Defense Minister Boris Pistorius does not want to comment on possible fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine. Scholz has already “said everything”. Meanwhile, the dispute between Ukraine and the Olympic Committee continues to escalate. You can find all the latest news on the Ukraine war in the Newsticker.
7:35 a.m .: US President Joe Biden rejects the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. When asked by journalists if he was in favor of a delivery of these planes, Biden answered “no” in Washington on Monday. On the other hand, France does not rule out the delivery of fighter jets to Kyiv. Brazil, on the other hand, made it clear during the visit of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) that it did not want to supply ammunition.
After promising heavy battle tanks last week, the Ukrainian leadership is currently urging its western allies to supply fighter jets. Biden has now rejected this, thereby rectifying statements made by his Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer. This one delivery of F-16 jets previously not categorically ruled out.
French President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, said about possible fighter jets for Kyiv: “In principle, nothing is forbidden.” At the same time, during a visit to The Hague, he warned of the risk of an escalation and named a number of “criteria” that had to be met.
First of all, Kyiv must make an official “request” before delivering fighter jets, Macron said. Ukraine “has not done this so far”. In addition, the weapons should “not escalate” and “do not touch Russian soil, but only support the defensive capability”. Any delivery of arms should also not “weaken the capacity of the French armed forces”.
For his part, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte emphasized that there was “no taboo, but it would be a big step” if fighter jets were delivered to Kyiv. So far, the Netherlands has not received a corresponding request from Kyiv either.
For Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has repeatedly ruled out the delivery of combat aircraft to Kyiv and warned of a “constant outbidding competition” in the debate on arms deliveries. Scholz and Biden only promised Ukraine heavy Leopard 2 and Abrams battle tanks last week after much hesitation. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy then asked his country’s allies for warplanes. Kyiv has also expressed its desire for warships and submarines.
7:33 a.m .: The foreign policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Jürgen Hardt, has not ruled out that Ukraine’s supporters will have to make a new decision on the issue of a no-fly zone in the near future. “What do we actually do if, for example, in March the Russians get so far that the fall of Kyiv is imminent? I would like to avoid this point, but I believe that we will discuss the issue of airspace protection again, in the moment when there is a threat that Ukraine will fall,” said the CDU politician on the phoenix television station. He estimates that the agreed delivery of the main battle tanks could take up to six months, “and we don’t know what will happen before then”.
Hardt saw the danger that the tide of war could turn against Ukraine “because Putin has used the last three months better than we have.” In his view, the federal government’s main battle tank decision would have been better made months ago. “From Chancellor Scholz’s point of view, too, it would probably have been a better idea to say in the summer, we’ll modernize tanks, train Ukrainian armed forces and then, depending on the situation, we’ll decide whether to deliver them or not.” The CDU politician opposed excluding certain arms deliveries from the outset. “We mustn’t build any red lines, if only for strategic reasons. For Putin, we have to be a bit unpredictable and unpredictable.”
SPD foreign politician Michael Müller supported the delivery of main battle tanks to Ukraine, but warned against underestimating the risk of the war escalating. “Many people are afraid that this war is approaching us – and that is a legitimate concern,” said the Social Democrat. It would be fatal if further steps were discussed with every new delivery of weapons without waiting for the effect of the measures decided. “We have to be careful not to slip into an escalation spiral that we can’t stop in time.”
Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 07:31: Brazil will not provide ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft tanks or Leopard tanks supplied by Germany to Ukraine. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva clearly rejected such requests on Monday after talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in Brasilia. “Brazil has no interest in transferring the ammunition to be used in the Ukraine-Russia war,” he said in a joint press conference. “Brazil is a country of peace. And that’s why Brazil doesn’t want any involvement in this war, not even indirectly.”
Germany has delivered 30 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine and has pledged seven more. However, ammunition is scarce. A new factory of the armaments company Rheinmetall for the production of this ammunition is currently being built in Unterlüß near Celle in Lower Saxony. However, production is not scheduled to begin until June. The first batch is scheduled for delivery in July.
As early as April last year – shortly after the start of the war – Germany had tried to get cheetah ammunition in Brazil and hoped for up to 300,000 rounds. It is now clear that nothing will come of it.
The Brazilian newspaper “Folha de S. Paulo” also reported on Friday that Brazil had rejected a German request for the sale of tank ammunition. It is said to have been about ammunition for Leopard tanks. In addition to Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, Brazil also has German-made Leopard 1 main battle tanks.
10:45 p.m .: France and Australia want to jointly deliver artillery ammunition to Ukraine to ward off the Russian war of aggression. The French Foreign Ministry announced on Monday in Paris after consultations with representatives of both countries that the 155-millimeter ammunition was urgently needed by Ukraine.
The ammunition intended for artillery pieces can be used, among other things, to shell tanks. There are several thousand projectiles that the defense industries of both countries jointly manufactured, said France’s Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu, as reported by the France Info broadcaster. The Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles spoke of a project worth millions and a new cooperation between the Australian and French defense industries.
France lost a billion-dollar submarine deal to Australia in 2021 after the country forged a new security alliance with the US and Britain. This had led to angry reactions in Paris and upsets in relations with Australia. Since then things have calmed down.
8:50 p.m .: Almost a year after the start of the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed the need for his country’s complete victory. “Russian terror must lose everywhere and in every respect: both on the battlefield and insofar as not a single ruin remains in our country,” said Zelenskyy in his evening video address on Monday. “So that we can rebuild everything and prove that freedom is stronger.”
In addition to security, humanitarian initiatives are also important, emphasized the Ukrainian head of state. In the southern city of Mykolaiv, for example, restoring the water supply destroyed by Russian troops is particularly important, he said a few hours earlier, with a view to a visit there with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
7:52 p.m .: The Ukrainian ambassador in Germany, Oleksiy Makejev, is satisfied with the previous arms deliveries from Germany. He told Deutsche Welle: “Right from the start, my priorities as ambassador here were armored vehicles, battle tanks, air defense systems and artillery units. And we are making very good progress with all four priorities.”
He will “mainly talk about these four priorities” with Germany, Makejev continued. However, he did not rule out Ukraine’s efforts to acquire German fighter jets. “We haven’t asked Germany for fighter jets yet,” Makeyev said, adding that “all fighter jets are important because they are part of our effort to shoot down Russian missiles. Russia launches a lot of missiles at Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, and the fighter jets are Part of our air defense effort.”
Regarding a possible offensive to liberate the Russian-occupied Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, Makeyev said: “We are talking about restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty within internationally recognized borders.”
4:51 p.m .: Defense Minister Boris Pistorius does not want to get involved in a debate about fighter jets after the decision to supply main battle tanks to Ukraine. The SPD politician said on Monday during a visit to the Bundeswehr Operations Command in Schwielowsee near Potsdam that considerations as to whether the Bundeswehr would have to hand over aircraft are “hypothetical questions” to which he does not answer.
“And by the way, as far as I know, the Federal Chancellor has said everything that needs to be said,” said Pistorius, who found out about the Bundeswehr’s foreign missions. Scholz had criticized the ongoing discussion about the possible delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine and spoke of an “outbidding competition”.
You can read more news on the following pages.