German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned the war in Ukraine “could last years,” telling a newspaper that Berlin is ready to support Kyiv for the long haul.
The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant “remains very risky, dangerous,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned, even after two power units were reconnected to the country’s energy grid following an outage.
The plant is working “despite provocations by occupying Russian forces,” state-owned operator Energoatom said. Zelenskiy said in a video address that the International Atomic Energy Agency should be allowed to arrive “soonest” to help prevent further incidents. Several strikes were reported near the plant in recent days.
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On the Ground
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported that Russian forces had shelled its positions in the Sumy and Kharkiv regions. Fighting also continued in the Donbas near Slovyansk and Avdiivka, where Ukraine said its forces repulsed Russian attacks. Shelling was also reported in the Zhaporizhzhia region.
(All times CET)
German Minister Warns War ‘Could Last Years’ (7 a.m.)
Baerbock warned that the war could drag on “for years” and pledged that the government in Berlin will continue to provide financial and military support to Ukraine “for as long as necessary.”
“Of course I would like the war to be over as soon as possible, but regrettably we have to assume that Ukraine will still need new heavy weapons from its friends next summer,” Baerbock said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “Unfortunately, the Russian government has not given up on its obsession with subjugating Ukraine and its people.”
The country’s finance minister, Christian Lindner, separately told the newspaper that the government needs to address soaring power prices “with the utmost urgency,” as a leading economist warned of a “gigantic shock” to Europe’s biggest economy.
Kazakhstan Halts Military Exports to Keep Neutral (5 a.m.)
Kazakhstan’s defense industry commission, headed by prime minister Alikhan Smailov, will pause the export of “arms, military vehicles and defense products” through August 2023, according to a statement on the prime minister’s website.
Kazakhstan was once part of the Soviet Union, and both sides in the Ukraine war are seeking more military equipment. But central Asia’s largest energy producer is aiming to keep neutral and avoid secondary sanctions from the US or backlash from Russia, its largest neighbor.
EU Remains Split Over Russian Tourist Visas (2 p.m.)
France and Germany said that the EU should continue to issue visas to Russians not affiliated with the government — particularly students, artists, scholars and professionals — even as countries neighboring Russia, including the Baltic nations and Finland, want the bloc to ban Russian tourists.
“While understanding the concerns of some member states in this context, we should not underestimate the transformative power of experiencing life in democratic systems at first-hand, especially for future generations,” France and Germany wrote in a document seen by Bloomberg ahead of next week’s gathering of EU foreign ministers in Prague.
One compromise plan that ministers are expected to discuss would mean that Russians traveling to the EU pay more and withstand additional bureaucracy to obtain short-term visas.
Read more: Russians Face European Travel Hurdles as EU Mulls Restrictions