The Russian military reports a new offensive around Zaporizhia. London sees the Ukraine war “in a dead end” and Patriarch Kirill wants to send parishioners to the front. You can find all the latest news about the Ukraine war in the Newsticker.

10:09 a.m .: According to British estimates, Russia will find it difficult to implement the announced significant increase in its military. “Russia will most likely have difficulty finding personnel and equipment for the planned expansion,” the Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence briefing in London on Sunday.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently announced, among other things, that he intends to increase the number of troops from 1.15 to 1.5 million. “Shoygu’s plans signal that the Russian leadership most likely assumes that an increased conventional military threat will persist for many years beyond the current Ukraine war,” it said in London.

08:29: Russia will face “incredible poverty compared to what [they] have become accustomed to” in the face of international sanctions in the future. That said the Harvard professor and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Kenneth Rogoff, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“Look at Iran, look at North Korea, look at Venezuela, look at Cuba. This is where Russia is headed,” Rogoff said at the forum. Rogoff said he “doesn’t believe anything the Russians say when it comes to numbers.” Several factors, including the fact that much of Russia’s revenue now seems to come from the oil business, would suggest that manufacturing and other sectors of the economy have already slowed. He also expressed hope that long-term sanctions could lead to regime change in Russia, even if the war initially ends in a military victory for Ukraine.

6:22 a.m .: Green politician Anton Hofreiter is pushing for Ukrainian soldiers to be trained on the tanks in view of the lack of delivery of Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine. In Ramstein, Germany “made a significant mistake and as a result lost further prestige,” the chairman of the Bundestag’s Europe Committee told the newspapers of the Funke media group on Sunday. “That must now be corrected quickly.”

Specifically, Hofreiter called for Ukrainian soldiers to start training on Leopard battle tanks “right now”. The Leopard 2 is “a crucial support that Germany can offer,” said Hofreiter. “Putin will not be willing to negotiate until he realizes he cannot win this war.”

At the meeting of the Ukraine contact group at the US Ramstein Air Force Base in Rhineland-Palatinate on Friday, no decision was made on the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. However, the participants in the Ukraine meeting promised numerous other armaments to ward off the Russian attack.

Sunday, January 22, 12:00 a.m.: The new Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) has announced that he will go to Ukraine as soon as possible. “What is certain is that I will travel to Ukraine quickly,” said Pistorius of “Bild am Sonntag”. This will “probably even happen within the next four weeks,” he added.

Under him as minister, the Bundeswehr should take the top spot in Europe, Pistorius said. “Germany is the largest economy in Europe, so it should also be our goal to have the strongest and best-equipped army in the EU.”

However, that cannot be done in three years before the next federal election, Pistorius emphasized that it would take a few more years for that. “My job is now to set the course for the turning point to succeed.” Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) proclaimed this almost a year ago after the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.

According to Pistorius, there are three central tasks that must now be implemented quickly: the procurement of weapons and equipment, the modernization of the barracks and the recruitment of personnel. In addition, the troops must “feel that you trust them and are grateful for what they do,” said the former Interior Minister of Lower Saxony.

9:49 p.m .: According to the newspaper “Kyiv Independent”, the Ukrainian general staff has confirmed the offensives reported by Russia in the regions around Bakhmut, Zaporizhia and Donetsk. The newspaper also reports that in the region around the city of Zaporizhia alone, 25 settlements have been shelled in the last 24 hours.

8:10 p.m .: According to official information, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov is to comment on reports of overpriced food purchases for the army in front of the parliament in Kyiv. Reznikov has been invited to a hearing, Vice-Chair of the Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Reconnaissance Marjana Besugla told national broadcaster Suspilne Media on Saturday. In addition, the Court of Auditors will take a close look at the Ministry of Defense.

Earlier, media reports in Kyiv caused a stir that the Defense Ministry was buying food to feed its soldiers at prices up to three times higher than retail prices in stores. The contract for 13 billion hryvnia (a good 300 million euros) is said to be about feeding the soldiers at the front, but in the rear.

Remarkable: A few years ago, the opposition in Russia also uncovered a corruption scandal involving the catering of the military. As it turned out, most of the orders went without a tender to oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s cook” because of his closeness to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. The revelations had no effect. Today, as head of the Wagner mercenary unit, Prigozhin is one of the most important pillars of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and one of the most powerful men in Moscow.

5.30 p.m .: The head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner addressed the White House on Saturday with a cynical propaganda letter. The letter, addressed to Speaker John Kirby, simply says:

“Dear Mr. Kirby, I have a question for you: Can you tell me what crimes the Wagner group committed?”

With the letter shared on Telegram, Prigozhin alludes to the United States’ classification of the Wagner Group as a transnational criminal organization. The classification allows the US and other countries to restrict the international business of the mercenary group and its worldwide network of supporters. According to the National Security Council, the US government will impose specific sanctions against the Wagner Group next week.

4.30 p.m .: The Ukrainian ambassador Oleksii Makeiev has urged the federal government to immediately clear the way for the delivery of Leopard 2 main battle tanks. “We have no time to examine, ponder and hesitate. What we need: decide, train and deliver in a coordinated manner. Immediately.”

At the Ukraine conference in Ramstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany had not yet decided to deliver battle tanks to the war zone, despite considerable pressure from its allies. The federal government has not yet issued any delivery permits to other countries for the tanks produced in Germany. Instead, the new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) initiated an inventory check by the Bundeswehr and industry to determine the number of tanks that could be delivered.

Makeiev was disappointed with the outcome of the Ramstein conference. “I have to be honest, we expected a lot more from our German partners.” President Volodymyr Zelenskyi also made it clear at the conference that it was in Germany’s power to decide whether the tanks were delivered or not.

Makeiev said it is now important that the training of the Ukrainian armed forces gets under way and that Germany allows other countries to supply the tanks. The ambassador welcomed the fact that military equipment worth several billion euros was promised in Ramstein. Ukraine will now continue to seek the supply of tanks. “We’re staying tuned,” Makeiev said.

4:20 p.m .: The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill I, has called for the mobilization of parishioners for the Ukraine war. As the agency “Nexta” reports, the church members should not only help the Russian military in Ukraine with donations and packages, but also go to the front themselves.

According to Cyril, “every parish” should help to support the Russian soldiers. “Collect money, send packages, go yourself and support the soldiers,” Kyrill is quoted as saying.

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