The Ukrainian judiciary is currently preparing 41 cases of alleged war crimes by Russian soldiers. All of them are violations of Article 438 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code on War Crimes, but different atrocities, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said on Ukrainian television on Friday evening.

“It’s about the bombing of civilian infrastructure, the killing of civilians, rape and looting.” It was not initially clear how many of the 41 suspects would have to be tried in their absence.

The first war crimes trial in Ukraine began on Friday against a 21-year-old Russian soldier who is said to have killed an unarmed civilian in the early stages of the war.

Venediktova said two other suspects currently in Ukraine are likely to appear in court for the first time next week.

The RIA news agency reports the visit of a high-ranking Duma politician to the Kherson region occupied by Russian troops. The deputy chairwoman of the Russian lower house, Anna Kuznetsova, has promised the population support in procuring food and medicine, reports RIA. When the visit should have taken place remained open.

So far, there have been few confirmed reports of visits to combat zones by high-ranking Russian politicians. Russia announced in April that it had taken complete control of the Kherson region. The area is strategically important because it represents a land link between the Crimean Peninsula, annexed in 2014, and the Russian-backed separatist areas of Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

Two and a half months after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has detected no change of heart in Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. The SPD politician said this in an interview with the news portal “t-online”. It is clear that Russia has not achieved any of the war goals mentioned at the beginning.

The Ukraine was not conquered, but defended itself with great skill, courage and self-sacrifice. “NATO has not withdrawn, but has even increased its forces on the eastern flank of the alliance. And the alliance will be even stronger when Finland and Sweden join NATO.” The Russian military itself has suffered significant losses, far more than in the ten years of the Soviet Union’s Afghanistan campaign.

Scholz said: “Slowly it should become clear to Putin that the only way out of this situation is to reach an agreement with Ukraine.” He made it clear that an agreement could not be a dictated peace by Russia. Scholz had been on the phone with Putin for more than an hour on Friday.

India bans wheat exports with immediate effect. As announced by the government, the second largest wheat producer in the world wants to use this decision to get price increases in its own country under control. However, wheat deliveries are still allowed for business contracts that have already been issued. Ever since exports from the Black Sea region plummeted due to the war in Ukraine, buyers around the world have relied on India for wheat supplies.

In a forecast that sounds extremely optimistic, the head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service predicts that the war will end with a Russian defeat by the end of the year. There will be a turnaround on the fronts by mid-August at the latest, Major General Kyrylo Budanov told the British broadcaster Sky News on Friday evening. “The turning point will come in the second half of August.” By the end of the year, Ukraine will regain control of all its territories, including the Crimean Peninsula.

The secret service official denied that the Russian armed forces were often said to be strong. “It’s a myth.” They are not strong. “It’s just a horde of people with guns,” he said of the Russian army.

Budanov also expected major changes in the Kremlin. In his view, a coup against Russian President Vladimir Putin is already underway. “They are moving towards it, nothing is going to stop them.” In addition, Putin was seriously ill with cancer, he claimed. He did not provide evidence for his claims.

The Ukrainian soldiers holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol are real heroes for the mayor of Odessa. “In my opinion, Mariupol saves not only Odessa, but the entire Ukraine,” said Hennady Trukhanov on Saturday night, according to the Unian agency. “Because this selflessness shown by our military in Mariupol is a true example of heroism.”

Although the port city of Odessa continues to come under repeated fire from Russian missiles, residents can still feel relatively safe. “Because there (in Mariupol) it’s literally not about life anymore, it’s about death.”

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser sees a calming down in the influx of war refugees from Ukraine. “Currently only around 2,000 refugees from Ukraine arrive in Germany every day. In mid-March it was still 15,000 people a day,” said the SPD politician to the “Rheinische Post” (Saturday). At the same time, 20,000 refugees are now returning to their country every day via the Polish-Ukrainian border, including people from Germany. Faeser assumes “that the majority of people will return.” “Some will stay if people see the chance to gain a foothold in the German labor market with their qualifications,” added the Minister of the Interior.

Nevertheless, Faeser emphasized that it is still a major humanitarian effort to provide the women, children and old people who have fled with the best possible care. From their point of view, the willingness to help is still great in this country. “The refugees are very well received here – nothing is tipping at the moment.”

According to Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych, Russia’s army and economy are on shaky ground. Arestovych said on Friday evening, according to the Unian agency, that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image of the “invincible second largest army in the world” had already turned out to be “fake”. The reality of the past few weeks has shown a real picture of the combat capability of the Russian army: “It threatened to dismantle NATO, but has already failed at two villages in the Sumy region (in north-eastern Ukraine).”

At the same time, adviser to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy predicted what he believed to be the imminent collapse of the Russian economy in the summer. “Any attempt to negotiate with the West will fail,” said Arestovych. This will make itself felt in July or August at the latest in the event of a possible mobilization. He questioned whether the Russian economy could withstand this pressure.

“There can be no healthy economy in a country where everything else is rotten,” Arestovych said. “Because there’s the same sugarcoated numbers, the same crap, and an inability to withstand real stress.”

Almost two and a half months after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for even more pressure from the international community on Moscow. “With every day of war, global threats increase, there is a new opportunity for Russia to provoke instability in other parts of the world, not only here in Europe,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Friday evening. In the meantime, however, men and women are dying in Ukraine “who are doing their best so that everyone can live freely,” said Zelenskyj. “So much more pressure on Russia is needed.”

Nevertheless, there are countries in which sanctions against Moscow are being withheld or aid for Ukraine is being blocked, Zelenskyj criticized. However, he did not specifically name a country. It is now known that Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports and the war as a whole have provoked a major food crisis. “And Russian officials are also openly threatening the world that there will be starvation in dozens of countries.”

“In fact, today nobody can predict how long this war will last,” said Zelenskyy. “But we are doing everything to liberate our country quickly. That is our priority – to work every day to shorten the war.” To do this, however, Ukraine needs the help of its partners, “from European countries, from the countries of the whole free world”.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil has assured that social projects will not suffer from the billion-euro plans to improve the Bundeswehr’s equipment. The coalition has agreed on important socio-political projects that “will not be shaken under any circumstances,” said Klingbeil to the editorial network Germany (RND/Saturday). “The citizen’s income and the basic child security will come. No social project wobbles,” emphasized the SPD leader. He is firmly convinced that Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) will make good suggestions on how all this can be achieved.

The coalition wants to modernize the Bundeswehr with a special fund worth 100 billion euros. But Klingbeil also sees the responsibility of the German armaments companies. “The German armaments industry must deliver faster than it has often been able to do so far – otherwise we will have to buy abroad,” said the SPD leader. The Koblenz Procurement Office for the German Armed Forces also has to work and decide quickly. “We have to install a clearer management structure there – with people who have the appropriate technical expertise,” demanded Klingbeil.