Belarusian ruler Lukashenko has ruled out deploying his army in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy announces that Russia will not break its people. Meanwhile, Russia fires deadly missiles at the liberated Cherson. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.
More on the course of the war in Ukraine.
10:21 a.m .: During a visit to Kyiv, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly promised ambulances and other practical support to Ukraine. “As winter sets in, Russia is trying to break Ukrainian resolve with brutal attacks on civilians, hospitals and energy infrastructure,” the conservative politician said in Kyiv on Friday, according to the British news agency PA. “Russia will fail.”
Cleverly met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. He then shared a photo of the encounter on Twitter. “Britain supports you with deeds – not just words,” he wrote to the President.
Specifically, the minister promised 24 ambulances and six armored vehicles. London also wants to support the construction of destroyed schools and shelters and other programs with three million pounds (around 3.5 million euros).
10.01 a.m .: NATO has supplied the armed forces of Ukraine with jammers for drone defense. The so-called “jammers” are part of a comprehensive support package, said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference in Brussels on Friday. It also included fuel, medical supplies, and winter gear.
In particular, the jammers are intended to help Ukraine fend off attacks with kamikaze drones. The devices are usually electromagnetic transmitters that interfere with the drones’ navigation or communication systems.
According to information from Kyiv, the Russian army has been increasingly attacking with kamikaze drones since October. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, mainly Iranian-made aircraft are used. The Shahed 136 in particular is used. It has a triangular wing and is equipped with a warhead. The drone is usually launched from trucks and crashes towards its target at high speed.
8.10 a.m .: Russian President Vladimir Putin has had the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) demonstrated using a fake speech by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The state news agency Ria published a short video on Thursday showing the head of the Kremlin watching the alleged appearance of the SPD politician in Moscow.
In this so-called deepfake, the Russian programmers first put words critical of America from the popular Russian action film “Bruder 2” into Scholz’s mouth. Then they have him say: “We wanted to give up Russian gas. But to put it in the words of a Russian classic: We wanted the best, but it turned out as always.” This dictum comes from the former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin (1938-2010).
“He says the right things,” Putin commented on the fake Scholz video. The speech was rich in content and profound. Since Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine nine months ago, Germany has been trying to free itself from its dependence on Russian natural gas.
06:44: Faced with the cold and darkness in Ukrainian cities as a result of the massive blackouts, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invoked his people’s spirit of resistance against the Russian invasion. “We endured a full-scale war for nine months, and Russia didn’t find a way to break us. And it won’t find anyone,” said Zelenskyy in his evening video address on Thursday. “We must carry on as we are right now, in unity and mutual aid.” Russia invaded the neighboring country on February 24.
The restoration of power and water supplies after Wednesday’s heavy rocket attack lasted throughout Thursday and into Friday night. “Russia not only wants the Ukrainians to be without electricity and heat,” Zelenskyy said in Kyiv. “The terrorists want to isolate us from each other and make sure we don’t feel each other.” Russian shelling in the city of Cherson in southern Ukraine killed 7 and wounded around 20, regional authorities said. Friday marks the 275th day of Ukraine’s defense against invasion.
9:15 p.m .: The authoritarian Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko rules out direct use of his army in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “If we get directly involved in this conflict with the armed forces, with soldiers, we’re not contributing anything, we’re only making it worse,” Lukashenko said in response to questions from Russian journalists in Minsk, according to a report by the Belta agency on Thursday.
According to him, the Belarusian army, which is 35,000 to 40,000 strong, will not solve the problem of this campaign for Russia. “We don’t interfere, we don’t kill anyone, we don’t send soldiers there because it’s not necessary,” Lukashenko said. Belarus supports Russia, but its role is different.
8:43 p.m .: More than 15,000 people have disappeared since the beginning of the Ukraine war. That’s what an official at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said. According to the head of the ICMP program for Europe, Matthew Holliday, it is unclear how many people have been forcibly relocated or detained in Russia. It is also not certain how many of the missing are still alive, have died and have been buried in makeshift graves.
5:53 p.m .: The EU Parliament declared Russia a “terrorism supporter” on Thursday. The head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is said to have sent parliament a sledgehammer in a violin case. The group’s lawyer is said to have presented the gavel to Parliament. This is reported by several media outlets based on an announcement and a video that the group published on propaganda channels. The Wagner logo is engraved on the sledgehammer. There are traces of blood on the handle. Individual MEPs had previously called on the EU to add the Wagner Group to the list of terrorist organizations.
6.48 p.m .: According to Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), the proposal by the Polish Defense Minister to prefer to deliver the Patriot air defense system offered to his country by Germany to Ukraine “must be discussed with NATO”. “Due to Poland’s exposed position (…), it was important to us as a NATO partner to offer Poland support in this special situation – with air policing, but also with patriots,” said Lambrecht on Thursday in Berlin, referring to the missile impact in the Polish border area with Ukraine in mid-November.
These are Patriot systems that are planned into NATO’s integrated air defense system, which is why it was possible to make this proposal to Poland, Lambrecht said. “Proposals that deviate from this must now be discussed with NATO, with our allies,” added the minister.
After the rocket hit, the German government offered to support NATO partner Poland with the Patriot missile defense system earlier this week. According to NATO and Poland, the impact was probably caused by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile.
In an initial reaction, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak was pleased with the offer and suggested stationing the defense system on the border with Ukraine. On Wednesday evening, he tweeted that he had “asked the German side to transfer the Patriot battery offered to Poland to Ukraine and deploy it on the western border.”
The Patriot system is used to counter aircraft, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. It is based on the interaction of several radar devices that pass on information about approaching missiles to guided missiles; these should then destroy the projectile in the air.
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