Scholz wants EU accession status for Ukraine and Moldova Scholz, Draghi and Macron meet in Kyiv Selenskyj UN counts more than 100 million refugees worldwide for the first time The news about the war in Ukraine in the star ticker.

The military situation in eastern Ukraine remains extremely tense. “The fierce battle for the Luhansk region continues,” said the Ukrainian supreme commander, Valeriy Zalushnyi. The Russian troops attacked there from nine directions at the same time.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will represent the interests of his war-torn country at the G7 and NATO summits at the end of June. Zelenskyj wrote on Twitter on Wednesday evening that he gratefully accepted the invitations to the top meetings. But the EU came to him first: Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived in Kyiv in the morning. (Read all the developments on the politicians’ trip to Kyiv here.)

6:23 p.m .: Union sees expectations of Scholz’s visit to Kyiv for arms deliveries disappointed

fter Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) visit to Kyiv, the Union in the Bundestag expressed its disappointment at the lack of concrete delivery commitments for heavy weapons. During the visit, it would have been “high time to finally give a clear commitment to the immediate delivery of heavy weapons,” says Union faction vice-president Johann Wadephul (CDU) of “Welt”. “Only Olaf Scholz’s commitment to immediate EU accession candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova is a good signal.”

6:13 p.m .: The USA does not want to push Ukraine into anything in talks with Russia

The US government wants to advise Ukraine on possible negotiations with Russia to end the war. “We will support them and consult with them as they consider how to approach a deal with the Russians,” US President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at an event in Washington. “We believe this matter needs to be resolved through diplomatic channels.” However, it is not the task of the USA to set conditions or goals for negotiations.

Sullivan emphasizes that in the end, Ukraine must decide for itself what it is willing to accept. Ukraine will not be urged to make territorial concessions – this is not compatible with international law and is “simply wrong”. “For the time being, our support means we support (Ukraine) through the continued supply of arms and intelligence.”

5:39 p.m .: According to Habeck, lowered gas delivery no answer to Scholz’s trip to Kyiv

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) sees no direct connection between the visit to Kyiv by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the reduced Russian gas supplies. There is “a lot of politics involved” in the fact that the Russian energy giant Gazprom has reduced its deliveries to Germany through the Nord Stream Baltic Sea pipeline, says Habeck during a visit to the climate house in Bremerhaven. But he sees no direct connection with the trip to Kyiv by Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

“Whether there is any connection at all between any acute cause, that would be pure speculation. But that also includes the technical conditions of Nord Stream 1,” emphasizes Habeck. Gazprom cites delays in repair work as the reason for the throttling.

4:38 p.m .: Gazprom boss Miller wants to play by “our rules”.

Gazprom claims to play by its own rules when supplying gas to other countries. “Our product, our rules,” says company boss Alexej Miller on the fringes of the economic forum in St. Petersburg. “We don’t play by rules we didn’t make.”

Miller thus rejects criticism of Gazprom’s cuts in gas supplies to Germany and several other EU countries. These are justified by the Russian group with problems during maintenance work on a compressor station for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline by Siemens, which can be attributed to western sanctions. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) considers this to be a pretense. Miller affirms his company’s reliability in energy supplies. But he added that this applies “to the friends of Russia”.

4:12 p.m .: Scholz wants EU accession status for Ukraine and Moldova

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz has advocated granting Ukraine and its small neighboring Republic of Moldova the status of EU accession candidates. “Germany is in favor of a positive decision in favor of Ukraine. That also applies to the Republic of Moldova,” said the SPD politician at a press conference in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. “Ukraine is part of the European family,” he added.

3:51 p.m .: Stoltenberg welcomes Scholz, Macron and Draghi’s trip to Kyiv

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed the long-awaited trip to Kyiv by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). “It’s a message of solidarity,” Stoltenberg said in Brussels at the meeting between Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenksy. Germany, France and Italy “have been supporting Ukraine for a long time,” Stoltenberg emphasized after a meeting of defense ministers in preparation for the NATO summit in Madrid in two weeks.

“This shows how the European Union and NATO are working together and how allies and NATO partners are trying to support Ukraine,” Stoltenberg added. “This visit is part of that message.”

3:21 p.m .: EU Economic Commissioner warns of recession if gas supply stops

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni has again warned that the European economy would contract if Russia stopped supplying gas. A delivery stop would lead to a decline in economic output at least this year, Gentiloni said on the sidelines of a meeting of euro finance ministers. “But that’s not the case yet,” said the Italian politician. So far there have only been signals from Russia to some EU countries, no decision yet. The Russian energy company Gazprom had further reduced its gas deliveries to Germany through the Nord Stream Baltic Sea pipeline on Thursday night.

3:06 p.m .: When Scholz visited, air alarm again in Kyiv

During the visit of Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Kyiv, an air alarm was triggered for the second time in the Ukrainian capital. This was reported by a reporter from the German Press Agency on site. French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi were also in the capital with Scholz. Already after their arrival in the morning there had been an air raid alarm.

1:54 p.m.: London imposes sanctions on Russian Orthodox patriarch

The British government imposes sanctions on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill “repeatedly abused his position to justify the war in Ukraine,” said Foreign Minister Liz Truss, explaining the move in Parliament in London. In the EU, sanctions against the patriarch failed because of Hungary’s resistance.

London has also imposed sanctions on the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lwova-Belowa. She is accused of being involved in the kidnapping and forced adoption of 2000 children from Ukraine.

1:29 p.m .: Federal Network Agency: Gas supply in Germany stable

In view of the renewed reduction in gas supplies from the Russian energy company Gazprom to Germany, the Federal Network Agency is also calling for energy saving. “The Federal Network Agency expressly supports the request to save as much gas as possible,” says the authority’s management report on the gas supply (as of 10 a.m.). Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had previously called for energy saving again with a view to further reducing the gas supply.

According to the Federal Network Agency, the gas supply in Germany is stable despite the further reduced gas supply volume from Russia. “The security of supply in Germany is currently guaranteed,” says the management report. The authority is monitoring the situation very closely and is in constant contact with the companies in the gas industry.

1:16 p.m .: Russian Ambassador: Nord Stream 1 could fail completely

After the reduction in Russian gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline, a complete shutdown of the most important supply line for Germany cannot be ruled out. At the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia’s EU ambassador said the line could be completely shut down because of the problems with repairing turbines in Canada. “I think that would be a disaster for Germany,” he said, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant. Germany should think about repairing the turbines on its own territory so that they don’t have to be shipped to Canada, the diplomat said.

12:56 p.m .: Scholz, Macron and Draghi meet Selenskyj

During their trip to Kyiv, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and three other European heads of state and government met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for talks. Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis were received by Selenskyj in the Presidential Palace. After a joint photo session in front of the building, the top politicians sat down at a round table.

12:41 p.m .: Kremlin: Further arms deliveries to Ukraine would be “absolutely useless”

Against the background of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) visit to Ukraine, Russia has warned against further arms deliveries to the country. These would be “absolutely useless” and would only “further damage the country,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in Moscow. Scholz arrived in Kyiv in the morning together with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “I would like to hope that the leaders of these three states (…) will not only focus on supporting Ukraine by further pumping weapons into Ukraine,” said Peskov.

12:27 p.m .: Ex-Kremlin chief Medvedev mocks Scholz as a “liver sausage fan”

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has criticized the joint trip to Kyiv by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi as useless. “European fans of frogs, liverwurst and spaghetti love to visit Kyiv,” Medvedev wrote via Twitter account. “With zero benefit.”

11.50 a.m .: The President of the EU Parliament calls for a “clear signal” for Ukraine

Before the decision on Ukraine’s accession prospects, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, called for a “clear signal” for the country’s future in Europe. It must be made clear politically that Ukraine belongs “to our European family”, the conservative politician told the “Handelsblatt”. Also addressed to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), she expressed the hope of support for a status as an EU accession candidate.

On Friday, the EU Commission intends to present its recommendation on whether Ukraine will be granted candidate status. So far, there is no uniform line among the member states.

11.04 a.m .: Bätzing accuses Putin of starving other countries

In his Corpus Christi sermon, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference and Bishop of Limburg, Georg Bätzing, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of starvation. “Putin relies on hunger as a means of political pressure to make dependent states in the southern hemisphere politically compliant and to put pressure on others,” said Bätzing, according to the text of the speech in Frankfurt am Main.

Bätzing added that Russia’s “unfair attack” on Ukraine threatened global supplies. Grain carriers are stuck in Ukrainian ports, and this year’s harvest in the country will probably not be able to cover demand. At the same time, Russia, as the world’s largest wheat exporter, is stealing grain from the Ukrainian territories it has occupied on a large scale.

11.02 a.m .: Germany wants to take a “four-digit” share in the new combat brigade

Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) has specified the German plans to strengthen the NATO presence in the Baltic States. At the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, she said the planned combat brigade under German command in Lithuania was a “signal of deterrence” against Russia. Germany is ready “to get involved there in a four-digit number”.

Lambrecht expressed the hope for the broadest possible support from other NATO countries for the multinational association. A brigade consists of up to 5000 soldiers.

10.33 a.m .: IfW: billion hole in financial aid for Ukraine

According to calculations by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), financial aid for Ukraine is stagnating. “The International Monetary Fund estimates a financial gap of 5 billion euros per month, so since June this corresponds to more than 15 billion euros in external financial aid needed,” said IfW research director Christoph Trebesch on Thursday. “Besides weapons, financial aid is becoming increasingly urgent for Ukraine.” The “Welt” had previously reported on the institute’s calculations.

10.39 a.m .: Scholz visits the partly destroyed Kiev suburb of Irpin

Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Irpin in Ukraine on Thursday. The SPD politician arrived in the partially destroyed Kiev suburb late in the morning. Similar to neighboring Bucha, almost 300 civilians, some of whom were executed, were found there after the Russians retreated at the end of March.

10.19 a.m .: All clear in Kyiv: Air alarm lifted again

The air alert, which was triggered shortly after Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Kyiv, was lifted again after around half an hour. This was confirmed by a reporter from the German Press Agency on site. The sirens went off shortly after Scholz arrived in Kyiv on a train with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. In the meantime, there have also been air alerts in numerous other parts of the country.

9.48 a.m .: Lambrecht is promoting new combat troops for NATO’s eastern flank

Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has appealed to the Allies for the German push to set up a multinational combat troops brigade for NATO’s eastern flank in Lithuania. It is now a matter of filling the proposal with life and finding other allies who will take part, said the SPD politician on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Germany is ready to lead the combat troops brigade in Lithuania and to participate in it with a four-digit number of soldiers. Lambrecht did not give exact figures for the future German troop presence in Lithuania.

9.45 a.m .: After Scholz’s arrival: air raid alarm in Kyiv

Shortly after the arrival of Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Kyiv, an air alert was triggered in the Ukrainian capital. This was confirmed by a reporter from the German Press Agency on site. French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also arrived in Kyiv with Scholz.

9.41 a.m .: Heavy fighting in the Donbass – Ukrainians are fighting for Sieverodonetsk

In eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian troops continue to fight heavy battles in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. In the direction of the city of Bakhmut, there are Russian attacks “to improve the tactical situation,” the Ukrainian general staff said on Facebook. The towns of Wessele, Soledar, Berestowe and Vowchojarivka were under artillery fire. There is also heavy fighting in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk. The Russians are also attempting to attack in the direction of Sloviansk.

In the neighboring Luhansk region, the city of Sievjerodonetsk was particularly hotly contested. Part of the industrial city is still under Ukrainian control. There was also artillery shelling on sections of the front in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.

8.44 a.m .: Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk expects groundbreaking from Scholz’s visit

The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, asked Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to make far-reaching commitments to arms deliveries during his visit to Kyiv. “The Ukrainians hope that the forthcoming visit by Chancellor Olaf Scholz will not only be of symbolic importance, but will be groundbreaking,” Melnyk told the online edition of the “Rheinische Post”. Germany’s military aid must be raised “to a qualitatively new level”.

It is “very important that the German head of government sees the devastation caused by Russian aggression with his own eyes and talks to the victims of the war,” said Melnyk. He must recognize “the urgency” “why Ukraine must be supported with full force, much stronger and more extensively with heavy weapons”. Above all, Kyiv expects Scholz to finally give the green light for the requested 88 Leopard 1 main battle tanks and 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.

8.32 a.m .: Scholz, Macron and Draghi arrived in Kyiv by special train

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on a special train this morning. There they want to talk to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about further support for the country attacked by Russia and about Ukraine’s desire to join the European Union.

7.37 a.m .: Habeck calls for energy saving after renewed gas throttling

After the Russian Gazprom group cut gas supply volumes, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck again called for energy saving. In a video distributed on Twitter on Wednesday evening, the Green politician thanked the population and companies for their efforts so far. At the same time, Habeck appealed with a view to saving energy: “Now is the time to do it. Every kilowatt hour helps in this situation.”

The situation is serious, but it does not endanger the security of supply in Germany. Habeck warned: “We must be vigilant. We must continue to work in a concentrated manner. Above all, we must not allow ourselves to be divided. Because that is what Putin intends to do.”

7.19 a.m .: Scholz, Macron and Draghi on the way to Kyiv

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi are together on board a special train on the way to Kyiv. The heads of state and government had boarded the train in Poland and were expected in Kyiv, Ukraine, in the morning, the Elysée Palace confirmed.

2.02 a.m .: UNHCR counts more than 100 million refugees worldwide for the first time

More than 100 million people are currently fleeing the world, more than at any time since World War II. In Geneva, the UN refugee agency UNHCR spoke of a “dramatic milestone” that had been reached as a result of the Russian war against Ukraine and crises in Afghanistan and other countries. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has warned that the terrible trend will continue if the international community does not find a way to permanently resolve conflicts.

0.30 a.m .: Gazprom is once again throttling gas deliveries through the Baltic Sea pipeline

The Russian energy group Gazprom is again reducing the gas delivery volumes through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 to Germany. Gazprom had announced that from Thursday night only a maximum of 67 million cubic meters would be pumped through the pipeline every day. The state-owned company once again justified this step with delays in repair work. Gazprom had already announced on Tuesday that it would reduce the previously planned daily volume by around 40 percent from 167 million to 100 million cubic meters of gas per day and pointed to delays in the repair of gas compressors.

12:27 a.m .: Turkey ready to organize four-party summit on grain exports from Ukraine

Turkey has agreed to organize a four-party summit on grain exports from Ukraine. “If Russia gives a positive answer, there will be a four-party summit in Istanbul,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday. Ukraine and the United Nations are also to be involved in the negotiations.

Cavusoglu referred to a UN plan to create secure corridors in the Black Sea to enable grain exports from Ukraine. According to Cavusoglu, demining in the Black Sea would not be necessary for the establishment of such corridors.