On Saturday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made a surprise trip to Kyiv by special train. The EU energy ministers meet for a special summit. Putin admits sanctions-related economic problems. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.
Saturday, September 10, 8:04 a.m.: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has arrived in Kyiv for her second visit to Ukraine since the beginning of the war. The Greens politician traveled to the Ukrainian capital on Saturday night with a special train and a small delegation from Poland. She wore a yellow coat and blue jeans – the colors of Ukraine.
With the trip, she wanted to show “that we will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it is necessary – with the delivery of weapons, with humanitarian and financial support,” she said on Saturday morning when she arrived.
With the visit, the Greens politician also wants to send a signal against the threat of war fatigue in Germany. “It’s clear to me that Putin is counting on us getting tired of sympathizing with the suffering of Ukraine,” she said. “He believes he can divide our societies with lies and blackmail us with energy supplies. And that he can sap our energy to defend ourselves against this brutal attack on the values of all of us.” Putin’s calculations shouldn’t and won’t work out. “Because all of Europe knows that Ukraine is defending our peace order.”
Baerbock named two specific topics that are important to her during the visit: German help in clearing mines and support in dealing with war crimes that have been committed. Your Ukrainian interlocutors are likely to reiterate their calls for heavy weapons. During his visit to Germany last week, Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal demanded the delivery of German Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).
11.38 a.m .: Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck wants to support an initiative by the EU Commission to limit Russian income from gas transactions – but only if states like Hungary agree. If countries that are currently still getting gas from Russia are willing to take the risk of a complete supply stop by Russia, he would be happy to do that, said the Green politician on Friday at the sidelines of an EU meeting in Brussels.
If countries do not want this, that should be respected. “How presumptuous would it be to say: Germany always asks for leniency, but the other countries don’t get any?” he said. According to Habeck, Germany can now manage without Russian gas. This is “gigantic”.
At the meeting of energy ministers, the EU Commission proposed the introduction of a price cap for gas from Russia in order to limit the country’s financial resources for the war against Ukraine. This would mean that gas that exceeds a certain price limit could no longer be bought in Russia.
According to Habeck, gas from Russia is currently only flowing to Germany in “homeopathic doses”. However, the raw material still comes to Southeast Europe via the Turkstream pipeline and Ukraine, he said. It is very unlikely that countries like Hungary will support the plans for a price cap.
Friday, September 9, 1:06 a.m .: According to its Minister of Justice Denys Maliuska, Ukraine wants to enforce war reparations from Russia of at least 300 billion US dollars (about 300 billion euros). At the UN General Assembly, Kyiv wants to achieve a resolution as the cornerstone for an international reparation mechanism, Maliuska told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “We want compensation for all the damage that Russia caused in Ukraine through its war of aggression,” he said.
The damage Ukraine suffered from the Russian invasion is now estimated to be much higher. But the sum of 300 billion US dollars mentioned corresponds to the balances of the Russian National Bank in the G7 countries, which were frozen as part of the sanctions. Maliuska demanded access to it and to the foreign assets of Russian state-owned companies and confiscated the property of Russian oligarchs. Germany should provide information on how much Russian wealth is parked here, the minister said. At the same time, Germany should support the Ukrainian project in the UN General Assembly in New York.
12:21 p.m .: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprising visit to Kyiv. Blinken arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday. Shortly before, the US State Department had announced further loans and guarantees of two billion dollars (around two billion euros) for Ukraine and its neighboring countries.
11.40 a.m .: Italy’s ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi considers former Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and himself to be possible mediators between Russia and Ukraine. The 85-year-old, who is in the election campaign for a seat in parliament, said on a talk show on Rai broadcaster on Wednesday evening that the conflict could only be ended with mediation. When asked if he could be an intermediary himself, he replied: “I believe if there is one person who could act in my place or with me, it is Ms. Angela Merkel.”
The four-time Italian head of government, who, in addition to his political work, has attracted attention with a number of scandals in recent years, is a friend of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, it was only after some hesitation that Berlusconi revealed his disappointment in Putin and condemned Moscow’s aggression. Now he emphasized that peace mediation requires someone who is “close” to Putin and who can also “intervene” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in order to achieve negotiations.
10:27 a.m .: The USA supports Ukraine with another 675 million US dollars. This was announced by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday before the conference on the Ukraine war at the US Ramstein airbase.
3:44 a.m .: The deputy leader of the Greens parliamentary group, Agnieszka Brugger, has called for Ukraine to continue to provide help – even after the fighting has ended. “We have to prepare with our partners to support Ukraine in the military and security sector for a very long time,” Brugger told the editorial network Germany (Thursday editions) before a meeting of the so-called Ukraine contact group on Thursday in Ramstein.
“This even applies if the fighting comes to an end, which we are currently a long way from,” emphasized Brugger. Because then the danger will of course not be reduced. “That’s why good plans and good coordination are needed now, as well as more German contributions,” Brugger continued.
At the meeting at the US air force base in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, to which US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had invited at the end of August, the ministers and high-ranking military representatives of the approximately 50 member states of the contact group will discuss further support for Ukraine in the war against Russia.
3:15 a.m .: The Ukrainian nuclear company Enerhoatom accuses the Russian troops in the occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant of kidnapping and abusing power plant employees. “About 200 people have already been arrested. We don’t know what happened to some of them. There is no indication where they are,” Enerhoatom president Petro Kotin told Funke media group newspapers (Thursday). He also spoke of Ukrainian employees being killed or tortured.
“It’s very difficult for our staff to work there,” Kotin said. The remaining nuclear power plant employees knew that it was important to ensure nuclear safety and fire protection. According to Kotin, about a thousand Ukrainian employees keep the plant running. In peacetime, 11,000 people worked at the plant.
Without going as far as Kotin did in his allegations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also reported that the situation of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant employees was untenable. There are too few staff, it was said after an inspection trip. The remaining experts are exposed to such high levels of stress that operating errors can occur. They would also not have access to all parts of the facility. According to the report, the Ukrainians have been working under the control of Russian soldiers since March, and representatives of the Rosatom group are also present.
You can read more news on the following pages.