A Ukrainian Zelenskyi biographer has described the president as a “product of the oligarchs” but warns against too much criticism. Putin speaks of a new hypersonic sea missile. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.

Monday, August 1st, 1:20 a.m.: In the debate about cushioning the high energy prices, medium-sized companies have spoken out in favor of a temporary suspension of value added tax on energy supplies. “From the point of view of small and medium-sized businesses, a possible temporary exemption of energy supplies from VAT would be a first step in restoring consumer confidence,” said Markus Jerger, the federal director of the Bundesverband Der Mittelstand, the newspapers of the Funke media group (Monday). There is no need for higher gas prices as an incentive to save energy. “Everyone understood what it was about,” said Jerger.

1:15 p.m .: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin put a new naval doctrine into effect on “Naval Forces Day” in St. Petersburg. Russia’s sea borders, including those in the Arctic and the Black Sea, were also defined there. “We will ensure protection hard and by all means,” emphasized the Kremlin chief at a parade with warships on Sunday.

At the same time, he announced that the new hypersonic naval missile “Zirkon” would soon be put into service. It is said to be the Russians’ next super weapon, capable of reaching speeds of up to 11,000 km/h and being virtually unstoppable. “Zirkon” can be equipped with both armor-piercing and nuclear warheads. Delivery of the missiles will begin in the next few months, with the frigate Admiral Gorshkov being the first to be equipped with them.

The new doctrine declared that the US quest for dominance of the world’s oceans was a “challenge to Russia’s national security.” The document, which Putin ceremonially signed, also stipulates that the military infrastructure on the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea will be expanded. According to the doctrine, the construction of modern aircraft carriers is also planned.

At the performance in front of thousands of spectators, Putin did not directly address the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. He thanked the Navy for its missions, which it has carried out for centuries, and praised its high level of defense readiness. Russia also has numerous warships deployed in the Black Sea in attacks against Ukraine.

Before his speech, Putin inspected the parade on a boat during a trip from Kronstadt to St. Petersburg under overcast skies and intermittent rain. Shortly thereafter, in a demonstrative act of signing, he also confirmed the naval doctrine.

Regarding the new hypersonic weapon Zirkon for the naval forces, Putin said that there were no obstacles for them. Their entry into service in 2021 was announced for the beginning of this year after reports of successful tests. The hypersonic weapons have a multiple of the speed of sound of around 343 meters per second. They are a reaction to NATO, Putin said last year. Where exactly they will be put into service should be determined according to Russia’s national interests, it said.

“Zelenskyj is of course a product of the oligarchs. He could never have achieved his great popularity without working with the major TV channels owned by the oligarchs Dmytro Firtash and Ihor Kolomoiskyi,” Rudenko said. But: “Since 2020, Zelenskyj has declared war on the oligarchs. Apparently he didn’t want to have to ask anyone for anything anymore.”

But Rudenko doesn’t want to exaggerate the criticism. “I don’t think it’s a good thing to overly criticize the President while the war is going on. It endangers the unity of the country and society. It destroys trust in the government at the time when people are dying in the country,” Rudenko told Der Spiegel.

For him, however, one thing is clear: “I am convinced that Ukraine, which existed before February 24, must no longer exist after the war,” said Rudenko, referring to the corruption in the country.

2:58 p.m .: After reports of tens of thousands of casualties in the war against Ukraine, the head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6 has mocked the Russian army. “You’re running out of breath…” Richard Moore tweeted on Saturday. He quoted a tweet from the British Ministry of Defense from the previous day. “The Kremlin is desperate. Russia has lost tens of thousands of soldiers and is using Soviet-era weapons. Their outdated missiles are killing and injuring innocent Ukrainians,” the agency wrote. “Russia will not win this unjustified war.”

MI6, otherwise known for its secrecy, has been much more transparent since the beginning of the Russian war, and secret service chief Moore keeps looking for the public. In addition, the British Ministry of Defense publishes the latest secret service findings on the course of the war on a daily basis. London wants to counter statements from Moscow.

1:39 p.m .: The Russian embassy caused a stir with a tweet on Friday evening. Shortly after the attack on a prison in eastern Ukraine that killed “more than 50” Ukrainian prisoners, according to Zelenskyy, the embassy posted: “The Azov military deserve the execution. Not by firing squad, but by hanging, because they’re not real soldiers. You deserve a degrading death.”

Russia denies firing at the prison and blames Ukraine, which in turn blames Russia. However, there are indications that the attack was carried out by Russian forces.

11:27 a.m.: Poland is asking Germany for a better offer for a ring swap of tanks to support Ukraine. Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote a letter to his German colleague Christine Lambrecht (SPD), which was published by the Wpolityce portal in Warsaw on Friday evening. He hopes for a “serious offer” that will “contribute significantly to strengthening Polish and regional defense capacities”.

Poland gave Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia, arms worth almost 1.7 billion euros, the minister wrote. These included tanks, armored personnel carriers and other heavy weapons, some of post-Soviet design and some of the most modern like the Krab howitzer. “These shipments have created gaps in our defense capabilities.”

Poland had not shown itself to be satisfied with the previous Berlin offer of 20 Leopard 2 tanks with piecemeal delivery from 2023. When dissatisfaction became public in Warsaw, Lambrecht explained again in a letter to Blaszczak how small the German holdings were. She suggested both countries should order new Leopard 2 together. Poland should be given priority on extradition. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported on this letter.

“I would like to emphasize that we do not expect undeserved benefits,” Blaszczak replied. It is about “used capabilities that are well known to our military and that can be easily and quickly deployed in the Polish Armed Forces.”

Saturday, July 30, 7:18 a.m .: Former US general and ex-CIA chief David Petraeus believes it is possible that Ukraine can bring back areas occupied by Russia in the war of aggression. “Indeed, it seems increasingly likely that Ukrainian forces could recapture much, if not all, of the areas occupied by Russian forces in recent months,” he told Bild (Saturday).

“If NATO and other western states continue to allocate resources at the current pace, … I believe the Ukrainian forces will be able to stop further Russian advances and begin to retake the territories captured by the Russians since February 24 ‘ said Petraeus. Russia launched its war of aggression against the neighboring country at the end of February.

At the same time, the former director of the US foreign intelligence service CIA warned of the consequences of a possible Russian victory for Europe: “A military success by Russia in Ukraine, which I consider very unlikely, would be catastrophic for European security.” The Atlantic Alliance has now achieved this understood: “Frankly, I believe that the leaders of NATO – and the leaders of the Western non-NATO countries – have recognized this and are taking the necessary measures to ensure that Russia cannot succeed” , says Petraeus.

7:33 p.m .: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he has spoken to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov for the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. On Friday morning (local time) there was an “open and direct discussion” about an offer to release US basketball player Brittney Griner and American citizen Paul Whelan, Blinken said in Washington.

6:20 p.m .: After the alleged artillery attack on a camp with Ukrainian prisoners of war, the government in Kyiv called on the international community to declare Russia a terrorist state. “The Russians have committed another horrific war crime and shelled the prison in occupied Olenivka where they hold Ukrainian prisoners of war,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Friday. All partner states should strongly condemn this “brutal violation of international law”.

In the prison near Olenivka in the part of Donetsk region controlled by separatists, according to Russian information, more than 50 prisoners of war had previously been killed by Ukrainian shelling. More than 100 prisoners were injured. According to Moscow and local sources, the attack was carried out by the Ukrainian army using Himars precision rocket launchers. Kyiv rejected the allegations and in turn accused the Russian army of deliberately shelling the barracks with members of the controversial Azov regiment. The information cannot be independently verified.

The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, joined the call for a harsh international condemnation of the attack. “This is a cynical and insidious crime that will go down in history as the Olenivka terrorist act,” Yermak said on Twitter. The Russians don’t care who they kill. “The important thing for them is the murder and the constant lying to hide the evidence,” said the 50-year-old. In addition, Yermak from the West demanded missiles with a range of 300 kilometers for existing US-type multiple rocket launchers.

2:23 p.m .: British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed that Russia is currently failing in many areas in the war against Ukraine. Therefore, it could be that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to change his strategy again.

“The Russians are currently failing on the ground in many areas,” the minister told Sky News. “Putin’s plans A, B and C have failed, and he could look around for plan D.” But Wallace did not specify what a plan D might entail.

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