D.According to its leadership, Ukraine continues to control those areas of the country where Russian troops are trying to advance three weeks after the start of the war. The army responds to every attack by Russian units, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday evening. In Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) stressed that only President Vladimir Putin is responsible for the attack on Ukraine, not the Russian people. The war in Eastern Europe will also occupy international politics on Friday.
Encouragement for the besieged Ukrainian cities
Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy specifically addressed the population of Mariupol, Kharkiv and Chernihiv, whose cities are under siege and have suffered severe damage. They wouldn’t be disappointed, he assured him. From the army to the church, everyone does everything for the people. “You will be free,” Zelenskyi promised.
The head of state also thanked US President Joe Biden for his “new and effective” help – and asked to understand that he could not reveal all the details of the US support package. Washington had recently pledged multiple weapons worth several billion dollars.
According to Ukrainian information, Russian troops continued their attacks on Chernihiv on Friday night. In Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, it is not clear how many people died when a theater was bombed. Congressman Serhij Taruta wrote on Facebook that there were apparently at least 1,300 people in the building’s shelters. According to parliamentarian Olga Stefanyschyna, about 130 civilians were rescued alive from the rubble on Thursday.
Chancellor Scholz: Russia is not Putin
In view of the war against neighboring Ukraine, Chancellor Scholz warned against equating Russia with Putin. “It was not the Russian people who made the fatal decision to invade Ukraine. This war is Putin’s war. ”So said Scholz at an event organized by the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation in honor of the SPD politician Egon Bahr, who would have turned 100 on Friday.
Scholz stressed that this distinction is important in order not to jeopardize the reconciliation between Germans and Russians after World War II. “And it is important to show one thing to the courageous Russian men and women who take to the streets with great personal risk against Putin’s war of aggression: you are not alone. We are by your side “.
In a video speech to the Bundestag on Thursday, Selenskyj reminded Germany of its historic responsibility to counter injustice. He asked for more help for his country than he did. After the speech, Parliament continued with the agenda, clearly criticized not only by parliamentarians.
Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk has asked Germany not to buy any Russian energy sources, at least in the short term, for a month or two. “You don’t buy gas, oil or coal,” he said in the ZDF “Maybrit Illner” program. “This is our request to the federal government.”
Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (Verdi) said he was willing to go to Kiev, following the example of the heads of government of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia: “If he makes a contribution, I would always go there”.
The United States talks about Russian war crimes in Ukraine
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, but has described this as his personal opinion. He referred to a similar statement from President Biden. Deliberate attacks on civilians are a war crime. Officially, the US government has not yet made such a classification. However, Blinken said: “Our experts are documenting and evaluating possible war crimes committed in Ukraine.” According to the US Department of Defense, the Russian military is increasingly attacking civilian structures in Ukraine.
It will be important today
US President Biden plans to call Chinese President Xi Jinping about the war in Ukraine on Friday. China is Russia’s most important ally, but it shows some detachment in attacking Ukraine. The effects of the deep conflict between the West and Moscow are also likely to shape considerations of a national security strategy for Germany. A kick-off event will be held in Berlin, during which Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will speak. A meeting between Chancellor Scholz and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez should also involve Ukraine.
In New York, Russia abstained from voting on a resolution on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine due to a lack of support from the UN Security Council. However, the most powerful UN body will meet again on Friday for an emergency meeting on alleged US biological weapons labs in Ukraine, a claim the Russian side has repeatedly advanced despite lack of evidence. At Moscow’s request, the Council had already dealt with the allegations, widely described as disinformation and unfounded propaganda.