9:25 a.m.: Media report: Finland wants to apply for NATO membership on May 12
According to a press report, Finland will formally decide on May 12 to apply for NATO membership. President Sauli Niinistö will declare for the first time the day he favors membership. The newspaper “Iltalehti” reports, citing government circles, that the parliament should then approve an application to join the military alliance. The decision will then be confirmed in a meeting between the president and key ministers. No confirmation was immediately available for the report. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused many in Finland and Sweden to rethink NATO membership. For decades, the attitude has been that the best way to keep the peace is not to officially take sides. Finland and Russia share a border of 1300 km. Moscow has said it would deploy nuclear and hypersonic weapons in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad if Finland and Sweden join NATO.
9:12 am: Denmark reopens its embassy in Ukraine
Denmark wants to reopen its embassy in Ukraine later today. “This is a very strong symbol of Denmark’s support for the Ukrainian people,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told Danish radio DR. The government in Copenhagen closed its representation in Kyiv on February 24 immediately after the invasion Russian from Ukraine. Some other countries like France, Britain and the United States had recently announced that they would reopen their embassies in the Ukrainian capital.
9:01 am: Lemke: In the “crisis scenario” of the gas shortage, private households remain protected
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) has confirmed that private households and important infrastructure such as hospitals will have priority in the event of a gas bottleneck. The gas supply is currently secure, she pointed out in ZDF’s “Morgenmagazin” on Monday. The federal government is trying to avoid a “real emergency” and is trying to find alternatives. If such an emergency actually occurs, “then infrastructure such as hospitals” but also private consumers “would be the ones who really need to be protected, and the federal government stands by that as well,” Lemke said. . At the same time, she called on everyone to contribute to saving energy.
In the event of a shortage, the federal government decides who gets how much gas. Private households are particularly protected. Recently, however, requests have come from economics to change the prioritization.
8:54 am: Great Britain: A quarter of Russian troops in Ukraine deactivated
The British military estimates that more than a quarter of Russian troops stationed in Ukraine for the war are disabled. Russia has likely sent more than 120 “tactical battalion groups” to Ukraine since February, or 65% of the Russians’ total combat strength, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Twitter on Monday. Of these, probably more than a quarter are no longer fit for war.
Injury or death of soldiers can contribute to military incapacitation. Damage to military equipment can also lead to incapacitation.
8:31 am: New Zealand extends sanctions against Russia
New Zealand extends sanctions against Russia over war in Ukraine. The new sanctions target 170 members of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council and six defence-related companies and organisations. Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in Wellington on Monday that her country would make those involved in President Vladimir Putin’s “war machine” pay. “We are determined to hold President Putin and his group of warmongers accountable.”
The Pacific state had previously imposed sanctions on Russia’s biggest banks. Other punitive measures target Putin himself, members of his government and the oligarchs. Import duties of 35% were also imposed on all Russian imports.
8:05 am: New Russian attacks in the East
According to Ukraine, Russia is continuing its attacks in the east of the country. Russian troops have tried to take the city of Rubizhne and are preparing an attack on Sieverodonetsk, the Ukrainian general staff said. In Dnipro, further east, a Russian missile hit a grain silo, according to the governor in charge, Valentyn Resnichenko. No one was hurt. According to Governor Serhiy Gaidai, three people have been killed in attacks in the Luhansk region in the past 24 hours.
7:49 am: Özdemir wants to help Ukraine with wheat exports
Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) wants to help Ukraine export grain stuck in Ukrainian ports, Özdemir told Editorial Network Germany. Alternative transport routes should be made possible, he explained. “The railway can be a solution for the export of cereals – although with a lot of effort and with limited capacities. As a federal government, we will do everything possible. Rail transport problems caused, among other things, different gauges, Özdemir explained. In addition, Russia is now also bombing railway systems. “We continue to receive reports of targeted Russian attacks on grain silos, fertilizer stores, farmland and infrastructure,” the minister said. Behind this apparently lies Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to “eliminate Ukraine as a long-term competitor”. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, almost 4.5 million tonnes of grain are currently stuck in Ukrainian ports and on ships.
7:22 am: Jill Biden wants to visit refugees in Slovakia
First Lady Jill Biden meets with Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia. The wife of US President Joe Biden is due to arrive in Romania on Friday, where she will visit soldiers at an air base, the White House announced on Sunday evening (local time). Then she is expected in the capital Bucharest. On May 8, Mother’s Day, Biden will visit refugees in Kosice and Vysne Nemecke in Slovakia.
During her trip, the first lady will meet with government officials, aid workers, US embassy staff, educators and local residents caring for Ukrainian refugees, the White House said.
06:52: Deputy commander of Ukrainian troops describes the situation at the Mariupol steel plant
The deputy commander of the regiment responsible for the steel plant in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol described the conditions there. In addition to his Azov regiment, the Azovstal facility will also be protected by a brigade of marines and members of the police, border and coast guards, Sviastoslav Palamar told the AP news agency on Sunday. . “Some of them are guarding territory, some are foiling attack attempts, some are in charge of a ceasefire, some are helping to clear rubble under fire.”
Defending the steel plant – the last part in Mariupol is not under Russian control – is complicated by the presence of children and civilians, Palamar said. There are also many injured on the spot. Drinking water is not enough; the stench of rotting corpses hung in the air. The resistance of the steel fighters against Russia will continue as long as there is no order to give up.
Palamar hoped more people would be evacuated from the steel plant. All people should be kicked out of the facility, he said. Palamar said it was difficult to get to the victims at the steel mill. There is debris in the facility, but there is no special equipment to remove it. “Soldiers find it difficult to lift heavy slabs with only their arms,” Palamar said.
6:36 am: Individual Russian Orthodox priests dare to resist
During his “special military operation” in Ukraine, Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin actually knows that the powerful Russian Orthodox Church is firmly behind him. After the offensive began on February 24, Moscow Patriarch Cyril called on Orthodox believers to “gather” around the government. Not all Orthodox priests in Russia follow this line.
Georgi Edelschtein, from the village of Nowo-Bely Kamen, northeast of Moscow, not far from the city of Kostroma, said: “I have not always been against all wars, but I have always been against all wars of land grabbing and aggression. Ukraine is an “independent state”, says the 89-year-old. “Let them build their state as they see fit.”
With his publicly represented position, Edelschtein is an exception in the Russian Orthodox Church. On February 25, the second day of Russia’s “special operation” in the neighboring country, he signed an open letter written by his colleague Joann Burdin against the military operation. “The blood of the Ukrainian people will be on the hands not only of the Russian leadership, but also of the soldiers carrying out this order,” the letter reads. “Your blood is on the hands of any of us who allow this war or simply remain silent.” The open letter was posted on the website of the Karabanowo parish of Burdin, also located in the Kostroma region, but was later deleted. The Metropolitan of Kostroma condemned the letter. Only two of the region’s 160 priests are against the military operation in Ukraine, he explained.