War in Ukraine: Ukraine wants to give up the embattled administrative center Sievjerodonetsk – but civilians are still holed up there

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    Selenskyj: Ukraine no buffer between West and Russia Withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Sievjerodonetsk ordered Ukrainian politician warns refugees against hasty return The news about Russia’s war in Ukraine in the stern ticker.

    Day 121 of the Ukraine war: As a new candidate for EU membership, Ukraine can hope for a future in a common Europe. At the same time, however, the military situation in the eastern Luhansk region is becoming increasingly precarious for the Ukrainian army. Russian troops are fighting and trying to encircle the strategically important city of Lyssychansk. Additional important weapons such as multiple rocket launcher artillery systems and patrol boats come from the USA.

    The most important developments in the star ticker.

    9:21 p.m .: Moscow condemns EU candidate status as “geopolitical appropriation”

    The Kremlin has condemned the granting of EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova as a geopolitical maneuver against Moscow. The decision confirms that “geopolitical appropriation” of the former Soviet republics is being “actively pursued” “to keep Russia in check,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

    The EU is thus pursuing the goal of establishing relations with the eastern neighboring countries on the basis of a principle of dependency. Brussels uses “political and economic blackmail methods” and forces the candidate countries to impose “unlawful sanctions” on Moscow. The EU’s “aggressive action” has the potential to create new divisions and deep crises in Europe, Zakharova continued.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had previously expressed himself more cautiously and described the decision as an “internal affair” in Europe. However, the development should not lead to problems for Russia, he said. However, Lavrov accused the EU and NATO of wanting to wage war against Russia and made a historical comparison: Hitler had gathered a large part of Europe behind him “to wage war against the Soviet Union,” Lavrov said during a trip to Azerbaijan . Today, “the EU and NATO are forming such a contemporary alliance” to “wage war on Russia,” he added.

    8:24 p.m .: Parts of the city of Lysychansk blocked according to Russian information

    In eastern Ukraine there is conflicting information about the situation in the embattled city of Lysychansk. According to their own statements, Russian troops have blocked the city from the south. This was announced by the Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow. The defenses of Ukrainian troops had been breached, it said.

    Earlier, the general staff of the Ukrainian army had spoken of air attacks by Russia on Lysychansk on the west bank of the Seversky Donets river. “Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled a storm on the southern outskirts of Lysychansk.” All of the information is difficult or impossible to independently verify. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, eleven settlements have been captured in the past few days, including Loskutivka south of Lysychansk and Ustynivka north of Mykolaiv.

    7.15 p.m .: According to the SPD boss, “alarm signals” about the Ukraine war were “everyone there”

    Four months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, SPD leader Lars Klingbeil looked back and criticized Germany’s Russia policy. The biggest reproach Germany has to make is that it hasn’t heard enough from the eastern EU countries, he told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. “We conducted the security policy debate in Germany the way we would have liked the world to be – but not the way it really was and is.” From today’s perspective one has to say: “The Georgian war in 2008, the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the poisoning of Alexej Navalnyj, the murder of the Tiergarten – the warning signs were all there, but we should have interpreted them differently.” Russia’s army invaded the neighboring country at the end of February.

    7:10 p.m.: Ukrainian troops and civilians are still entrenched in Sieverodonetsk

    Despite Kiev’s fundamental decision to give up the heavily contested administrative center of Sievjerodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, troops loyal to the government and civilians are still stuck in the former metropolis. This emerges from the situation report of the General Staff and from statements by the district administration. Russian troops “conducted storming activities in the Sievarodonetsk industrial zone,” the General Staff said.

    According to the head of the district administration, Roman Vlasenko, the withdrawal of the Ukrainian troops will take a few more days. In an interview with the US broadcaster CNN, he also said that 568 civilians were still hiding from the attacks in the “Azot” chemical plant. These could leave the plant as soon as the fire had stopped, but then only in the direction of Russian-occupied areas, said Wlassenko.

    The situation in the neighboring city of Lyssychansk on the west bank of the Siwerskyi Donets river is also tricky for the Ukrainian troops. The Russians had flown several air raids on the city, according to the situation report. “Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled a storm on the southern outskirts of Lysychansk,” the general staff said. The information cannot be independently verified. Before the war, about 380,000 people lived in the Sieverodonetsk-Lysychansk conurbation. It is the last spot in the Luhansk region where Ukrainian troops are still holding. The capture of the Luhansk region was mentioned by Moscow as one of the main goals of the war.

    6.45 p.m .: Ukrainians boycott the Judo Grand Prix

    In protest against the participation of Russian athletes, the Ukrainian judo team is boycotting the Grand Slam tournament in Mongolia. 24 athletes from Russia are taking part in the event, which has been running since Friday and is part of the qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. After the invasion of Ukraine, judo is one of the few Olympic sports that Russians are still allowed to compete in, without a flag and officially for the International Judo Federation (IJF).

    So far, Russians have stayed away from international judo competitions on the grounds that the IJF has “logistical and security” concerns.

    6:15 p.m .: Professor at a Russian university loses job after criticism of the Ukraine conflict

    A professor at a Russian university has been fired for good after criticizing the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Legal scholar Roman Melnichenko said on Facebook that his lawsuit for reinstatement had been dismissed. At the beginning of the offensive at the end of February, he was critical of this on the Internet and, among other things, distributed a video of the death of a girl in a hospital in Mariupol.

    In recent months, dozens of people have been prosecuted in Russia for making statements about the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Most received fines, but some face lengthy prison terms. The accusation of “immorality” had already become the undoing of several professors, teachers and lecturers in recent years. The grounds for dismissal make it almost impossible for them to find a new job in the Russian education system.

    6:10 p.m .: G7 call on Moscow to end the blockade of the Black Sea ports

    G7 foreign ministers have called on Russia to open up Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food exports. By blockading ports, bombing grain silos and destroying Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure, Russia is exacerbating the global food crisis, a statement released in Berlin said.

    They rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s portrayal that the impending famine was a consequence of Western sanctions as “false narrative and disinformation”. The statement was released two days before the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, which begins on Sunday. Germany holds the G7 presidency this year.

    5:50 p.m .: Scholz does not believe in Russian justification for gas throttling

    Chancellor Olaf Scholz considers the Russian justification for the throttling of gas supplies to Germany to be false. “None of us believe that the technical reasons given by Russian suppliers for the reduction in gas supplies are correct,” said Scholz after an EU summit in Brussels. Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom cut gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in the Baltic Sea in the middle of the month. The gas supplier justified the step with delays in repair work.

    A 10-day routine maintenance of the pipeline will begin on July 11. Energy supplier and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) are concerned that Gazprom Nord Stream 1 will not be able to restart afterwards. When asked whether he feared that Russia would no longer deliver gas after that, Habeck said on RTL broadcaster: “I would have to lie if I said I’m not afraid of it.”

    Scholz, on the other hand, did not want to speculate: “But speculation about what will happen when does not make sense,” Scholz said when asked whether he feared that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline could not be restarted after maintenance work.

    5.20 p.m .: Von der Leyen calls for energy saving

    In view of the threat of gas bottlenecks, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has once again called on European consumers to save energy. If you lower the heating temperature in the entire EU by just two degrees and increase that of air conditioning by two degrees, you can save the entire supplies of the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1, said the German politician after an EU summit in Brussels. “So there’s a lot of potential in that.” At the same time, von der Leyen confirmed that the sources of energy sources also had to be diversified and that investments had to be made in renewables.

    Since the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine at the end of February, Europe’s supply of gas from Russia has been considered endangered. In the meantime, Russia has throttled or completely stopped deliveries to twelve EU countries, said von der Leyen. Deliveries to Germany were also drastically reduced. Your authority has reviewed all national emergency plans to ensure that everyone is prepared for further delivery restrictions. At the same time, they are working with the industry and the 27 EU countries on a European plan that should reduce gas demand in an emergency.

    5:10 p.m .: Luxembourg announces significantly higher defense spending

    Luxembourg will spend significantly more than before on its military. Defense Minister François Bausch announced that spending should increase from 573 million euros in the coming year to almost one billion euros in 2028. The country will then spend about one percent of its gross domestic product on defense. This significant increase had become necessary because of the “current security situation in Europe” and because of obligations to NATO. This is to be announced officially at the NATO summit beginning on June 27 in Madrid. Compared to 2014, Luxembourg’s defense efforts will thus quintuple, it said. The decision should be permanent.

    At a summit in Wales in 2014, NATO members agreed on a target for defense spending of two percent of gross domestic product. A statement from the Ministry of Defense states that the 2 percent target does not take into account the special situation in Luxembourg, whose gross domestic product is significantly higher than that of other NATO members.

    Luxembourg, with a total of around 1,000 soldiers, intends to spend the additional money to strengthen a Belgian-Luxembourg reconnaissance battalion and for its share of NATO air transport capacity, air surveillance and medically equipped transport aircraft. In addition, one wants to promote the development of drones and military satellites.

    5:05 p.m .: Putin calls debate about Ukrainian grain “inflated”

    According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the discussion about the blockade of Ukrainian grain deliveries is exaggerated. “Hysteria is being artificially inflated because of the cessation of transport, let’s say via the Black Sea ports,” Putin said at a video summit of the so-called Brics countries, according to the Interfax agency. Russia does not hinder grain deliveries, nor are they crucial for supplying global markets. The Brics alliance consists of the states of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It is named after their first letters.

    Putin once again accuses Ukraine of thwarting grain shipments across the Black Sea itself. Russia is ready to guarantee the ships safe conduct. Before that, however, the Ukrainians would have to clear the mines in their own ports. Ukraine is one of the largest grain exporters in the world. Because of the Russian war of aggression against the neighboring country, food prices have skyrocketed worldwide. Kyiv and the West accuse Russia of deliberately blocking Ukrainian grain supplies.

    4:02 p.m .: Ukraine offers to export nuclear power to Germany

    Ukraine has offered to export nuclear power to Germany to ensure energy security. “In the field of decarbonization, Ukraine is moving in a different logic to Germany,” writes the Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko in a guest article for the “Wirtschaftswoche”. Therefore, over 50 percent of Ukraine’s electronic energy is generated in nuclear power plants. “This means that Ukraine, which has synchronized its energy network with the Association of European Transmission System Operators since March 16, can become an outsourcer of electricity for Germany,” explains Halushchenko.

    Earlier in February, at the beginning of the war, Ukraine, together with neighboring Moldova, separated from the former Soviet electricity network with Belarus (Belarus) and Russia. Nuclear power plants of Soviet design with a total capacity of more than 14 gigawatts are operated in the Ukraine. However, six blocks in Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Enerhodar near Zaporizhia have been under Russian control since March. Kyiv is already exporting electricity to Poland and Moldova.

    4:02 p.m .: The federal government is planning more self-propelled howitzers for Ukraine

    The federal government wants to give Ukraine more self-propelled howitzers to defend against the Russian attack. Talks are being held with the Netherlands and another European partner, as the German Press Agency learned from Defense Ministry circles in Berlin.

    So far Ukraine has received seven Panzerhaubitze 2000 units from Germany and five of the weapon systems from the Netherlands. Kyiv had declared that a total of 18 howitzers – i.e. six additional models – could be used to equip a complete Ukrainian artillery battalion. In Berlin there is a firm will to comply with the request if partners also deliver, so that Germany would deliver three or just two more weapon systems, the DPA was told.

    3:50 p.m .: Medvedev reacts with mockery to Baerbock’s accusation of hunger as a weapon

    Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reacted with ridicule to Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s (Greens) accusation that Russia was using hunger as a weapon. Such a statement by a German official was “naturally amazing,” Medvedev said in a Twitter message distributed in German and English.

    Then, without beating about the bush, he made the connection to Nazi Germany’s crimes in the Soviet Union during World War II: after all, Baerbock was a representative of a country that “sealed off Leningrad for 900 days in a blockade, where almost 700,000 people died of hunger.”

    With regard to the blocked grain exports in Ukraine’s ports, the Foreign Minister had previously stated that Russia was “deliberately using hunger as a weapon of war” and was making “the whole world hostage”.

    3:18 p.m .: G7 Foreign Ministers – Russia is exacerbating the global food crisis

    The foreign ministers of the G7 countries have blamed Russia for the worsening global hunger crisis and called on Moscow to give in. “All G7 sanctions provide for exceptions so that Russian food and agricultural products can reach world markets,” the Foreign Office said in a statement in Berlin. Reject Russia’s disinformation about the sanctions imposed.

    Russia’s war in Ukraine is aggravating the situation by blockading the Black Sea, shelling grain elevators and ports, and damaging Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure, it said. Russia is urged to “cease its attacks and threats and open up Ukrainian Black Sea ports for food exports.”

    2:34 p.m .: Guterres: The food crisis cannot be overcome without Russian and Ukrainian exports

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urgently called for a settlement to the dispute over the export of Ukrainian and Russian agricultural products. “There can be no effective solution to the global food crisis without reintegrating Ukraine’s food production and Russia’s food and fertilizer production back into world markets,” Guterres said at an international food security conference in Berlin organized by the federal government, according to a pre-release text of speech “We are facing an unprecedented global hunger crisis,” the Portuguese warned. “The war in Ukraine has exacerbated problems that have been brewing for years.” A lack of exports from Ukraine and Russia have recently led to sharp price increases for grain on the world market.

    1:38 p.m .: Kremlin: Ukraine’s EU accession must not be at the expense of Russia

    The Kremlin makes a condition for a possible EU accession of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova that their relations with Russia do not deteriorate any further. According to the Interfax news agency, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that the granting of candidate status to the two ex-Soviet republics was initially an “internal European matter”. “It is very important for us that these processes do not create any more problems for us or for relations with the countries mentioned.”

    In addition, it must be ensured that relations between Russia and the European Union do not deteriorate further as Ukraine and Moldova approach the EU, says Peskov. “They’re pretty spoiled already.”

    1:36 p.m .: Selenskyj: Ukraine no buffer between the West and Russia

    After receiving EU candidate status, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke of a turning point for his country. “Ukraine is not a bridge, not a cushion between the West and Russia, not a buffer between Europe and Asia, not a sphere of influence, not a gray zone, not a transit country,” said the 44-year-old head of state in a recently released video speech. Ukraine is a “future equal partner for at least 27 EU countries.” Ukraine is no longer a “third country” but will become a member of the European Union.

    In the same video, the head of parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, says that this decision will change history. The 46-year-old says: “We cannot change the geography. Russia will remain our neighbor.” But in this case history conquered geography.

    12:51 p.m .: Russia announces response to US “hostile actions”.

    Russia has accused the US of “hostile actions” and announced countermeasures. The United States has always emphasized its interest in maintaining diplomatic relations, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in Moscow. “On the other hand, one cannot help noticing that such statements are being thwarted by increasingly hostile actions on the American side.”

    Zakharova claims that the transit restrictions imposed by EU country Lithuania on Russia’s Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, much to Moscow’s annoyance, were enacted at “obvious prompting and direction” from the United States. She again points out that a plane with proven Russian diplomats in Washington is being refused permission to take off. The US State Department had already rejected this account.

    12:21 p.m .: Russian troops conquer Ukrainian settlements near Lysychansk

    According to their own statements, Russian and pro-Russian fighters have conquered several settlements in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk. Ten towns have been “liberated” in the past few days, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in Moscow. At the same time, the Luhansk separatists showed the hoisting of a Soviet flag on the building of the city administration of Zolote, which is located south of the embattled city of Lysychansk. According to them, the Ukrainian troops who were in the Hirske-Solote pocket were “liquidated”. There was initially no confirmation from the Ukrainian side.

    10:53 a.m .: Baerbock – Russia uses hunger as a weapon and “takes the whole world hostage”

    Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has accused Russia of “deliberately using hunger in the world as a weapon of war”. Russia “takes the whole world hostage,” said Baerbock before the start of an international nutrition conference in Berlin. 345 million people worldwide are currently threatened by food shortages, the hunger crisis is building “like a life-threatening wave before us”. But it was Russia’s war that “made a tsunami out of this wave.”

    Baerbock criticized that Russia was trying “to put the blame for the exploding food prices on others”, but that was “fake news”. Russia blockade ports and shell granaries; there are also no sanctions against Russian grain exports. The conference in Berlin is about showing solidarity with Ukraine and with the people in the Global South who are suffering from the Russian war, Baerbock said.

    10:24 a.m.: Resistance to Russian occupation – man killed in southern Ukraine

    An employee of the Russian occupation administration was killed in an attack in the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson. According to Russian media reports, a bomb detonated in the man’s car. Details were not initially known. In the past few days, there have been several attacks on Ukrainian defectors in the occupied area. According to the head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, MP Oleksiy Kovalev was the target of an attack on Wednesday. The 33-year-old was expelled from the parliamentary group of the Ukrainian presidential party at the end of April on suspicion of cooperation with the Russian occupiers. Nothing was known about his whereabouts.

    10.09 a.m .: Gas problems in Germany would affect the whole EU

    Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander de Croo has warned of EU-wide repercussions should Germany experience difficulties with gas supplies. “If Germany gets into trouble, it also has an enormous impact on all other European countries, including our country,” he said on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels. With a view to the fact that Russia is actually also in an economic war with Europe, we have to stand together.

    “There is no better argument for the fact that we have to do this together than to look at the consequences that Germany is potentially suffering,” said the head of government. You might experience a difficult winter. With a view to possible difficulties with the gas supply, he spoke out in favor of price caps and joint purchases of the raw material.

    9.36 a.m .: London – Russian Air Force is likely to be understaffed

    According to British intelligence experts, the Russian air force is likely to be suffering from a shortage of personnel. This was suggested by statements by a recently captured Russian fighter jet pilot who said he was in the service of the Wagner mercenary force, according to a statement on the website of the Ministry of Defense in London.

    “The deployment of retired close air support personnel now under contract to Wagner demonstrates that the Russian Air Force is likely to have difficulty supporting the invasion of Ukraine with sufficient aircrew,” the statement said.

    8.49 a.m .: The head of the Federal Network Agency expects “huge price jumps” in the gas price

    The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, expects “huge price jumps” in gas prices in Germany. “Depending on the building, it can double or triple,” said Müller on Friday in the ARD “Morgenmagazin”. The gas price increases from last fall and thus from the time before Russia attacked Ukraine are currently being passed on, which means price increases for customers by 30, 50 or 80 percent in some cases. Müller said his authority is currently drawing up scenarios for the further development of natural gas deliveries to Germany. “Most scenarios are not nice,” said Müller.

    Müller told the broadcasters RTL/ntv that the price level had risen by 50 percent since the throttling of Russian gas deliveries last week. “We know that a maintenance window is imminent on July 11,” he said. Then the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will be shut down completely “and we don’t know what will happen afterwards”.

    He will “do everything to ensure that we avoid freezing in private households,” said the head of the authority. However, he has “great concern that we can maintain industrial production in this way”. Therefore, above all, gas must be saved and stored.

    7:45 a.m.: Ukrainian troops ordered to withdraw from Sieverodonetsk

    After weeks of bitter resistance against the Russian attackers, the Ukrainian army has to withdraw from the strategically important city of Sievjerodonetsk in the east of the country. The withdrawal of Ukrainian troops has been ordered, the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajdaj, announced in the online service Telegram. The Russian units had recently taken over the city almost completely.

    The city is practically “in ruins” because of the constant bombardment by Russian troops, the governor explained. “There’s just no point in staying in positions that have been under constant fire for months.” The entire strategic infrastructure of the industrial city was destroyed. “90 percent of the city is damaged, 80 percent of the houses will have to be demolished.”

    The capture of Sieverodonetsk in the Luhansk region is a strategically important goal for Russia. The declared goal of the Russian armed forces is to take over the entire Donbass region, which also includes the Donetsk region. Parts of the economically important area in eastern Ukraine have been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

    4.31 a.m .: Ukrainian politician warns refugees against hasty return

    Warnings are coming from the Ukraine against a hasty return of the approximately five million war refugees who were taken in by Europe. “There are two essential prerequisites: We have to find ways and means to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure, at least partially. And where they are going, there needs to be a functioning anti-missile defense system – as it more or less exists for Kyiv now,” said Olena Sotnyk , adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanischyna, after talks in Berlin.

    Olena Haluschka, board member of the Ukrainian organization Anticorruption Action Center, named the clearing of mines and hidden booby traps in areas that the Ukrainian side had recaptured from the Russian army as a further prerequisite. At their meetings with German politicians, the two women reported that the main thing they had urged was a rapid delivery of more weapons. They described the fact that the tank howitzers promised by Germany had now arrived at the front as a “turning point”. The two meetings with members of the Bundestag and representatives of the Bertelsmann Foundation made positive comments about Berlin’s support for Ukraine’s status as a candidate for EU membership.

    12:31 a.m .: US promises Ukraine further arms deliveries of 450 million dollars

    The United States has pledged a further $450 million in weapons supplies to Ukraine. “This package contains weapons and equipment,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Thursday. Among other things, Himars multiple rocket launchers, tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition and patrol boats would be delivered. The latest package brings US arms sales to Ukraine to $6.1 billion since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against the country, Kirby said.