russian oil.

Proposals include forcing Russia to sell oil to big buyers like India at a much lower price in the future. The hope is that this will ease the markets. In addition, it should also ensure that Russia no longer benefits from rising oil prices and can thus fill its war chest.

Because of the Russian attack against Ukraine, the EU has so far launched seven packages of punitive measures against Russia. The most recent included an import ban on Russian gold and tightened export controls on cutting-edge technology and civilian goods that could be used for military purposes. Among other things, severe financial sanctions were enacted beforehand, as well as an extensive oil embargo and an import ban on Russian coal.

Wednesday, August 31, December 10: Before the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague, Austria reiterated its opposition to entry bans for Russian tourists. “We must not throw the baby out with the bath water, a blanket ban on visas for Russian nationals would completely cut off the last contacts with Russian civil society,” Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told the “Welt” on Tuesday. “It would be absurd to block the way to the West for critical voices in Russia right now.”

The Kremlin’s news embargo is obscuring the Russian population’s view of the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, the minister said. “A visa freeze would also be counterproductive in the fight against the Russian propaganda machine. If we block the Russian population’s door to Europe across the board, that would only fuel the camp mentality propagated by the Kremlin.”

The foreign and defense ministers of the European Union will be meeting in Prague on Tuesday to discuss further support for Ukraine. On the table is a proposal by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell for a joint military training mission for Ukraine.

The European foreign ministers are also dealing with the demand from Ukraine and eastern EU countries for a general visa freeze for Russian tourists. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) warned again on Monday in Prague against making all Russians liable for the war.

7.40 p.m .: Ukraine wants the historic old town of Odessa on the Black Sea to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city, which is famous for its architecture, has already been hit by bombardments and is only a few dozen kilometers away from the frontline in the Ukraine war, UNESCO said in Paris on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian Minister of Culture, Oleksander Tkachenko, declared during a visit to UNESCO in Paris: “Odessa is in danger.” There are frequent bombings. Odessa is especially known for its monumental staircases. In the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the city was a strategically important target for Moscow right from the start.

Unesco now wants to urgently examine the Ukrainian inquiry about Odessa and possibly put the city on the list of endangered world heritage sites. The same applies to Kyiv and Lviv.

Odessa is known as the “Pearl of the Black Sea”. Founded by Catherine the Great, Odessa is famous for its stunning 19th-century architecture. With its huge port, the city, founded in 1794, already played a special role in the Russian Tsarist Empire.

6:33 p.m .: The federal government has spoken out in favor of the complete suspension of the European visa agreement with Russia. Such an approach could be a “quite good bridge” in the EU-internal dispute over possible entry restrictions for Russians, said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on Tuesday at the sidelines of the federal government’s cabinet meeting. The German approach is pretty much in the middle between those who no longer want to issue visas to Russians and those who simply want to continue as before.

According to Baerbock, the German proposal also means that multiple-entry visas that are valid for several years will no longer be issued. The proposal is to be discussed at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague this Wednesday.

So far, the agreement that came into force in 2007 after Russia’s attack on Ukraine was officially suspended only for business people, government officials and diplomats. From a German point of view, not only journalists or well-known members of the opposition, but also students, for example, should continue to have the opportunity to travel to the EU, emphasized Baerbock. Critical civil society should not be penalized.

The background to Baerbock’s statements is the discussion that has been going on for days about whether Russians should be prevented from traveling to the EU for shopping trips and vacations, while thousands of people are dying in Ukraine because of the war.

6:31 p.m .: According to a survey, 77 percent of Germans believe that the West should initiate negotiations to end the Ukraine war. This emerges from a survey by the opinion research institute Forsa for the RTL/ntv “trend barometer”, which was published on Tuesday. 17 percent thought the West should not do that at the moment.

87 percent of those surveyed think it is right for Western heads of government to continue talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 11 percent didn’t think that was right.

26 percent of respondents believe that the federal government is doing too little to support Ukraine. 43 percent felt the level of support was just right. 25 percent were of the opinion that the federal government was doing too much for Ukraine.

According to the survey, almost a third of Germans (32 percent) were in favor of supplying more heavy weapons to Ukraine – even if this was at the expense of equipment for the Bundeswehr. In contrast, 62 percent of Germans were of the opinion that Germany should not do this.

6:23 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj received experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Kyiv. “The arrival of the IAEA mission in Ukraine is certainly one of the most important security issues of Ukraine and the world today,” he said, according to a video shown on public television on Tuesday.

Zelenskyy called an “immediate demilitarization” of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine as a goal. A demilitarized zone should be created around the power plant. “And the transfer of the nuclear power plant under the control of the Ukrainian state,” Zelenskyy said. This is the only way to rule out all nuclear risks.

The 14 experts, led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, are to travel across the front line to the nuclear power plant in the Russian-controlled area. Your task is to check the condition of the power plant. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the nuclear power plant came under the control of the Russian army in early March.

5:13 p.m .: The military expert Ralph Thiele publicly expresses doubts about the major offensive announced by Ukraine. In an interview with the broadcaster “ntv”, he said that he “does not expect that anything will happen there on a large scale”. If there were really a major offensive, one would not talk about it, but would surprise the opponent. In fact, the war rhetoric is probably a ploy by the Ukrainians to stabilize the situation in the embattled south.

According to Thiele, one of the goals is to protect the city of Odessa. “With the announcement of a major offensive, Russian forces will be tied down in Cherson,” said the expert. The Russians would move troops because of the announcement of an offensive. “So they have less power for Russians in Donbass,” which would help Ukraine.

3:17 p.m .: Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) sees hardly any opportunities to send weapons from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine to defend against Russia. “I have to admit, as Minister of Defense, (…) we are reaching the limits of what we can hand over from the Bundeswehr,” said the SPD politician on Tuesday at the cabinet meeting in Meseberg near Berlin. The Bundeswehr must be able to guarantee national and alliance defense. As Minister of Defense, she will ensure that this continues to be the case, she stressed.

Among other things, the Bundeswehr has handed over several tank howitzers (heavy artillery pieces) and multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine. A few days ago, the chairwoman of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), called for Ukraine to continue to be supplied with weapons from Bundeswehr stocks. She specifically named Marder armored personnel carriers, for which the Bundeswehr could later get a replacement from industry.

Lambrecht was “very optimistic” that there could be a ring exchange with Greece in support of Ukraine in the near future. She offered Poland further talks about it. The idea of ​​ring exchange came up shortly after the beginning of the Ukraine war. The aim is to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons as quickly as possible. Since the Ukrainian Armed Forces do not require additional training for Soviet systems, such weapons were swiftly supplied to Ukraine from Eastern European countries. For this, they should now be supplied with western brands.

The Federal Government has already reached corresponding agreements with the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Poland, which has already delivered around 200 tanks to Ukraine, was dissatisfied with the German offers and complained loudly about them. An agreement has also not yet been reached with Greece and Slovenia.

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