According to a newspaper report, almost 143 million euros in assets belonging to Russian oligarchs in German accounts have been frozen since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As of May 23, a total of EUR 142,990,409.35 has been confiscated from Russian companies and institutions under EU law, reports the newspaper “Bild”, citing information from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Accordingly, the value of confiscated assets at the end of February shortly after the start of the war was 342,000 euros. By March 21, German financial institutions reported to the Bundesbank that around 95 million oligarchs were frozen.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has denied rumors that Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin has fallen ill. “I don’t think that reasonable people can see in this person signs of any kind of illness or infirmity,” Lavrov said in response to a question from French TV channel TF1 on Sunday.
Putin, who turns 70 in October, appears in public “every day”. “You can see him on screens, read and listen to his speeches,” Lavrov said, according to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Putin’s health and personal life are taboo subjects in Russia and almost never discussed in public.
According to the former German President Joachim Gauck, arms deliveries to the Ukraine are important for their fight for freedom against the Russian attackers. “Without the weapons of the Allies in the World War there would have been a Europe under Nazi rule,” said Gauck in an interview with the “Bild” (Monday edition). Ukraine must be allowed to say what it needs to oppose Russia. “If people then say to us: We want to fight for our freedom, we’re even risking our lives, then it’s not up to us to explain to them from a safe place what the right thing is,” said the ex-president. “That would be callous and highly arrogant.”
Nevertheless, politicians must continue to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Gauck. “Responsible politics must also talk to dictators. We must never do without diplomacy.” However, it is important to negotiate from a position of strength. That also “proved to be correct during the Cold War.
According to a newspaper report, the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) have agreed on criteria for the admission of Kremlin critics from Russia who are particularly at risk. The newspapers of the “Funke Mediengruppe” report that the endangered groups of people will be helped faster and less bureaucratically with a residence permit to flee Russia. After a case study, they receive permission for a longer stay in Germany and not, as in the past, only a limited Schengen visa for a maximum of 90 days. According to the report, the groups of people at risk include human rights defenders threatened by political persecution, members of the opposition, employees of human rights organizations and scientists, but also journalists who are specifically endangered.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described the capture of eastern Ukraine’s Donbass as an “unconditional priority”. It is about pushing the Ukrainian army and battalions out of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which Moscow recognizes as independent states, Lavrov said in an interview with the French broadcaster TF1, according to the Russian foreign ministry. The ministry published the answers on Sunday on its website.
In other areas of Ukraine where Russia is conducting a “military operation,” residents themselves must decide their future, Lavrov said. On the other hand, the government in Kyiv expects that there could be a controlled referendum in the Ukrainian region of Cherson on the proclamation of a “people’s republic” based on the model of the pro-Russian separatist areas of Luhansk and Donetsk.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the head of the intelligence service in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has been fired. He found that from the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, he was not concerned with defending the city, “but only thought of himself,” Zelenskyj said in his daily video speech on Sunday evening. The law enforcement authorities would now investigate the motives behind it.
The President visited the east of his country on Sunday for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. His office published a video on Telegram, which showed Zelenskyy wearing a bulletproof vest inspecting destroyed buildings in Kharkiv and the surrounding area. During his visit, he also met the governor of the Kharkiv region and the mayor of the country’s second largest city.