Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko demands Leopard 2 tanks from Germany and speaks of a dark future. Putin’s decree for 137,000 additional soldiers has come into effect and his forces launch another massive missile attack on Ukraine, but they fail. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.

11:01 a.m .: More than ten months after the start of Moscow’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the number of military personnel in Russia will increase by 137,000 at the beginning of the new year. A corresponding decree on the increase to around 1.15 million contract soldiers and conscripts ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin in August officially came into force on Sunday. According to this, the army strength should total more than two million people. The rest of the military personnel are civilian personnel, including some administrative employees.

In September, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said new units were being created. The minister accused the western states, led by the USA, of taking a course against Russia and its allies; he justified the increase in the number of soldiers. “The NATO bloc is moving closer to the Russian borders,” Shoigu said.

Since the start of the war against Ukraine ordered by Putin on February 24, the Russian army has repeatedly had to contend with major personnel problems. The increase in the number of military personnel is now intended to remedy the situation. In addition, Putin had called up around 300,000 reservists for a partial mobilization – accompanied by protests in the population and a mass flight of men abroad. The people in Russia fear that Putin could decide on further mobilization in order to still win his war in Ukraine, which has been overshadowed by many defeats.

10:04 a.m .: Russia attacked Ukraine on New Year’s night with a total of 45 drones, according to the air defense in Kyiv. All Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze combat drones were destroyed by the Ukrainian air defenses, the armed forces said on New Year’s Day in Kyiv. “It was not possible to spoil the Ukrainians’ party,” the statement said. Russia uses the drones under its own name Geran – in German: geranium – to disguise Iranian involvement. Russia and Iran have been working since together militarily for a long time.

“The soldiers of the Ukrainian Air Force congratulate their indomitable nation on the New Year 2023! Together to victory! ”It was said in the message from Sunday. According to military sources in Kyiv, Russia also fired 20 rockets at Ukraine on New Year’s Eve, most of which were destroyed. The capital Kyiv and other cities in the country were affected.

According to numerous reports, Iran had already sent drones to Russia in August, which can be used, for example, for attacks on military objects such as radar systems and artillery as well as energy infrastructure. A few weeks later, Russian forces repeatedly attacked targets in Ukraine with Iranian Shahed 136 kamikaze drones, which caused extensive damage. The EU then imposed additional sanctions on Iran, which was already subject to a number of sanctions.

9.05 a.m .: The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has asked Germany to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. “It will depend crucially on Germany that Leopard 2 tanks are finally delivered. Without this type of tank, it will be difficult to recapture more areas in Ukraine,” Klitschko writes in a guest article in the “Bild am Sonntag”.

The politician also expects a new attack on Kyiv. Russia is mobilizing more forces, up to 300,000 soldiers could tackle another attack on Ukraine. “Kyiv was a target and Kyiv remains a target,” writes Klitschko.

The aim of the Russian army was to bring Ukraine “a dark Christmas, a dark New Year, a dark future,” Klitschko continues. “But, as always in this war, they miscalculated! We are stronger, also thanks to Germany: The German missile defense system Iris-T helps like nothing else to ensure that our civil infrastructure is not completely destroyed, but that we have been able to renew it again and again.”

Russia has been attacking the Ukrainian energy infrastructure with rockets and drones for several weeks. As a result, millions of people in Ukraine are without electricity and heating in wintry temperatures.

Despite requests from Kyiv, the German government has so far refused to hand over modern Leopard and Marder tanks to Ukraine. Berlin relies on indirect tank deliveries via NATO partners.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) was open to the “Bild am Sonntag” for further support for Ukraine. “We must do everything to ensure that Ukraine’s staying power remains greater than the evil that emanates from Putin,” Lindner said, according to the newspaper. “We are already doing our best. But you have to check every day where more is possible.”

5:06 a.m .: In the border conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti has called for a larger presence of NATO troops in his country. “A significant increase in NATO soldiers and military equipment in our country would improve security and peace in Kosovo and in the entire Western Balkans region,” Kurti told Welt.

Kurti also announced that Kosovo is increasing defense spending and the number of its soldiers and reservists. “An increase in the number of soldiers in the NATO peacekeeping force KFOR would support our defense efforts,” the head of government affirmed.

The KFOR mission has been responsible for security and stability in Kosovo since 1999. According to the Bundestag mandate, up to 400 German soldiers can continue to take part in the mission in Kosovo. Currently there are only around 70 in use. According to NATO, Kfor currently has a total of almost 3,800 task forces from 28 countries.

The border conflict between Serbia and Kosovo has escalated in recent weeks. The situation only eased somewhat on Thursday. According to Kurti, the street barricades that had been erected on the Serbian side of the border involved men wearing badges from the Russian mercenary group Wagner and the nationalist Russian motorcycle club Night Wolves.

This makes “the need for additional NATO troops just as clear as the accumulation of Serbian troops and artillery along the Kosovar border,” said the Kosovar head of government.

Kosovo, with its predominantly Albanian population, declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, but is still considered by Belgrade to be a breakaway southern Serbian territory. Belgrade is encouraging the Serb minority in northern Kosovo in their attempts to defy the authority of the Pristina government. Russia, on the other hand, is considered a close ally of Serbia and recently pledged its support to Belgrade again in the conflict.

Sunday, January 1, 2023, 12:31 a.m.: In his New Year’s speech, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyi announced a victorious end to the fight against Russia. “We are fighting and will continue to fight. For the sake of the one important word: victory,” Zelenskyj said. In his emotional speech, he showered his compatriots with praise. “I want to tell you all: Ukrainians, you are incredible. Look what we have done and what we continue to do!”

Zelenskyy highlighted the Ukrainian successes in repelling the Russian invasion. “How our soldiers have destroyed this ‘second army in the world’ since day one. How our people stopped their equipment and infantry columns,” stressed the Ukrainian President.

“Each of us is a fighter,” Zelenskyy continued. “Each of us is the basis of defense.” Ukrainians “fight as one team – the whole country, all regions. I admire you all. I want to thank every invincible region of Ukraine.”

A few hours before the release of the New Year’s speech, Ukraine endured another wave of Russian missile attacks. A number of blows hit Kyiv. According to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, one person died and others were injured.

Less than an hour after the turn of the year, there was another explosion in the capital. Klitschko said at 12:35 a.m. (local time, 11:35 p.m. CET) in the Telegram online service: “Explosion heard in the capital. Air defense works.”

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