Defense Minister Shoigu is to send his own mercenaries to the front – as competition for the Wagner Group. According to Economics Minister Habeck, Russia is heading for defeat. Ukraine insists on further western support. You can find all the news about the Ukraine war in the Newsticker.
6:12 a.m .: Wagner boss Prigozhin repeatedly criticizes the Russian military and their warfare. These attacks also go straight to the Russian Defense Minister, Shoigu, who is in charge of the Russian military. According to Ukraine, he should now react and send his own mercenaries to the front in the Donbass. Accordingly, forces from the private military company Patriot are said to have now been seen in Wuhledar in Donzek. This was described by the spokesman for the Ukrainian Eastern Group, Serhii Cherevatyi, in a TV interview, reports “Ukrajinska Pravda”. However, this cannot be independently verified.
“In particular, in the Stepne area on the Wuhledar front, we noticed that in addition to the Wagner group, the military company Patriot appeared, which is linked to the current Russian Defense Minister Shoigu,” explains the spokesman for the Eastern group. It’s obvious that they’re recruiting whatever forces they can to achieve at least some successes, Cherevatyi said. According to him, both mercenary troops are competitors, but are currently assigned to different sections of the front.
The US think tank “Jamestown Foundation” also confirms that the Patriot military company is very closely linked to the Russian Ministry of Defense and the GRU military intelligence service. The mercenaries are said to have been deployed in Syria for Russia since spring 2018.
5:56 a.m .: The UN children’s fund Unicef has warned of the effects of the Russian war of aggression on the psyche of Ukrainian children. “UNICEF estimates that around 1.5 million children in Ukraine are at very high risk of developing depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Unicef Germany CEO Christian Schneider told the Rheinische Post on Thursday .
“This state of emergency causes great damage, especially in the children’s psyche,” said Schneider. “Mothers report that they need psychological help as early as two-year-olds because they don’t know how to calm their child down.”
Schneider called for lasting support for Ukraine from politicians. “I think it takes staying power, especially in politics. 700 health facilities and over 900 schools have already been destroyed or damaged and well over 1100 children injured or killed,” said the Unicef Germany managing director.
4:53 a.m .: In the war against Ukraine, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck sees Russia on the way to military defeat. “No one would have thought that the year 2022 would end like this,” said the Green politician of the German Press Agency in Berlin. “Putin is losing this war on the battlefield,” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is because the Ukrainian army receives weapons from Europe, NATO countries and the USA and uses these weapons “skillfully and strategically, wisely and heroically”.
“I am in favor of Germany, together with the Allies, supporting Ukraine in such a way that it can win this war,” said Habeck, who had advocated arms supplies to the country even before the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine began. “There will certainly always be new systems and additional support, but they always have to be discussed in conjunction with the Allies.” We’ve come a long way, and the next steps will certainly enable further successes for Ukraine.
4:47 a.m .: Union faction leader Friedrich Merz insists on the delivery of modern Leopard II main battle tanks to Ukraine. “Supporting Ukraine with infantry fighting vehicles and battle tanks would not prolong this war, it would shorten it,” said the CDU chairman in an interview with the German Press Agency in Berlin. “Germany and other European countries should have supplied Ukraine with infantry fighting vehicles and main battle tanks of Western design long ago.”
Merz described it as an important signal to Russia that US President Joe Biden once again pledged his support to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week. It is good that at least the Americans acted decisively and delivered anti-missiles. A joint action by the United States and the European Union on various arms deliveries to Ukraine “would certainly have been possible,” said Merz. “There is obviously a lack of political will in the Chancellery to take over leadership in Europe.”
Ukraine has long been asking its allies for Western-style battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. According to Ukrainian information, talks are underway with the federal government about the delivery of the German models Leopard 2 and Marder. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) does not want to deliver such tanks as long as they are not provided by other alliance partners. The SPD politician has repeatedly emphasized that Germany will not go it alone on this issue.
When asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could be a negotiating partner after the end of the war, Merz said: “I can’t imagine how a Russian government under the leadership of the current President Putin would still be in office after a lost war against Ukraine and conducts such negotiations.” He added: “From what we have read from Russia, it seems more and more unlikely that Putin will survive this war politically every day.”
Merz does not expect the war in Ukraine to end quickly. Although one wishes otherwise, one has to accept that it will take some time. “In any case, the hopelessness of further warfare has not yet been reached for Russia.” However, everything must be done to give Ukraine a chance to restore the country’s territorial integrity. “That means we have to continue to help this country humanitarianally, financially, politically, but also militarily.”
Thursday, December 29, 2022, 1:08 am: The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Oleksii Makeiev, has reiterated his country’s demands for further support in the war against Russia. “Peace does not fall from the sky. It has to be fought for. And we Ukrainians do that on behalf of all Europeans,” Makeiev told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Thursday). The Ukrainians wished for “more courage and determination from our allies and partners”.
As goals for 2023, Makeiev named the “complete liberation of our country from Russian occupiers, the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the return of our compatriots home, the reconstruction of our country and further progress in integration into the EU and NATO “.
The ambassador renewed the request for more weapons. This aid must be “intensified and strengthened in the coming months so that even more civilians in Ukraine can be rescued”. In addition, transformers and generators are urgently needed to repair the destroyed critical infrastructure. Reconstruction will not start after the end of the war, but now, Makeiev said. Ukraine is also dependent on Germany’s financial and economic support in the EU and the International Monetary Fund.
On the question of a peace solution, Makeiev referred to the ten-step plan of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In addition to the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian national territory, this “peace formula” includes the release of all prisoners of war, a tribunal against Russian war criminals and security guarantees for Ukraine. The Kremlin rejects this.
With a view to his country’s integration into NATO and the EU, Makeiev appealed to Germany to assume a leadership role. This could be “groundbreaking” for Ukraine as well as for the European post-war order.
7:55 p.m .: According to his own statements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expects the supply routes for weapons and ammunition for the Ukrainian army from abroad to be interrupted soon. “We are observing that Ukraine is getting more and better Western weapons,” Lavrov said during an interview on Russian television on Wednesday. Therefore, there are calls among military experts to interrupt these delivery routes. “Railway lines, bridges and tunnels” are being considered, said Lavrov. “I expect they’ll make professional decisions about how to make those deliveries more difficult or, ideally, stop them altogether.”
Attacks against the Ukrainian infrastructure are already being worked on in part. If the energy grid is interrupted, the delivery of new weapons will already be made more difficult. “And I am convinced that there are other plans that are being used in this regard.” Ukraine has been defending itself against a Russian war of aggression for more than a decade.
4:28 p.m .: According to government information, more than 700 critical infrastructure objects have been destroyed in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. “It’s about gas pipelines, substations, bridges and the like,” Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Yevgeny Yenin said on television on Wednesday. In all, more than 35,000 objects were shot down by Russian troops, he added. There were air raids again on Wednesday night and in the morning. The city of Kherson, recently recaptured from Ukraine, has come under fire from 33 rockets and artillery, according to the General Staff. The list of civilian casualties is long: According to the UN, at least 18,000 unarmed people were killed or wounded.
3.30 p.m .: According to a security expert from the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Russia’s war in Ukraine will not end in 2023 either. “The war will last a long time,” Claudia Major, head of the SWP research group on security policy, told the editorial network Germany (Wednesday). “I don’t expect the war to end next year if our military support remains at the current level.”
Ukraine needs more weapons to decisively push Russia back: “To fight Russian communications, logistics, leadership, it needs drones, artillery and longer-range rocket artillery,” the Major explained to RND. “In order to liberate more areas, they need main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers.”
The expert therefore currently does not consider Moscow to be capable of carrying out further large-scale attacks: “At the moment I do not see the necessary military capabilities in Russia to march to Moldova,” she said. Also, “Russia is currently not militarily in a position to land an assault on Kyiv”.
“Nevertheless, Russia could inflict heavy casualties on Ukraine and slow it down, if only by sending poorly trained recruits to the front lines and continuing to destroy civilian infrastructure,” Major continued.
The expert, on the other hand, sees little chance for peace negotiations. Anyone who believes that Ukraine has a choice between war on the one hand and negotiations and peace on the other is completely misunderstanding the situation, she said: “Ukraine only has the choice between war and annihilation: war, i.e. to liberate the Russian-occupied areas, or under Russian crew – like in Irpin or Izjum – to be destroyed.”
In Germany, SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich recently promoted a debate about possible peace talks in Russia. He criticized at Christmas in the “taz” that diplomacy in Germany was “reflexively rejected”. However, diplomacy does not mean “negotiating with Putin unconditionally or even over the heads of Ukraine.”
12:31 p.m .: From the Kremlin’s point of view, a possible peace plan for Ukraine must recognize Russia’s annexation of the four areas in the east and south of the country. “There can be no peace plan for Ukraine that does not take into account today’s realities on Russian territory,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. He was reacting to the ten-point peace formula presented by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the G20 summit in Bali in November. The core demands of Ukraine are the withdrawal of Russian troops and reparations payments.
“So far there is no peace plan at all,” emphasized Peskow. Moscow had recently repeatedly stated that it was ready for negotiations. However, Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of not taking the offer seriously. Russia refuses to withdraw troops.
In addition to the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian national territory, Zelenskyy’s “Ukrainian peace formula” includes the release of all prisoners of war, a tribunal against Russian war criminals and security guarantees for Ukraine. Kyiv is currently demanding more and better weapons from the West, including tanks, fighter jets and longer-range missiles, money to finance the state budget and a “new diplomacy” with more pressure on wartime opponents Russia.
11:37 a.m .: The city of Cherson, recently recaptured from Ukraine, was fired at by 33 rockets and artillery on Wednesday night, according to the General Staff. In addition, inhabited areas on the right bank of the Dnipro River are said to have been shelled, reports “ntv”. It is not yet known whether there were any casualties.
A Twitter user also reported an impact on a hospital maternity ward. “They bombed the place where two children were born today,” Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Kyrylo Tymoshenko wrote on Telegram. “Before the attack, the doctors managed to do another caesarean section. There are currently five women on the ward. Miraculously, no one was hurt.”
10:52 a.m .: According to the latest counts by the United Nations (UN), almost 6,900 civilians have been killed in the Ukraine war. Almost 11,000 unarmed people were wounded, said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. Among those killed were 1,800 women and around 400 children, it said.
According to the UN, most of the recorded civilian casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with long-range effects, including heavy artillery fire, multiple missile systems, missiles and airstrikes. The OHCHR assumes that the actual numbers are considerably higher. Reports from some locations with intense fighting have been delayed and have yet to be confirmed. This applies, for example, to the regions around Mariupol and various places in the Luhansk region.
9:52 a.m .: According to an insider, the Russians sent to war as part of President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization can have their sperm frozen free of charge. “The Ministry of Health of Russia has decided to provide funding from budget funds for the free preservation and storage of gametes (sperm) of citizens mobilized to take part in the military special operation,” said the head of the Russian Bar Association Igor Trunov. on Wednesday the state news agency Tass. Trunow represents clients who want to freeze their seeds.
In recent weeks there have been media reports that the demand for sperm banks among Russians has increased significantly as a result of the mobilization. The reason is that men who could fall into Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine wanted to secure their offspring at least in this way. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense in the fall, around 6,000 Russian soldiers have died so far. Ukraine, on the other hand, recently estimated Russian losses at 100,000 soldiers.
9.40 a.m .: According to British estimates, the Russian military is under constant pressure from the Ukrainian armed forces near the small town of Kreminna in eastern Ukraine. Russia has likely strengthened its front line in the area in Luhansk Oblast in recent days, the British Defense Ministry said in its regular intelligence update on Wednesday. It has established extensive new defenses there and will likely focus on holding the position.
From a logistical point of view, the area is important for the Russian front in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass, and Kreminna is also an important city in Luhansk, the ministry wrote. The Kremlin uses the “liberation” of the area as a justification for the aggressive war against Ukraine. Kreminna is located north of the industrial town of Bakhmut, which has been the subject of war for months. The situation has also recently deteriorated near the small town itself.
9:28 a.m .: According to government information, more than 700 critical infrastructure objects have been destroyed in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression at the end of February. “It’s about gas pipelines, substations, bridges and the like,” Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Yevgeny Yenin said on television on Wednesday. In total, more than 35,000 objects were shot down by Russian troops, he added.
Since October, the Russian military has been specifically targeting energy supply systems in Ukraine. The Ukrainian power grid has been badly damaged by the constant fire from rockets, cruise missiles and kamikaze drones. Again and again there are sudden emergency shutdowns. In the dark and cold winter days, people are thus without light for hours – and sometimes also cut off from the heat and water supply.
Also in the night to Wednesday and in the morning there were air raids in several regions. Rocket hits were reported from the industrial city of Kharkiv in the morning. The city of Kherson, recently recaptured from Ukraine, has come under fire from 33 rockets and artillery, according to the General Staff.
08:12: The Ukrainian troops are apparently about to liberate the city of Kreminna. Serhiy Hajdaj, the governor of Luhansk, wrote to Telegram on Tuesday that parts of the Russian troops had been forced to withdraw to Rubishne.
“The Russians understand that if they lose Kreminna, their entire line of defense would fall,” Hajdaj continued. He also added that Putin’s troops managed to build a strong defense. “They bring large amounts of reserves and equipment. They are constantly renewing their troops.”
Wednesday, December 28, 7:58 a.m.: Russian authorities are apparently stepping up efforts to kidnap Ukrainian children to Russia. This is reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in its current update. Accordingly, the Russian occupiers demanded that children in the occupied territories undergo various medical examinations. These could subsequently lead to deportations to Russia.
According to the ISW, the Ukrainian Resistance Center has now reported that high-ranking Russian officials have allocated more than 350 million rubles (around 4.5 million euros) since October. In addition, the Russian Cabinet of Ministers is responsible for financing the program and is said to have made 435 million rubles (5.8 million euros) available.
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