The longtime boss of the Russian oil giant Lukoil died under mysterious circumstances. Ex-General a. D. Klaus Wittmann sees the first Russian defense lines as breached. The FDP parliamentary group is dismantling Nord Stream 2. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker.
Friday, September 2, 6:49 a.m .: The FDP parliamentary group wants to finally close the chapter on the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. “As Free Democrats, we demand the dismantling of Nord Stream 2 and the fastest possible development of a concept for legal, technical and environmental protection,” says a position paper adopted at the autumn meeting in Bremen, which was available to the German Press Agency on Friday. The FDP parliamentary group wants to end all purchases of raw materials and energy from Russia and Belarus as quickly as possible, insofar as this is permitted by their own economic capacity to act.
“From the start, the Nord Stream pipelines were a Kremlin geopolitical project aimed at isolating Ukraine. That is why the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in particular has led to considerable resentment and has diplomatically isolated Germany,” says the decision, in which Ukraine is also assured further support.
Russia’s aggression must continue to be answered consistently with economic sanctions. Sanctions worked, the first effects are already visible. “We are calling for the sanctions against members of the Russian leadership to be expanded and we are in favor of expelling family members of people on the sanctions list and withdrawing visas,” said the FDP parliamentary group. “If individual countries, including EU accession candidates, circumvent sanctions or even supply weapons to Russia, this cannot go unchallenged and uncontroversial. If EU accession candidates circumvent the sanctions, the pre-accession aid must be canceled.”
9:05 p.m.: According to the Brigadier General a. D. Klaus Wittmann launched the major Ukrainian offensive against the Russian invaders on August 29, three days ago. You go in five directions, he said in an interview with the “world”. And further: “The first Russian defense lines have apparently been breached.”
However, the defense lines behind it are apparently so strong that the Ukrainian armed forces “are not making any real progress yet”. At the moment, however, there is little concrete information about this from Ukraine – “perhaps also a tactic,” said Wittmann.
In the major Ukrainian offensive, Cherson and the area around it played a particularly decisive role – “objectively, agriculturally, politically and symbolically”. Because: “It is the first big city that Russia has conquered. This is the only area west of the Dnepro that Russia has occupied. That is the first thing Ukraine needs to win back.”
Wittmann emphasized: “The Russians are really only superior in terms of firepower. The Ukraine is superior in tactical mobility, operational planning and leadership, in the morale of the troops.” The ex-Bundeswehr general: “I reckon there are opportunities. But I will say one thing: they need combat vehicles for that.”
He criticizes that the Chancellery has still not made a clear statement about the 88 Leopard battle tanks and 100 Marder armored personnel carriers offered by German industry and finds clear words: “If this offensive in the south goes wrong, it will fail, among other things because there are not enough combat vehicles are present, then we are partly to blame.”
5.47 p.m .: Russia has condemned the EU decision to make entry more difficult for Russian citizens and warned of possible countermeasures. “This is bad for Russians, it will take longer and be more difficult to get a visa,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists in Moscow on Thursday.
But it will also “complicate the situation for Europeans,” Peskov said, describing the EU foreign ministers’ decision to suspend a 2007 visa facilitation deal with Russia as “another ridiculous decision in a series of ongoing ones.” absurdities”.
The EU foreign ministers agreed on Wednesday to suspend the agreement, but refrained from a more comprehensive visa ban, as some member states had called for. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the move would “significantly reduce the number of new visas issued by EU member states”.
9:25 a.m .: The CEO of the Russian oil company Lukoil, Rawil Maganov, died when he fell out of a Moscow hospital window. The Interfax news agency reported on Thursday. The police have initiated investigations, according to media reports, the most likely cause is suicide. It is said that Maganow was diagnosed with heart problems and depression in the hospital. Lukoil was one of the first Russian corporations to criticize Russia’s war of aggression and call for its end.
However, it is not the first death among Russia’s top managers since the outbreak of war: according to media reports, for example, Lukoil manager Alexander Subbotin died in May, allegedly during occult treatment for alcohol addiction.
In addition, several managers of Russian energy companies have been found dead since the beginning of the year. They too are said to have taken their own lives. In a video interview published on YouTube at the end of April, Gazprombank’s longtime deputy head Igor Volobuyev doubted that it was a suicide. Shortly before, Volobuyev had fled to Ukraine and stated that he wanted to fight Russian troops there.
Thursday, September 1, 6:43 a.m.: According to military historian Bastian Matteo Scianna, the Ukrainian offensive in the south of the country could end in a “bloody battle” for Cherson. The Ukrainian military will specifically try to disrupt reinforcements of Russian troops in the region. “In case of doubt, the Russian units that cannot get back behind the river Dnepr will then fight a bloody battle in Cherson,” said the scientist from the University of Potsdam in an interview with the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (NOZ).
The Ukraine had prepared its offensive “meticulously” and had been attacking supply routes, important infrastructure and Russian artillery for weeks. Kyiv used its military capabilities skillfully and gave the Russian forces “thousands of pinpricks instead of launching a big hurray offensive like you might see in the movies,” Scianna said. The first phase of the offensive will be about pushing back to the Dnieper and possibly recapturing Cherson directly – or cutting it off and isolating the Russian units there.
Whether Ukraine could initiate a turnaround in the war with its offensive is open, said the military historian of the “NOZ”. “That will largely depend on further Western arms deliveries to Ukraine and Russia’s ability to bring new troops and new material to the front.” The ability to learn lessons and maintain morale will also play a major role.
3:28 p.m .: The EU will completely suspend an agreement concluded with Russia to facilitate the issuing of visas for travelers. This was announced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Wednesday after the foreign ministers’ consultations in Prague. The move is another punitive measure in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which has been going on for more than half a year.
It aims to enable member states to easily impose entry restrictions on Russians and to increase the costs and workload for applicants. For example, the basic setting of the visa fee at 35 euros will no longer apply, and the standard processing time of ten calendar days after receipt of the application will no longer apply. Borrell said the suspension of the visa agreement will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that in future it could take months for Russians to submit applications. At the same time, according to them, it will still be possible to allow students and journalists to enter the country, for example. The aim is also to prevent people from turning against the EU rather than against their own president out of frustration about Western sanctions.
So far, the visa facilitation agreement that came into force in 2007 has only been suspended for business people, government officials and diplomats. This decision was made on February 25, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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