Friday, May 6, 2022

War in Ukraine – Lavrov: "We’re not toying with nuclear war"

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Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made serious allegations against NATO. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is causing confusion. The events of the night at a glance.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov incited hatred against NATO in two interviews during the night. According to Russian agencies, in an interview with the Chinese agency Xinhua, he accused the military alliance of preventing the end of the “special operation” through political agreements and arms deliveries.

In an interview with the Arabic-language channel Al-Arabiya, Lavrov also said that Russia knows the routes through which the West wants to deliver arms to Ukraine. The delivered weapons should become a target “as soon as they reach the territory of Ukraine”.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi caused irritation with information about a mass grave. The IAEA reported the resumption of communications on Chernobyl. In Berlin, the Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk thanked the German media for their war coverage.

According to Lavrov, negotiations with Kyiv on a draft agreement to end the war are not going well. They are also being hampered by “militant rhetoric and inflammatory actions by Kyiv’s western supporters.” However, the Russian side is in favor of continuing the negotiation process.

According to Ukrajinska Pravda, Zelenskyy said there was a high risk that Kyiv would break off negotiations with Moscow. He again called for direct negotiations with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. The first negotiations to end the hostilities began four days after the Russian invasion on February 24.

Russia does not see itself at war with NATO. Rather, NATO believes it is at war with Russia, Lavrov said, according to Russian agencies. Furthermore, Russia is not threatening nuclear weapons, Western media exaggerated on this subject. “We are not toying with a nuclear war,” Lavrov said. At the end of February, Russia had put deterrent weapons on alert, which was understood worldwide as a threat to the nuclear arsenal.

Lavrov continued to claim that the Russian military was doing “everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties”. Ukraine, on the other hand, reports civilian casualties every day. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recently put the number of civilians killed at 2,899, but the actual numbers are said to be considerably higher.

In an interview, Selenskyj spoke of a new mass grave with 900 dead in the Kiev region. His spokesman and the police denied it. “As of April 29, a total of 1,187 bodies of victims of the Russian army have been discovered in the Kyiv region, and the president probably meant this total number when he spoke of over 900,” said a statement from the Kyiv region police. Presidential spokesman Serhiy Nykyforov also emphasized in the online newspaper “Ukrajinska Pravda” that the president meant the total number.

After the withdrawal of Russian troops almost a month ago, the discovery of civilians, some of them tied up, who had been shot, caused horror around the world, especially in the Kiev suburb of Bucha. Moscow has denied all allegations.

Russian authorities have sent nuclear specialists to Ukraine’s nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia to the south-east. The eight representatives of Rosenergoatom, which belongs to the Russian state-owned company Rosatom, are demanding daily reports from the station management on “confidential issues” related to the operation of the nuclear plant, according to a statement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing Ukrainian authorities.

Accordingly, the nuclear power plant will continue to be operated by Ukrainian personnel, but will be controlled by Russian forces. Russian troops had occupied the facility on March 4th. According to the IAEA, communication with the Chernobyl plant will be gradually restored.

The Ukrainian army blew up a railway bridge in the Donetsk region. A Russian freight train was hit, as the “Ukrajinska Pravda” wrote. According to the online portal “Hromadske”, it was unclear whether it was a freight wagon or a tank wagon.

According to the newspapers, the destroyed bridge was a connection over the river Siwerskyi Donets between the towns of Lyman and Rajhorodok in eastern Ukraine. The railway connection to Lyman, which is at the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine, has been destroyed.

The United States is training Ukrainian soldiers in Germany and other locations on how to use military equipment. US Secretary of Defense spokesman John Kirby said training on German soil had already begun. Among other things, it is about how to deal with howitzers and other weapon systems that Kyiv is getting to support the war against Russia.

The US is providing Ukraine with arms and ammunition on a large scale to support the country in the war against Russia.

SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich has called on the federal government to approach countries that have so far supported Russia, for example for economic reasons, with diplomatic initiatives. “It is crucial that Russia’s strategic partners turn their backs on Putin. 45 countries, including five nuclear powers, have not condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine,” said Mützenich in the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post”.

“Putin’s government must be isolated. And we must achieve this through talks in the countries.” For example, India wants to buy large amounts of gas from Russia. China is also an important supporter of Russia. Likewise Brazil, South Africa and other countries.

At the Federal Press Ball, Ukrainian Ambassador Andrij Melnyk expressly thanked the German media for their reporting on Russia’s war against his home country. “I think it’s all the more a pity that many politicians mainly shine through their absence. But if they hope that they will avoid critical questions, then they are wrong,” said Melnyk on Friday evening at the opening of the ball.

The ball was presented this year as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and several ministers had canceled their participation in the “Solidarity Ball”.

The Greens are speaking at a small party conference in Düsseldorf on Saturday about the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Also on the agenda is a commitment to support the reconstruction of Ukraine and to help developing countries suffering from the loss of grain supplies from Ukraine.

The CSU also meets for a small party conference in Würzburg. The main focus is on foreign policy. In view of the war, the party is banking even more strongly than before on ties to the West, military strength and independence.

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