Ukraine and Russia exchange more bodies Poland’s President criticizes Scholz and Macron for talks with Putin Heavy fighting for Sievjerodonetsk The news about the war in Ukraine in the stern ticker.

Day 106 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Russian forces may be about to take control of eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region. This is an important war aim of President Putin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls the bitter battle for Sievjerodonetsk one of the most difficult battles in the war with Russia. After more than three months of fighting, taking the strategically important city could mean a preliminary decision in the struggle for the Donbass region. Russia attacked the neighboring country on February 24.

4 p.m.: Separatists sentence foreigners to death in Ukrainian army

The Supreme Court of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has sentenced to death three foreign fighters in the ranks of the Ukrainian armed forces as mercenaries. The accused are two Britons and one Moroccan. The judgment can be appealed.

More to come.

3:32 p.m .: VW stops co-manufacturing in Russia – severance pay for employees

The VW group is withdrawing from production at the Russian assembly plant in Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga and is offering employees severance pay if they quit themselves. The background to this is that the site has previously been jointly produced with the car manufacturer Gaz – whose co-owner Oleg Deripaska is on western sanctions lists in connection with the Ukraine war. Initially, there was a temporary exemption for continued operation, which was not recently extended, according to Wolfsburg. The Russian daily newspaper Kommersant had previously reported on the latest developments.

3:29 p.m .: Stoltenberg welcomes an increase in the number of Bundeswehr troops in Lithuania

In a conversation with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the planned dispatch of more German soldiers to Lithuania and the 100 billion program to upgrade the Bundeswehr. Stoltenberg tweeted this after a video conference with the Chancellor in preparation for the June 28-30 NATO summit in Madrid. The German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said: “The Federal Chancellor and the Secretary General agreed that the summit should send out a signal of the alliance’s determination and unity.”

3:02 p.m .: Von der Leyen calls for sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for sustainable post-war reconstruction in Ukraine. “We will rebuild Ukraine. That is not only in our interest, but also our moral obligation,” said the 63-year-old in Rome in a panel discussion at the start of the “New European Bauhaus” festival. “But if we do it, then we’re doing it right.” According to von der Leyen, a debate was scheduled for Thursday afternoon with the mayor of the city of Mariupol, which was badly damaged by the war, and Ukrainian architects. .

2:33 p.m .: EU candidate Ukraine? Recommendation of the EU Commission probably on June 17th

The EU Commission is expected to issue its recommendation next Friday (June 17) on whether Ukraine should be granted EU candidate status. A spokesman for the Brussels authority said the college of commissioners would hold an orientation debate on Monday. It will also deal with the membership applications from Moldova and Georgia. The spokesman emphasized that the plan is not yet final. According to the recommendation of the EU Commission, the EU summit on June 23rd and 24th will discuss Ukraine’s application.

1.45 p.m .: Almost five million refugees from Ukraine registered in Europe

According to the UN, almost five million Ukrainians have been registered as refugees across Europe since the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. “The war in Ukraine has triggered one of the biggest refugee crises in the world,” said the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Geneva. A data portal of the UN organization on the situation in Ukraine shows that a total of 4,816,923 Ukrainians in 44 European countries have been counted as refugees since February 24. In fact, many more people probably left the country: According to UNHCR data, more than 7.3 million border crossings from Ukraine took place up to June 7, and a further 2.3 million border crossings into the country were recorded. According to UN officials, people re-entered for a variety of reasons, including meeting family members, checking their belongings, helping others escape, and returning to work.

1:24 p.m .: Zelenskyj demands the exclusion of Russia from the World Food Organization

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for Russia’s expulsion from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). During a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Zelenskyy said: “What is Russia doing there if it is starving at least 400 million and possibly up to a billion people?” Kyiv accuses Russia of having caused the global rise in grain prices with the war of aggression against Ukraine. Moscow, on the other hand, blames the western sanctions against Russia.

As a result of the Ukraine war, dozens of container ships are currently stuck in Ukrainian ports and are being blocked by the Russian military. As a result, Ukrainian exports of wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other goods cannot be processed as usual. The export is also made more difficult by sea mines in the Black Sea. According to Zelenskyjs, there are currently up to 25 million tons of grain on heaps. In autumn, the number could rise to 75 million tons.

12:58 p.m.: Kyiv – Every day “up to a hundred killed Ukrainian soldiers”

Ukraine records “up to a hundred soldiers killed and up to 500 wounded” every day in battles with the Russian army. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Thursday that the situation on the front lines in the eastern Donbass region was difficult. “The Kremlin continues to exert massive pressure, stumbles, encounters strong resistance and suffers heavy losses,” Reznikov said in a statement published online.

12.10 p.m .: Germany could expropriate Russian oligarchs in certain cases

Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann has openly advocated expropriating Russian oligarchs and using their assets to rebuild Ukraine. A distinction must be made between state and private assets, says the FDP politician on the sidelines of an EU meeting in Luxembourg. In the case of private assets, there is the possibility of “skimming off” assets. The prerequisite is that it is proven in court that suspects were involved in war crimes or illegal warfare. Buschmann says Russia is responsible for terrible war damage in Ukraine. The reconstruction of the country will cost a lot of money. “Ukraine will not be able to do this alone.” Therefore, it must be discussed how to involve Russia in it. Last month, the EU Commission proposed that circumventing sanctions be defined as a criminal offense in all EU countries. In such cases, oligarchs should be able to be expropriated.

11:21 a.m .: Governor – Ukraine could quickly end fighting in Sieverodonetsk with new weapons

According to the regional governor, Ukraine could quickly regain control of the embattled city of Sievjerodonetsk in the east of the country with Western weapon systems. Once the Ukrainian army has long-range artillery “to fight duels with Russian artillery, our special forces can clear the city in two to three days,” says Luhansk governor Serhiy Gajdaj in a published interview. The United States and Britain recently announced the delivery of multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine, capable of attacking targets up to 80 kilometers away. The Ukrainian armed forces in Sievjerodonetsk are still “highly motivated” and the units are “all holding their positions,” Gajdaj said. Russia is constantly attacking the areas controlled by Ukrainian troops with artillery.

10.35 a.m .: Russian army shells chemical plant in Sievjerodonetsk

According to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops in eastern Ukraine are continuing their attacks on residential and industrial areas in the heavily contested city of Sieverodonetsk. Four people were killed as a result of the shelling of the Azot chemical plant, wrote the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, on the social network Telegram. According to Ukrainian sources, the facility is used by hundreds of civilians as an air raid shelter. However, there is currently no threat of a comparable encirclement by Russian troops as was the case until recently in the port city of Mariupol. The accusation that the Ukrainians lured the civilians into the Azot cellars and then mined the area is repeatedly voiced by the Russian and pro-Russian side. There is no evidence for this. Russia already occupies more than 90 percent of the Luhansk Oblast, in which Sieverodonetsk is located. The information provided by the warring parties often cannot be independently verified.

9.01 a.m .: NATO Secretary General cancels visit to Berlin at short notice

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has canceled his planned visit to Berlin today at short notice. This was announced by the Federal Ministry of Defense. A NATO spokesman in Brussels said on request that Stoltenberg was ill and would make the planned visit to Germany “not personally, but from afar”. In conversation is a video conference. The Federal Press Office cancels a planned press conference by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Stoltenberg before the originally planned meeting at noon in Berlin. In the afternoon, Stoltenberg should have met with Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. According to the NATO spokesman, Stoltenberg suffers from shingles, which can occur after contracting Covid 19. Stoltenberg therefore works from home. Shingles is a contagious viral disease that causes a rash. Stoltenberg was infected with Corona in mid-May.

8.45 a.m .: Lauterbach wants to help the seriously injured in Ukraine

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to offer German help in treating the injured during a visit to Ukraine today. The SPD politician announced this on Deutschlandfunk. On the one hand, this involves treatment in Germany, but also the care of the injured in the war-torn country itself. Lauterbach specifically mentioned help for people with severe burns and for people who lost limbs in the war. The trip is taking place at the invitation of the Ukrainian Minister of Health.

At the beginning of the war, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), Development Minister Swenja Schulze (SPD) and Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) also visited there.

7.40 a.m .: Scholz and Lambrecht receive NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg in Berlin

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) receives NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Federal Chancellery today (12.00 p.m.). The focus of the meeting is the preparation of the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June. According to the German government, the effects of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine on Euro-Atlantic security will also be discussed. A joint press statement is planned at the beginning of the meeting.

In the afternoon (3 p.m.) Stoltenberg meets Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD). According to her ministry, the talks will deal with a variety of current topics, including the planned reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank, NATO’s new strategic concept and Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership. A press statement is also planned before the start of the interview.

6.35 a.m .: Military experts – Russia is surprisingly bad at cyber warfare

So far, Russia has had far less success with methods of digital warfare in Ukraine than many expected. Cybersecurity experts expected devastating, large-scale cyberattacks on Ukraine, says General Karol Molenda, head of Poland’s National Cybersecurity Center. But Ukraine was prepared and “withstood the attacks of Russia”.

Lithuania’s chief of cybersecurity, Colonel Romualdas Petkevicius, told AFP that Russia appeared unable to “wage a coordinated cyber and kinetic war”. There is cyber activity all over Ukraine right now, “but I don’t think it’s very well planned.”

5.10 am: Governor of Luhansk – Russia controls most of the city

After heavy fighting, the Russian army controls most of Sievarodonetsk. This was announced by the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, in his Telegram channel. “As for the industrial zone (of Sieverodonetsk), our defenders are holding there. But the fighting is not only going on in the industrial zone – the fighting is taking place in the city.” However, the situation in the industrial zone is not like in the city of Mariupol, where the fighting took place right at the Azovstal plant. “As of today, there is no danger of encirclement,” said Hajdaj. More than 90 percent of the Luhansk region is occupied by Russia.

4.20 a.m .: Zelenskyy – Sievjerodonetsk decides on the Donbass

President Zelenskyj describes the battle for Sievjerodonetsk as trend-setting for the struggle in the east of the country. “Syeverodonetsk remains the epicenter of the clashes in Donbass,” he says in a video message. The Ukrainian military is inflicting noticeable losses on the enemy there. “This is a very brutal and difficult battle. Perhaps one of the most difficult of this war (…) In many ways the fate of our Donbass will be decided there.”

3.05 a.m .: Poland’s President criticizes Scholz and Macron for talks with Putin

Polish President Duda criticizes Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron for continuing talks with Putin. “These talks are useless,” explains Duda in a “Bild” interview. The situation is similar to that of Adolf Hitler in World War II. “And did anyone talk to Adolf Hitler like that during World War II?” asks Duda. “Did someone say that he has to save face? That one has to do it in such a way that it is not humiliating for Adolf Hitler?” He doesn’t know such voices.

2:15 am: Arctic Council – Russia remains isolated

Because of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia remains isolated in the Arctic Council. “We intend a limited resumption of our work in the Arctic Council on projects that do not involve the participation of the Russian Federation,” say the remaining members Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway and the USA.

At the beginning of March, the governments of the countries announced that they were suspending their participation in Council activities. Russia currently chairs the Arctic Council. The body is considered the most important forum for cooperation in the region around the North Pole. Germany has observer status. “Decisions made on behalf of the Arctic Council that are adopted without our country are illegitimate and violate the intended principle of consensus,” criticized Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov.

1.50 a.m .: Envoy Zelenskyjs expects EU candidate status for Ukraine

After talks in Berlin, Zelenskyy’s special envoy for the prospect of EU membership is confident that his country will receive candidate status for the European Union. If the EU Commission makes a corresponding recommendation in the coming week, he assumes that the 27 member states will agree at their summit meeting on June 23rd and 24th in Brussels, says the Minister for Regional Development, Oleksiy Tschernyschow, of the dpa. He also expects approval from Germany. The federal government has so far been reluctant. It usually takes many years from candidate status to EU membership.

1:08 a.m.: Reports of dead and injured in Russian attacks

According to the authorities, several civilians were killed or wounded in attacks on Ukrainian locations. The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, blames Russia for four dead and five injured in the government-controlled part of the region in the east of the country. “The situation remains difficult. The front line is under constant fire,” said Kyrylenko. The Ukrainian army speaks of seven repelled Russian attacks in the Donbass. 31 fighters were killed and several armored vehicles were destroyed. The Russian military destroyed about 20 houses as well as two schools and a train station when shelling Ukrainian locations. The information is not independently verifiable.

12:30 a.m.: Ukraine and Russia exchange more bodies

According to authorities in Kyiv, Ukraine and Russia handed over the bodies of 50 soldiers to the other side. According to the Ukrainian Ministry for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories in Kyiv, 37 “heroes” who took part in the defense of the Azovstal plant were among the Ukrainians killed. The fighters held the fort at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol until Kyiv gave up the city in May. According to Ukrainian sources, the exchange took place along the front line in the Zaporizhia region in the south of the country.