The basics in a nutshell:
- The G7 insists on the territorial integrity of Ukraine
- Schultz: Putin has not achieved any of his war goals
- Zelensky calls for more pressure on Russia
- Barbuk confirms his solidarity with Ukraine
- Turkey opposes NATO expansion
The seven major industrial countries of the West have given assurances that they will “never accept” the new borders that Russia is aiming for in the aggressive war in Ukraine. The group’s foreign ministers in Engels, Schleswig-Holstein, said the G7 would maintain “its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine – including Crimea – and all states”. At the same time, they sharply criticized Belarus. The leadership in Minsk must “stop allowing Russian aggression and comply with its international obligations.”
The focus was also on the global implications of the conflict. “Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine and Russia’s unilateral measures to limit Ukrainian agricultural exports are leading to sharp price increases in commodity markets,” the final statement said. This is already threatening “global food security”. The G7 called on Russia to “immediately cease its attacks on Ukraine’s vital transport infrastructure, including ports so that they can be used to export Ukrainian agricultural products.”
Support “no push button”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Barbock has previously asked for patience with the delivery of heavy weapons. Barbock said on the sidelines of the G7 meeting that there is a consensus that “we must stand by Ukraine so that there are no more war crimes, so that Ukraine can defend itself.” The minister added that Germany, like many other coalition partners, could not “immediately provide support at the push of a button” in the field of air defense.
Regarding the chances of success of diplomatic initiatives to end the Ukrainian war, Birbock emphasized on German television: “Diplomacy never dies.” However, since the outbreak of the Ukraine war on February 24, the world has seen “in a savage way” that Putin has not fulfilled any of his promises.
In order for the people of Ukraine to live in peace, freedom and security, the first thing to do is to drop the weapons, said the politician from the Green Party. “It is right and important that the chancellor made it clear once again to the Russian president that the bombing of innocent people must stop immediately.”
Schultz: Putin has not achieved any of his war goals
Two and a half months after the start of Russia’s aggressive war on Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees no change in the position of Kremlin President Vladimir Putin. In an interview with the “T-Online” news portal, Schulze answered a similar question with “No.” The chancellor said Russia had turned itself into a “tragic situation”. “The Russian president must understand that his country’s ability to benefit from global progress is impaired until real peace is achieved.”
The Kremlin has not achieved any of its war aims. Ukraine was not occupied, but it defended itself “with much skill, courage and the will to make sacrifices.” NATO did not withdraw, but strengthened its forces on the eastern side – and it would become even stronger if Finland and Sweden joined it.
The Russian army itself suffered more casualties than the ten years of the Soviet campaign in Afghanistan. “Slowly, Putin must realize that the only way out of this situation is to reach an agreement with Ukraine,” Schulz said. However, the agreement cannot be a peace dictated by Russia. Schultz was in contact with Putin for more than an hour on Friday.
Wall Street Journal: The European Union Commission is considering setting a ceiling for the price of gas
It is clear that the EU Commission wants to set price ceilings for consumers in the event of a complete failure of Russian gas supplies. Welt am Sonntag quotes a Commission paper on “Short-term interventions in the energy market”. It suggests that member states set a cap on the price of natural gas. The cap was intended to protect customers from a cost explosion. However, such an intervention would require large sums of money from the state. According to the paper, price caps are viewed critically within the federal government.
Zelensky: “More pressure is needed”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling for more pressure from the international community on Moscow. “With each day of the war, global threats are growing, and there is a new opportunity for Russia to foment instability in other parts of the world, and not just here in Europe.”
Volodymyr Zelensky in his office
Meanwhile, the men and women of Ukraine “who do their best so that everyone can live freely” are dying. Therefore, Zelensky said in a new video speech: “More pressure is needed on Russia.” Nevertheless, the head of state criticized, nevertheless, there are countries in which sanctions against Moscow are abolished or where aid to Ukraine is prohibited. However, the name of the state was not specifically mentioned.
“In fact, no one can predict today how long this war will last,” Zelensky continued. “But we are doing everything we can to quickly liberate our country. This is our priority – working every day to shorten the war.” For this, Ukraine needs the help of its partners “from European countries, from the countries of the whole free world.”
The influx of refugees from Ukraine has decreased
Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Visser assumes that most Ukrainian refugees will return to their homeland. She told the Rheinische Post that 20,000 refugees now return home every day across the Polish-Ukrainian border – including from Germany. From this you can see “how great is the desire to return”. Only a portion will remain “if people see the opportunity to gain a foothold in the German labor market with their qualifications”.
The minister also indicated a significant decrease in the number of daily arrivals. Currently, about 2,000 refugees from Ukraine arrive in Germany every day. In mid-March it was 15,000. However, Pfizer emphasized that “there remains a significant humanitarian effort to provide the best possible care for the women, children and elderly people who have fled.”
Refugee accommodation in Südstadion in Cologne
The Pentagon chief talks with his colleagues in Moscow
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called his Russian colleague Sergei Shoigu for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine. In the hour-long conversation, Austin called for an immediate ceasefire, the Pentagon said. Austin also stressed the importance of keeping channels of communication open between Russia and the United States. The Russian power apparatus recently complained that there is no longer any contact between Moscow and Washington. It is said that Austin tried in vain to contact Shoigu for a long time.
No agreement to expand NATO
The US government has spoken out in favor of Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Karen Dunfried, a senior diplomat at the State Department in Washington, said a formal application for membership by the two countries would be “further evidence of the Russian president’s strategic miscalculation.” Finland and Sweden are already close partners in the Western alliance, but have traditionally been unbiased.
The Finnish government has already announced that it intends to apply for NATO membership. A similar decision is expected from Sweden on Sunday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed reservations about two northern European countries joining NATO on Friday. Erdogan said he did not want to make the same “mistakes” when Greece joined NATO. Turkey has difficult relations with the neighboring country. Joint membership in NATO has done little to change that.
Erdogan made clear his position that “the Scandinavian countries are a guesthouse for terrorist organizations.” Turkey in particular has long accused Sweden, where many Turkish immigrants live, of harboring Kurdish extremist groups as well as supporters of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen. Acceptance of new members must be unanimously approved by NATO member states.
‘Bitter Facts’ at Mariupol Steelworks
According to Kyiv, negotiations on the free withdrawal of Ukrainian fighters trapped in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol are “extremely difficult”. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verychuk said she shared “the fear and anxiety of people close to the defenders of the castle”. But there is war. And in war there are no miracles, only bitter truths.
Smoke rises from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol
With the help of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Vereshchuk has been trying for days to talk to the Russian side about a possible exit for the Ukrainian forces holed up in the factory premises. The Russian army has so far refused any concession and demanded its surrender. According to inaccurate estimates, about 1,000 Ukrainian fighters remain at the sprawling facility, many of them wounded.
Sanctions are fueling Russian inflation
Amid Western sanctions, inflation in Russia has risen to its highest level in two decades. The annual inflation rate was 17.8 percent in April, according to Russia’s statistics agency Rosstat. In the case of food prices, the inflation rate was more than 20 percent. Kremlin chief Putin stressed on Thursday that the West would do more harm to itself than Russia by imposing sanctions. His country is resilient in the face of “external challenges”.
Riga decides to dismantle the monuments
The Riga City Council decided to remove the last monument from the Soviet era in Latvia. The city council commissioned the Antiquities Authority to demolish the 79-meter-high monument in honor of the Red Army. Riga Mayor Martins Stakis stressed that “the demolition work will not be cheap because the monument is made of reinforced concrete and consists of several huge sculptures.”
Monument to the Soviet victory in Riga, Latvia (archive)
The memorial was erected from 1979 to 1985 to commemorate the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany. Every May 9, thousands of members of the Russian minority gather in Latvia to commemorate the end of World War II and the Soviet Union’s contribution to it. However, most Latvians see May 9, 1945 as the beginning of nearly 50 years of Soviet rule over Latvia. The Baltic state became independent only in 1991.
wa / bru / jj / as (dpa, afp, rtr, kna)
This article will be constantly updated on the day it is published. Reports from combat zones cannot be independently verified.