NATO expects further attacks from Russia ++ Klitschko hits Habeck

A Russian soldier stands guard in Russian-controlled territory near Chernobyl in Ukraine.Image: Russian Look / Globallookpress.com / Komsomolskaya Pravda

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for about a month. Both sides are fighting bitterly, thousands of people have already been killed in the war. Moscow repeatedly attacks civilian targets and the situation in the besieged city of Mariupol is particularly dire.

Russia has announced that it will reduce its military activities in the Kiev and Chernihiv regions, but Ukraine and the West are skeptical of this promise. Meanwhile, more than four million people have already fled Ukraine.

War also has drastic consequences for the economy. The federal government has announced the early warning level of the gas emergency plan.

In our news blog we will keep you updated on the latest developments.

31 March

13:55: NATO expects further attacks by Russia in Ukraine

NATO presumes further Russian attacks on Ukraine and sees no troop withdrawal around Kiev. According to the Alliance’s findings, “Russian units are not retreating, but repositioning themselves,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Thursday. Russia maintains pressure on Kiev and other cities. “Further offensive action can be expected,” Stoltenberg added.

Russia is seeking to regroup and strengthen its operations in the Donbass region. Russia announced Tuesday that it will significantly reduce military activities in the region around the Ukrainian capital Kiev and in the area around the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. With the new attacks on Chernihiv and Mariupol in the south, however, Russia has disappointed hopes that the situation would ease.

The United States had already warned on Tuesday that this was not a “withdrawal” of Russian troops, but a “repositioning”. It threatens a “major offensive against other regions of Ukraine”.

12:33 pm: Selenskyj calls for a boycott of Russian energy in the Dutch parliament

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the Netherlands to stop all trade with Russia and provide more weapons. Russia’s oil and gas imports must be boycotted, Zelenskyy said in a video speech to parliament in The Hague on Thursday. “Be prepared to stop importing energy from Russia so as not to throw billions into the war.”

He also called for the delivery of additional weapons, citing in particular the Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. “We need weapons to drive out the occupier.” Zelenskyy is the first foreign head of state to address parliament. The president called on Prime Minister Mark Rutte to work for Ukraine’s swift EU membership. “Our EU membership depends on you.”

12:24: Russia enlists 134,500 conscripts

Russia will call 134,500 men between the ages of 18 and 27 for military service this spring. President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday, several Russian news agencies reported. The convocation period lasts until mid-July. At the same time, the one-year military service ends for other Russians. A number of how many conscripts are leaving has not been provided and have been sent to the reserve.

Twelve months of compulsory military service for men aged 18 to 27 is required by law in Russia. Twice a year there are convocations of convocation. A few days ago, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stressed that the new recruits would not be sent to the “hotspots”, that is, to the crisis areas.

11:16: Klitschko delegation to Germany – meeting with Habeck expected

Former world boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko traveled to Germany with a delegation from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. “Meetings with high-ranking politicians are planned for Ukraine’s political support,” his brother Vitali, the mayor of Kiev, said on Thursday on the Telegram news channel. This is economic, humanitarian and military aid to the state attacked by Russia.

Klitschko will meet with Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) in Berlin on Thursday afternoon, a spokesman confirmed.

“We are grateful for the help provided, but we urgently need more humanitarian and military support in the war against the Russian army,” Klitschko told “Bild”. According to information from the newspaper, the delegation is expected to stay in Germany for at least two days. As a result, the delegation had requested several talks with various ministers.

10:03: Putin misinformed by advisers, Western intelligence services report

According to Western intelligence, Russian President Vladimir Putin was misinformed about the situation in Ukraine. GCHQ chief Jeremy Fleming said on a visit to Australia that Putin’s advisers are afraid to tell him the truth. However, the extent of the misjudgments must be clear to the Kremlin. The US government had previously made similar statements.

In Washington, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, citing intelligence information, said Putin felt duped by the Russian military. This causes ongoing tensions between the Kremlin boss and the military leadership. US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said it was cause for concern if Putin was misinformed or misinformed about what was happening in Ukraine.

Putin underestimated both the resistance of the Ukrainians and the unity of the West and the consequences of the sanctions. “He overestimated the ability of his military to achieve a quick victory.”

Now Putin is trying to remedy mistakes even more severely, even in Russia itself, Fleming said. “He seeks brutal control over the media and Internet access, tries to stifle the voices of the opposition and invests heavily in propaganda and covert activities.”

GCHQ chief Jeremy Fleming.

GCHQ chief Jeremy Fleming.Image: PA wire / Hannah McKay

8:38 am: Ukraine sends buses to Mariupol

After a Russian commitment to an interim ceasefire, the Ukrainian government sent 45 buses to the besieged southeastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol. “We are doing everything possible to ensure that the buses go to Mariupol today and take people who have not yet left the city,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video message on Thursday.

The city on the Sea of ​​Azov has been surrounded by Russian troops since the beginning of March. According to Ukrainian information, there are still more than 100,000 people in the badly damaged city. Nearly 440,000 people lived there before the war. On the way back, the bus column was supposed to pass through Russian-occupied Berdyansk to Zaporizhia, some 200 kilometers away.

In addition, two humanitarian corridors have been agreed in the cities of Melitopol and Enerhodar in the Zaporizhia region, which are also occupied by Russian troops. People in private cars can join the evacuation columns from the three cities. “Our army guarantees a complete ceasefire,” Vereshchuk said.

6:12 am: Zelenskii – Preparing for new attacks to the east

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy still does not see concrete results from talks with Russia. “Yes, there is a negotiation process going on. But so far they have been words. Nothing concrete,” he said in a video message posted on Thursday evening. Russia is not voluntarily withdrawing from the areas around Kiev and Chernihiv, but is being expelled by the Ukrainian army. At the same time, Kiev is noticing a deployment of Russian troops for new attacks in the Donbass, Zelensky said. “And we are preparing for it.”

5:46: White House advisers do not tell Putin the truth about the situation in Ukraine

According to the US government, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received an honest description of the situation in the war in Ukraine from his advisers. White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said Wednesday in Washington, citing intelligence information: “We believe he is misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is doing and how sanctions are paralyzing the Russian economy. “. Putin’s senior advisers are “too scared to tell him the truth”.

Bedingfield further said that, according to intelligence reports, Putin felt deceived by the Russian military, causing continued tensions between the Russian president and his military leadership. Bedingfield was no longer specific. When asked why the US government is disclosing this information, he said it is to help build a bigger picture and understand that attacking Ukraine is Russia’s major strategic mistake.

5:32: Scholz after talking to Putin – gas is paid for in euros or dollars

After talks with Kremlin head Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) confirmed that Germany will continue to pay for gas supplies from Russia in euros or dollars, as stipulated in the contracts. “It remains the case that the G7 agreement applies,” federal government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Wednesday evening in Berlin. Putin explained in the phone call that from April 1 a law will come into force according to which gas deliveries are paid in rubles.

However, nothing would change for the European contractual partners: payments would continue to be made exclusively in euros and, as usual, would be transferred to Gazprom Bank, which is not affected by the sanctions. The bank then converts the money into rubles. Scholz did not consent to this procedure, but only asked for written information about it, Hebestreit pointed out. Putin asked for the conversation.

The Kremlin had previously announced that the switch to ruble payments for Russian gas should not have put Germany at a disadvantage. The decision should not “lead to a worsening of contractual conditions for European importers of Russian gas”.

00:32: Russia announces ceasefire for Mariupol

The Russian Defense Ministry has announced a ceasefire in the port of Mariupol in southern Ukraine. The measure will take effect Thursday at 10:00 (local time; 09:00 CEST) and should create the possibility of evacuating civilians from the besieged city via a humanitarian corridor, the ministry said Wednesday.

“For this humanitarian operation to be successful, we propose the direct involvement of the representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),” the note reads. The humanitarian corridor is said to lead to Zaporizhia through the city of Berdyansk, which is under Russian control.

The ministry asked the Kiev government to confirm “unconditional compliance” with the ceasefire by sending written notification to the Russian side, as well as to the UNHCR and the ICRC. The Ukrainian army must also work to ensure the safety of the bus convoys that will be used to transport civilians, the statement said.

You can find older war news here.

(nik / fas / dpa / afp)

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