Live blog | Zelensky will only talk to Putin; Hungary declares a state of emergency

It is now day 91 of the war in Ukraine. Follow the latest news about the match between Ukraine and Russia in this liveblog. You can also read all the consequences of the war here.

ANP / Anadolu Agency

Lithuania is sending more armored vehicles to Ukraine

11:15 | The Lithuanian government is sending another 20 armored vehicles to Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense says the vehicles are M113, armored infantry vehicles, mainly intended for transporting soldiers over difficult terrain.

In this way, Lithuania wants to contribute to a victory for Ukraine. Allied support will be a crucial factor in the war, according to the Baltic country. Lithuania is also sending some military trucks and vehicles to clear mines. The value of the vehicles that Lithuania is now sending is 15.5 million euros. Lithuania has already sent 100 million euros worth of military aid.

Russia can allow ships with food to pass

10:15 | Russia says it is ready to allow ships carrying food to pass through the Black Sea. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that a humanitarian corridor could be formed to allow the ships to pass.

Because Russia blocks Ukrainian ports, much food can not be exported to other parts of the world. Ukraine in particular is a major supplier of grain. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday that Russia was blackmailing the world with a hunger threat. According to her, Russia is not only blocking the ports, but deliberately bombing grain stocks and preserving the Ukrainian stockpile of grain that it itself has acquired.

In Africa in particular, they are suffering from rising grain prices and there is a threat of greater famine. The price of grain has risen by more than half compared to mid-February. The prices of, among other things, sunflower oil and energy have also risen sharply since the start of the war. The Kremlin says the West is responsible for the food crisis. To prevent hunger in large parts of the world, international sanctions should be lifted.

Zelensky will only talk to Putin

09:29 | Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky only wants to talk directly about peace with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. In a video link speech at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, Zelenski said he did not want to negotiate with intermediaries.

If Putin “sees reality”, then they can find a diplomatic solution to the conflict, according to the Ukrainian president. Then Moscow must first withdraw its troops to the front lines before the Russian invasion on 24 February. “That would be a first step towards negotiations.” Zelensky will eventually have the entire Ukrainian territory back.

Peace talks started shortly after the start of the war, but have stalled for a long time. According to Russian news agencies, the last talks took place on April 22. Both sides blame each other for the lack of a breakthrough.

Russia attacks Zaporizhzhya

09:10 | The Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya in the southeastern part of the country was bombed by rockets early Wednesday morning, according to local authorities. The regional government is talking about four Russian ballistic missiles fired at the city, one of which had been deactivated by the air force.

It is still unclear how extensive the damage is or whether any injuries have occurred. Rescue services are on site, the regional government told Telegram. Zaporizhzhya is located more than 200 kilometers northwest of the Russian-occupied port city of Mariupol.

Why Turkey does not want Sweden to join NATO yet

06:32 | Delegations from Sweden and Finland arrived in Turkey on Tuesday evening. Diplomatic talks will take place on Wednesday on the blockade, Turkey says it is facing a possible NATO membership for the countries.

Especially against the forthcoming membership of Sweden, Erdogan has a brother dead. He believes that Sweden supports terrorist organizations such as the PKK. Among other things, Erdogan wants the country to stop its political and economic support for terrorist organizations and the supply of weapons to these groups. He also wants the Swedish government to lift restrictions on arms exports to Turkey. These restrictions were introduced in 2019 after Turkey’s military operations in, among other places, northern Syria.

Exports to Russia and Ukraine plunge

00:30 | Dutch exports of goods to Ukraine plunged in March due to the war in the country. Exports to Russia also fell sharply in that month. Russia invaded its neighbor in late February, so March is the first full month and period of the war.

Exports to Ukraine fell in value by 84 percent in March compared to a year earlier. In value, the fall in exports was 97 million euros. Exports to Russia fell by 67 percent and in value by 453 million euros.

On the import side, the development was less negative or even strongly positive. This is due to a sharp rise in the price of especially foods like corn and sunflower oil from Ukraine and mineral fuels like oil and gas from Russia. Imports from Ukraine fell by 10 percent in value and 31 percent in weight, according to CBS. Imports from Russia, on the other hand, rose sharply in value, by 115 percent, but barely by weight.

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Heavy sanctions packages from Western countries against the country due to the war followed almost immediately.

Hungary declares a state of emergency over war in Ukraine

00:15 | Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared a new state of emergency over the war in neighboring Ukraine. He immediately took advantage of an amendment to the Constitution. There was already a state of emergency due to corona. Orban points to the new challenges of protecting Hungarians.

The Prime Minister can now continue to rule with virtually unlimited power. Parliament had approved the amendment of the Constitution by a large majority. In the 199-seat parliament, 135 of Orban’s party hold the conservative Fidesz.

In Hungary, a state of emergency has been in place as a result of the corona pandemic since the spring of 2020, but it will soon come to an end. As elsewhere in the world, fundamental rights have been pushed aside in the Central European country by leaders who claim that this will make it easier to fight the virus.

Orban’s government now has the option of declaring a state of emergency in Hungary without the corona, for example if a neighboring country is hit by war or humanitarian disasters. In northeastern Hungary, the country has a 135-kilometer border with Ukraine, which has been under attack by the Russians since 24 February.

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