Greece: Inhumane conditions in deportation prison

In the northern Greek Paranesti deportation prison eleven refugees went on hunger strike to draw attention to the catastrophic and inhumane conditions in the camp.

The systematic and arbitrary detention of refugees in Greece has been highlighted in two investigations by the Border Violence Monitoring Network and from Mobile Info Team documented. In the reports, those affected describe physical abuse and violent practices in the prisons, as well as deplorable hygienic conditions and lack of access to sufficient medical care and legal counsel. Together with members of the Socialist and Left Groups, I call for the release of all underage refugees and all refugees whose detention time exceeds the legal limit, an end to violence, and an immediate improvement in prison conditions. You can find the letter here.

We need a coordinated EU mechanism for Russian dissidents and defectors

In my letter to the Commission, I join 34 other MEPs from four political groups in calling for the EU to establish a coordinated mechanism for Russian dissidents and defectors. The original letter with all signatures can be found at here.

Dear Commission President von der Leyen

Dear Vice President Schinas,

Dear Commissioner Johansson,

Following the recent announcement of military mobilization in Russia, we, as Members of the European Parliament, address the European Commission with a request to urgently develop coordinated solutions at the EU level to be proposed to Member States to ensure effective access to asylum for dissidents and persons fleeing compulsory conscription into the Russian military. Fleeing compulsory military conscription is a widely accepted reason for asylum worldwide, including in European Union Member States. Maintaining this practice is particularly appropriate in a situation of such close geographic proximity to belligerents. Since the beginning of Putin's war of aggression, numerous atrocities and war crimes committed by the Russian army have been reported, and news of misinformed and disillusioned Russian soldiers is also widespread.
The European Union was founded on the values of democracy and fundamental rights and with the aim of securing peace in Europe. It must therefore be in the interest of all Member States to uphold the human rights of Russian defectors to seek asylum in the EU rather than be forced to fight and kill our Ukrainian allies. Therefore, we turn to the European Commission to quickly propose a mechanism to allow deserters to flee to the EU. Only good coordination and quick action at the EU level can bring safety to many people who refuse to participate in Russia's murderous war in Ukraine, knowing the complicated security situation and the geopolitical sensitivity of this issue. The rapid activation of the Temporary Protection Directive for Ukrainians:inside has shown that unity and coordination produce results. Following this great example, we hope for proposals in the same spirit and promise the active cooperation of the European Parliament. With this letter, we would also like to join the calls made by the President of the Council Charles Michel and the Czech Prime Minister Fiala in early March to grant asylum to Russian soldiers who are not willing to continue fighting in this war.

Yours sincerely,

MEP Erik Marquardt (Greens/EFA)
MEP Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA)
MEP Malin Björk (GUE/NGL)
MEP Micha Bloss (Greens/EFA)
MEP Saskia Bricmont (Greens/EFA)
MEP Delara Burkhardt (S&D)
MEP Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA)
MEP Clare Daly (GUE/NGL)
MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Greens/EFA)
MEP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (Greens/EFA)
MEP Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL)
MEP Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA)
MEP Malte Gallée (Greens/EFA)
MEP Alexandra Geese (Greens/EFA)
MEP Claude Gruffat (Greens/EFA)
MEP Bernard Guetta (Renew)
MEP Henrike Hahn (Greens/EFA)
MEP Morten Helveg Petersen (Renew)
MEP Dietmar Köster (S&D)
MEP Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA)
MEP Pierre Larrouturou (S&D)
MEP Karen Melchior (Renew)
MEP Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA)
MEP Hannah Neumann (Greens/EFA)
MEP Niklas Nienaß (Greens/EFA)
MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew)
MEP Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL)
MEP Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA)
MEP Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA)
MEP Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL)
MEP Jordi Solé (Greens/EFA)
MEP Tineke Strik (Greens/EFA)
MEP Yana Toom (Renew)
MEP Miguel Urbán Crespo (GUE/NGL)
MEP Nils Ušakovs (S&D)
MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens/EFA)

Resilience and resistance – Study on the criminalization of solidarity.

This study, commissioned by the Green Group in the European Parliament, analyzes the state of criminalization of solidarity with refugees in the European Union. 

People are put on trial because they help other people on the run in a humanitarian way. This should deter and ensure that the flight to Europe remains life-threatening and inhumane. Since 2015, we have experienced in Europe how more and more people, in more and more EU countries, are criminalized because they were in solidarity with refugees. Even for rescuing people in distress at sea, people in Italy and Greece currently have to answer to the courts and face long prison sentences. 

In doing so, this new study by Picum and the Green European Group highlights new trends in the criminalization of solidarity and offers advice on what to do about it. Specifically, the study looks at 89 people who were criminalized in the EU between January 2021 and March 2022 for helping people fleeing. In the vast majority of cases, they were providing food, shelter, medical assistance, or transportation to people fleeing, or helping them with their asylum applications. 

However, many cases remain undetected because 

  • fears that media attention could further jeopardize relations with the authorities and limit access to border areas or reception centers;
  • to preserve the right to privacy of volunteers and not to endanger them and their families was more important;
  • some human rights defenders prefer not to speak out during ongoing proceedings.

In the vast majority of the cases examined in the study (88 %), human rights defenders were charged with aiding and abetting the entry, transit, residence, or smuggling of migrants.

Criminalization of refugees

Moreover, it is still worrying that the criminalization of human rights defenders who are themselves refugees is even less known, as the study points out. These individuals are in a particularly vulnerable situation, as they face deportation, refoulement, arbitrary detention, and loss of status. Many face harsh financial, social and economic consequences.

The European Union must take immediate action to address the crackdown on solidarity and prevent the criminalization of humanitarian aid. In light of the growing criminalization of aid workers and people on the run, we need independent monitoring mechanisms at external borders, better protection for aid workers, and a clear condemnation of the criminalization of refugees themselves. 

If the helpers already take on tasks for which the states no longer feel responsible, then they should receive state funding for this. The current federal government should support humanitarian projects at the external borders.

EU pays €80 million to Egyptian coast guard

In response to my question, the Commission has stated that over the next two years it will provide €80 million in support to the Egyptian Coast Guard to repatriate fugitives. You can find my question and the answer here. You can find the full article from Statewatch, based on the request here.

The humanitarian corridor to Syria was extended – with concessions to Russia.

On Sunday, the mandate for the last remaining humanitarian border crossing into Syria expired. After Russia on Friday rejected the resolution of Ireland and Norway to keep the border crossing open for another year had prevented with a veto, was on Tuesday  a âcompromise textâ adopted. This extends humanitarian assistance across the border crossing for another six months. After the adoption of the resolution, according to the Syrian civil defense unit White Helmets Russian bombs, among others, on Idlib – the region for which the humanitarian aid of this border crossing is intended. 

Through the Bab al-Hawa humanitarian corridor, which connects Turkey with Idlib province, international aid can now continue to be transported from Turkey to Syria. In 2014, four such humanitarian crossings were approved by the UN Security Council, but in recent years, three of them have already been closed due to vetoes by Russia and China. Russia had repeatedly argued that threatenedto not extend the last remaining border crossing. Then, humanitarian assistance could only be provided through Damascus. Syrian like international Organizations have repeatedly warned that such a decision would further exacerbate the suffering of Syrian civilians. UN Secretary-General António Guterres had also urged the members of the Security Council accessedto extend the term for the humanitarian corridor.

Why do we need these border crossings for humanitarian goods? 

The consequences of years of war, economic crisis, COVID-19 pandemic: According to UN estimates 14.6 million Syrians are currently in need of humanitarian aid. More than ever before. 12 million people in Syria are acutely food insecure, and 90 percent live in poverty. However, the provision and distribution of basic goods in Syria is a complex matter if it is to reach the entire civilian population: Aid is being misused by war criminal Bashar Al-Assad for his own political purposes. Various areas of Syria remain under the control of different parties and groups, even though the Syrian regime has retaken large parts. Humanitarian assistance is particularly difficult in areas outside regime control, as the Syrian regime often does not distribute or allow aid through. Therefore, it is essential for the provision of basic services to the civilian population that relief supplies can also be brought into the interior from outside. For example, 60% of people in northwestern Syriamore than half of them internally displaced, are in need of humanitarian and medical assistance across the border crossing. 

Strengthening the regime through aid?

In the study Rescuing Aid in Syria Natasha Hall of the Center for Strategic & International Studies argues that aid to the Syrian regime would not provide better care for Syrian civilians, but would strengthen the Syrian regime. Humanitarian assistance would be intercepted by the regime and, in particular, redirected to regime-controlled areas. Syrian civil society organizations have therefore been demanding for years that the UN refrain from cooperating with the Syrian regime and organize humanitarian aid separately from it. The Syrian Legal Development Programme and Human Rights Watch criticizeThe report also said that the UN did not pay sufficient attention to human rights safeguards in its cooperation with partners in Syria and thus risked funding actors involved in human rights abuses. Already in 2016, more than 50 organizations signed the report. The United Nationsâ Loss Of Impartiality, Independence And Neutrality In Syria supported. In this criticized the Syria Campaign the UN sharply: by cooperating with the Syrian regime, the UN in Syria violated the three humanitarian principles of impartiality, independence, and neutrality.

What does this have to do with us in Europe?

The EU, and Germany in particular, are the main donors of humanitarian aid in Syria. We have to take a critical look at the current humanitarian assistance on the ground and take the criticism of the Syrian civilian population seriously. Because our funds must not be used to cement the power of Bashar Al-Assad. Our responsibility is to ensure that humanitarian and medical assistance reaches all those in need and does not fall into the hands of the Syrian regime. For this, border crossings for humanitarian goods are essential. Only in this way can humanitarian and medical assistance be moved inland, bypassing the Syrian regime.

The extension of the Bab al-Hawa border corridor for another six months allows many to breathe a momentary sigh of relief, but the humanitarian situation in Syria is already catastrophic. In half a year, the struggle to keep the border crossing open will begin anew and Assad's ally Putin will again show that he sees the Syrian civilian population rather as a geopolitical pawn and abuses people and their suffering to maintain his power.

My letter to the Commission on Greek Pushbacks

On Tuesday was the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with us in Parliament visit. Under his responsibility refugees are disenfranchised, blackmailed and pushed baked. Meanwhile, in Greece, refugees are enslavedto mistreat other refugees and bring them illegally back to Turkey. Unfortunately, Mitsotakis lied to us MPs and pretended that there were no systematic pushbacks in Greece and received support for this from conservatives and right-wingers in parliament. 

In response to these lies I this letter to Commission President von der Leyen, asking her when the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, will finally take action. The letter was co-signed by 42 MEPs from four political groups, ranging from left-wingers to conservatives. Specifically, we ask to what extent the Commission believes the Greek government's explanations and whether it will finally initiate infringement proceedings. 

Ukraine war and global food security

The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine is not only a danger for those directly affected, it also exacerbates hunger in the world.

Due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine fall almost 30% of the wheat traded worldwide is gone. This is because in Ukraine, the harvest cannot be harvested and new seeds cannot be brought to the fields. Putin is using hunger as a weapon of war, and the conflict is already having a strong impact on the entire world and the food security of large populations.

Due to prolonged crises and climate change, more and more people are suffering from hunger; in addition, the Corona pandemic has further 141 million people driven into acute hunger. The executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasly, has told us in the Development Committee at the end of June about his latest findings and developments. He states quite clearly that we are currently in the midst of an unprecedented food crisis that can only be mitigated through the joint efforts of all relevant stakeholders. Among other things, David Beasly is currently working with the G7 to find a solution for the transport of wheat from Ukraine. In this context, he also emphasized that the loss of supplies from Ukraine and Russia would exacerbate the situation in Lebanon in particular. 

Lebanon: My impressions on the ground 

At the end of February, I led a delegation of five other members of parliament to Lebanon. The aim of the trip was to gain a concrete overview of the current situation in the country. The socio-economic crisis in Lebanon has continued to worsen – there is still a lack of sufficient access to medical care, electricity, water and food, 74% of people live in poverty. 

The crises in Lebanon have really accumulated in recent years. The country is sinking into corruption and poverty. The war in Ukraine is further exacerbating the situation in Lebanon. Lebanon draws 80% of his wheat from Ukraine. Expert:inside assume that within a very short time the country will no longer have enough food for its population. Since the explosion in the port in 2020, the granary has been missing and has not been rebuilt to this day. 

What the EU does 

At the beginning of April this year, the EU adopted the so-called "Food and Resilience FacilityThe European Union has launched the "Lebanon for hunger" initiative to support our southern neighbors in their fight against hunger. The EU will provide a total of €225 million for this purpose, of which €25 million has been earmarked for Lebanon. The aim is to cushion the consequences of rising global food prices as far as possible. 

In the short term, the initiative aims to respond to emergencies of commodity shortages, help stabilize the balance of payments, and support local social protection and social safety nets facing an additional acute crisis.

In the medium to longer term, the initiative aims to help sustain local agricultural systems and support the development of less input-intensive and more climate-smart agricultural practices. The initiative also aims to contribute to the sustainability of local agrifood systems and help southern neighboring countries diversify and move away from their overdependence on imported grains, including by shifting to less water-intensive varieties, crops, and agricultural practices.

News from Ukraine

Due to Putin's war of aggression against Ukraine, I will be posting in the coming days on this site and in my News channel on Telegram additionally post information on the situation on the ground and on the external borders with Ukraine. 

News from Ukraine 29.06.2022 

  • The Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has called the Ukraine conflict in Moscow an enormous mistake. „Is it in Russia's interest to destroy Ukraine? Of course not, that would be a colossal mistake“. 

News from Ukraine 28.06.2022

  • A cyberattack has paralyzed government and private company websites in Lithuania. The pro-Russian hacker group Killnet confirmed the attack to the Reuters news agency. 

News from Ukraine 27.06.2022 

News from Ukraine 24.06.2022 

  • Ukraine has announced the withdrawal of its troops from the embattled city of Sjewjerodonezk in the east of the country ordered. So far, Zyverodonetsk was one of the last parts of Luhansk that had not yet been captured by Russian fighters. 
  • USA tell Ukraine more weapons for $450 million.

News from Ukraine 23.06.2022 

News from Ukraine 22.06.2022 

  • Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio is left the Five Star Movementbecause there is a dispute in the party over arms deliveries to Ukraine. Di Maio supports the course of the head of government Mario Draghi, who wants to supply weapons. Some of his party's deputies are following his lead. 

News from Ukraine 21.06.2021 

  • According to Ukrainian data, Russia holds more than 1,500 Ukrainian civilians in prisons detained. Among the detained civilians, he said, were Ukrainian priests, volunteers, activists, journalists and heads of local government agencies. 

News from Ukraine 20.06.2022 

  • The EU Foreign Ministers are meeting today in Luxembourg to discuss the further support for Ukraine. Statements are expected on the EU Commission's proposal to grant Ukraine the status of an accession candidate.

News from Ukraine 17.06.2022 

News from Ukraine 15.06.2022

  • The War in Ukraine has fundamentally changed the lives of many people. This is also true of Oleh Kadanov and Serhij Zhadan. Before the war, they worked as artists, but now they support the Ukrainian army.

News from Ukraine 14.06.2022

  • The New York Times published a guest editorial titled: ‚The German Chancellor promised to stop Putin. Then he did nothing." 
  • Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, people in Germany have, according to a survey at least 812 million euros donated. This is the highest volume of donations in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. 

News from Ukraine 13.06.2022

  • Amnesty International notes in a report that Russian troops in Kharkiv killed hundreds of civilians through indiscriminate shelling with widely banned cluster munitions and unguided rockets on residential areas. 

News from Ukraine 10.06.2022

  • Cem Özdemir has arrived in Ukraine. Scheduled to meet with Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Solskyj in Kiev to discuss agricultural stabilization and how to enable Ukrainian grain exports after exports through Black Sea ports are blocked. 

News from Ukraine 9.06.2022

  • In European countries, according to an analysis by the UNHCR, around 4.8 million refugees from Ukraine to – of which 780,000 are in Germany. Around 3.2 million Ukrainians are covered by the EU's temporary admission directive. 
  • Before Russia's war of aggression on all of Ukraine, the country was divided in many ways. Now there is great unity and domestic political conflicts are put on the back burner for the time being. 
  • The traditional TV Citizen Question Time „The Direct Wire“This year's event, during which citizens can ask Putin questions, will not take place in June, as it often has before. It is unclear whether Putin does not want to address the Ukraine war or whether there are health reasons.

News from Ukraine 8.06.2022

  • The World Bank has further €1.4 billion in aid for Ukraine was announced. The new funds would be used to pay the wages of government employees and workers in the social sector. 
  • Actually, Ukraine expects a good harvest, but in the disputed territories the harvest fails in many places and exports fail due to the Russian naval blockade. This threatens skyrocketing wheat prices and famine all over the world. 

News from Ukraine 7.06.2022 

  • Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) wants Ukraine in the EU, saying, "It's not enough to say, 'Yes, you belong to Europe - you belong in the European Union.'" But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is keeping a low profile. 
  • The Ministry of Defense in Kiev announcedThe Russian Navy said it had succeeded in pushing the ships back to a distance of more than 100 kilometers from the country's Black Sea coast. The latter had been deprived of "total control" over the northwest of the Black Sea.

News from Ukraine 6.06.2022

  • Russia has Kiev and a suburb back rocket-propelled. It is the first attack on the capital since the end of April. 
  • Ukrainian diplomats and politicians have the warning of Macron, Russia not to humiliate, sharply criticized. "Because Russia humiliates itself," wrote Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba on Twitter

News from Ukraine 3.06.2022

  • The Ukrainian journalist Denis Trubetskoy writes how people in Kiev After a hundred days of war feel. More than 90 percent of Ukrainians believe in the victory of the Ukrainian armed forces. 

News from Ukraine 01.06.2022 

  • U.S. President Joe Biden writes in a guest post that the U.S. will continue to help Ukraine with the Supply of modern weapons systems and financial assistance help and will continue to strictly sanction Russia, but also do not want to risk a war of Russia with NATO. Biden also stresses that he will not try to convince Ukraine to cede territory. 
  • Russian troops have been embattled city of Sjewjerodonzek in eastern Ukraine largely conquered. Sjewjerodonzek, with a population of 105,000 until recently, is largely destroyed. 
  • Kremlin critic Navalny is facing further accusations from the Russian judiciary. As the 45-year-old wrote on Instagram, he was informed that another case had been opened against him for forming an extremist group and that he faces another 15 years in prison. Navalny had only been sentenced to nine years in March.

News from Ukraine 31.05.2022

  • The glass trophy in the form of a microphone, which Kalush Orchestra received for winning the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin had received, is auctioned for $ 900,000 have been. With the proceeds they want to support the army. 

News from Ukraine 30.05.2022 

News from Ukraine 25.05.2022

  • Round 200 bodies were found in Mariupol in the rubble of a bunker when the blocks of a high-rise building were demolished. 
  • After the conquest of Mariupol, Russian forces intensify their Attacks in Eastern Ukraine and many people wonder whether it is more dangerous to flee or to stay.

News from Ukraine 24.05.2022 

  • At first war crimes trial In Ukraine, a Russian soldier was sentenced to life imprisonment. He had confessed to shooting an unarmed civilian. 

News from Ukraine 23.05.2022

  • Since the Russian invasion Martial law in Ukraine. Now the parliament in Kiev has extended this condition by 90 days. Adult men between the ages of 18 and 60 will continue to be allowed to leave the country only in exceptional cases. 
  • For many who want to escape from eastern Ukraine, there is only the open escape route to Russia. But most of them do not want to stay there. A network of Russian volunteers helps them to continue their journey. 

News from Ukraine 19.05.2022

  • The International Criminal Court is sending more experts than ever before to Evidence of war crimes to collect. A Russian soldier is already on trial in Kiev. 
  • The Ukrainian President Selenskyj wants to extend the martial law imposed because of the Russian invasion and the ordered mobilization for three months. 

News from Ukraine 18.05.2022

  • Ukraine and Russia have suspended negotiations to end the war for the time being, according to both sides. Deutschlandfunk reports.
  • For weeks, countless people have sought shelter in Kharkiv's metro stations. Now that the Russians have withdrawn, the trains are supposed to start running again. But some are afraid of what might await them outside. ARD was on site.

News from Ukraine 17.05.2022

  • The EU foreign ministers have decided that Ukraine will receive another 500 million euros in military aid from the EU. This brings the total military aid coming from the EU alone to two billion euros. BR reports.

News from Ukraine 16.05.2022 

  • The Lviv city administration has become the target of a cyberattack suspected to be carried out by Russian hackers. The attack on Friday had rendered some city services unavailable. The Standard reports.

News from Ukraine 13.05.2022

News from Ukraine 12.05.2022

  • Russian forces allegedly used internationally banned cluster munitions in Ukraine. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and schools, homes and hospitals damaged. Here The Human Rights Watch report to this.
  • Russian forces have stepped up their attacks in the east of the country, according to Ukrainian sources, with some gains in terrain in the Donbass region. More info on the course of the war in the Newsticker of the Tagesspiegel.
  • On the day of their wedding, Russia invades Ukraine. Like many other Russian opposition members, Polina and Arshak flee to Germany - and are afraid that they will have to go back. The Frankfurter Rundschau spoke with them.

News from Ukraine 11.05.2022 

  • As first German member of the government Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock traveled to Ukraine and spoke with those affected in Butscha. In Kiev, she announced the reopening of the German Embassy. 

Annalena Baerbock's statement from Butscha can be found at here.  

  • In the eastern Ukrainian city of Isyum, according to the regional government, the Bodies of 44 civilians recovered from the rubble of a destroyed house. 

News from Ukraine 10.05.2022 

  • According to the Lewada Institute. Approval of the war in Ukraine in Russia dropped from 81 percent in April to 74 percent now. The clear majority still seems to back Putin's war, but not all of those who oppose it admit it in a survey. 
  • The President of the Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, after her return from the Ukraine for a Ukraine's early accession to the EU pronounced. Commission head von der Leyen plans to announce before the end of June whether the country will be granted candidate status. 

News from Ukraine 9.05.2022

  • Volodymyr Selenskyj has used the celebration of the victory over Nazism as an opportunity to Putin Accuse of forgetting history and compares the Russian war of aggression with that of the Nazis. 

News from Ukraine 5.05.2022

  • According to Moscow, so far 1.1 million Ukrainians brought to Russiaincluding 200,000 children. The Ukrainian government speaks of deportation. The refugee aid organization Pro Asyl also takes offense at the practice. 

News from Ukraine 4.05.2022 

News from Ukraine 3.05.2022 

  • The Russian Air Force continued its attacks on targets in Ukraine last night. The target was again the Odessa port city
  • Hitler comparison causes outrage in Israel Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov compared Ukrainian President Selenskyj to Hitler. In doing so, he is also serving an anti-Semitic conspiracy myth. 
  • For fear of becoming Russia's next target of attack people leave the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, according to UNHCR, nearly 450,000 people have fled Ukraine via Moldova. 

News from Ukraine 2.05.2022 

  • The open letter of artists and intellectuals around „Emma“-editor Alice Schwarzer is a call for surrender to Ukraine. And at the same time a document of cluelessness and arrogance, says the Ukrainian journalist Denis Trubetskoy
  • For many journalists in Ukraine the Situation life threateningSeveral have already been killed. They continue to report - and at the same time are emotionally involved in the events as citizens of their country. 

News from Ukraine 29.04.2022

  • While UN Secretary General António Guterres was visiting the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Russian missiles hit nearby. For the first time in about two weeks, the Ukrainian capital has been Kiev again shelled with Russian missiles been. 
  • With the invasion of Ukraine, Putin wanted to Overthrow government in Kiev. According to a report, the Russian invaders came very close to President Selenskyj and his family in the first hours of the war.

News from Ukraine 28.04.2022

  • In the besieged city of Kherson in the south of Ukraine during the night there were Several explosions were given. According to Ukrainian sources, the regions of Kharkiv and Sumy in the east were shelled with artillery and mortars by the Russian side. 
  • A top manager of Gazprombank has changed sides: he wants to work for Ukraine fight against the Russian troops. He also makes serious accusations against the leadership in Moscow. 

News from Ukraine 27.04.2022

  • The Russian company Gazprom no longer wants to supply natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria. The Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki speaks of a Blackmail attempt by Moscow – but his country was prepared.
  • The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is already having a massive impact on the Economy in Eastern Europe out. Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania are likely to slip into recession this year. 

News from Ukraine 26.04.2022

  • The federal government wants Tank deliveries to Ukraine allow. The Krauss-Maffei Wegmann defense company is to be allowed to sell „Gepard“anti-aircraft tanks from former Bundeswehr stocks.
  • The Tagesschau has also summarized which states supply which weapons. 
  • In the view of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Russia will meanwhile aware of his defeat. This is probably why Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is threatening nuclear weapons.

News from Ukraine 25.04.2022 

  • U.S. Ministers Blinken and Austin visited Kiev on Sunday. They told President Selenskyj further $300 million military aid to. 

News from Ukraine 22.04.2022 

  • Near the port city of Mariupol is a Mass grave discovered have been. Up to 9000 people are said to have been buried in it.
  • In the dispute over the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, Chancellor Scholz is coming under increasing pressure. But what has Germany already delivered, who demands what – and what is the benefit of a ring exchange of tanks?
  • Climate expert Lesia Vasylenko from the Ukrainian parliament explains the Reconstruction plan

News from Ukraine 21.04.2022

  • Up to thousand civilian:inside are still said to be holding out in the Mariupol steel mill. Kremlin leader Putin now wants to seal off the area completely. Russia has declared the rest of Mariupol conquered.
  • In order to be able to fend off Russia's attacks, Ukraine needs above all heavy weapons. Germany has been hesitant so far. tagesschau summarizes how things look in other NATO countries.
  • The head of the military administration of the Luhansk region declared that 80% of the territory of the region... under Russian control would stand. 

News from Ukraine 20.04.2022

  • The Netherlands will heavy weapons to Ukraine supply. In Germany, too, a majority is in favor of supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine. 

News from Ukraine 19.04.2022 

  • Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression on the whole of Ukraine, nearly five million people fled the country. 
  • Because the traditional Easter marches were unfortunately unable to condemn Russian wars and demand necessary consequences, we as Leave No One Behind made an alternative Easter march with Vitsche and Adopt a Revolution. 

News from Ukraine 08.04.2022 

  • From the rubble of two residential buildings alone in the Ukrainian city of Borodyanka reportedly recovered 26 bodies recovered. President Selenskyj assumes even more victims by Russian troops. 
  • Refugees from Ukraine should From June Basic security received. The federal and state governments have also reached an agreement on how to share the costs. 
  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine divides Germany's neo-Nazis: While some groups support the authoritarian Russian leader and his rejection of NATO, others declare solidarity with the far-right Azov Battalion in Ukraine.

News from Ukraine 7.04.2022

News from Ukraine 6.04.2022

  • Irina and Evgeni buried their neighbors. Mortician Sergei recovered twenty bodies with their hands tied behind their backs. The taz reports on the survivors after the Butscha massacre.
  • To date, the federal government has issued a immediate embargo of Russian gas, oil and coal because it considers the consequences for the economy to be too great. 

News from Ukraine 05.04.2022

  • EU Commission President von der Leyen and EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Borrell plan to travel to Kiev this week. Read about this and many other important developments in the liveblog of the dailies.
  • The Russian state news agency "Ria Novosti" has published a guest editorialwhich calls for the destruction of Ukraine under the heading of "denazification". In addition, it calls for punishing and killing tens of thousands of people who participate in the defense of Ukraine.
  • In the meantime 4.3 million people fled Ukraine. So far, 310,000 refugees from Ukraine have been registered in Germany, although the real number is significantly higher because Ukrainians do not have to register in Germany immediately. 

News from Ukraine 04.04.2022

  • The European press largely agreesIn view of the images from Butscha, no one should look away any longer. The media are calling for tougher sanctions, a warrant for Putin's arrest and a judicial investigation.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in the face of atrocities committed against civilians, has given the Russian troops accused of genocide.

News from Ukraine 1.04.2022 

  • Selenskyj has warned his compatriots against itThe Russian government is not rushing to judge the withdrawal of Russian troops from several territories as a victory. This is merely a Russian tactic, Selenskyj said in his daily address to the nation. 
  • Actually, Russia wanted to open an escape corridor from the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol in the morning. According to Municipality data but this has not yet happened. At the same time, there is growing concern about new attacks.

News from Ukraine 31.03.2022

News from Ukraine 30.03.2022

  • According to UNHCR, more than four million people have fled Ukraine.This and other updates on the war in Ukraine, can be found at the tagesschau.

News from Ukraine 29.03.2022

  • Due to the Russian war of aggression, according to the Ukrainian government, in the port city besieged for weeks alone Mariupol more than 5,000 people been killed.
  • Ukraine reports the recapture of the town of Irpin near Kiev. For more on the current state of the war, see

News from Ukraine 28.03.2022 

  • Over 3.8 million people have fled Ukraine. 2.2 million fled via Poland and over 380,000 flew via Moldova, which has taken in the most refugees per capita. You can find the UNHCR data here.  
  • Today, the EU interior ministers are discussing how the refugees from Ukraine will be cared for, distributed and accommodated. ZDF today reports.

News from Ukraine 25.03.2022

  • The Ukraine war was yesterday's topic on Three summits in BrusselsNATO's, the G7's and the European Union's. The aim is to isolate Russia, for example by excluding it from the G20 group.
  • Cottbus is to become a hub for refugees in Germany in order to relieve the pressure on Berlin. rbb 24 reports.

News from Ukraine 24.03.2022

  • Hospitals, schools and homes: the Russian army has already bombed over 1500 civilian targets in Ukraine. The New York Times documents these war crimes here.
  • Already at the end of February Ukraine was given a first EU package over 500 million euros for its military. Now the EU states have launched a second package for the same amount. Germany will pay 26 percent of this amount. 
  • To date, the federal police have issued 246,154 Refugees from the Ukraine in Germany. Since not all are checked on entry, there are probably a few more.The info can be found at the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

News from Ukraine 23.03.2022 

  • Mariupol city administration accuses Russia of deporting citizens as forced laborers. There is no confirmation - but reports of false promises

News from Ukraine 22.03.2022 

News from Ukraine 21.03.2022

  • At "Sound of Peace" we raised over €12.5 million in donations for humanitarian projects. You can watch the entire 11-hour event here check again. With World I talked about the rally and also about how we now need to become independent of Russian gas.
  • According to UNHCR, there are now 3.5 million people fled from Ukraine. I told the mirrorthat we should create a fund into which all member states pay and from which money is distributed according to the burden. 

News from Ukraine 18.03.2022

  • Sunday is the big peace rally "Sound of Peace"The event in Berlin will also feature Silbermond, Gentleman, Peter Maffay, Revolverheld, Michael Patrick Kelly, Antje Schomaker and Zoe Wees. We are calling for donations and distributing the money to charitable organizations that provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine, support refugees or help journalists on the ground with their work. 
  • US President Joe Biden announced millions of dollars in further arms deliveries and military aid to Ukraine, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin for the first time publicly a "War Criminals" called. 
  • The federal and state governments want to help refugees from Ukraine quickly and without complications. Chancellor Scholz promised financial aid for the countries
  • Because of Russia's attack on Ukraine threatens famine – not only in the war zone but worldwide. This is because the two warring parties are also important grain producers.

News from Ukraine 17.03.2022 

  • From the encircled port city of Mariupol was reported last night that Theater of the city had been bombed. There would have been more than 1000 shelter seekers in the building. 

News from Ukraine 16.03.2022

  • More than three million people have had to flee Ukraine in less than three weeks. It is the biggest flight movement in Europe since the end of the Second World War. You can find the data of the UNHCR here.
  • Despite the ongoing fighting, another 20,000 people have managed to flee the port city of Mariupol, according to Ukrainian sources. Deutschlandfunk reports.
  • Since the start of the war on February 24, EU member states have spent over €13 billion on fossil fuels from Russia. By far the largest importer is Germany with over €4 billion. You can find the exact data here.
  • Russia has pre-empted its expulsion from the Council of Europe and declared its withdrawal. Tagesschau reports about it.
  • EU leaders from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia pledged solidarity to Ukraine during their meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj. RND reports on the meeting.

News from Ukraine 15.03.2022

  • The Pictures from Mariupol went around the world: Paramedics carry a pregnant woman through the rubble of a maternity hospital in the eastern Ukrainian port city. Now the woman and her unborn child have died.
  • „Stop the war. Do not believe the propaganda. Here you are being lied to“, says the poster that Marina Ovsyannikova holds up to the camera on the Russian evening news. You can read more about the courageous journalist at the RND.
  • London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan calls for housing Ukrainian refugees in the properties of Russian oligarchs. So far, unfortunately, not many Ukrainian refugees have reached the UK because Boris Johnson's Conservative government does not allow them to enter.

News from Ukraine 14.03.2022

  • At the weekend reported the Ukrainian military for the first time since the beginning of the war, an air strike near the city of Lviv – not far from the Polish border. This also bombs those parts of Ukraine to which many have fled within their own country.
  • In the port city of Mariupol, which is under Russian fire, more than 2500 civilians have been killed so far, according to Ukrainian data. Read more in the Newssticker of the Tagesspiegel.
  • Russian soldiers fired warning shots in Kherson after thousands of people took to the streets against the occupiers. According to Ukrainian government Moscow wants to turn the region into a pro-Russian people's republic by means of a pseudo-referendum.
  • According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, 146,998 people have arrived in Germany from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian attack on February 24, although the real number is probably higher because not all of them are registered. According to the UNHCR, a total of more than 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine so far. Time Online reports.
  • You can find the data of the UNHCR here.
  • Many people declare their readiness to take in refugees from Ukraine. The Tagesschau explains in this post what to look out for and when to tell the landlord.

News from Ukraine 11.03.2022 

  • 11-year-old Hassan fled alone from Ukraine to Slovakia. His Ukrainian mother fled with him from Syria to Ukraine when he was still a small child. His Syrian father was killed in the war. Around half of the 2.5 million displaced Ukrainians so far are children. The Washington Post tells Hassan's story.

News from Ukraine 10.03.2022 

  • Putin's bombs destroyed a maternity hospital in Mariupol yesterday afternoon. By the World Health Organization's count, at least 18 clinics, other health facilities or ambulances have been attacked since the war in Ukraine began. The Tagesschau reports.
  • President Volodymyr Selenskyj talks to the "Time". about his life as Putin's arch-enemy in besieged Kiev, about the Ukrainians:inside's fight for freedom - and he calls on the West to do more to protect his country. The interview has also been translated into English, French and Russian. 
  • Within a week, 70,000 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Berlin. Event spaces like the Festsaal Kreuzberg become emergency accommodations. The Tagesspiegel has its own news ticker on the Ukraine war and Berlin.

News from Ukraine 09.03.2022 

  • Last night I was a guest on Late Night Berlin together with Wladimir Klitschko, Marina Weisband, Louis Klamroth, Sophie Passmann and Anna Dushime. The aim was to shed light on the war in Ukraine from different perspectives. The You can watch the broadcast here.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency is no longer connected to the monitoring equipment of the Ukrainian nuclear ruin Chernobyl. In addition, the situation of the personnel detained by the Russian army is deteriorating. reports.

News from Ukraine 08.03.2022 

  • In several major cities the situation is getting worse due to encirclement, this applies to Mariupol, Kharkiv and Kiev, among others. The destruction in Mariupol is enormous and there is no more electricity, water and gas.You can read more about it in the Liveblog of the SZ.
  • Isabel Schayani stands at the train station in Przemyśl on the Polish-Ukrainian border and reports on the terrible situation. You can follow her on Twitter.  
  • The AfD became the strongest party in Görlitz, but now the city on the Polish border is showing a very different face. Franziska Schubert, leader of the Green Party in the Saxon state parliament, has transformed her regional office into a coordination center for refugee assistance. Hundreds of helpers have already come forward and hundreds of places to sleep have been made available. Taz reports.
  • A new media law in Russia prohibits calling the war in Ukraine a war. The independent broadcaster Doschd was forced to close, and the news sites of Meduza and Echo Moscow can no longer be accessed in Russia. ZDF and ARD cease reporting from Russia. ZDF heute reports.

News from Ukraine 07.03.2022 

  • I was in Ukraine this weekend, at the railroad station in Lviv and at the external border with Poland, to get an idea of the situation. You can find my first assessment in the ZDF Morning Magazine
  • Because most refugees arrive in Berlin, the capital has been redistributing them to other German states and cities since yesterday. The prerequisite for this is that the people have no fixed destination in Germany. reports.
  • Several hundred Ukrainian refugees wanted to continue their journey to Britain via France in recent days, but British border guards sent them away. France has accused Britain of a „lack of humanity“ towards war refugees from Ukraine. Star reports.

News from Ukraine 04.03.2022

News from Ukraine 03.03.2022 

News from Ukraine 02.03.2022

News from Ukraine 01.03.2022

  • At the moment there is a special session in the European Parliament in Brussels. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj is digitally connected and gave a speech, which you can watch (Timeline at 12.45).

News from Ukraine 28.02.2022

  • We want to bring together those who have to flee from Putin's terror with people, organizations and initiatives in solidarity. On the homepage of LeaveNoOneBehind you can register and learn what you can do. 

News from Ukraine 25.02.2022 

  • Many people are trying to flee Ukraine. The UNHCR currently estimates the number at over 100,000. Even if you can find figures everywhere, I think it is unserious to estimate now how many people will have to flee Ukraine. 

Afghanistan admission program must not be delayed any longer

June 20 is World Refugee Day. Since the United Nations established this day 21 years ago, the number of refugees worldwide has risen from 20 million to 100 million. I have sent out the following press release to mark the occasion:

"Worldwide, more than 100 million people are on the run. As Europeans, we have a responsibility to do our part. The reception of refugees from Ukraine has shown what Europe is capable of if it wants to. After years of asylum policy characterized by isolation and deterrence, the turning point must now also be reached in migration policy.

People continue to be mistreated at the external borders

Unfortunately, state crimes against refugees at the external borders have continued even after the war of aggression on Ukraine began. People are being degraded, mistreated and prevented from applying for asylum in increasingly disgusting ways. This also affects many refugees from Russia, Syria, Afghanistan or opposition members from Turkey.

After 20 years of military deployment in Afghanistan, Germany has a special responsibility for the threatened people in the country. In the coalition agreement, an admission program was agreed upon, but there seems to be a blockade of officials in the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Some employees there do not yet seem to be aware that the Minister of the Interior no longer comes from the CSU and that it is her task to implement democratic decisions. 

Federal Ministry must enforce admission program

The Federal Ministry of the Interior must finally take an ambitious approach to the admission program for Afghanistan. Taking in 20,000 endangered persons and their closest relatives does not present us with too great a challenge. We are talking about young women who are forcibly married, women's rights defenders, well-known journalists and intellectuals who are being hunted by the Taliban. Our society can be proud if we do not leave it to the Taliban, but lead by example. 

Moreover, state crimes continue to be committed daily at the EU's external borders. The reality at the external borders would have been unimaginable in its cruelty just a few years ago. Unfortunately, the Commission and the Council prefer to look the other way instead of holding the Member States accountable.The Federal Ministry of the Interior has the important mandate from the coalition agreement to end the suffering at our external borders. The everyday violation of the law at our external borders must finally be addressed openly. The federal government continues to have a responsibility not to allow right-wing propaganda to prevail and the suffering at our external borders to become the norm. We need an offensive of the rule of law at the external borders." 

EU states conceal disenfranchisement of protection seekers with mini-reception program

Press release by Erik Marquardt from 10.06.2022

Today, the interior ministers of the EU states are meeting in Luxembourg to discuss the reaction to the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, Frontex, the Schengen reform and asylum and migration. A massive curtailment of the right of asylum is threatened. In the slipstream of the Ukraine crisis, the rights of those seeking protection at the external borders are to be further eroded. The ongoing massive human rights crimes at the EU's external borders are again not clearly addressed. The proposed solidarity mechanism will not be able to counter the extensive disenfranchisement of protection seekers.

Erik Marquardt, asylum policy spokesman for the Green Group in the European Parliament, comments:

"The small successes in the amendments to the Schengen Borders Code regarding internal border controls are being bought in the Council at the expense of a significant tightening of asylum law. The conservative hardliners among the EU governments are getting their way by wanting to normalize the practice of systematic human rights violations through legislative changes.

Meanwhile, Syrian refugees or Turkish opposition members are also disenfranchised and all too often mistreated at the external borders. The proposed amendments to the Schengen Borders Code will now give member states like Poland, Greece, or Croatia further justification for these crimes. An "instrumentalization of migration" is supposed to justify that people like at the Belarusian border no longer have access to asylum procedures. One can only hope that the European Parliament will put a stop to the increasing lawlessness at the external borders.

Coalition agreement must also be represented at European level

I expect the Chancellor's Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior to represent the contents of the coalition agreement at the European level. At the moment, the impression is created that a perpetuation of suffering at the external borders is being accepted instead of openly criticizing human rights violations. A coalition of the willing must not be bought by the degradation of those seeking protection at the external borders.

Even if it has apparently been achieved that some EU states agree to a relocation procedure and a small number of asylum seekers are redistributed, this cannot outweigh the Council's intended tightening of asylum law. A mini-reception program conceals the massive disenfranchisement of those seeking protection. The failed Dublin system is perpetuated by today's decisions – a serious reform becomes increasingly unlikely. If fewer and fewer people get access to an asylum procedure based on the rule of law, no redistribution of a small minority of those entitled to protection will help to compensate for this.

Redistribution falls short of Malta mechanism

Last year alone, more than 30,000 recognized protection seekers from Greece came to Germany and had to apply for asylum again because they were expelled from Greece. Germany now wants to take in 3,500 people in an orderly fashion. This falls short of the arrangement agreed under the Grand Coalition in the so-called Malta Mechanism – and this despite the fact that in the coalition agreement a further development of the mechanism was agreed.

In return for the solidarity mechanism, preliminary checks are now to be introduced at the external borders, further complicating access to asylum procedures. One can only praise the drops on the hot stone if no fire is lit under the stone in parallel. Today could be a black day for European asylum law, hopefully the European Parliament can still prevent the normalization of injustice at the external borders."