Pressure mounts on Germany to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Rheinmetall is now announcing that 29 Type 2A4 tanks could be ready by May. Russians and Ukrainians are currently fighting particularly hard battles near Bakhmut and Avdiivka. It is estimated that 180,000 Russian soldiers have already been killed or injured in Ukraine. All the latest news on the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.
6.28 a.m .: Emotional debates are currently underway about the delivery of battle tanks to Ukraine. But even they are vulnerable in a war, experts say. But there can’t be a victory without the tracked vehicles, military expert Nicolas Drummond explains to the “stern”.
“It is likely that you will have to cede territory. Even if you succeed in the decisive battle and inflict significant casualties on the attackers, you still have to beat the melee battle or the second battle,” Drummond said. In view of the upcoming spring offensive by the Russians, which Putin is apparently planning, it is important for Ukraine to reconquer lost territories. To do this, Kyiv must “master modern blitzkrieg,” which NATO calls Combined Arms Maneuvers. For this reason, main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers are still important.” They are indispensable for an attacking force to gain and hold ground, the strategy consultant continued.
The Russians, too, were only able to capture Ukrainian territory “when they used tanks and infantry together, which moved forward under the protection of artillery,” Drummond told Stern.
His conclusion: “If you don’t have armored vehicles or a certain degree of protected mobility, you definitely won’t survive”.
1:20 a.m .: According to the UN children’s fund Unicef, the war in Ukraine has affected the schooling of more than five million children. The past eleven months of the conflict have only exacerbated the major problems in the education sector caused by the corona pandemic, Unicef announced in New York on Tuesday. Children in eastern Ukraine have also been suffering from the conflict with Russia for eight years. Fighting in residential areas has now resulted in thousands of schools and other educational institutions across the country being damaged or destroyed. At the same time, many parents did not let their children go to school for safety reasons.
1.9 million schoolchildren in Ukraine would only follow the lessons virtually, 1.3 million would use the digital offers partially. But this type of education is also in danger because of the Russian attacks on the infrastructure: power outages mean a “constant challenge” for the schools.
Tuesday, January 24, 12:00 a.m.: The armaments group Rheinmetall could deliver a total of 139 Type 1 and Type 2 Leopard tanks. His spokesman told the editorial network Germany (RND) against the background of the deliveries to Ukraine that are currently being debated. “We still have 22 vehicles from the Leopard 2A4 that we could prepare for use and deliver to Ukraine,” he told RND. “The repair of these vehicles would take almost a year. Delivery would be possible at the end of 2023/beginning of 2024. There are also 29 Leopard 2A4s that we are working on for the ring exchange projects and that we will have ready by April/May 2023.” The spokesman added: “We could make 88 vehicles available from the Leopard 1.” Mixed situation due to the security policy framework, various forms of direct or indirect delivery and the changing priorities for orders “very volatile”. “It is therefore difficult, for example, to name specific periods for deliveries,” emphasized the spokesman.
At a meeting in Brussels on Monday, several EU foreign ministers increased the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to deliver Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine or at least agree to the delivery of Leopard tanks by other countries. Poland has already announced that it will apply to the federal government for approval to supply its own Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, but if necessary to supply them without Germany’s consent.
7:58 p.m .: Russian occupation troops and Ukrainian defenders fought again on Monday for Bakhmut and Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine. The Russian attacks were repelled with heavy losses, the Ukrainian general staff said in Kyiv in the evening. In order to conquer the entire Donetsk region, the Russian army attacked “regardless of their own losses”. The representation could not initially be independently verified.
The Russian military meanwhile spoke of an intensification of the fighting in the central Zaporizhia region. After advances by the Russian units in the past few days, a regrouping and repositioning of units on the Ukrainian side has now been observed, the state agency TASS reported.
3:17 p.m .: During a visit to South Africa on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov again made allegations that the West was waging war against Russia in Ukraine. “When we talk about what’s happening in Ukraine, it’s not a hybrid war, it’s almost a real war that the West has been preparing against Russia for a long time,” Lavrov said after meeting his South African colleague Naledi Pandor According to Russian state news agency Tass, the West wants to destroy everything Russian, from language to culture, he said.
South Africa, part of the Brics group of emerging economies along with Russia, China, India and Brazil, has taken a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine. South Africa abstained in a United Nations vote condemning the Ukraine conflict last year. Nevertheless, South Africa has traditionally maintained close ties with Moscow, also because the then Soviet Union supported the fight against apartheid.
In addition, South Africa is planning joint military exercises with the Russian and Chinese navies off the south-eastern port city of Durban in the second half of February. The naval exercises coincide with the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine (February 24) and, according to the South African Army, are intended to “strengthen the already blossoming relationship between South Africa, Russia and China”.
Lavrov’s visit to South Africa is taking place, among other things, in preparation for a Russia-Africa summit planned for July. By mid-2022, Lavrov had already visited Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. The visits also demonstrate Moscow’s participation in the “race for Africa” with China and the USA: Last week, China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang made his first trip abroad to Africa; US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is currently on a trip to Senegal, Zambia and South Africa .
1:24 p.m .: In an interview, historian Stéphane Courtois dismantled Putin’s power and tried to explain how the Kremlin chief miscalculated in the Ukraine war. “At the beginning of the war he wanted to take Kyiv by surprise. None! Then Putin thought the European Union would stand still while he rolled over Ukraine. None! NATO is “brain dead”, the Americans are pushing themselves out of Europe and letting the Ukrainian government under Volodymyr Zelenskyj be portrayed as a bunch of “Nazis”. No report, no report and no report again!” the historian told “t-online”.
Putin’s balance sheet is a total catastrophe, he is steering Russia towards the abyss at breakneck speed. In addition, Vladimir Putin is “rather incompetent, and also incredibly arrogant.”
On the one hand, Putin sees Ukraine as part of the “Russian world”, on the other hand, Ukraine is actually a rich country – it has industry and mineral resources, but above all its agriculture is of great importance. According to Stéphane Courtois, Putin is a gangster looking to get his loot while emulating historical heroes like Peter the Great and expanding Russia’s borders.
The historian believes it is quite conceivable that the mood in the Russian armed forces could change. “Then the army would rehearse the uprising. Anything is possible. Because many Russian generals think this war is downright stupid.”
10.06 a.m .: The new Russian commander-in-chief in Ukraine, Valery Gerasimov, is met with skepticism in the troops and in Wagner’s private army, according to British assessments. The chief of staff attaches great importance to increasing discipline, the British Ministry of Defense said on Monday, citing intelligence information. “The prioritization of mostly small regulations should confirm the fears of his many skeptics in Russia. Along with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, he is increasingly seen as out of touch and accused of relying on presentation over substance.”
Gerasimov is concerned with non-compliant uniforms, the use of mobile phones and civilian vehicles, and haircuts that do not conform to the norm. “The measures are met with skeptical feedback. But the greatest mockery was for improving the standard of troop shaving,” the British ministry said. Both officials of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the head of Wagner’s private army, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had criticized the measures, it said.
9.45 a.m .: The Russian foreign intelligence service (SWR) accuses Ukraine of stationing weapons supplied by the West on the site of nuclear power plants to protect them from destruction. Kiev’s calculus is that the Russian troops will not strike at the nuclear power plants because of the danger of a nuclear catastrophe, said the head of the foreign intelligence service, Sergey Naryshkin, in Moscow on Monday. The SWR data cannot be checked. Naryshkin claimed that there is credible information that about Himar-type multiple rocket launchers and large-caliber artillery are housed there.
In the last week of December, railway wagons with the “deadly cargo” were brought to the Rivne nuclear power plant via the Rafalivka railway station in western Ukraine, it was said. SWR did not present any evidence. “If there is a large detonation and a nuclear power plant is destroyed, for example, by a new misdirection of a missile by the Ukrainian air defense system, the blame for the tragedy is always blamed on Moscow,” said the SWR report.
Monday, January 23, 6:15 a.m.: According to Norwegian estimates, almost 180,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured in the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. On the Ukrainian side, more than 100,000 soldiers are believed to be dead or wounded, said Chief of Staff Eirik Kristoffersen in an interview with Norwegian broadcaster TV2 on Sunday. In addition, 30,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed so far. The general did not explain how the numbers came about.
Despite heavy casualties, Russia is capable of “continuing this war for quite a long time,” Kristoffersen said, citing Moscow’s mobilization and weapons production capabilities. The Norwegian general also called for the rapid delivery of battle tanks to Ukraine, where Germany in particular has been slowing down so far.
4:37 p.m .: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has again emphatically spoken out in favor of his country joining NATO to protect against Russian aggression. At a meeting with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Zelenskyy called membership in the alliance the “best security guarantee” for the country, said the head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak, in Kyiv on Sunday. It is important to actively promote the goal of NATO membership.
Russian President Vladimir Putin cited Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO as one of the reasons for the war. Moscow had always mentioned Kiev’s renunciation of membership in the military alliance as a condition for resolving the conflict.
According to Yermak, Zelenskyy and Johnson also discussed the peace summit proposed by Ukraine. A date for such a meeting has not yet been set. Russia has also rejected Zelenskyy’s demands, which demanded security guarantees and a complete withdrawal of Kremlin troops from Ukrainian territory, as unrealistic.
In a video published by Zelenskyy on Telegram in Kyiv, Johnson emphasized that he had come to help the country in difficult times. The politician had previously visited the Kiev suburbs of Bucha and Borodjanka, where Russian troops are accused of the most serious war crimes.
Sunday, January 22, 2:00 p.m.: The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has denied allegations of corruption in connection with the procurement of food for the military. The food for the soldiers was bought according to “the legally established procedure”, the ministry said on Sunday. Media reports to the contrary are “wrong”. An investigation will be launched into the dissemination of this “misleading” information, which harms Ukraine’s “defense interests”.
Reports emerged on Saturday accusing the Defense Ministry of contracting out food supplies at prices “two to three” times higher than usual wholesale prices. According to the news website “zn.ua”, the contract in question has a volume of the equivalent of 325 million euros.
On Sunday, the ministry referred to internal control mechanisms designed to prevent corruption. At the same time, it announced an internal audit of purchasing food for soldiers. An emergency meeting with department head Oleksiy Resnikov is also planned for Monday. If violations were found by Defense Department officials, they would be “held accountable under applicable law.”
Another corruption scandal shook Ukraine’s Ministry of Local and Regional Development over the weekend. Deputy Minister Vasyl Losynskyi was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of bribery, the Ukrainian anti-corruption authority (Nabu) announced. Losynskyi received $400,000 “to facilitate the conclusion of contracts to purchase equipment and generators at inflated prices.” Ukraine has been struggling with widespread power outages for months because of Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure.
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