Moscow and Kyiv have signed an agreement on grain exports from Ukraine. The Russian blockade ends with it. Poland accuses Germany of “deceptive maneuvers” when exchanging rings. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker.
9:25 a.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the United States for the announced new arms deliveries in the war against Russia. “Extremely important, powerful weapons will save the lives of our soldiers, accelerate the liberation of our country from the Russian aggressor,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “I appreciate the strategic partnership between our nations. Together to victory!»
The US announced on Friday more arms sales to Ukraine worth around $270 million. According to official information, this includes four Himars multiple rocket launchers. The new package includes rockets for the Himars systems, 36,000 artillery shells, vehicles and up to 580 “Phoenix Ghost” drones.
Ukraine wants to use the heavy weapons of the West to stop the Russian advance and reconquer occupied territories. She recently dealt severe blows to the regions occupied by Moscow-loyal separatists and Russian troops. Russia had warned the US and NATO that arms sales to Ukraine would only prolong the war.
A few days ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized that Russia had long since targeted other areas in Ukraine. He explained that Western weapons were increasing in range, posing a threat to Moscow-controlled regions. Accordingly, Russia will continue to push back Ukrainian troops and demilitarize the country, he said.
Saturday, July 23, 7:26 a.m.: Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has admitted that the exchange of rings for arms deliveries to Ukraine is not working as planned. However, she rejected the sharp criticism of the Polish government, which recently accused Germany of breaking its promises and using deceptive maneuvers in the exchange of tank rings. “In such a situation, no one deceives their European neighbors,” said the Green politician on Friday evening in the “Image” format “The Right Questions”. The situation is unsatisfactory for both sides. But in war you don’t always know right away which is the perfect way. And the exchange of rings was initiated because it seemed to be “the best and quickest way at the time”.
In the exchange, Poland will receive replacements from allies such as Germany for Soviet-designed tanks that it gave to Ukraine after the Russian invasion of the neighboring country. This should make it possible for the Ukrainian soldiers to quickly receive heavy military equipment that they know how to use without extensive training.
But the people in Warsaw are anything but satisfied with the result. “The German promises to exchange tank rings have proven to be deceptive maneuvers,” Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek told the “Spiegel”. First, the Germans offered the Poles tanks “older than those we gave to Ukraine.” This offer was “not to be accepted because we have no interest in deteriorating the condition of our armament and in training our soldiers on equipment from the 1960s”. That is why they are now relying on the help of other NATO partners.
“It was clear from the start that we wouldn’t be able to replace every single tank overnight with a snap of our fingers,” Baerbock replied to the accusations from Poland. “Of course they can say we want more from you, but the tanks they have can still be delivered directly to Ukraine.”
Since the ring exchange is obviously not going as planned, the federal government is now examining “why that is obviously not happening and whether we then have to provide other support”. Armed aid for Ukraine is not just about tanks, but also about other heavy equipment, said Baerbock. “I’ve made it clear several times that we have to look at artillery in particular to see how we can support it more.”
4:22 p.m .: Russia and Ukraine have agreed with the United Nations and Turkey on a solution for the export of millions of tons of grain from the war-torn Ukraine. Both Russia and Ukraine separately signed corresponding agreements on Friday in Istanbul, mediated by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Before the Russian war of aggression, Ukraine was one of the most important grain exporters in the world.
2:56 p.m .: Poland has sharply criticized the federal government in connection with the planned ring exchange for arms deliveries to Ukraine. “The German promises to exchange tank rings have proven to be deceptive maneuvers,” Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek told the “Spiegel” (Friday). From the Polish point of view, the German offers are unacceptable, so they are now relying on the help of other NATO partners.
First, the Germans offered the Poles tanks “older than the ones we gave Ukraine,” he said. This offer is “not to be accepted because we have no interest in deteriorating the condition of our armament and in training our soldiers on equipment from the 1960s”.
“A symbolic number of tanks was offered,” says the Deputy Foreign Minister. “It’s hard to take that as a serious suggestion after we’ve delivered over 200 tanks to Ukraine in two months.” That’s why Poland prefers to talk to other NATO partners “who are really willing to help us with this.” According to him, Poland is already receiving tanks from the United States and Great Britain.
The exchange of armored rings was supposed to enable quick deliveries of heavy war equipment, which is familiar to soldiers in Ukraine. Germany had announced that it would replace or help NATO partners in the east. However, it has been stagnating for weeks. No more public information was recently given in Berlin on the exact state of affairs.
2:20 p.m .: In response to the Western sanctions, the Russian government has once again explicitly included the EU countries Greece, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia on its list of “unfriendly states”. In fact, the entire European Union was already there. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the government’s decision on Friday as a further step by Moscow to reduce contact with these countries.
The main issue is restrictions on the diplomatic missions of the countries in Moscow to hire Russian personnel. According to this, Slovenia and Croatia are no longer allowed to employ Russian citizens. For the other countries, specific figures are stipulated. Other restrictions are also possible, said Peskow. The background is an unfriendly policy of the countries towards Russia. He did not give details.
2:10 p.m .: Ukraine only wants to sign the agreement on grain exports from its blocked Black Sea ports with the United Nations and Turkey. “Ukraine is not signing any documents with Russia,” Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podoliak said on Twitter on Friday. Ukraine will sign an agreement only with Turkey and the United Nations. Mirroring this, Turkey and the United Nations would conclude a treaty with Russia.
Podoliak also categorically ruled out the involvement of Russian ships and the presence of Moscow representatives in Ukrainian ports. “In the event of a provocation, there is an immediate military response,” emphasized the 50-year-old. If necessary, all controls would be carried out in Turkish waters by “joint groups”. He did not provide any information on the composition of these groups.
An agreement on grain exports involving Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN should be concluded in Istanbul, Turkey on Friday. It would be the biggest compromise between Moscow and Kyiv since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February.
9.49 a.m .: Negotiations on a federal rescue package for the ailing energy company Uniper are on the home stretch. The German Press Agency learned this from government circles on Friday. The “Handelsblatt” reported that the federal government had almost finalized the key points for the rescue of the gas supplier. In all likelihood, the basics of the package should be presented on Friday.
A package could include the federal government taking a stake of up to 30 percent in Uniper, according to a paper for the Bundestag Committee on Climate Protection and Energy. In addition, further measures are planned.
8:58 a.m .: The chairwoman of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, has brought up a direct delivery of German tanks to Ukraine in view of the ring exchange with third countries, which has not yet got going after three months. “The ring swap idea makes sense. But it’s not going the way we imagined it would,” said the FDP defense expert of the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post” on Friday.
“We must then also have the courage to admit that things are not working the way we had imagined and should, if necessary, deliver directly to Ukraine instead,” said Strack-Zimmermann. Ukrainian soldiers have now “proven how quickly they can learn and use new equipment”.
In the ring exchange procedure, eastern allies of Ukraine are to provide easy-to-operate Soviet-design tanks. In return, Germany promised the NATO partners modern equipment as a replacement. However, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda had repeatedly accused Berlin of not keeping promises.
In addition to Poland, the federal government has also agreed ring exchange deals with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Greece.
Friday, July 22, 6:15 a.m.: According to network data, gas has been flowing continuously through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline since the maintenance work was completed Almost 29.3 gigawatt hours per hour were constantly delivered from Thursday to Friday and early Friday morning. This corresponds to a delivery of around 700 gigawatt hours per day and around 40 percent of the theoretically possible utilization. The gas flow is thus still at the level before the start of the ten-day maintenance work on July 11th.
With the start of operations of the Baltic Sea pipeline on Thursday, fears that Moscow could leave the tap permanently turned off were initially unfounded. Nevertheless, the government, business and experts are preparing for a continuation or even a possible worsening of the gas crisis. Economics Minister Robert Habeck announced an energy security package on Thursday. It was often said that there was still no reason to give the all-clear.
9:23 p.m .: In the conflict over the blockade of grain exports from Ukraine, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and representatives from Russia and Ukraine want to sign an agreement on Friday in Istanbul. This was announced by the Turkish Presidential Office on Thursday.
A UN spokesman in New York had previously announced that Guterres wanted to travel to Istanbul on Thursday. An agreement on an agreement with Moscow and Ukraine to export millions of tons of Ukrainian grain has not yet been fully negotiated, the spokesman said.
7:32 p.m .: According to the British foreign intelligence service, the Russian military will probably take a kind of break in Ukraine in the coming weeks. That gives Kyiv an opportunity to counterattack, intelligence chief Richard Moore said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. “I think they’re about to run out of breath. Our assessment is that it will become increasingly difficult for the Russians to rally forces over the next few weeks,” said Moore, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6.
3.10 p.m .: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has warned of a nuclear escalation with regard to the Ukraine conflict. In an exclusive interview with the AFP news agency on Thursday, Lukashenko called on the West, Ukraine and Russia to end the conflict in order to avert an impending “nuclear war”. Lukashenko called on the Ukrainian government to resume negotiations with Russia.
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