- 09:40: ➤ Von der Leyen calls for punitive measures for war criminals
- 06:37: kyiv claims: Russia loots grain silos – already 400,000 tons removed
- 5:56 a.m.: Ukrainian military equipment will be repaired in Slovakia
- 04:12: Pro Asyl criticizes the kidnapping of Ukrainians to Russia
- 01:52: The European Commission proposes an oil embargo against Russia
➤ Von der Leyen on war criminals: “We know who you are”
Those responsible for war crimes in Ukraine should face European sanctions. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented a corresponding proposal for EU states to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
A list is being kept of high-ranking officers and other individuals who committed war crimes in Bucha and are responsible for the inhuman siege of Mariupol town, the German said.
Thus, all “Kremlin soldiers” received another unequivocal signal: “We know who you are and you will be held accountable.” The EU has fined over 1,000 people following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. This includes, for example, entry bans and asset freezes.
The situation in brief:
Since February 24, Russia has been waging a war of air and ground aggression against Ukraine. Shortly before, President Vladimir Putin questioned Ukraine’s right to exist as an independent state and recognized the so-called people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
Since then, the Ukrainian army has been fighting the invaders as best it can. Thousands of dead are reported on both sides, but the exact number of soldiers and civilians has not been independently verified. The fact is that the humanitarian situation in Ukraine is getting worse every day. According to the UN, more than 5.5 million people have fled Ukraine (as of May 4), mostly women and children, with men between the ages of 18 and 60 not allowed to leave the country.
The EU and the United States reacted with sanctions. They also supply arms to Ukraine, and Germany also supports the country with arms deliveries. Ukraine is also to receive Gepard-class tanks from Germany. So far, it has been ruled out that NATO will actively intervene in the war.
On the first weekend of April, images of the corpses of scores of civilians in the small town of Bucha near kyiv sparked international outrage. Ukraine speaks of serious war crimes and genocide and blames Russian troops for it. Despite numerous indications, Moscow denies having been involved in the civilian deaths. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that negotiations with Russia must continue.
According to a Ukrainian statement, a long-prepared large-scale offensive by Russia in eastern Ukraine began on April 18.
Fighting continues in the port of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. A planned rescue of other civilians from the besieged Azovstal factory apparently failed.
Other news of the day:
Von der Leyen: Russian oil embargo will not be easy
09:27: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted that the planned oil embargo against Russia will require great efforts from some countries.
“Let’s face it: it won’t be easy,” she told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning. “Some member states are heavily dependent on Russian oil.”
Specifically, according to the senior German politician, the planned embargo will phase out Russian crude oil supplies within six months and the import of refined products by the end of the year. “In this way, we maximize pressure on Russia while minimizing collateral damage for ourselves and our partners around the world.”
The context of the punitive measures is the Russian war against Ukraine.
Belarus sends rapid reaction force in unexpected maneuvers
07:55: In the context of the war in Ukraine, Belarus is testing its rapid reaction force in an unannounced military exercise. During the inspection, “units and units must train in aspects of combat readiness, march to the areas of operations commanded and perform combat tasks,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday on its Telegram channel.
According to the description, the maneuver is used to defend against ground and air attacks. The number of troops involved would be gradually increased. The purpose of the inspection is to check how quickly the intervention force can react to sudden crisis situations. The military exercise “presents no danger either to European society as a whole or to neighboring countries in particular”, the Belarusian leaders stressed.
Relations between Minsk and kyiv are strained after the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, part of which was carried out from Belarusian territory. The United States and the EU have also imposed sanctions on Belarus due to the war. So far, leader Alexander Lukashenko has always denied wanting to participate in the Russian invasion with his own troops.
kyiv claims Russia is looting grain silos – already 400,000 tons removed
06:57: Russia According to kyiv sources, 400,000 tons of grain were transported from the occupied areas of Ukraine. This is about a third of grain stocks in Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotskyi told Ukrainian television. Before the war, around 1.3 million tonnes of cereals were stored there for daily supply, but also for sowing. “There were no strategic reserves,” Wyssozkyj said, according to reports Wednesday evening. If grain stocks are further reduced, there is a risk of famine in these areas.
Forced grain withdrawal has always been a painful issue between Ukrainians and Russians. When Soviet dictator Josef Stalin coerced peasants into collective farms and confiscated grain by force, an estimated four million people starved to death in Ukraine in 1932/33. There have also been deaths in southern Russia and Kazakhstan. Ukraine views the artificially created famine, the so-called Holodomor, as a genocide ordered by Moscow.
Ukrainian military equipment will be repaired in Slovakia
5:56 a.m.: Damaged Ukrainian military equipment must be repaired in Slovakia in the future. State-owned Konstrukta-Defence has signed a contract with Ukraine to repair and modernize Ukrainian military technology, a defense ministry spokeswoman in Bratislava said on Tuesday. The first delivery is for dozens of BRDM-2 armored vehicles.
Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad and Prime Minister Eduard Heger had already declared their willingness to help Ukraine repair damaged military equipment earlier this month.
Faced with Moscow’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the European Union is aiming for a ban on the import of Russian oil. This is what the European Commission and the European External Action Service are proposing for a new package of sanctions against Russia, the German press agency in Brussels learned on Wednesday evening.
Pro Asyl criticizes the kidnapping of Ukrainians to Russia
04:12: The refugee aid organization Pro Asyl denounced the abductions of Ukrainians to Russia. “If you prevent people who want to flee from fleeing and bring them to another country, then that is kidnapping and therefore a flagrant violation of human rights,” its managing director Günter Burkhardt told Editorial Network Germany ( RND, Wednesday). “This is part of a chain of criminal acts committed by Putin’s regime. However, other states’ options for action in an escalating war are limited.”
At the same time, Burkhardt complained that men of military age were not allowed to leave Ukraine by order of the Kyiv government. “It’s also a human right not to want to take part in a war,” he told RND.
According to military figures from Moscow, nearly 1.1 million people have already been brought to Russia from disputed areas of Ukraine. Nearly 200,000 of them are children, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said on Monday. According to the Russian account, these people from Ukraine are sheltered from fighting and alleged violence by the leadership of kyiv. Ukraine sees this as an expulsion of its citizens from the areas currently occupied by Russia to the east and south. According to kyiv, the Russian army does not let people flee to territory under Ukrainian control.
The European Commission proposes an oil embargo against Russia
01:52: Companies from Germany and other EU countries should no longer be allowed to import Russian oil in the future. This is what the European Commission and the European External Action Service are proposing for a new sanctions package against Russia, as the German press agency in Brussels learned on Wednesday evening from several officials. In order to give countries time to transition, there should be transition periods.
Since pro-Western forces prevailed in Ukraine eight years ago, the conflict with Russia has steadily escalated. Now Russia is at war all over the country. The chronology of an escalation.
Zelenskyj: Massive Russian rocket attacks are a sign of weakness
00:43: According to leaders in kyiv, Russia wants to stop the supply of Western weapons with massive rocket attacks on Ukrainian railway systems. This was written by the head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak, on Telegram on Tuesday evening. Previously, many parts of the country had been rocked by explosions. But it will not be possible to stop the supply of armaments, Yermak said. “Everything matters.”
Politically, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj interpreted the attacks as a sign of Moscow’s impotence. “Obviously the Russian military reacted extremely nervously to our successes today,” Zelenskyy said in his evening video address in Kyiv. He reported rocket attacks on Lviv, Vinnytsia, Odessa, Kyiv region and Dnipro region.
However, a clear military target could not be identified as even Transkapatia in the far west on the border with Hungary was bombed. The Russians hid their impotence only “because Ukraine is too strong for them”, Zelensky said.
The Russian military fired more than 20 missiles at Ukraine, Ukrainian Air Force Commander Yuri Ignat wrote on Facebook. Many missiles were fired from long-range bombers over the Caspian Sea. Ukrainian air defenses intercepted eight enemy cruise missiles. These military details were not independently verifiable. According to reports, the attacks targeted railway systems and power supply. Power was cut in parts of the Lviv region in western Ukraine.
With material from dpa, AFP, APA