The Ukrainian military is calling for a retreat from Sieverodonetsk. Kremlin boss Putin and his confidant Medvedev comment on the global hunger crisis with cynicism. Chancellor Scholz does not believe Moscow when it comes to natural gas, and Economics Minister Habeck saves on shower water. The 121st day of the war at a glance.
Russian storm detains soldiers and civilians
Despite Kiev's fundamental decision to give up the hard-fought administrative center of Sievjerodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, pro-government troops and civilians are still stuck in the former metropolis. This emerges from the situation report of the General Staff and from statements by the district administration. Russian troops "conducted storming activities in the Sievarodonetsk industrial zone," the General Staff said.
According to the head of the district administration, Roman Vlasenko, the withdrawal of the Ukrainian troops will take a few more days. In an interview with the US broadcaster CNN, he also said that 568 civilians were still hiding from the attacks in the Asot chemical plant. These could leave the plant as soon as the fire had stopped, but then only in the direction of Russian-occupied areas, said Wlassenko.
Air raids on Lysychansk
The situation in the neighboring city of Lysychansk on the west bank of the Siwerskyi Donets river is also precarious for the Ukrainian troops. The Russians had flown several air raids on the city, according to the situation report. "Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled a storm on the southern outskirts of Lysychansk," the general staff said.
The Russian Defense Ministry, on the other hand, announced that Russian troops had blocked the city from the south. Moscow said the defensive positions of Ukrainian troops had been breached. Before the war, about 380,000 people lived in the Sieverodonetsk-Lysychansk conurbation. It is the last spot in the Luhansk region where Ukrainian troops are still holding. The capture of the Luhansk region was named by Moscow as one of the main goals of the war.
Military expert sees West at a crossroads
Austrian military expert Markus Reisner sees the West faced with a choice: "There are only two options: either we enter this war with weapons in our hands, or we accept that Russia will absorb Ukraine bit by bit and possibly later attacks the Baltic States." If the West wants to stay true to its democratic system of values, "we would have to start defending these values by fighting back the aggressor - even with military force," Reisner told the Austrian magazine "Profil".
The federal government announced that it wanted to hand over more self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine to ward off the Russian attack. Talks were being held with the Netherlands and another European partner. This was reported from circles of the Ministry of Defense in Berlin. So far Ukraine has received seven Panzerhaubitze 2000 units from Germany and five of the weapon systems from the Netherlands. From Kyiv it was stated that a complete Ukrainian artillery battalion could be equipped with a total of 18 howitzers - i.e. six additional models. In Berlin there is a firm will to fulfill the request, even if partners deliver.
Medvedev and Putin scoff at allegations of the wheat blockade
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reacted with scorn to Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's accusation that Russia was using hunger as a weapon. Such a statement by a German official was "naturally amazing," Medvedev said in a Twitter message distributed in German and English. Then, without beating about the bush, he made the connection to Nazi Germany's crimes in the Soviet Union during World War II: after all, Baerbock was a representative of a country that "sealed off Leningrad for 900 days in a blockade, where almost 700,000 people died of hunger."
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the discussion about the blockade of Ukrainian grain deliveries exaggerated. "Hysteria is being artificially inflated because of the cessation of transport, let's say, through the Black Sea ports," Putin said, according to the Interfax agency. Russia does not hinder grain deliveries, nor are they crucial for supplying global markets. Putin once again accuses Ukraine of thwarting grain shipments across the Black Sea itself. Russia is ready to guarantee the ships safe conduct. Before that, however, the Ukrainians would have to clear the mines in their own ports.
Ukraine offers nuclear power to Germany
The Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushenko offered Germany the supply of nuclear power. Since March 16, Ukraine has synchronized its energy grid with the Association of European Transmission System Operators - "this means that Ukraine can become an outsourcer of electricity for Germany," Galuschenko wrote in a guest article for "Wirtschaftswoche". This creates "a kind of insurance cushion in times of weather-related declining generation from solar and wind power plants". Turning away from Russian energy is "a gigantic challenge" for Germany and it is becoming "more and more urgent," the minister continued.
Scholz doesn't believe the Kremlin will deliver gas
Chancellor Olaf Scholz considers the Russian justification for the throttling of gas supplies to Germany to be false. "None of us believes that the technical reasons given by Russian suppliers for the reduction in gas supplies are correct," said Scholz in Brussels. Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom cut gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in the Baltic Sea in the middle of the month. The gas supplier justified the step with delays in repair work. A 10-day routine maintenance of the pipeline will begin on July 11.
Habeck takes a shorter shower
Meanwhile, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck is taking his own energy saving targets seriously. Since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, he has taken a shorter shower, Habeck told the "Spiegel". "I stick to what my ministry recommends. I've significantly reduced my shower time again," he replied when asked how he saved energy in everyday life. "I've never showered for five minutes in my life. I shower quickly," the Vice Chancellor continued. The Green politician had recently called for energy saving several times because of the reduced gas supplies from Russia and also launched a corresponding campaign.
In view of the impending gas bottlenecks, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on European consumers to save energy. If you lower the heating temperature in the entire EU by just two degrees and increase that of air conditioning by two degrees, you can save the entire supplies of the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1, said the German politician after an EU summit in Brussels. "So there's a lot of potential in that."
Other important articles on the Ukraine war
You can read all further developments in our live ticker on the Ukraine war.