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German News: Dead Ukrainian child’s shoes left at Scholz door | World | News

The shoes, which are said to belong to a child killed in the besieged city of Mariupol, were used as a symbol to represent the more than 143 children who Ukrainian officials say have lost their lives to Vladimir Putin’s war. As they placed their clothes outside the executive office of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the demonstrators had a direct message for his government. Ukrainian refugee Iryna Zemlyan said: “We took them to Olaf Scholz and proposed that he sell them to Russia, because he sells goods to Russia.”

According to Ms. Zemlyan, the owner of the shoes was a six-year-old child named Tatyana.

She said: “And these shoes are brand new. She didn’t have a chance to wear them.

“We hope it will touch his heart – if he has one – and that he will stop trading.”

Svitlana Maistriuk, another Ukrainian involved in the emotive act, added: “Scholz can sell these shoes, cynically and in cold blood as he sells all other things to Russia which give Russia relative comfort.”

Zemlyan and Maistriuk were part of an activist group that organized a blockade of trucks on the Polish-Belarusian border transiting Russia to demand the European Union stop trade with Moscow, which they say contributed to financing the regime’s attacks on Ukraine.

The campaign starts on March 12 and lasts for two weeks.

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While the governments of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have officially declared their readiness to ban trade with Russia by land and sea and asked the European Union Commission to impose a ban across the bloc, several countries – including Germany – have yet to agree.

On Tuesday, March 29, demonstrators arrived in the capital Berlin to hand over a letter to Scholz in which they warned that they were ready to start a blockade on the German border.

It read: “We demand a complete halt to the flow of goods to Russia and its allies.

“Every item transported only strengthens the Russian regime, spreads terror, and kills innocent people in a free and sovereign country.

“EU’s eastern borders should be closed immediately to trade with Russia and Belarus.”

At the heart of the problem with the EU’s relations with Russia is energy.

Despite significant sanctions against Moscow, including freezing of its central bank assets, several member states have shown a refusal to impose an outright ban on oil and gas from Russia.

For the EU to agree to the embargo, the unanimous consent of 27 countries is required.

On Monday, March 21, Germany clearly opposed the embargo decision, arguing they were all too dependent on Russian natural assets – with the Netherlands and Hungary also opposing the ban.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters: “The question of the oil embargo is not a question of whether we want it or not, but a question of how much we depend on oil.”

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Stressing his country is not the only one that will be fully affected by the severing of ties with Moscow, he said: “Germany imports a lot (of Russian oil), but there are also other member countries that cannot stop oil imports from day to day. “

On Wednesday, March 30, Berlin activated contingency plans for gas supplies due to concerns the Kremlin could cut off its flow to Europe after claims it would make “unfriendly” countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow pay in rubles for Russian gas.

The Russian president set March 31 as the deadline for payment of rubles, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying the day before: “No one will supply gas for free, it’s impossible, and you can only pay for it in rubles.”

European countries, which pay mostly in euros, have so far rejected the request, with Germany and Poland calling it a breach of contract.

Berlin’s early warning to citizens, announced by Economy Minister Robert Habeck, is the first of three stages in the country’s contingency plan aimed at securing supplies.

Mr Habeck called on consumers and businesses to reduce consumption, telling them “every kilowatt-hour counts”.

While supplies are safe for now, he added “we have to step up precautionary measures to prepare for an escalation from the Russian side”.

On Wednesday, Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, suggested the switch to ruble payments could be extended to other commodities, such as oil, grains, metals, fertilizers, coal and timber.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg