Foreign Minister Baerbock excludes an easing of sanctions against Russia. After the bloody rocket attack on Vinnytsia, Ukrainian President Selenskyj calls Russia a “terror state”. An overview.
The essentials in brief:
- Baerbock rules out easing sanctions on Russia
- Zelenskyj calls for the classification of Russia as a “terrorist state”
- UN and EU condemn Russian missile attack on Vinnytsia
- EU experts: Sanctions against Russia are working
- The conference discussed the prosecution of war crimes in Ukraine
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has ruled out easing the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia for the attack on Ukraine. Even such a step would not ensure the gas supply from Russia, “but we would be doubly open to blackmail,” said the Green politician at a discussion with citizens in Bremen.
Accepting that someone would break international law “in the most brutal way” would be “an invitation to all those who trample on human rights, freedom, and democracy”. Therefore, Germany will support Ukraine “as long as it needs us,” stressed Baerbock. “And that’s why we will also maintain these sanctions and at the same time ensure that our society is not divided.”
Zelenskyj calls for the classification of Russia as a “terrorist state”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Russia a “terrorist state” after the rocket attack in the center of the city of Vinnytsia in the west of the country. “No other country in the world poses such a terrorist threat as Russia,” said Zelenskyy in a video speech. And no other country in the world presumes to destroy “peaceful cities and everyday human life” every day with its missiles and artillery.
According to the latest information, 23 people, including three children, were killed in the attack on Thursday in the city, which is far from the front line. Many more are still missing. Three rockets are said to have hit an office center. A fire then broke out and hit about 50 parked cars, it said. According to Zelenskyi, a medical center was also hit.
The United Nations and the European Union have strongly condemned the Russian attacks on civilian facilities in Vinnytsia. UN Secretary-General António Guterres was “appalled,” a spokesman said. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke of an “act of cruelty”.
Pro-Russian separatists report further gains in territory
In the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, the pro-Russian separatists say they are close to the city of Soledar. Two villages on the eastern outskirts of the city had been taken, it said. The Ukrainian General Staff denied this information. A spokesman in Kyiv said that although the Ukrainian troops were under heavy fire there, they had not suffered any loss of territory. The information from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.
According to EU experts, sanctions against Russia are working
According to data that has been kept secret so far, the EU sanctions imposed on Russia are taking effect. As experts from the EU Commission confirmed to the German Press Agency, targeted trade restrictions are now affecting Russian export transactions, which had a volume of more than 73 billion euros a year before the war. In percentage terms, it is about 48 percent of Russia’s previous exports to the EU. In addition, within around four months, Russian assets worth around 13.8 billion euros were frozen – for example by oligarchs and other supporters of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. The reserves of the Russian central bank, which are worth billions, can also no longer be accessed.
Ukrainian Presidential Office for better registration of delivered weapons
A high-ranking adviser to Zelenskyj has spoken out in favor of better recording of arms deliveries from the West. The head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak, appealed to the parliament in Kyiv to set up a committee to control the paths of weapons. The EU Commission had expressed concern that some of the weapons could be smuggled out of Ukraine and end up in the hands of criminal gangs in Europe.
Ermak wrote in the online service Telegram that all weapons supplied by the West would be “registered and sent to the war front”. At the same time, however, he stressed that the Ukrainian parliament should be involved in controlling arms supplies. Ukraine’s goal is to be as transparent as possible under martial law. Transparency is “the best recipe against Russian manipulation and false information”.
Chief prosecutor calls for cooperation in prosecuting war crimes in Ukraine
Under the impression of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Western states have confirmed their commitment to the consistent prosecution of war criminals. At the conclusion of a conference in The Hague on Thursday, they pledged to make more money and experts available and to work more closely together on the investigation.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, said: “I hope that we can speed up the process and show the victims: the law is not powerless.” The International Criminal Court, together with the EU Commission and the Netherlands, convened the conference to coordinate the prosecution of suspected war criminals in Ukraine. The 45 countries involved also included Germany, the USA, Australia, and Canada.
Schulze warns against too much optimism in the grain dispute
After the rapprochement in the dispute over the release of Ukrainian grain exports from Ukraine, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze warned against being overly optimistic. “An agreement on safe transport options for grain from Ukraine by sea would be a relief for starving people around the world,” said the SPD politician to the editorial network Germany. But the experience with Kremlin boss Waldimir Putin shows that one should not rely on it.
Internationally mediated talks about ending the Russian naval blockade in the Black Sea have, according to the UN, achieved the first breakthrough. In the coming week, the delegations of Ukraine and Russia want to meet a second time in Istanbul. This was announced by the Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar after the first meeting in the metropolis on the Bosphorus. He signaled that an agreement could be announced next week on the release of 20-25 million tons of grain currently stored in Ukrainian ports. Before the Russian war of aggression, Ukraine was one of the largest grain exporters in the world.