Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu wants to restructure the Russian army. The British secret service certifies that the Russians have problems with the accuracy of their attacks. Selenskyj adviser Arestovych resigns from his own ranks after a shit storm. All news about the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.
Wednesday, January 18, 5:55 a.m.: The head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, is in favor of Germany supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Many partners, such as Great Britain or Poland, want to supply battle tanks to Ukraine themselves and are in favor of Germany doing the same: “We have to move forward there. And we now have to deliver the Leopard 2 in the convoy as well,” says Heusgen.
Chancellor Scholz had “several times tried to get Putin to give in.” Now is the time to show toughness. “It’s the only language that Putin understands,” said Heusgen. And it is the only way to “return to normal relations in the long term.” Germany must do everything possible to help Ukraine in its self-defense.
Overall, Germany is doing “a great deal” in the area of humanitarian aid, in the area of economic support: “We could do more with regard to supporting Ukraine with armaments,” says Heusgen. “We have to see that we do this sustainably and that we also make our contribution over a longer period of time.”
8:32 p.m .: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has reacted with outrage to attempts by the Russian mercenary group Wagner to recruit fighters in his country for a mission in Ukraine. “Why are you doing this to Serbia? Why are you calling on Wagner to do this, even though it’s against the regulations?” Vucic asked in a television interview broadcast on Monday evening, according to the Beta news agency.
Vucic’s remarks are a rare criticism of the Serbian president towards Russia – Moscow is a close ally of the Balkan country. The controversial ad was broadcast earlier this month on the Serbian branch of the Russian state broadcaster RT. In it, the mercenary force called on Serbs to fight in Ukraine.
A small number of Serbs have fought alongside Russian-backed forces in Ukraine after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in spring 2014. The authorities have not yet published an exact number.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Ria Novosti news agency published footage purporting to show two Serbian nationals taking part in weapons training in Ukraine.
Along with Belarus, Serbia is the only European country that does not support the West’s sanctions against Russia, even though Vucic’s government has condemned the invasion. Many Serbs support the Russian attack on Ukraine, and there have also been pro-Russian demonstrations in the capital, Belgrade.
The Wagner mercenary group was founded in 2014. Wagner fighters were deployed in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, among other places. Russian mercenaries also played an important role in the attack on Ukraine launched in February 2022.
4:59 p.m .: According to the designated Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, Germany is “indirectly” involved in the war in Ukraine. “The Ministry of Defense is a major challenge even in civilian, in peacetime, and in times when the Federal Republic of Germany is involved in a war, indirectly, again especially,” said the SPD politician on Tuesday in Hanover, referring to his future task. “And that’s why I’m of course very aware of the responsibility and the great importance of this task,” he emphasized. “The Bundeswehr must adapt to a new situation that arose with the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine,” he emphasized.
4:22 p.m .: After a Russian missile hit a high-rise building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the emergency services are still looking for several missing people. The military governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Resnichenko, said on Tuesday that 90 percent of the rubble of the house had been removed. There could still be people lying there. 45 dead have been pulled from the rubble so far; around 80 people were injured, including 16 children. In the morning there were still 40 deaths. Six children were among the dead.
There are still 28 injured in hospitals, many of whom are in critical condition, it said. A large part of the nine-story skyscraper collapsed on Saturday after a rocket hit. 200 homes were destroyed.
3:38 p.m .: Union faction leader Friedrich Merz has asked future Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) to give the green light for the delivery of German Leopard-type battle tanks to Ukraine. The Union offers Pistorius the cooperation – “and we can start the day after tomorrow,” said the CDU chairman on Tuesday in Berlin. After Pistorius was sworn in, there will be a debate this Thursday about a Union application to deliver such tanks to Ukraine. “We very much hope that the new Federal Minister of Defense will then make it clear that he wants to go down this path” – together with the partners in NATO and the EU.
Pistorius does not come from defense policy, “he will have to familiarize himself with this. But he has experience in leading a ministry, if only in state politics,” said Merz. “We’re not giving him an advance here, but we’re not only accompanying it with criticism.” The Ministry of Defense is “perhaps the most important office held in the Federal Government after the Federal Chancellor in the current situation with war in Europe”. The group leader added with a view to Pistorius: “We hope that he will be successful and everything else will show. He doesn’t get any grades here today, nor any criticism of the person.”
12:14 p.m .: Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has announced that the Russian army will be restructured in order to implement the increase in troop levels demanded by the Kremlin. Only through structural changes in the armed forces is it possible to guarantee Russia’s security, Shoigu said at a Defense Ministry meeting on Tuesday. Against the background of the Ukraine war, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin announced shortly before New Year’s Eve that he would increase the number of soldiers from 1.15 to 1.5 million.
According to Schoigu, two large territorial units are to be created that combine several branches of arms; the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts. Independent military units are also to be set up in the Ukrainian areas annexed by Russia. In addition, Shoigu announced the establishment of an army corps in the northern Russian republic of Karelia. This could be a reaction to the planned NATO accession of the Scandinavian countries Sweden and Finland.
The combat effectiveness of the fleet, the air force and the missile forces should also be strengthened, Shoigu demanded. The renewal of the structures should therefore be completed between 2023 and 2026. Because of a large number of defeats in the war of aggression against Ukraine, the military leadership in Moscow is confronted with numerous problems and shortcomings that are now to be remedied.
10:57 a.m .: After a wave of public outrage, the external advisor in the Ukrainian presidential office, Oleksiy Arestovych, resigned. “I want to show an example of civilized behavior,” the 47-year-old wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. The reason for the resignation was his statement in a live Internet broadcast on Sunday night. Arestovych named Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses as a possible reason for the impact of a Russian missile on a residential building in the city of Dnipro.
After the statement, the 47-year-old was met with a wave of indignation. He was accused, among other things, of working for Russian propaganda. The Ukrainian Air Force also dismissed the possibility that it might be able to intercept Russian Ch-22 supersonic missiles. Previous official publications on this were not correct. Arestovych apologized for the statement to the bereaved on Tuesday night.
The Russian army invaded Ukraine almost eleven months ago. With the beginning of the war, the not undisputed Arestovych also became better known in the western public for his comments on the events of the war. He has worked in the President’s Office since December 2020.
10:13 a.m .: After a Russian missile hit a high-rise building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the emergency services are still looking for more than 20 missing people. The military governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Resnichenko, said on Tuesday that 90 percent of the rubble of the house had been removed. There could still be people lying there. 40 dead have been pulled from the rubble so far; around 80 people were injured, including 16 children.
There are still 28 injured people in hospitals, many of whom are in critical condition, it said. A large part of the nine-story skyscraper collapsed on Saturday after a rocket hit. 200 homes were destroyed.
9 a.m.: According to British secret services, the Russian army is having difficulties in precisely targeting its attacks in the war against Ukraine and in assessing consequential damage in advance. Examples from the war showed that Russia has weaknesses in its ability to attack with long-range weapons, the British Ministry of Defense said in its daily briefing on Tuesday.
As an example, the British cite the attack on a residential complex in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. The rocket type that hit there a few days ago is “notoriously inaccurate” when used on targets on the ground and in cities because of the radar system. The AS-4-Kitchen used is actually an anti-ship missile and unsuitable for ground targets, explains London. Similar weapons have also resulted in high casualties on other occasions, such as the attack on a Ukrainian shopping center last June.
The recent 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, by Monday afternoon. Despite Moscow’s assurances that it is only attacking military targets, Russian shells have repeatedly killed many civilians in the nearly 11-month war of aggression.
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 – just 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.
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