After the Russian missile attack on Dnipro, the death toll continues to rise and President Volodymyr Zelenskyj is demanding faster arms deliveries from the West. A former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner wants to unpack there about mercenary boss Prigozhin. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.
Tuesday, January 17, 3:53 a.m.: In a video speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls on the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) to do more for the Ukrainians who are allegedly forcibly deported to Russia. “No international organization has yet found the strength to gain access to the places of detention of our prisoners in Russia,” says Zelenskyj. Ukraine accuses Russia of deporting thousands of Ukrainians since the Russian war of aggression began. The US State Department estimates that between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens, including 260,000 children, were forcibly taken into Russian territory last year. Russia claims the people are war refugees.
11:19 p.m .: In view of the Russian rocket attack on the industrial city of Dnipro, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has demanded heavy weapons from the West and has therefore praised Great Britain. “A new defense aid package has been announced – exactly what is needed: main battle tanks, other armored vehicles and artillery,” the 44-year-old said in his daily video address on Monday evening. He awaits decisions on further arms deliveries from the World Economic Forum in Davos, which begins on Tuesday, and the Ukraine Contact Group conference in Ramstein.
According to Zelensky, around 40 people died when a Russian missile hit a residential building in the industrial city of Dnipro over the weekend. About two dozen are still missing. Ukraine will do everything in its power to find those responsible and bring them to justice. At the same time, the President warned the West to hurry to deliver the desired tanks. Russia’s attack on Dnipro and its new attempts to take the initiative in the war required “new solutions” and quicker decisions.
Zelenskyy pointed out the strong Russian troop concentrations in the Donbass, especially around the cities of Bakhmut and Soledar, but also in southern Ukraine. “We will see what Russia is preparing here,” said the President.
4 p.m.: A former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner has fled to Norway and wants to apply for asylum there. This is reported by several media unanimously. It is about the Russian Andrei Medvedev, who managed a dangerous escape from Russia that lasted more than three months. “I can confirm that he arrived in Norway on Friday night,” Medvedev’s lawyer Jens Bernhard told VG. The explosive thing: It was the first time that a former commander of the Wagner troop had left Russia and fled to Europe since the beginning of the war.
Previously, he is said to have led a unit of the brutal Wagner group in Ukraine, which the Kremlin-critical online magazine “The Insider” says is said to have been called “Suicide Squad”. Within a few days only three of 30 men were still alive.
The Wagner deserter Yevnegny Nushin served in Medvedev’s unit, according to The Insider. Nushin was brutally killed with a sledgehammer by Wagner mercenaries. The mercenaries themselves posted the video of the execution online.
The former Wagner commander Medvedev now goes even further and wants to open up about the crimes of the group in Ukraine. “I am ready to testify against the Wagner group and Prigozhin (Editor’s note: Yevgeny Prigozhin is the head and founder of the mercenary group). Of course I am,” he said in an interview with “Gulagu”. Medvedev had already unpacked to “The Insider” that he knew of at least ten executions within his unit. Prigozhin was mostly directly involved.
“He realized very early on that he had enlisted on the wrong terms and that there were things going on in the war that he couldn’t be a part of. He wanted to stop and realized that in reality this was impossible. So he saw no other option but to flee,” his other attorney, Brynjulf Risnes, told VG.
In a video, the ex-commander described his escape from Russia. “I turned around and saw people with flashlights running in my direction about 150 meters away. I ran along the forest. I heard two shots, bullets whizzed by. I broke the phone and threw it in the forest, then I ran on the ice towards the light of the houses. They released the dog, but apparently he was tangled in a wire somewhere in a snowdrift,” the Barents Observer translated from the video.
Surf tip: Putin’s shadow army – mercenary group Wagner: What you should know about the killers
1:22 p.m .: Britain’s announcement that it would provide 14 Challenger 2 battle tanks to the attacked Ukraine was met with criticism in Russia. “We take it very negatively,” said Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Moscow repeatedly claims that Western arms deliveries would only prolong the suffering in the neighboring country.
Overall, the Kremlin appears – at least publicly – to be completely unimpressed by the announced tank deliveries. This only creates trouble for Ukraine, according to Peskov, who continues: “These tanks are burning and will burn”. In addition, the offensive in Ukraine will continue, according to the announcement. “The military special operation will continue,” said Peskov.
Ukraine, on the other hand, emphasizes that foreign military aid is the only chance to defend its sovereignty against the Russian invaders.
1:20 p.m .: After a Russian rocket hit a residential building in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the Kremlin has rejected the blame for the many fatalities. “Russia’s armed forces are not attacking residential buildings or objects of social infrastructure,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, according to the Russian news agency. Representatives of the Ukrainian side themselves said that the “tragedy” over the weekend was caused by the Ukrainian air defenses, Peskov said. He was obviously alluding to statements made by the adviser in the Ukrainian presidential office, Oleksiy Arestovych.
Shortly after the attack on Saturday, Arestovych said in a live Internet broadcast: “It (the rocket) was shot down and fell on the entrance to the house.” version wanted to describe. The Ukrainian Air Force, on the other hand, stated that it was in no position to intercept missiles of this type.
The attack on Dnipro, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, was the most momentous of several Russian attacks over the past weekend. The Ukrainian authorities reported the deaths of 40 people, including 3 children, as of Monday noon. Despite Moscow’s assurances that it is only targeting military targets, Russian shells have repeatedly killed many civilians in the nearly 11-month war of aggression.
1:15 p.m .: Ukraine will receive a new EU aid loan of three billion euros this Tuesday. As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Monday, it is part of a loan program totaling 18 billion euros that was agreed by the EU member states in December for this year. Helping Ukraine deal with its financing needs is essential and urgent in the face of Russian aggression, von der Leyen commented.
According to earlier information from the EU Commission, only 1.5 billion euros should actually be paid out from the new 18 billion euro program in January. Now, however, the financial requirement is obviously so great that 3 billion euros are already being transferred in the first step.
With the new financial aid, the EU wants to enable the Ukrainian state to continue paying wages and pensions. In addition, the operation of hospitals, schools and emergency shelters for resettled people should be guaranteed. The destroyed infrastructure is also to be partly rebuilt with the money.
12.40 p.m .: According to the Moscow government, Russia’s income from the sale of gas and oil rose by almost a third last year despite western sanctions. According to the Interfax agency, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the corresponding budget revenue in 2022 would have grown by 28 percent or 2.5 trillion rubles (around 31.6 billion euros at the end of 2022) compared to the previous year.
In the course of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, gas has not been pumped to Europe through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 for months, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has never been put into operation. Exports of conventional natural gas have fallen, but exports of liquefied natural gas have increased by eight percent to 46 billion cubic meters, Nowak said. Oil exports increased by 7 percent.
A key tool – the oil price cap introduced by the EU in early December – is unlikely to really show its effects until this year. The regulation is intended to force Russia to sell oil to buyers in other countries for a maximum of 60 dollars per barrel (159 liters).
The Russian Ministry of Finance announced last week that it was already expecting lost oil and gas revenues of 54.5 billion rubles (around 737 million euros) in January. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has in turn banned the sale of oil to countries that have decided on a price cap for the raw material. The ban comes into effect on February 1.
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