Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko openly criticizes President Selenskyj. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is demanding more arms deliveries from Germany to Ukraine. Ukraine repels overnight wave of drone strikes All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.
Saturday, December 31, 7:51 a.m.: The chairman of the Munich Security Conference and former foreign policy adviser to ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel, Christoph Heusgen, has admitted mistakes in Russia policy during his tenure. Gas never flowed through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, “but if you ask me – yes, in hindsight that was a mistake,” Heusgen told the “Welt am Sonntag”.
The federal government decided in 2015 for the German-Russian pipeline project because, following the reactor accident in Fukushima, Japan, they wanted to phase out nuclear energy quickly and Russian gas was the quickest and cheapest solution, explained Heusgen. “The SPD and the economy” were “very much in favor”.
Heusgen demanded in the “jerkin” the delivery of German Leopard main battle tanks to the Ukraine. Germany has “a moral obligation to support this country,” he said. Russian President Vladimir Putin is counting on “the US and Europe’s economic and military support for Ukraine decreasing,” Heusgen warned. Despite requests from Kyiv, the German government has so far refused to hand over modern Leopard and Marder tanks to Ukraine.
The security expert Heusgen also spoke out in favor of a European nuclear weapons umbrella. Germany should comment on France’s offer to negotiate a share in French nuclear weapons, Heusgen said, adding: “We should take up this offer and make it a European project that allows British participation.” If the US focuses more on Asia and Europe must ensure its own security, “this should no longer be a taboo subject,” argued Heusgen.
7:15 p.m .: The resigned Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt has called on Jews in Russia to leave the country. They should seize this opportunity before they are made scapegoats for the hardship the war has provoked in Ukraine, Goldschmidt, who is currently in exile, told Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.
If you look at Russian history, you can see that when a political system has been in danger, the respective government has tried to divert mass anger and discontent to the Jewish community, Goldschmidt said. This could be observed in tsarist times and at the end of the Stalinist regime.
“We see rising anti-Semitism as Russia returns to a new kind of Soviet Union and as the Iron Curtain gradually comes down,” Goldschmidt said. That’s why he thinks it’s the best way for Jews to leave the country.
6.40 p.m .: The British historian Ian Kershaw claims that the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine will be over next summer. “In the spring we will see whether the Ukrainians, with Western support, are ready for a new offensive that will push back the attackers. If that’s the case, then we could be on the way to one solution or the other by spring or summer,” said the 79-year-old in an interview with the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Online/Friday). The “current degree of attrition” is “difficult for both sides to bear,” according to the historian. “That’s why I assume that the war will be over in half a year.”
Kershaw told the newspaper that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put himself in a position he never foresaw. “It is now in a war which it cannot win and which is very costly and damaging.” Now it remains to be seen what the state of the armed forces on both sides will be at the end of this winter. “It will be a very hard winter for Ukraine, but of course also for many Russians.”
The war against the neighboring country also has long-term consequences for Moscow, Kershaw said. “Russia is now isolated, at least in Europe. In that sense, the decision to invade Ukraine was an expensive decision. It will change Europe, how exactly is not yet foreseeable,” said the 79-year-old. However, it is already clear: “The war has already forced a new energy policy on us and brought about a recession.”
6:01 p.m .: Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the alarm sirens have sounded 638 times in the capital Kyiv. Overall, since the end of February, the state of alarm has been in effect for almost 694 hours, said Kiev’s military administration chief Serhiy Popko on Friday. “That’s practically 29 days, almost a whole calendar month, that the citizens of the city spent in shelters and bunkers.” The capital had experienced a total of 52 air raids in which 120 people died, including five children. 495 people were killed injured in rocket and cruise missile attacks.
The attacks damaged more than 600 buildings, Popko said. The critical infrastructure of the capital had been significantly damaged.
“2022 was the worst year in Kiev’s recent history,” Popko said. After the advance of the Russian ground forces on Kyiv was repelled, the enemy went over to the “genocide from the air”.
According to the Ukrainian military, a new attack on Kyiv with so-called kamikaze drones was only repelled on Friday night. Since the fall, Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s power grid in order to put pressure on the population.
4:44 p.m .: In Moscow, as in most Russian regions, there will be no official New Year’s fireworks this year. The administration of the capital justified this with an online survey in which the majority of citizens spoke out against loud celebrations. The background is the war against Ukraine. But Moscow has designated places where citizens can set off fireworks themselves. And Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin will also give his New Year’s speech.
In Kyiv, on the other hand, martial law continues to apply. In the city, which has been repeatedly attacked by rockets, it is illegal to set off fireworks. Many restaurants are festively decorated, including trees. But people often sit in the dark because of power outages after Russian attacks on power plants. As in Russia, New Year’s Eve is the day for New Year’s gifts – many Ukrainians, like a celebratory meal, don’t miss it despite the war.
1:22 p.m .: After finding an anti-aircraft missile on Belarusian territory, the Ministry of Defense in Minsk spoke of a possible provocation by Kiev. “Either the unguided anti-aircraft missile was fired unintentionally because of the crew’s poor training, or the missile was defective, or it is a deliberate provocation by the Ukrainian armed forces,” Belarusian anti-aircraft defense chief Kirill Kazantsev said in a news channel on Friday Telegram disseminated the Ministry’s opinion.
Russia, meanwhile, expressed “extreme concern” about the missile. The Russian and Belarusian military are in constant contact with each other, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. A trusting dialogue between both sides ensures the exchange of sensitive information, he said without giving details. Russia has stationed thousands of soldiers and a lot of military technology in Belarus.
State media in the Belarusian capital Minsk had reported that a missile launched by the S-300 air defense system had fallen on Belarusian territory on Thursday morning. According to Kazantsev, it was intercepted over the Ivanava district in the western Belarusian region of Brest. Because of the incident, the Ukrainian ambassador has already been summoned to Minsk. Kyiv, for its part, has declared its readiness to cooperate in clarifying the incident.
On Thursday, Ukraine repelled a massive Russian missile attack. Some of the Russian rockets also hit objects in the western Ukrainian region of Lviv. “Therefore, a provocation by the terrorist state of Russia cannot be ruled out, which has chosen a flight path of its cruise missiles in such a way as to provoke their launch in the airspace over Belarus,” said a statement by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. That would be a similar incident as in November when Polish territory was hit.
In Ukraine there is great concern that Russia could launch a new attack from Belarus. Such an incident could therefore be used by Belarus and Russia as an excuse to take action again from there.
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