SPD leader Esken explains that she does not expressly rule out the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Chancellor Scholz is unusually clear and describes the debate as “idiosyncratic”. You can find all the latest news on the Ukraine war in the Newsticker.
Monday, January 30, 6:07 a.m.: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) reacted with incomprehension to the ongoing discussion about the delivery of combat aircraft to Ukraine. “Everything has now been said about this, including me,” said Scholz on Sunday during his visit to Chile. “It is idiosyncratic that this debate is being held.” The chancellor promised the Chilean government support in setting up a memorial for the victims of the former sect settlement Colonia Dignidad.
With a view to the discussion about arms deliveries to Ukraine, Scholz again warned against a “bidding competition” in which “domestic political motives are in the foreground instead of supporting Ukraine”. With such an important topic, it must be “about factual issues, about rational considerations,” emphasized the Chancellor at a joint press conference with Chilean President Gabriel Boric. What is needed is a “serious debate in which what needs to be decided is decided”.
7:20 p.m .: SPD leader Saskia Esken has not expressly ruled out the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine. When asked whether she ruled out the delivery of combat aircraft, Esken said on Sunday in the ARD “Report from Berlin”: “It is very important that Germany and that NATO are not a party to the war.” That’s why it is Government on these issues in very close coordination with the Americans. Germany is not a party to the war, and the government wants to avoid this for “all future”. At the same time, it is important that Germany make it clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin with every decision “that we reject Russian aggression”.
4:05 p.m .: The head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, advocates the delivery of combat aircraft to Ukraine to defend against Russia. In the ARD program “Europamagazin” on Sunday, Heusgen said: “I believe that the delivery of fighter jets is adequate to better protect Ukraine against Russian attacks.” According to him, American F16 fighter jets could be considered or Soviet-style fighter aircraft from old GDR stocks. Foreign forces are allowed to supply Ukraine with weapons, including main battle tanks and fighter jets, under international law, Heusgen added.
9:46 a.m .: After the decision to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) called for prudence in the debate about further arms deliveries. He warns against “entering into a constant outbidding competition when it comes to weapon systems,” Scholz told the “Tagesspiegel” (Sunday edition) with a view to demands that Ukraine now also be supplied with fighter jets. “If, as soon as a decision has been made, the next debate starts in Germany, it doesn’t seem serious and shakes the trust of the citizens in government decisions.”
Following the commitment by Germany and other Western countries to supply battle tanks to Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested combat aircraft on Wednesday, among other things. The federal government rejects this.
As Chancellor, he must “do everything to ensure that Russia’s war against Ukraine does not turn into a war between Russia and NATO,” Scholz told the Tagesspiegel. There is no such thing, and he will “not allow such an escalation. We in the Federal Government are completely in agreement on this, and the Foreign Minister also sees it that way”.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) called on Tuesday in the Council of Europe for the cohesion of the western allies in view of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. She said in English: “We are waging a war against Russia and not against each other.” The Federal Foreign Office later qualified Baerbock’s statement to the “Bild” newspaper and made it clear that supporting Ukraine in exercising its right to self-defense is not doing Germany ” to a party to the conflict”.
Scholz announced in the “Tagesspiegel” interview that he would continue to try to influence Russian President Vladimir Putin in direct talks. “I will also be on the phone with Putin again – because it is necessary to talk to each other,” he said. “It’s up to Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine and end this horrific, senseless war that has already killed hundreds of thousands.”
In the phone calls, Putin repeatedly made it clear that he wanted to “take parts of his neighboring country by force,” which Scholz said was “unacceptable.” “Sometimes there were also specific questions about the exchange of prisoners, grain exports from Ukraine and the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.” The decisive question, however, is: “How will the world get out of this terrible situation?” The prerequisite for this is “the withdrawal of Russian troops ” from Ukraine.
07.10: “The Russians are clearly planning an offensive in February. It might even start next week,” Oleksandr Danylyuk, corresponding member of Britain’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told Ukrainian newspaper NV. However, according to the military expert, the situation with this Russian offensive is different compared to February 24 last year. The reason: he estimates that the quality of the Russian units will be worse than those that attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
“Now we have to understand that we were very lucky then, that these marching columns, which were absolutely not prepared for military resistance, were easy prey for the armed forces,” Danylyuk continues. “A situation like this will not happen again. There will be normal logistics and much more. The most important thing is that there will be a quantitative advantage, which was not there last year,” adds the expert.
He is skeptical about the military support announced at the most recent summit of the defense ministers of the partner countries at Ramstein Air Base. The weapons aid will not reach Ukraine in time for the expected Russian offensive, as the aid – especially the modern battle tanks – could take longer to get to the war zone, Danylyuk said.
Sunday, January 29, 7:08 a.m.: A few days after the fatal helicopter crash involving the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior near Kyiv, a government helicopter is said to have crashed in the Russian capital. This is reported by “Newsweek” and “Ukrainska pravda” and refers to the Interfax news agency. The helicopter, which is part of the fleet tasked with transporting senior Russian officials and also Vladimir Putin, crashed near Moscow, sources say.
It is a Mil Mi-8 helicopter that is said to have crashed onto the ground with its tail and rotor blades while landing at Vnukovo International Airport (about 25 km from the center of Moscow). According to the latest reports, the incident happened on Friday (01/27/23).
“According to our information, it is a Mi-8MTV-1, manufactured in 2013 and designed for 22 passengers,” the Telegram post reads.
Pilot error is suspected to be the cause of the accident. “When the helicopter landed, the propeller caught on the ground and damaged the tail section,” a source at the airport told the agency.
As reported by “Aerotime”, the helicopter belonged to the special flight department “Rossiya”, which operates aircraft for the transport of Russian government officials. It is unclear who was on board the helicopter and if anyone was injured in the incident. Contradictory information came from Russia. Inquiries at Moscow’s Vnukova Airport have so far gone unanswered.
Aerotime further reports that the government fleet’s helicopters are equipped with special defense systems and other modifications to safely transport their VIP passengers. The helicopters frequently transport Putin around Russia, supplementing his fleet of long-haul Il-96 planes and other jets, sources said.
The Ukrainian news agency “Ukrainska Pravda” reports that it was a pilot error. According to Interfax, the hard landing could have been caused by poor weather conditions or equipment failure.
10:55 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has imposed sanctions on 185 companies and individuals supporting Russia’s war. According to this, companies and entrepreneurs who transport personnel and military technology by train on behalf of the “aggressor state” will be punished, said Selenskyj in his video message published every evening on Saturday. The confiscated available assets will benefit national defense, he said.
Belarusian companies that support Russia with the transports are also on the list published in the evening with 182 companies and 3 people. Ukraine is working to ensure that other states also block the companies’ assets. At the same time, Zelenskyy thanked “everyone who is helping to strengthen sanctions against Russia” and those investigators who uncovered and prosecuted Russia’s evasion of sanctions.
The President once again emphatically demanded that Russia not be admitted to the Olympic Games in Paris next year. As Zelenskyj announced, he wrote to the presidents of the leading international sports associations that they should commit themselves with regard to plans by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow Russian athletes to compete in world sports again.
Ukraine is threatening to boycott the Paris Games if athletes from Russia or Belarus are allowed there. Belarus is also a war party from Ukraine’s point of view. Zelenskyj had previously stressed that the Olympic principles were incompatible with war. He warned that Russia would take advantage of the IOC’s “flexibility” to present it as a concession.
Nobody can ignore the fact that Russia is continuing its terror every day, said Selenskyj. In the city of Kostyantynivka in the Donetsk region, 3 people were killed and 14 others injured in Russian rocket attacks against residential buildings on Saturday. With regard to the prospect of military aid from the West, the President emphasized that Ukraine urgently needs longer-range missiles to repel such attacks.
7:01 p.m .: According to the Swedish government, tensions with Turkey over Islamophobic actions have an impact on the country’s NATO accession process. The incidents of the past few weeks have led to a temporary interruption in the NATO process, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Saturday, according to the Expressen newspaper. The Swedish government is investing time and effort to move forward again and still hopes that the process can be completed in the summer. A few days ago, Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was also optimistic on this issue.
Sweden, along with Finland, wants to become a member of the western military alliance as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. NATO member Turkey has so far refused to agree to admission.
Earlier this week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sweden could not count on his country’s support for accession after an Islamophobic politician burned a Koran near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Saturday, January 28, 2023, 5:14 p.m.: Ukraine wants to receive F-16 jets from western countries as next weapons aid package. Yuri Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, told the Spanish newspaper “El País”. The goal: as part of the next delivery, there should be 24 combat aircraft, it is said. However, Inhat made it clear that this is not a weapon aid that can also be used quickly in war. He refers to the extensive training of the pilots and the staff, which then still has to take place.
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