Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius explains his approach to German Leopard tank crews. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to promote his country’s accession to the EU. An overview.
The essentials in brief:
- Defense Minister Pistorius at tank battalion
- Natural gas reserves are sufficient for the winter
- Zelenskyj wants to push Ukraine’s EU accession further
- Lithuania calls on EU partners to expel Russian ambassadors
- The US accuses Russia of violating the New Start treaty
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius expects the delivery of main battle tanks to Ukraine to significantly strengthen Ukraine’s defenses against Russian attackers. “Ukraine needs every support, and Leopard tanks, whether they are 2A6s or other 2A4s, can play an important role in Ukrainians’ fight against the aggressor Russia. And that’s why in the end everyone understands that this has to happen,” he said the SPD politician during a visit to troops in Augustdorf, Westphalia.
Pistorius asked the troops to understand this step and announced that a replacement would be procured as quickly as possible. He had talks with representatives of the armaments industry and was “very happy about clear commitments and announcements of what is possible and can be achieved,” said Pistorius. He wants to do everything to ensure that the Bundeswehr becomes more operational and cold-start capable, i.e. ready for combat without major preparations.
Natural gas is sufficient for the heating period in winter
With regard to the natural gas supply necessary for heating households, Ukraine says it has enough reserves to get through this winter. As of today, eleven billion cubic meters (bcm) are stored, explained Energy Minister German Galushchenko. In addition, 1.2 million tons of coal are available for power generation. The state-owned energy supplier Naftogaz also announced that the Norwegian government had contributed around EUR 200 million towards the purchase of natural gas. According to Ukrainian reports, Russian airstrikes have damaged around 40 percent of the country’s energy infrastructure.
Zelenskyj wants to push Ukraine’s EU accession further
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj wants to lead his country further towards the EU. In his most recent video speech, Zelenskyy said he was hoping for “news” from the upcoming meeting with EU officials next Friday. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel are expected to travel to Kyiv. “We expect decisions from our partners in the European Union that (…) correspond to our progress,” said Zelenskyj. “Progress that is obviously there – even in spite of the widespread war.” Reforms are being worked on in Kyiv.
In June, the EU officially named Ukraine as a candidate for accession. However, there is a far-reaching set of criteria that each country must first meet. Fighting corruption is a particular issue in Ukraine. Zelenskyj announced further crackdowns: “Decisions will be made,” said Zelenskyj. “And those in the system who are not meeting the key demands of the state and society should not rest on their laurels.” Selenskyj recently dismissed two deputy ministers suspected of corruption.
Austria’s President Van der Bellen visits Kyiv
Two days before the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv, which has since been confirmed, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen arrived in the Ukrainian capital for a solidarity visit. With his trip to the country attacked by Russia, he wanted to signal support: “We stand by Ukraine, we will not let them down.” The war of aggression against Ukraine is comparable to colonial wars from the 19th century. The population was given a choice: “Either you accept being a province of Russia that is governed from Moscow, or everything is broken.
Lithuania calls on EU partners to expel Russian ambassadors
Lithuania has asked other EU countries to expel Russia’s ambassadors from their capitals. Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in Riga, the capital of neighboring Latvia, that Russia’s missions “in most cases” are no longer “a diplomatic institution, but a propaganda institution that covers up war crimes and generally promotes plans for genocide”. There is “no point in having a Russian ambassador in a European capital”.
In April 2022, after the massacre of Ukrainian civilians in the city of Bucha became known, Lithuania expelled the Russian ambassador from Vilnius. The other two Baltic states, Estonia and Latvia, recently expelled their Russian ambassadors from Tallinn and Riga.
Russia reports land gains in the Donbass
According to its own unconfirmed accounts, Russia has captured the village of Blahodatne in the Donetsk region. Both the Ministry of Defense and the Wagner mercenary group spoke of controlling the entire place. An advance by soldiers or mercenaries has not been independently confirmed.
The Russian Ministry of Defense also announced that it would send an armored platoon to the region for technical reconnaissance and mine clearance. The train could also destroy military targets in the air and on the ground. It was a “platoon armed to the teeth” and the soldiers had simple firearms as well as large-calibre weapons.
Eight years in prison for “fake news”
Russian journalist Alexander Nezorov has been sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison by a Moscow court. He was found guilty of spreading “fake news” about the Russian army. Russian authorities last year launched a case against Nezorov for taking to social media to accuse the armed forces of deliberately shelling a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The Russian government had denied this at the time. Should Nezorov ever return to Russia, he would have to serve his sentence in a penal colony, the court said. Nezorow described the investigation as ridiculous.
Netanyahu could imagine a mediating role
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be willing to mediate between the warring factions. “If all the relevant parties ask me, I’ll certainly think about it, but I don’t push myself,” Netanyahu said in an interview with US broadcaster CNN. This has to happen “at the right time and under the right circumstances”. In addition to Russia and Ukraine, the USA would also have to ask him beforehand.
Netanyahu said he had been asked before, shortly after the Russian invasion began. At the time, Netanyahu was the leader of the opposition in the Knesset. So he canceled. In March 2022, at the request of Ukraine, then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but was unable to negotiate a peace settlement.
The US accuses Russia of violating the New Start treaty
The US Department of Defense has accused Russia of violating the last valid nuclear weapons control treaty between the two nuclear powers. Moscow has suspended inspections and canceled arms control talks. However, Washington does not accuse Moscow of having illegally increased the number of nuclear warheads. In the “New Start” treaty, both nuclear powers assure each other that they will not stock more than 1,550 nuclear warheads each.
In the midst of the Ukraine war, Russia canceled planned arms control talks with the United States last November, citing Washington’s “hostility.” In February 2021, Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin agreed to extend the agreement until 2026.
Source: DW News