Russia blacklists Ben Stiller and Sean Penn
3:23 pm: Russia’s foreign ministry has blacklisted 25 US citizens, including actors Sean Penn and Ben Stiller. The ministry said in Moscow, “in response to sanctions that the Biden administration continues to expand against Russian citizens” from politics, culture and business who cannot enter Russia.
Stiller and Penn ended up on the list because of their political involvement. The actors positioned themselves on the side of Kiev after Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began. Both actors were welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and expressed their support for Ukraine.
EU gives Ukraine another 500 million euros in aid
2:12 pm: The European Union is helping Ukraine with another 500 million euros. It emerged from an agreement signed by the EU Commission with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal in Brussels on Monday. This money will benefit refugees and farmers.
EU aid is aimed at “protecting housing and education for internally displaced persons and returnees and supporting the Ukrainian agricultural sector,” said Commission spokesman Eric Mamar in Brussels. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged funding at donor events in April and May.
In Brussels, Schmihal called for tougher sanctions against Russia, which invaded Ukraine at the end of February. “One of our priorities is a full force embargo on Russia,” he said. Russian gas supplies can be replaced in large quantities by electricity from Ukraine, the main argument of the government.
Cherson occupiers don’t want referendum for now – no connection with Russia?
1:08 pm: Pro-Russian authorities in the occupied and now fiercely contested southern Ukrainian region of Cherson say they want to put their plans for a referendum on Russian membership on hold for the time being. Preparations for the vote have already begun, Kirill Stremusov, the head of pro-Russian authorities, said on television. “But given the current course of events, I believe we will pause for now.”
Earlier, Ukraine reported progress in its counteroffensive in the region. According to the Southern Command, Ukrainian troops recaptured several areas and destroyed, among other things, an ammunition depot, a pontoon bridge and a control center of the Russian army.
However, the declaration may also have a strategic background. The Ukrainian army also launched a counteroffensive on the southern front to prevent the Kherson region from being annexed by Russia. But not only is there a war on the front, but the Russian occupation government is also the target of attacks by partisan fighters in Ukraine.