Live Blog | The 27-year-old Dutchman died at the front in Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers in an armored vehicle in Novostepanivka near Kharkov.
Ukrainian soldiers in an armored vehicle in Novostepanivka near Kharkov. (ANP / AFP)

Switzerland imports most of Russian gold in more than 2 years

12:04 | Last month, Switzerland imported the largest amount of Russian gold in more than two years, despite new sanctions. These only apply to new gold, bars that Russia exported before August 4th can be exchanged. However, due to the war in Ukraine, there is a negative image around gold, which means it will likely be melted down in Switzerland for sale.

The gold comes from the UK, where older Russian gold can also be traded. The United States, the European Union and Switzerland introduced a ban on the import of new Russian gold two months ago due to the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the second largest gold miner in the world.

Swiss imports amounted to around 5700 kilos in August, for a value of around 324 million euros. This is the highest amount since April 2020.

The 27-year-old Dutchman died at the front in Ukraine

11:31 | A 27-year-old Dutchman recently died in the war zone of Ukraine. The man served in the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the report by De Telegraaf.

For privacy reasons, the ministry does not issue further statements on the man’s provenance, what happened to him and where and when exactly he died. “We can report that he went to Ukraine to fight on the Ukrainian side.” According to the spokesperson, the ministry is in contact with his family.

In May, a Dutchman also died on the front in Ukraine. He was about a 55-year-old man who voluntarily fought in the Ukrainian Foreign Legion against Russia.

It is unclear how many Dutch are currently fighting in the war with Russia. “In principle, the Dutch don’t report to the ministry, so we don’t have an overview of that,” the spokesperson said.

Germany spends another 2.5 billion on LNG purchases

10:59 | The German government has made available an additional 2.5 billion euros for the purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fight the energy crisis, according to Bloomberg news agency. The amount comes from a larger pot of money that has been set aside to make up for the lack of Russian gas.

An initial amount of € 1.5 billion of the € 15 billion reserved is already almost finished. For a few weeks, the supply of gas through the important Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany has once again stopped and more gas is needed. According to the Russian state-owned gas group Gazprom, the closure is due to technical problems, but the fear is that Russia will deliberately close the pipeline due to German support for Ukraine.

By purchasing LNG, Germany wants to prevent gas shortages in the winter. The shares are already 90% full, but Berlin wants to reach 95% before November 1st.

Russia and Ukraine exchange 200 prisoners

10:52 | Russia and Ukraine have agreed to exchange 200 prisoners, one of the largest prisoner exchanges since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine at the end of February. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told PBS.

He did not disclose any details about the exchange. For example, it is not known how many people each country releases. Erdogan’s announcement comes after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, when both leaders were in Uzbekistan for a regional summit.

Turkey is trying to remain neutral in the war between Russia and Ukraine. The country, which has good ties to both warring sides, has tried to act as a mediator from the very beginning. This has already led to success, with the grain deal being the most prominent example. Ukrainian grain exports by sea resumed this summer with the help of Turkey and the United Nations after months of war.

The call for the referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk rises

10:34 | Demands for a referendum in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics in eastern Ukraine are mounting as Ukrainian troops advance into areas including the Kharkiv region. The referendum should focus on the eventual accession of the pro-Russian republics to Russia.

Donetsk’s pro-Russian separatist leader Denis Pushilin has invited the leader of the separatists in Luhansk, Leonid Paschnik, in a phone call to work together to prepare a referendum soon. According to Pushilin, the actions of Donetsk and Luhansk should be “synchronized”.

Dmitry Medvedev, the former president of Russia, on Tuesday called it “essential” that separatists organize a referendum for the regions to join Russia. According to Medvedev, it is a “vital step to protect their interests and to be able to account for Russia’s use of military means to protect them.”

The Luhansk and Donetsk separatists broke away from Ukraine in 2014. They proclaimed two people’s republics that until earlier this year were only recognized by each other and by South Ossetia, a pro-Russian region of Georgia rebel who is considered a country by only a handful of countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin decided in February to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics.

PepsiCo stops soft drink production in Russia

10:29 | American snack and soft drink manufacturer PepsiCo has stopped producing Pepsi, 7UP and Mountain Dew in Russia. The eventual cessation of production follows the company’s promise almost six months ago to cease sales and production in Russia due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Reporters from the Reuters news agency had previously found cans and bottles of Pepsi printed with July and August production dates from factories in Russia in dozens of supermarkets, shops and gyms in Moscow and beyond. The most recent date on a Pepsi product was August 17th. A gym owner in Moscow said he placed another order with Pepsi in mid-August.

In a statement to Reuters, the company said it has stopped making concentrates for Pepsi Cola, Mirinda, 7Up and Mountain Dew in Russia. “All concentrates have been sold out in Russia and production has ceased,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said.

The West has not sanctioned food and drink as part of radical measures to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine. However, the continued availability of many Western products highlights the complexity of withdrawing from one of the largest countries in the world.

In 2021, Russia was Pepsi’s third largest market, after the United States and Mexico. Moscow stores also continued to sell stocks of foreign beers this summer, months after brewers announced they would stop production.

Pepsi’s big rival Coca-Cola also continued to produce in Russia after the group announced in March that it would go out of business. Coca-Cola said in June that its bottler, Coca-Cola HBC, a separate company, and existing customers in Russia are running out of stock, after which the production and sale of Coca-Cola and other soft drink brands in Russia will cease. .

PepsiCo said in March that it will continue to sell basic necessities, such as milk and other dairy products and baby food, in Russia. The company has been operating in Russia for over sixty years. PepsiCo sodas were one of the few Western products allowed to be sold in Russia even before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Britain pledges at least £ 2.3 billion in support to Ukraine by 2023

07:00 | The UK will spend at least as much on military aid to Ukraine in 2023 as this year. British Prime Minister Liz Truss told SkyNews ahead of her trip to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. So far the UK has backed Ukraine with £ 2.3 billion (€ 2.6 billion) this year.

My message to the Ukrainian people is this: the UK is by your side every step of the way. Your safety is our safety, ”Truss said.

The war in Ukraine is one of the most important topics in New York. Truss will also discuss the war with Presidents Joe Biden of the United States and Emmanuel Macron of France.

Ukraine: data hacked by Russian mercenaries stolen

02: 42 |Ukrainian army hackers broke into the website of the Russian mercenary company Wagner and stole the personal data of all fighters affiliated with the organization. “Every executioner, murderer and rapist will be severely punished,” Ukrainian Minister for Digital Transformation Mychailo Fedorov announced the hack on Telegram. “Revenge is inevitable”.

Wagner is a private mercenary company that counts as the Kremlin’s shadow army. It protects Russian interests in various countries and Wagner’s mercenaries are fighting in Syria and Ukraine. For the fight in Ukraine, the company also recruits criminals from Russian prisons. In exchange for forgiveness, they have to fight in Ukraine. According to Ukraine, Wagner’s fighters are guilty of large-scale war crimes.

The hacking message could not be independently verified.

German AfD politicians head for Russian-occupied Donbas

01:58 | Five politicians from the German right-wing populist opposition Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) traveled to Russia. From there, according to the Bild newspaper, they want to travel to areas occupied by the Russian army in Donbas in eastern Ukraine. Among others, parliamentarians from the states of Saxony-Anhalt and North Rhine-Westphalia take part in the trip, the party confirmed to the newspaper.

The party will not say if the politicians have been invited or if they are going on their own initiative. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the AfD “the party of Russia” in July. Politicians from the party, which received more than 10 percent of the vote in the last elections and is the fourth largest party in the country, regularly speak out against the sanctions imposed on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. They also express their admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnik, on Twitter called on the German security services to take action against the five. According to Melnik, who will return to Kiev at the end of this month, they are violating German law by “supporting the war of annihilation”.

Authorities suspect the AfD, founded in 2013, has links with right-wing extremists. In March, the judges ruled that the German internal security service can keep an eye on the party as a threat to democracy and, for example, can listen to members’ conversations.

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