The essentials in brief:
- Zelenskii addresses the French and Japanese parliaments
- Putin wants the rubles for gas
- Germany sends anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine
- NATO announces the strengthening of the eastern flank
- Human rights activists speak of a “hellish situation” in Mariupol
In a video speech to the French parliament, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more pressure on Russia. In his appearance from Kiev, Zelensky appealed to French companies to leave Russia and stop funding a war. Ukraine also expects that a decision on its application for EU membership will be taken by the end of June during the French presidency of the EU. Selenskyj spoke of a historic decision at a historic moment.
Zelenskyi again stressed in parliament that the war is not just about his own country. He spoke of the conviction of defending the common freedom of Paris and Kiev. The senators and representatives rose from their seats in honor of him. Ukrainian flags flew in the rooms. At Zelensky’s request, Parliament maintained a minute’s silence for the war victims. The Ukrainian president has spoken to several parliaments via video message since the beginning of the war, also this morning in Tokyo.
He called on Japan to impose a trade embargo on Russia. So the pressure of sanctions should have increased, Selenskyj said. He thanked Japan for paving the way for condemning the Russian invasion and for imposing sanctions on Asian countries. China and India have not yet condemned the Russian invasion.
“Massacre” and “War Crimes”
France and the United States unequivocally condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine. “The cities of Kiev, Mariupol and Mykolaiv, like so many others, are mercilessly besieged and bombed by the Russian army. It is a massacre and the worst is yet to come,” French Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere told the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.
The US government now officially accuses Russian troops in Ukraine of war crimes. “Today I am able to announce that, based on currently available information, the US government has determined that members of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine have committed war crimes,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Our assessment is based on a careful review of information available from public and intelligence sources.”
rubles for gas
In the future, customers in Germany and other EU countries will have to pay in rubles for gas deliveries from Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to stop accepting payments in dollars or euros. Deliveries would continue to be fully guaranteed, the head of the Kremlin assured in a government video conference broadcast on state television. Payment of Russian goods in foreign currency has lost its meaning. As a result, the “hostile states” held by Russia on a blacklist are hit. This includes Germany and all other EU countries, but also the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Putin has defined a transition period of one week.
Arms deliveries from Germany
According to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Germany is currently supplying additional Strela anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. “The other deliveries of Strela are on their way,” the Green politician told the Bundestag. So far Ukraine has received 500 Strela anti-aircraft missiles from Germany. Originally it was spoken up to 2700. Baerbock has now stressed: “We are one of the biggest arms suppliers in this situation. It is nothing that makes us proud, it is what we need to do now to help Ukraine.”
Green leader Omid Nouripour had previously spoken out in favor of supplying more weapons to Ukraine. “It is clear that more has to come and it is clear that every single requirement is being checked,” Nouripour said on RTL / n-tv. He can ensure that this is done to the best of my knowledge and belief, in a balance between assisting and avoiding the demarcation of war. But: according to the Green politician, not all wishes can be granted. “It’s just not like submarines grow on trees and you just have to peel them off and deliver them.”
NATO announces further strengthening of the eastern flank
NATO wants to strengthen its eastern flank with four other battle groups to deter Russia. As announced by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are planned as headquarters for the so-called NATO battle groups.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has warned of a possible NATO peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. “It would be a very reckless and extremely dangerous decision,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Interfax news agency. A “special military operation” is currently underway in Ukraine, Peskov said – this is what Moscow officially calls war. “And any possible confrontation between our soldiers and those of NATO can have understandable consequences that are difficult to remedy.”
Poland wants to officially present its proposal for a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine at the NATO summit this Thursday in Brussels. So far, however, the initiative has met with mixed reactions among NATO partners.
Volodymyr Senlenskyj speaks in front of the Tokyo parliament – a pedestrian watches the broadcast
Kremlin spokesman Peskov also said that the possible intervention of other members of the Russian-dominated military alliance is not in question. Ukraine has repeatedly expressed concern that Belarus, for example, which belongs to the so-called Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), may take part in the war with its own troops.
“Infernal landscape” in Mariupol
In Ukraine, the Russian armed forces have again increased the bombing of Ukrainian cities. According to the municipal administration, two “extremely powerful bombs” fell in the besieged port of Mariupol.
“It is clear that the besiegers are not interested in the city, they want to sweep it away, reduce it to ashes,” the government of the city of Mariupol said. The two particularly powerful bombs struck during an evacuation operation.
It is said that around 200,000 people will remain in Mariupol
According to the authorities, more than 200,000 people are still trapped in Mariupol. The situation is dramatic after weeks of Russian bombing and sieges. According to the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, residents who managed to escape reported a “frozen hell landscape full of corpses and destroyed buildings.”