BRUSSELS — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is welcoming a proposal by the European Union to ban Russian oil carried by ship and to exempt oil pumped into his country via Ukraine.
Orban says the idea is a “good approach.” But he wants guarantees that “in case of an accident with the pipeline” Hungary would have “the right to receive Russian oil from other sources.”
Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria depend on Russian oil and are reluctant to impose broad sanctions on crude. Russia supplies more than 60% of Hungary’s oil.
Orban’s remarks came at an extraordinary EU summit on Monday focused on helping Ukraine, with a clear focus on sanctions.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala also says that “we support the ban on sea transport oil.”
Fiala says his country “simply cannot tolerate a situation when we will have a shortage of certain oil products.”
Major Developments in the Russo-Ukraine War:
– Russian forces entering Svyarodonetsk in eastern Ukraine
– EU wrestles with Russia’s oil embargo as leaders gather
– War in Ukraine has increased food prices, increased hunger in Africa
– Russia offers foreign debt payment system similar to gas
Follow Associated Press’s coverage of the war in Ukraine https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
BRUSSELS – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says he is confident a “good solution” to the impasse over a proposed EU embargo on Russian oil will be found “sooner or later”.
Scholz told an EU summit on Monday that Europe’s unity in the face of Russia’s attack on Ukraine so far was a good sign “and I am sure we will do so in the future.”
Divisions have emerged over whether to target Russian oil in a new series of sanctions, with major objections from Hungary. But Scholz said he saw talks being held “with a desire to reach an agreement”.
He did not address the details of a possible solution, but said the EU’s strength lies in solving problems together and he is “strongly convinced that we can continue discussing a good solution with each other today and tomorrow.” Huh.”
Scholz said: “No one can predict whether this will actually happen, but from what I hear it sounds like there may be a consensus, and sooner or later there will be one.”
VILNIUS, Lithuania – Lawmakers from NATO countries are calling for a solution to transport grain and other products from Ukraine around the Russian blockade of Black Sea ports.
Spanish parliamentarian Zaida Cantera said that “Africa and the Middle East import about 50% of these products” and that, based on UN figures, “Africa will face famine.” Cantera said that “could lead to more migrants coming to the southern parts of Europe.”
He spoke at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which was moved to the Lithuanian capital after it was originally slated for Kyiv.
At the end of their one-day gathering, NATO lawmakers approved a resolution calling for tougher sanctions against Russia and increasing arms supplies to Ukraine.
Ukrainian parliament speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk said during the meeting that his country would not accept any “land for peace” deal with Russia.
BARCELONA, Spain – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says next month’s summit in Madrid will be a “historic” opportunity to strengthen the alliance in the face of a Russian offensive against Ukraine.
Speaking at an event in Madrid to mark Spain’s 40th year as a NATO member, Stoltenberg said he looked forward to welcoming Sweden and Finland to the summit on June 29-30.
He added that “at the Madrid summit we will determine the way forward for the next decade.” He added that “we will also join Finland and Sweden, who have just made a historic application to join our alliance.”
But the leader of the 30-member coalition did not address Turkey’s reluctance to open doors to Sweden and Finland.
MOSCOW – Russia says it can use its dollar-denominated foreign debts to pay off the same arrangement as it used to pay for its gas supply.
The Vedomosti business daily quoted Finance Minister Anton Siluanov as saying on Monday that Russia would offer holders of its Eurobond obligations a payment system bypassing Western financial infrastructure.
Russia first offered natural gas customers to set up an account in Gazprombank in dollars or euros, then a second account in rubles. The importer will pay the gas bill in euros or dollars and instruct the bank to exchange the money for rubles.
The system aims to avoid the risk of paying gas as part of Western sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
Siluanov told Vedomosti that a similar mechanism would be established for Eurobond holders with an offer to open foreign currency and ruble accounts in a Russian bank.
“In gas payments, we are credited with foreign currency and convert it into rubles,” Siluanov was quoted as saying. “The Eurobond settlement mechanism will work the same way, in exactly the same way in the other direction.”
LVIV, Ukraine – The mayor of a Ukrainian city at the center of the Russian offensive says fierce street fighting is going on.
Svyerodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Streik told the Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday that “Russian troops have entered the city and street fighting is underway.” He said Ukrainian defenders were fighting to drive out the Russians.
Streeck said that “Russian troops advanced a few blocks towards the city centre.”
He said that “we have no power and no communication. The city is completely ruined.”
The mayor said the 12,000-13,000 civilians remaining in the city were sheltering in basements and bunkers to escape Russian bombings. He added that “the number of victims is increasing every hour, but we are unable to count the dead and injured amid street fighting.”
Streak said 1,500 residents of the city have been killed since the war began.
KYIV, Ukraine – The Ukrainian band that won the Eurovision Song Contest says it has sold the trophy at auction to raise money to buy equipment for the Ukrainian military.
The trophy was sold for $900,000 to a cryptocurrency group during a live-streamed fundraising event at an online auction late Sunday, the Kalush Orchestra said on social media.
“Guys, you are untrue!” Kalush Orchestra said in an Instagram post. “Thanks to everyone who donated.”
Ukrainian TV presenter Serhi Pritula, who hosted the auction, said on Twitter that another 11 million hryvnia ($370,000) had been raised in an online raffle for the pink bucket hat that Kalush Orchestra frontman Ole Psyuk wore during a Eurovision performance was. He said that a man in the Czech Republic won the hat. Pritula said that this fund will be used to buy drones.
MOSCOW – Pro-Russian officials in southern Ukraine say two civilians were injured in an explosion in Ukraine.
Halina Danilchenko, who was appointed mayor of the city of Melitopol after its takeover by Russian troops, said Monday’s explosion injured two local volunteers who were involved in providing humanitarian aid to the city’s residents. She said that they were hospitalized.
No one claimed responsibility for the blast, which Danilchenko blamed on Ukraine and denounced it as a “blasphemous terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime” in comments broadcast by Russian state television.
Melitopol was captured by the Russian army at the beginning of the campaign.
MOSCOW: Authorities in a Russia-backed separatist region in eastern Ukraine say at least five civilians have been killed in fresh Ukrainian shelling.
Separatist officials said a 13-year-old boy was among those killed during the shelling of the city of Donetsk. He said 13 other civilians were injured in Monday’s shelling, which damaged three schools in the city.
Donetsk Mayor Alexei Kulemzin said Ukraine’s military used US-supplied artillery systems in the attack.
An official set up by Russia in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine says grain is being sent from the region to Russia.
Kirill Stremosov, deputy head of the Russian-backed administration for the Kherson region, told Russia’s Tass state news agency on Monday that grain from last year’s crop was being delivered to Russian buyers.
“There is room for storage (the next crop), although apparently there is a lot of grain here,” Stremusov was quoted as saying. “Now people are exporting partially, having reached agreements with those who are buying from the (Russian) side.”
Tass also reported that Stremosov said sunflower seeds could be sent to Russian processing plants to make sunflower oil.
Ukraine has accused Russia of looting grain and agricultural equipment from areas held by its forces, and the US has accused Russia of putting the global food supply at risk by preventing Ukraine from exporting its crops.
Russian troops occupied most of the Kherson region in the early weeks of the war and have since strengthened their hold on the region. Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnulin visited the region earlier this month and suggested it could become part of “our Russian family”.
MOSCOW – The Russian military says it has attacked a shipbuilding factory in the south of Ukraine.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday that a Russian artillery strike at the shipyard in Mykolaiv port destroyed Ukrainian armored vehicles parked in its territory.
Konashenkov said Russian artillery targeted 593 areas of concentration of Ukrainian troops and equipment and 55 artillery batteries in the past 24 hours.
He said the Russian Air Force targeted three command posts and 67 military bases.
KYIV, Ukraine — An intense battle is underway for Svyarodonetsk, a major city in eastern Ukraine, says a regional governor.
Luhansk Governor Serhi Haidai said Russian forces had entered the outskirts and were moving towards nearby Lisichansk. He said on Monday that two civilians were killed and five others wounded in the latest Russian shelling.
The Ukrainian military also said that Russian forces were strengthening their positions in the northeast and southeast of Svyarodonetsk and were bringing in additional equipment and ammunition to quell their offensive.
Svyarodonetsk has been a major target of Russian aggression in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass industrial region. The city served as the administrative center for the Luhansk Region, which forms the Donbass together with the neighboring Donetsk Region.
BERLIN – Germany’s governing parties and the main opposition have reached an agreement to go ahead with a huge increase in defense spending, announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz three months ago.
Scholz told German lawmakers three days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that the country would give 100 billion euros ($107 billion) to a special fund for its military and increase its defense spending to above 2% of GDP. A measure on which he had long lagged behind.
Scholz wanted to anchor the Special Fund in the Constitution. This requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament, meaning the chancellor needs support from the centre-right opposition Union Bloc.
Negotiations on the issue began to give details, but an agreement was reached between the two sides on Sunday night, clearing the way for funds to be brought to Parliament. Among other things, funding for cyber defense and support for partner countries will come from Germany’s regular budget, not special funds.
Mogadishu, Somalia — Families across Africa are paying nearly 45% more for wheat flour because Russia’s war in Ukraine has blocked exports from the Black Sea.
Some countries like Somalia get more than 90% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine. This is forcing many people to substitute wheat for other cereals. But the United Nations is warning that prices are on the rise as many parts of Africa face drought and hunger.
The United Nations had already warned that an estimated 13 million people in the wider Horn of Africa region were already facing severe hunger as a result of persistent drought. The head of the World Food Program says Russia’s war on Ukraine is a “catastrophe on top of disaster” for the world’s poor.