Berlin takes control of the German subsidiary of Gazprom

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on Monday “suspending with immediate effect” the access of Russia and Belarus to its financing and expertise. (Photo: Getty Images)

This text brings together all the reactions since the invasion of Russia in Ukraine for the day of March 29, 2022. It will be updated during the day. To find all our coverage on the conflict, it’s here.

11:29 am | Frankfurt — The German state will take temporary control of the German subsidiary of the Russian giant Gazprom, because of its “significance for the supply” of energy to Germany, announced the Minister of Economy Robert Habeck.

The federal network agency will become the administrator of “Gazprom Germania” until September 30, of which Gazprom was the sole owner.

However, the group announced Friday its “withdrawal” from this subsidiary, without immediately indicating a buyer, creating a blur on the future of the entity in the midst of a conflict over Russian gas.

Gazprom’s subsidiaries are the operators of major gas and fuel storage infrastructures in Germany. Gazprom Germania in turn has several subsidiaries in the UK, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

“The government is doing what is necessary to ensure security of supply in Germany, and this includes not exposing energy infrastructure to arbitrary decisions by the Kremlin,” Habeck told a press conference. .

“The voting rights of the owners of Gazprom Germania are transferred to the federal network agency”, the Bundesnetzagentur, which “can take all the decisions necessary to guarantee supply”, detailed the minister.

On Friday, the Russian giant announced in a press release that it had “ended its participation in Gazprom Germania and all of its assets on March 31” without detailing the new ownership structure.

However, Berlin said it was “aware” of an acquisition of the company by entities of “uncertain origins”, which should have been reported to the government, and of a “willingness to liquidate” Gazprom Germania.

This “uncertainty over the ownership” of Gazprom Germania and the need to “guarantee the security of supply” of the country’s energy prompted the ministry to take this exceptional measure.

Ukraine: Biden wants a “war crimes trial” after Boutcha

11:25 a.m. | WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden said Monday he wants a “war crimes trial” after scores of bodies were found in civilian clothes in Boutcha, outside kyiv, but said they were not a “genocide”.

“We have to gather the information” and “we have to have all the details” to “have a war crimes trial,” he said.

Asked if he thought it was “genocide”, he said: “No, I think it’s a war crime”.

The American president also assured that he wanted to take “additional sanctions” against Russia.

“You may remember that I was criticized for calling Putin a ‘war criminal’. Well the truth (…) is that he is a war criminal”, he further declared.

“This guy is brutal, what is happening in Boutcha is outrageous and everyone has seen it,” said Joe Biden.

“He must be accountable,” he told the press again, arriving in Washington after a weekend at his family home in Delaware.

President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Boucha on Monday, accusing the Russian army of “war crimes” which will be “recognized as genocide”.

This small town northwest of kyiv was occupied by the Russian army on February 27, remaining inaccessible for more than a month.

AFP saw the bodies of at least 22 people in civilian clothes in the streets there on Saturday. One of them was lying near a bicycle and another had shopping bags next to her. A corpse had its hands tied behind its back.

The cause of their death could not immediately be determined, but two people had large head wounds.

Moscow for its part denied having killed civilians in Boutcha, the Kremlin and the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov evoking “falsifications” and stagings for the press.

Russia and Belarus denied access to EBRD funds

6:59 | London — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced on Monday “suspending with immediate effect” access to Russia and Belarus to its financing and expertise, in the wake of the invasion in Ukraine. .

This decision “means that there can be no new funding for technical cooperation projects or activities” from the EBRD in Russia or Belarus, the institution said in a statement.

The bank, which had already announced that it was in the process of closing its offices in Moscow and Minsk, indicates that it “reserves the right to suspend or cancel new financing installments on existing projects”.

The announcement came as the European Union was discussing additional sanctions against Moscow on Monday, after the discovery of a large number of civilian bodies in the Kyiv region, particularly in Boutcha, after the Russian withdrawal.

“It is sad to have come to this after so many years of cooperation and activity in these two countries,” commented Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the EBRD, quoted in the press release. “But Russia’s war on Ukraine has left us with no choice but to condemn with more than words,” she added.

The EBRD says it is now focusing on deploying a €2 billion support program for Ukraine and countries in the region directly affected by the refugee crisis, announced in early March.

The bank is also committed to participating in a reconstruction program for Ukraine as soon as conditions permit.

The institution warned last week that the war put the global economy at risk of facing the “biggest supply shock since at least the early 1970s”.

According to her, Ukraine’s economy is expected to contract by 20% this year due to the invasion of the country by Russia, which will in turn see its GDP plunge by 10% – assuming that a shutdown of hostilities will be decided within a few months, followed by a major effort to rebuild Ukraine.

According to this scenario, Ukraine’s economy should rebound by 23% next year, while Russia’s GDP, which still faces sanctions, should just stabilize with zero growth.

The EBRD was founded in 1991 to help former Soviet bloc countries transition to a market economy, but it has since expanded its scope to include countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

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