Russia-Ukraine war: Russian blockade of grain exports is ‘a real war crime’, says EU foreign policy chief – live | Ukraine


EU’s Borrell: Russian blockade of grain exports is ‘a real war crime’

Russia’s blockade of the export of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain is a war crime, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said.

“We call on Russia to deblockade the ports … It is inconceivable, one cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger,” Reuters reports he told the media.

“This is a real war crime, so I cannot imagine that this will last much longer,” he said on arriving to a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Russia has demanded that Lithuania immediately lift a ban on the transit of some goods to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Lithuania’s top envoy in Moscow to warn that unless the transit was swiftly restored, Russia would respond to protect its interests.

Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, described the situation as “more than serious”, telling reporters:

This decision is really unprecedented. It’s a violation of everything.

Lithuanian authorities have banned the transit of goods on an EU sanctions list across its territory, which includes the only rail route between mainland Russia and the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea. Banned goods include coal, metals, construction materials and advanced technology.

Kaliningrad’s governor has estimated that the ban could affect up to half of all goods that are brought to the region by rail.

Russia’s foreign ministry demanded Vilnius reverse what it cast as an “openly hostile” move immediately. It said:

If cargo transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation via Lithuania is not fully restored in the near future, then Russia reserves the right to take actions to protect its national interests.

Lithuania said it was merely implementing EU sanctions. Its foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, told reporters:

It’s not Lithuania doing anything: it’s European sanctions that started working from 17 of June.

Luke Harding

Luke Harding

The Guardian journalist Luke Harding chronicles the defining moments in Vladimir Putin’s early presidency that helped turn Russia into a “mafia state” – from the clampdown on the independent media, to shocking assassinations and the emergence of pro-western democratic movements in neighbouring Georgia and Ukraine.

Putin’s Russia: dictator syndrome and the rise of a ‘mafia state’ – video

The editor of the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta is auctioning his Nobel peace prize medal, with the proceeds to go to helping children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

Dmitry Muratov led one of the last major independent media outlets critical of Vladimir Putin’s government after others either shut or had their websites blocked following the invasion of Ukraine. In March, it announced it was suspending operations for the duration of the war after it became a crime to report anything on the conflict that veered from the government line.

Muratov was awarded the Nobel peace prize medal last October. He later announced he would donate the $500,000 prize money to charity “to give the children refugees a chance for a future”. On Monday, to coincide with World Refugee Day, his 23-karat gold Nobel medal will go on sale in New York. All proceeds will go to Unicef, to help children who are refugees from Ukraine.

Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov.
Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

In a video released by Heritage Auctions, which is handling the sale, Muratov said it had to become “a beginning of a flash mob as an example to follow so people auction their valuable possessions to help Ukrainians”.

In an interview last month, Muratov said the sale was “an act of solidarity” with the 14 million Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion, which he called “a tragedy”.

“If we look at the number of refugees, we basically have world war three, not a local conflict,” he said. “This has been a mistake, and we need to end it.”

Novaya Gazeta was established in 1993 after the break-up of the Soviet Union and investigated corruption inside and outside Russia, as well as the long wars in Chechnya. Muratov dedicated his award to the memory of six of his paper’s journalists who were murdered for their work.

Ukrainian missile strike hits oil rigs off Crimea, says pro-Russian official

The pro-Russian Crimean leader, Sergei Aksyonov, has accused Ukraine of launching a missile strike on drilling platforms off the coast of the peninsula.

Three people were injured and a search is underway for seven other workers after the attack on the drilling platforms of Chernomorneftegaz, Aksyonov said in a post on Telegram.

Aksyonov said:

I am in contact with our colleagues from the defence ministry and the FSB (security agency), we are working on saving people.

He did not specify which platforms had been hit, but the oil and gas company operates several gas and oil fields in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

It has not been possible to independently verify these claims.

Dan Sabbagh

Dan Sabbagh

Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrey Kelin, is to be banned from Parliament’s estate in Westminster “until further notice” according to a message sent out by the Commons Speaker and the Lord Speaker this morning.

The ban, which also applies to all other accredited Russian diplomats and officials in the UK, has been operating informally since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February, but has now been confirmed in writing for the first time.

The note to parliamentarians from Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lord McFall reads:

As the formally accredited representative of the Russian government, the ambassador will not be welcomed onto the parliamentary estate until further notice.

The email was accompanied by a Foreign Office guidance note for the 265 MPs and 154 peers recently banned by Moscow from entering Russia. It said:

We anticipate that if a sanctioned individual applied for a Russian visa it would be refused, and if they arrived at the border they would be prevented from entering Russia and deported at the earliest opportunity.

Travel is also not advised to areas under Russian “control or influence” including Belarus, Transnistria in Moldova, Crimea, along the Armenia/Azerbaijan border and the occupied Donbas region of Ukraine, the note added.

US treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, is due to meet with Canada’s finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, in Toronto today where they will discuss the war in Ukraine and joint efforts to deal with the food and fuel price inflation it is causing.

The two finance ministers will discuss sanctions and other joint efforts to increase economic pressure on Russia to end its war in Ukraine, the US treasury said in a statement.

The statement continued:

They’ll also discuss joint efforts to mitigate the global consequences being felt because of Russia’s aggression, including the need to boost production of fossil fuels in the short term to address high gas and energy costs, and reiterate the importance of adopting clean energy technologies that break our dependence over the medium-term.

Russian ballistic missile hit the Saltiv streetcar depot as a result of another shelling of Kharkiv, northern Ukraine.
Russian ballistic missile hit the Saltiv streetcar depot as a result of another shelling of Kharkiv, northern Ukraine. Photograph: Ukrinform/REX/Shutterstock
Russian ballistic missile hit the Saltiv streetcar depot in Kharkiv, northern Ukraine.
Russian ballistic missile hit the Saltiv streetcar depot in Kharkiv, northern Ukraine. Photograph: Ukrinform/REX/Shutterstock

The former director of the British special forces said the UK must “prepare for war” as a deterrent against Russia.

The comment by Gen Sir Adrian Bradshaw came after the new head of the British army, Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, told troops they must prepare “to fight in Europe once again”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Sir Adrian said:

Yeah, he is absolutely right. The point is that, by preparing for war properly, by building really solid deterrence, we will stop war happening.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has shown “he is prepared to take the risk of indulging in open warfare in Europe”, Sir Adrian said, adding:

He’s doing that in Ukraine, with terrible, terrible consequences.

What we must absolutely ensure is that he doesn’t see an avenue, an opportunity to launch something against Nato to his advantage.We must not give him that opening, and what General Saunders is saying is something that’s been said by military commanders for a thousand years – if you want peace, prepare for war.

Hello everyone. It’s Léonie Chao-Fong here, taking over the live blog from Martin Belam to bring you all the latest developments from Ukraine. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or via email.

Today so far …

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said he expected Russia will intensify attacks on Ukraine and possibly other European countries after the EU Commission proposed it as a candidate for EU membership. “Obviously, this week we should expect from Russia an intensification of its hostile activities,” he said in a nightly video address. “And not only against Ukraine, but also against other European countries. We are preparing. We are ready. We warn partners.”
  • Ukraine’s forces remain on the defensive in the eastern Donbas region, where fighting continues in Sievierodonestsk. Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, said Russia was massing forces in an attempt to take full control of the city after weeks of fighting but maintained that “all Russian claims that they control the town are a lie”. “They control the main part of the town, but not the whole town,” he told Ukrainian television.
  • Russia’s blockade of the export of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain is a war crime, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said. “We call on Russia to deblockade the ports … It is inconceivable, one cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger,” he told the media as he arrived at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
  • Germany says it supports Poland and Romania in adapting their railways to enable the export of millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine due to a Russian sea blockade. European Union foreign ministers will discuss ways to free the millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine at today’s meeting
  • Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the security council of Russia and long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has posted to Telegram to advise against nuclear negotiations with the US, saying that the relationship between the two countries is at “zero Kelvin”.
  • The UK ministry of defence has said in its latest intelligence report that “In the conflict to date, Russia’s air force has underperformed. Its failure to consistently deliver air power is likely one of the most important factors behind Russia’s very limited campaign success.”
  • Russia has become China’s top oil supplier amid Ukraine war sanctions. China’s crude oil imports from Russia soared by 55% from a year earlier to a record level in May, displacing Saudi Arabia as the top supplier, as refiners cashed in on discounted supplies amid sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
  • The war in Ukraine could last for years and will require long-term military support, according to Nato and other western leaders. “We must prepare for the fact that it could take years,” Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said in an interview with the German newspaper Bild on Sunday. British prime minister, Boris Johnson, added: “I am afraid that we need to steel ourselves for a long war.”
  • Ukraine’s parliament voted through two laws on Sunday which will place severe restrictions on Russian books and music. Proposed laws will forbid the printing of books by Russian citizens, banning the commercial import of books printed in Russia and prohibiting the playing of music by post-1991 Russian citizens on media and on public transport in the latest attempt to break cultural ties between the two countries.
  • A German government source has said that the country is “very confident” Nato will successfully reach an agreement with Sweden and Finland over their bid for membership, although possibly not in time for the Madrid summit at the end of June.
  • Australia has sent the first four of 14 armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine as part of a $285m aid package. The M113AS4s were loaded into a Ukrainian aircraft last week after the former defence minister Peter Dutton promised the personnel carriers and 20 additional Bushmaster protected infantry vehicles in May.
  • Germany has said it will limit the use of natural gas for electricity production and increase its reliance on coal-fired power plants amid concerns about possible shortages caused by a cut in supplies from Russia. “That’s bitter, but in this situation it’s almost necessary to reduce gas consumption,” Robert Habeck, minister for economic affairs, said in a statement on Sunday.
  • Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov will auction off his Nobel Peace Prize medal later today, pledging the proceeds will go directly to UNICEF in its efforts to help children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

That is it from me, Martin Belam, for now. I will be back later on. Léonie Chao-Fong will be here shortly to take you through the next few hours.

A German government source has informed Reuters that the country is “very confident” Nato will successfully reach an agreement with Sweden and Finland over their bid for membership, although possibly not in time for the Madrid summit.

It quotes the source saying “As nice as it would be to announce concrete steps … it would not be a catastrophe if it needed a few more weeks. What is decisive from our point of view is there are no unsurmountable problems.”

Turkey has indicated it would not welcome Sweden and Finland into the Nato alliance, accusing the two countries of supporting and harbouring Kurdish militants and other groups it deems terrorists. They both deny this.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the security council of Russia and long-time ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has posted to Telegram to say that the relationship between the US and Russia is at “zero Kelvin”.

Speaking about the prospect for further negotiations on nuclear treaties, Medvedev posted:

As a person who had a direct relationship with START-3 and signed it in 2010, I consider the time for new negotiations to be the most inopportune.

We don’t have any relations with the USA now. They are at zero Kelvin. And you don’t need to defrost them today. And there is no need to negotiate with them yet. Let them run or crawl and ask for it. And they appreciate it as a special favour.

Russia’s ministry of defence has issued its daily operation briefing. In it, they claim to have:

  • destroyed a drone control centre at the Artsyz airfield in Odesa
  • destroyed a Buk-M1 launcher in Donetsk
  • destroyed key elements of a S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in Luhansk
  • shot down a MiG-29 aircraft in Dnipropetrovsk
  • killed 450 members of the Ukrainian armed forces

Today they also devote a section to claims that Ukrainian forces are suffering for desertions, “mass disobedience to the command”, and that some commanders have “withdrawn from the management of their units and evade combat missions” using any pretext of illness.

None of the claims have been independently verified.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has claimed this morning on Telegram that in the last 24 hours, 32 houses and 8 “civil infrastructure facilities” were damaged by shelling from Ukrainian forces on 13 of the 238 settlements that the DPR claims to control. Russia is the only UN state that recognises the legitimacy of the DPR. The claims have not been independently verified.

German foreign minister: ‘we will certainly not be able to get out all grain’ from Ukraine

Germany says it supports Poland and Romania in adapting their railways to enable the export of millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine due to a Russian sea blockade, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has said.

“The railway tracks need to be modernised, we need the right cargo wagons – the German government is working on this with many other actors,” she told reporters as she arrived for a meeting with her European Union counterparts in Luxembourg.

Reuters reports she added “It is clear that, in the end, we will certainly not be able to get out all grain but if we even just manage to free part of it, on various routes, then this will help as we are facing this global challenge.”

EU’s Borrell: Russian blockade of grain exports is ‘a real war crime’

Russia’s blockade of the export of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain is a war crime, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said.

“We call on Russia to deblockade the ports … It is inconceivable, one cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger,” Reuters reports he told the media.

“This is a real war crime, so I cannot imagine that this will last much longer,” he said on arriving to a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

Oleh Synyehubov, the governor of Kharkiv, has posted to Telegram to report:

During the past 24 hours in Kharkiv, the enemy was beating on the outskirts of the city and in the Kholodnohirsky district. According to preliminary information, no one was injured. The Russians continue to terrorise the civilian population.

I appeal to Kharkiv residents: do not ignore alarms, stay in the shelters. Do not be unnecessarily in the fields, on the roadsides, do not visit the forest belts.

On the line of contact in the Kharkiv region, the enemy is mainly focused on defence. Our defenders hold their positions firmly. We have repeatedly said that the enemy does not abandon plans for Kharkiv, but our armed forces are ready for any scenario on the part of the occupiers.





Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.