The US historian Timothy Snyder sees Vladimir Putin on the verge of losing control. Selenskyj welcomes the German genocide classification. Habeck sees the German arms deliveries as an important instrument – but also as “an impertinence”. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found here in the ticker.
More on the course of the war in Ukraine.
Friday, December 2, 2022, 8:39 a.m.: The FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann assumes that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to completely annihilate Ukraine. “If Ukraine stops fighting today, it will be off the map. The complete destruction of Ukraine is what Putin announced,” says the politician in the podcast “Die Wochentester” (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger/RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland) in conversation with the moderators Wolfgang Bosbach and Christian Rach.
She warns: “There was once a criminal on this earth who asked people: Do you want total war? And Putin wants this total war because he wants to destroy Ukraine.” It is “boundlessly naïve” to believe that one can simply negotiate with him. “You can only enter into conversations out of strength. That’s why I fight with the – as they call themselves or as others call them – intellectuals. Because the thought behind it is: we have to talk to each other. This is a category that is correct per se. If there’s a crash somewhere and there’s stress, we talk to each other. This is the essence of a cultivated argument. But here we are dealing with a mass murderer who wants to completely destroy another country. Then this argument no longer applies.”
Strack-Zimmermann’s statements can be heard in the podcast “Die Wochentester” with Wolfgang Bosbach and Christian Rach.
6:55 p.m .: Sanctions against Russian oligarchs as a result of the Ukraine war should be better enforced in the future. The Bundestag agreed to legal changes on Thursday. On the one hand, improvements in official structures are planned. On the other hand, there should be a ban on cash payments when buying real estate in the future.
A new central office for the enforcement of sanctions is to coordinate the work of the competent authorities – this should also enable synergy effects for combating money laundering. The central office should also accept tips from whistleblowers. If a company violates or threatens to violate sanctions, the body should be able to appoint a special representative to monitor it.
The FDP financial politician Markus Herbrand said that the “minions” of Russian President Vladimir Putin must be hit where it hurts them, with bank balances or luxury villas. This would strengthen the “sales movements” of Putin’s Russian moneyed nobility.
The SPD politician Carlos Kasper said that the SPD would have liked to have had a general ban on cash from 10,000 euros, but unfortunately that had not yet been possible. He referred to the EU. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) had already announced that she wanted to introduce a cash limit of less than 10,000 euros to better combat organized crime.
The CDU MP Matthias Hauer criticized that the traffic light with the law missed its goal of implementing sanctions more effectively. The law is a “total failure”. The coalition is letting oligarchs continue to live in villas and drive luxury cars. With the new central office, an authority without clear competencies will be created.
Green finance politician Sabine Grützmacher said the path of money from oligarchs and organizations that have something to hide is often confused. “Our rule of law therefore needs effective instruments to uncover hidden assets and to hold those responsible behind the scenes accountable.”
11:43 a.m .: Russia has criticized the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and in particular its observers in eastern Ukraine as partisan. “The spirit and letter of the OSCE Charter have been destroyed,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a televised press conference on Thursday.
According to Lavrov, before the war broke out, the OSCE observers stationed in the Donetsk region ignored the increasing attacks by the Ukrainian army on the Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and in some cases even helped them. “Facts have been discovered that the OSCE participated in directing the fire on Donetsk and Luhansk,” he claimed. After the expulsion of the observers, corresponding documents were found. Since 2014, the OSCE has attempted to separate the parties to the conflict in Donbas and to monitor the ceasefire. At the end of February, after the start of the Russian invasion, she had to end her mission and withdraw observers from the war zone.
Lavrov’s criticism went even further. The Russian chief diplomat complained that the OSCE was being dominated by the West and had thus lost its own importance as a mediator. Poland “has been digging a grave” for the organization all year, he said.
Warsaw refused Lavrov, who had been banned from entering the EU because of Russia’s war of aggression, with a visa to attend an OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting on Thursday and Friday in Lodz, Poland.
Thursday, December 1, 2022, 6:46 a.m.: Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck emphasized the need to deliver arms to Ukraine. “I don’t doubt it for a moment,” the Green politician told Stern magazine. “And yet one cannot applaud that lightly when one realizes that a large number of the 300,000 Russian recruits will be injured or die – also from weapons that we sent. I. The release bears my signature.” The deliveries are “as correct as they are, also an impertinence,” said the Vice Chancellor.
Germany recently supplied Ukraine with Gepard tanks and a modern Iris-T anti-aircraft system to ward off the Russian war of aggression. In May 2021, before the start of the war, Habeck was one of the first German politicians on a trip to eastern Ukraine to demand arms deliveries for the country’s defense purposes.
Habeck described 2022 as the “year of decisions”. “This country and its democratic institutions have shown an amazing, almost insane willingness to perform and shape,” he said. He cited the work of his ministry as an example. In the first ten months of the legislature alone, House officials brought 27 bills into the Cabinet and wrote 32 ordinances – only six fewer than in the entire previous legislature. The pace had been accelerated by the multiple crises, said the Federal Minister of Economics. “Nevertheless, I believe that democracies are able to learn and change even without the pressure of war.”
4.10 a.m .: The classification of the famine in Ukraine that was deliberately caused 90 years ago as genocide by the Bundestag was expressly welcomed by the Ukrainian government. “This is a decision for justice, for truth,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Wednesday evening. “And this is a very important signal for many other countries in the world that Russian revanchism will not succeed in rewriting history.”
With a large majority, the MPs in Berlin on Wednesday accepted a joint motion by the traffic light coalition and the Union faction, which spoke of an “inhuman crime”. Under the responsibility of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, up to four million people fell victim to the so-called Holodomor (“Murder by Hunger”) in the years 1932 and 1933 in the Ukraine alone.
Selenskyj’s adviser Mykhailo Podoljak also welcomed the Bundestag’s decision. “Germany, 2022. Openly names Russia as the murderer who is waging the war in Europe, recognizes the Holodomor of 1932-33 as a genocide against the Ukrainian people, speaks about the impossibility of an “unjust peace” on Russian terms,” Podoljak tweeted in German in the evening. “We thank you for this strong German leadership position and hope for Leos.” With this he confirmed Ukraine’s desire to receive German Leopard-type main battle tanks. In the Ukrainian version of his tweet, he also expressed hope for missile defense systems.
Thursday, December 1, 4:10 a.m.: Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) appeals to the municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia to help Ukrainian war refugees in the coming year, despite financial difficulties. “We will also have to stand closely together in 2023,” he told the German Press Agency in Düsseldorf. “Together with our municipalities, we will do everything to ensure that everyone who flees to us from the Russian war of aggression is properly housed and cared for.”
It is clear to everyone that the harsh winter in Ukraine is still to come. “That’s why we will continue to oppose Putin’s contempt for human beings with all of North Rhine-Westphalia’s solidarity in the new year.”
2:15 p.m .: The federal government wants to give Ukraine more Gepard anti-aircraft gun tanks to defend against Russian attacks. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) made it clear in a conversation with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj that “we can send a number of Gepard tanks to Ukraine again,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Wednesday in Berlin.
Details on arms deliveries would only be made known once the handover has taken place. “Since the Bundeswehr has not had any cheetahs since 2012, they are not from the Bundeswehr,” Hebestreit said. This left only one delivery from industry stocks or from Qatar, where World Cup stadiums are protected against possible terrorist attacks from the air by German Gepard anti-aircraft gun tanks. So far, 30 of the tanks have been delivered to Ukraine from the stocks of the manufacturer KMW.
12:28 p.m .: In just over two months since the announced partial mobilization, the Russian army has given military training to around 300,000 reservists and volunteers. 3,000 trainers have been deployed for this purpose, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in Moscow on Wednesday. The training is taking place at more than 100 military training areas in Russia and Belarus, he added, according to Russian news agencies.
Because of the high losses in the war of aggression against Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilization on September 23. According to reports, however, many reservists are sent directly to the front without preparation and with inadequate equipment. Accordingly, there are many dead and injured.
Shoigu praised Russia’s Tornado-C multiple rocket launcher and 2S7M Malka self-propelled howitzer at a Defense Ministry meeting. He said the long-range weapons are effective against the foreign weapons systems Ukraine is being armed with. So far, however, international experts have found little evidence of losses of large Western weapons in Ukraine. On the contrary, the US Himars multiple rocket launchers made a decisive contribution to the Ukrainian advances in the autumn.
In the “special military operation” in Ukraine, as Shoigu called it, in accordance with Moscow parlance, the army is also trying out new ways of using artillery and drones. The minister has been in the public eye again in recent weeks, after he had hardly appeared for a long time due to criticism of the army’s failures.
10.01 a.m .: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to use frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine. In the short term, a structure could be created with international partners to manage and invest funds blocked by sanctions, von der Leyen said on Wednesday. The proceeds could then be used for Ukraine.
According to von der Leyen, after a possible lifting of the sanctions, the funds should be used to fully compensate Ukraine. “The damage to Ukraine is estimated at 600 billion euros,” she said. “Russia and its oligarchs must compensate Ukraine for the damage and bear the cost of rebuilding the country.”
According to von der Leyens, as part of the sanctions imposed on Russia, 300 billion euros in reserves from the Russian central bank have already been blocked and 19 billion euros in funds from Russian oligarchs have been frozen. The President of the Commission also suggested setting up a specialized court for the prosecution of Russian war crimes.
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