+++ News in the Ukraine war +++: Mass grave discovered in Isjum

In the liberated city of Izyum, 440 bodies were found in an anonymous grave. Meanwhile, Rosneft Germany is placed under trusteeship.

A man stands between graves marked with wooden crosses

An anonymous mass grave was found in the forest near the liberated Ukrainian city of Isium Photo: ap

Mass grave discovered in recaptured city of Izyum

According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a mass grave has been found in the city of Izyum, which was recaptured by the Ukrainian army. “We want the world to know what the Russian occupation has done,” said Zelenskyy on Thursday evening, without giving details on the number of bodies or the cause of death. The investigations had begun, and the first findings should be available on Friday.

Presidential chief Andriy Yermak accused the Russian troops of murder and published a photo of a forest area with crude wooden crosses. All bodies found in the mass grave would be exhumed and forensically examined, Yermak announced. More information should be released on Friday.

Regional police chief Sergey Botvinov spoke to Sky News about a burial site with around 440 bodies that had been discovered in Izyum. Some of the people were killed by gunfire, others died during bombings.

Zelenskyy compared Izyum to the cities of Bucha and Mariupol, which have become symbols of the atrocities of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Russia leaves death everywhere,” he said. The world must “really hold Moscow accountable for this war.” (afp)

šŸ¾ Everyday life in Ukraine: The tombs of Lviv

There is no war in western Ukraine, but its traces pervade everyday life. In the church, with the flower seller, in cemeteries, writes Taz author Marco Zschieck from Lviv.

Rosneft Germany comes under trusteeship

The federal government is presenting the long-awaited solution for the PCK refinery in Schwedt: It is placing the Russian majority owner – Rosneft Germany and RN Refining & Marketing GmbH – under trusteeship of the Federal Network Agency, as the Federal Ministry of Economics announced on Friday morning. In addition, there should be a ā€œpackage for the futureā€ for the PCK.

“The trust administration counteracts the impending threat to the security of the energy supply and lays an important foundation for the preservation and future of the Schwedt location,” said Habeck’s ministry. The “package for the future” is intended to bring about a “transformation push” for the region and support the refinery so that the supply of oil is secured using alternative delivery routes.

The trust management will take effect this Friday and is initially limited to six months. The companies concerned have to bear the costs for this. The Federal Network Agency can thus dismiss and reappoint members of the management board and issue instructions to the management board.

background is that Oil embargo against Russia because of the Ukraine war, which will take effect on January 1, 2023. To date, the PCK refinery has been dependent on supplies of Russian crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline. The Russian state-owned company Rosneft, which held around 54 percent of PCK through the two subsidiaries now placed under trusteeship, had little interest in turning away from Russian oil, according to earlier information from the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

According to the ministry, Rosneft Germany accounts for around twelve percent of Germany’s oil processing capacity, making it one of the largest oil processing companies in Germany. Refineries in Baden-WĆ¼rttemberg and Bavaria are also affected by the trust administration.

PCK has around 1,200 employees and is considered the economic pillar of the region around Schwedt in Brandenburg. The refinery supplies large parts of north-eastern Germany with fuel. (dpa)

Zelenskyj calls for eighth EU sanctions package against Russia

In a video message distributed on Thursday evening, Selenskyj again described Russia as a “terrorist state” that is trying to compensate for the “cowardice and incompetence of its armed forces” with attacks on the energy infrastructure and dams in Ukraine. onterror there must always be a hard reaction, demanded Selenskyj. “Therefore there must be the eighth sanctions package of the EU.” (dpa)

Ukraine demands powerful air defense systems

In addition, Zelenskyj once again demanded powerful air defense systems from the West to protect Ukrainian airspace. “Protecting Ukraine from Russian missiles is a truly fundamental element of global security,” he said. Russia has fired more than 3,800 rockets at Ukraine since the war began on February 24.

Supporting his country with weapons, ammunition and money is essential for peace in Europe, emphasized the 44-year-old. “The more support we have, the faster this war will end.” Freedom in the world can only be defended if Ukraine wins. (dpa)

Federal government wants to hand over weapons to Ukraine

The federal government will provide Ukraine with two more Mars multiple rocket launchers and 50 armored vehicles of the Dingo type. In addition, 200 missiles would be delivered, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) announced on Thursday in Berlin. Berlin is thus expanding the list of weapon systems, but is leaving Kyiv’s demand for battle tanks and armored personnel carriers unfulfilled. The US State Department announced on Thursday evening further military aid for Kyiv in the amount of 600 million US dollars (around 600 million euros) – for example in the form of additional weapons, ammunition and equipment from US stocks. (dpa)

Von der Leyen demands delivery of tanks to Ukraine

At the end of her visit to Ukraine, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen appealed to the European states to also make western main battle tanks available to the country. Von der Leyen says in an interview with picture: “If they say they need main battle tanks, then we should take it seriously and deliver it to them.”

After her conversation with President Volodymyr Zelenskyj, von der Leyen explains: “The Ukrainians are proving that they can defend themselves if they have the right military means.” Autocracy loses”. And that’s why it’s so important that the Ukrainians get all the military resources they say: “We need them now.” (rtr)

Stephan Weil for relaxing arms export rules

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) supports Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht’s initiative to relax the strict arms export rules. “That seems plausible to me – especially from the point of view of European cooperation,” says Weil. ā€œThe states in Europe are in the same boat. We have a common interest in being strong together. And that also includes being able to work together on armaments issues.ā€

At the beginning of the week, SPD politician Lambrecht spoke out in favor of relaxing the strict German guidelines for arms exports in order to facilitate cooperation with European allies such as France, Spain and Great Britain. In these countries, arms exports are not made as dependent on the human rights situation in the target countries as they are in Germany. In the case of joint projects, however, the companies in the partner countries must also comply with the German restrictions when exporting.

In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed to place arms export controls on a legal basis. A draft law is currently being drafted by Robert Habeck (Greens) in the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The Greens even want to tighten the rules and further restrict exports to countries outside the European Union and NATO. (dpa)

Pope wants to continue facilitating dialogue with Moscow

The Vatican wants to keep the path of dialogue with Russia open. Pope Francis said Thursday, returning from a trip to Kazakhstan, that he does not rule out talking to any power at war, even if it is about aggression. This is inconvenient but necessary.

“One must always take a step forward, with an outstretched hand, because the alternative is to close the only reasonable door to peace,” the pontiff told journalists on the plane. At the same time, he declared that supplying arms to Ukraine was morally justifiable because the country was defending itself against an invasion. Such a defense is not only right, but also an expression of love for the country. (ap)

US imposes more sanctions on Russia

The US government imposed further sanctions on dozens of Russian and Ukrainian officials and Russian companies on Thursday. The Foreign Ministry said all those affected supported Russia’s war against Ukraine. They are accused of human rights violations and stealing Ukrainian grain.

The sanctions targeted at least 23 individuals and 31 Russian government agencies and companies. Some, but not all, of those affected are already subject to US sanctions, such as asset freezes and bans on US citizens doing business with them. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said some of those sanctioned were violent criminals, and one supported the kidnapping of children from Ukraine.

Agencies and companies hit by the sanctions included Russia’s domestic intelligence agency GRU, which the US has sanctioned since 2016. Since then he has also been accused of running camps through which Ukrainians were forcibly deported. Also sanctioned were high-tech firms involved in Russia’s space and satellite industries, as well as computer firms that make microprocessors and semiconductors used by the Russian armed forces. (ap)

Trial for “high treason” against OSCE staff

The trial of an employee of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) began in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. The man, who has been in prison since April, has been accused of “high treason,” the Ministry of State Security in the pro-Russian separatist region said on its website. Dmitry Shabanov, as a security assistant at the Stakhanavoskaya Forward Patrol Base, passed on secret information to representatives of foreign intelligence services, it was said.

The statement was accompanied by a 15-second video of the suspect, handcuffed and with his head shaved, being led by police to a metal cage inside the courthouse. According to the ministry, Shabanov was recruited in 2016 by a former officer of Ukraine’s SBU and a CIA agent.

The OSCE Mission has been deployed in the conflict zone since 2014. At the beginning of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, she finished her work in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. (afp)

Duma wants defense minister to be questioned

According to a media report, the Russian parliament is considering questioning Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The Council of the State Duma will discuss the matter on Monday, the Russian newspaper Kommersant quotes Sergei Mironov, head of the small Kremlin-affiliated party Fair Russia. It is uncharacteristic of the State Duma to subpoena a defense minister.

Russian forces are also being criticized in Russia after losing large parts of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region to Ukraine’s counteroffensive. (rtr)

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