After the missile attack on the port city of Odessa, Ukraine is once again demanding heavy weapons from the USA to defend itself against Russian attacks. And Göring-Eckardt calls for alternatives to the Panzer ring exchange. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war here in the ticker.
08:59: Despite the Russian attack, Ukraine does not want to stop preparations for safe grain exports. “We are continuing technical preparations to start exporting agricultural products from our ports,” Infrastructure Minister Alexander Kubrakov wrote on Facebook.
Every day, Russia fires dozens of rockets aimed at railway tracks, bridges, oil storage facilities and ports. “It doesn’t stop our work and our resistance.”
8.31 a.m .: Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) calls for alternatives to the arms ring exchange planned with Poland for Ukraine. “The ring exchange is not working as planned,” Göring-Eckardt told the editorial network Germany (RND, Sunday). “Alternatives should be on the table. For example, supplying weapons directly if we can.”
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 has repeatedly accused Berlin of not keeping promises.
The criticism from Warsaw “may have been undiplomatic, but it is a wake-up call,” said Göring-Eckardt. Germany must organize “sufficient support for Ukraine with weapons”. “Deliveries of arms help decide how long the war lasts, about human lives.”
Sunday, July 24, 6:30 a.m.: The attacks on Odessa are another reason for giving Ukraine such weapons “that are necessary for our victory,” Zelensky said. He accused Russia of shelling the port of Odessa a day after the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain was signed in Istanbul. Russia rejects this, as Turkey announced after talks with the war party. There was no official Russian response as of Saturday evening.
On Friday, Russia pledged in the agreement that ships for export would be allowed to use a sea corridor and not fired at them. The three ports involved must therefore not be attacked. Among other things, it is about the export of millions of tons of grain. The agreement, signed through the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey, provides for exports to be monitored from a control center in Istanbul.
Zelenskyj complained that the art museum in Odessa was also damaged in the course of the attack. The rockets hit very close to historical objects. The Ukrainian military had announced that two missiles had been intercepted by air defenses, and two more hit the port. According to the information, the grain silos in the port were not hit.
2:18 p.m .: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the rocket fire at the port in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. According to Ukrainian sources, two Russian missiles were intercepted by air defenses on Saturday and two more hit the commercial port. Guterres said Friday that all parties at the global level made a clear commitment to ensure the safe export of Ukrainian grain. “Full implementation by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Turkey is imperative,” he said, according to the statement. Kyiv blames Russia for the attack.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted: “Hiting a key grain export target a day after the signing of the Istanbul Accords is particularly reprehensible and demonstrates once again Russia’s total disregard for international law and obligations.”
Both Russia and Ukraine signed the agreement with Turkey on Friday in Istanbul in the presence of UN Secretary-General Guterres, which makes the export of Ukrainian grain possible again. In the agreement, Russia pledges to let ships sail along a sea corridor and not to fire at them. The ports involved should therefore not be attacked.
1:25 p.m .: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan traveled to Iran on Tuesday. The situation in Syria was officially discussed, but the war in Ukraine was also on the agenda. The meeting was considered internationally controversial.
A photo of the trio – Putin and Erdogan posed smiling with Iran’s head of state Ebrahim Raisi – also caused criticism. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) commented in the “Bild” interview: “The fact that the Turkish President is in this photo is a challenge, to put it politely.”
Turkey, as a NATO state, is giving Ukraine “massive military support” in the war against the aggressor Russia and is also involved in the recent agreement to secure Ukrainian grain exports, said the Green politician. “That’s why this photo is more than incomprehensible to me, especially from the point of view of a NATO member.”
12:24 p.m .: Andriy Melnyk’s successor as Ukrainian ambassador to Germany is apparently certain. According to information from RTL, Oleksiy Makeyev will be Ukraine’s new highest diplomat in Germany. Makejev was born in 1975 and has been in the diplomatic service since 1996, was on foreign assignments in Bern and Berlin and is said to speak German and English very well, the report goes on to say. From 2014 to 2020 he headed the political department at the Foreign Ministry. According to RTL information, the Foreign Office should be officially informed in about two weeks.
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 a situation like this, nobody deceives their European neighbors,” said the Green politician on Friday evening in the “Bild” 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 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”. 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 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”.
“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 that.” 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.
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