The US historian Timothy Snyder sees Vladimir Putin on the verge of losing control. Selenskyj welcomes the German genocide classification. Putin makes a serious accusation against Scholz. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found here in the ticker.
More on the course of the war in Ukraine.
5:19 a.m.: The efforts of the Ukrainian leadership to form a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes with Western support continue, according to Zelenskyy. Work will continue to gain a “critical mass” of supporters to form this tribunal. According to Kiev’s ideas, it should be based on the model of the Nuremberg tribunal. While the Nazis were held accountable in Nuremberg, according to Kyiv, the political and military leadership of Russia for the war of aggression against the Ukraine is to be held accountable at this special tribunal.
“London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw and other capitals – we are strengthening our positions everywhere and gathering the support of our partners,” Zelenskyy said on Friday evening. “I’m sure there will be a tribunal, there will be justice.”
05:10: In a short ceremony, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj celebrated the return of some of his soldiers from Russian captivity. “It was a special day in a special week,” he said in his daily video address on Friday evening. At the same time he announced that he would bring back more soldiers from Russian prison camps. “We will not leave a single Ukrainian in Russian prisons, camps and ‘isolations’ (detention centers). We think of everyone.”
Zelenskyj had presented medals to a number of former prisoners of war in Kyiv in the afternoon. In the past few days, Russia and Ukraine have exchanged prisoners of war several times. According to Zelenskyy, a total of 1,331 Ukrainian soldiers had been released from Russian captivity in this way since the beginning of the war in February. Meanwhile, Kyiv continues to seek a special tribunal to try Russian war crimes.
“As long as the fighting continues, as long as our heroes die in the trenches and as long as even one prisoner is in the hands of the enemy – this war is not over for me, and certainly for any of you,” he said, according to the Presidential Chancellery during the Ceremony. Saturday marks the 283rd day of Russia’s war of aggression against its neighboring country.
Saturday, December 3, 00:01: The CDU member of the Bundestag and former president of the reservists’ association, Roderich Kiesewetter, has called for the working time limit for Bundeswehr soldiers from currently 41 hours per week for the duration of the Russian attack on Ukraine “We should suspend the European Working Time Directive for the entire Bundeswehr as long as the war lasts,” Kiesewetter told the editorial network Germany (RND). “The 41-hour week shouldn’t apply. Instead, overtime should be compensated with money. That would release a lot of power.”
The reason for the demand is the current dispute about the problems in the procurement system. Kiesewetter also suggested that armaments contracts should initially only be advertised nationally and that commanders should be given responsibility for materials. This could help to compensate for the lack of ammunition and to accelerate the otherwise sluggish procurement of armaments, for which the procurement office in Koblenz is held responsible, among other things.
The Soldiers’ Working Hours Ordinance, which stipulates a weekly working time of 41 hours for the troops, came into force in 2016. The EU Working Time Directive was thus implemented. According to a report, the average weekly working time in the Bundeswehr before the EU directive was implemented was 48.2 hours, and in the army and navy even more than 50 hours.
10:57 p.m.: Ukraine has received a first delivery of Hawk air defense systems from Spain. This was announced by Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov on Friday after a meeting with his Spanish colleague Margarita Robles in Odessa. More Hawk anti-aircraft missiles from Spanish stocks are to follow. Ukrainian soldiers are already being trained in Spain. The medium-range anti-aircraft system, which originated in the USA, was put into service in the early 1960s and has been modernized again and again. Hawk has already been phased out in most NATO countries.
8:33 p.m .: After a letter bomb in Spain, other diplomatic missions in Ukraine received packages with bloody contents, according to information from Kyiv. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that packages containing animal eyes had been received at the embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Italy and three consulates in Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic. There are also said to have been incidents in front of the seat of the Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican and the embassies in Kazakhstan and the USA. Parcels and letters were received synchronously from “a European country”.
“Since they are unable to stop Ukraine on the diplomatic front, they are trying to intimidate us,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba commented on the incidents, referring to Russia’s war of aggression against his country, which has been going on for more than nine months. The 41-year-old assured that the Ukrainian diplomats would continue to work unperturbed. Security precautions have been increased at all Ukrainian diplomatic missions.
In the middle of the week, letter bombs were sent to leading politicians and embassies in Spain, including the Ukrainian embassy in the EU country. A security officer from the representation was injured in the hand. There was initially no information about the sender and no one claimed responsibility for the crimes.
4.30 p.m .: In view of the massive damage to the Ukrainian energy supply caused by Russia, the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is delivering several hundred power generators to Ukraine. Almost 150 devices have already been delivered, and 320 additional power generators are currently being prepared for transport, the THW announced on Friday. Russia’s attacks on Ukraine recently focused on electricity and thermal power plants, among other things. In freezing temperatures, many Ukrainian households are temporarily or even completely without heating, electricity and water.
To stabilize the energy supply, some of the brand-new devices went directly to Ukrenergo, the largest Ukrainian energy supplier, the THW said. With this, Ukrenergo can ensure a provisional power supply for important facilities. Other generators would be shipped to Odessa, Mykolaiv and the Kherson region. Some of the devices are suitable for being mounted on car trailers, so that they can be used very flexibly.
The THW is the voluntary civil and disaster protection organization of the federal government and claims to have more than 80,000 volunteers in its ranks.
4:14 p.m .: The head of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), Christoph Heusgen, has spoken out in favor of the possible stationing of German Patriot anti-aircraft batteries in Ukraine. “The stationing of German Patriot air defense systems in Ukraine should not be ruled out from the outset,” Heusgen said in an interview with the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (NOZ). He emphasized: “The systems can basically also be operated by Ukrainians. And as a purely defensive weapon, it would really help protect Ukraine and, of course, Poland as well.”
The German government had offered NATO partner Poland Patriot-type anti-aircraft batteries to secure its airspace after a missile hit Polish territory in mid-November. However, Warsaw thinks it would make more sense to be stationed on Ukrainian soil.
In the NOZ, Heusgen also spoke out in favor of rethinking Ukraine’s NATO membership. “Unlike in 2008, one should no longer categorically rule out Ukraine joining NATO – after a possible peace agreement. Because Russia’s aggressiveness and the fact that it is not sticking to agreements, for example the guarantee given on Ukraine’s territorial integrity, must prompt a rethink,” said the head of the MSC and former foreign policy adviser to ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Heusgen emphasized in the NOZ: “Who guarantees that Russia will not attack Ukraine again after a peace agreement after a few years of pause and renewed rearmament? Ukraine joining NATO would dramatically increase the price Moscow would have to pay for such a move.”
1:11 p.m .: Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin on the phone for the first time since mid-September about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which has been going on for a good nine months. The Kremlin announced on Friday in Moscow that Putin did draw attention to “the destructive line of Western states, including Germany, which are pumping weapons into the Kiev regime and training the Ukrainian military.” That, along with financial aid, led Ukraine to refuse negotiations with Russia, Moscow claimed.
According to the announcement, Putin also called on Scholz to review German policy in connection with Ukraine. The Kremlin chief also defended the recent massive rocket attacks against Ukraine in response to “Kiev’s provocations” against civilian infrastructure in Russia, including the bridge to the annexed Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was severely damaged by an explosion, and energy objects.
According to the Kremlin, Putin once again called for transparent investigations into the “terrorist attack” against the Nord Stream 1 and 2 Baltic Sea pipelines – with the participation of Russian authorities. Explosions had torn holes in pipes.
Friday, December 2, 2022, 8:39 a.m.: The FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann assumes that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to completely annihilate Ukraine. “If Ukraine stops fighting today, it will be off the map. The complete destruction of Ukraine is what Putin announced,” says the politician in the podcast “Die Wochentester” (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger/RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland) in conversation with the moderators Wolfgang Bosbach and Christian Rach.
She warns: “There was once a criminal on this earth who asked people: Do you want total war? And Putin wants this total war because he wants to destroy Ukraine.” It is “boundlessly naive” to believe that one can simply negotiate with him. “You can only enter into conversations out of strength. That’s why I fight with the – as they call themselves or as others call them – intellectuals. Because the thought behind it is: we have to talk to each other. This is a category that is correct per se. If there’s a crash somewhere and there’s stress, we talk to each other. This is the essence of a cultivated argument. But here we are dealing with a mass murderer who wants to completely destroy another country. Then this argument no longer applies.”
Strack-Zimmermann’s statements can be heard in the podcast “Die Wochentester” with Wolfgang Bosbach and Christian Rach.
6:55 p.m .: Sanctions against Russian oligarchs as a result of the Ukraine war should be better enforced in the future. The Bundestag agreed to legal changes on Thursday. On the one hand, improvements in official structures are planned. On the other hand, there should be a ban on cash payments when buying real estate in the future.
A new central office for the enforcement of sanctions is to coordinate the work of the competent authorities – this should also enable synergy effects for combating money laundering. The central office should also accept tips from whistleblowers. If a company violates or threatens to violate sanctions, the body should be able to appoint a special representative to monitor it.
The FDP financial politician Markus Herbrand said that the “minions” of Russian President Vladimir Putin must be hit where it hurts them, with bank balances or luxury villas. This would strengthen the “sales movements” of Putin’s Russian moneyed nobility.
The SPD politician Carlos Kasper said that the SPD would have liked to have had a general ban on cash from 10,000 euros, but unfortunately that had not yet been possible. He referred to the EU. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) had already announced that she wanted to introduce a cash limit of less than 10,000 euros to better combat organized crime.
The CDU MP Matthias Hauer criticized that the traffic light with the law missed its goal of implementing sanctions more effectively. The law is a “total failure”. The coalition is letting oligarchs continue to live in villas and drive luxury cars. With the new central office, an authority without clear competencies will be created.
Green finance politician Sabine Grützmacher said the path of money from oligarchs and organizations that have something to hide is often confused. “Our rule of law therefore needs effective instruments to uncover hidden assets and to hold those responsible behind the scenes accountable.”
11:43 a.m .: Russia has criticized the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and in particular its observers in eastern Ukraine as partisan. “The spirit and letter of the OSCE Charter have been destroyed,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a televised press conference on Thursday.
According to Lavrov, before the war broke out, the OSCE observers stationed in the Donetsk region ignored the increasing attacks by the Ukrainian army on the Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine and in some cases even helped them. “Facts have been discovered that the OSCE participated in directing the fire on Donetsk and Luhansk,” he claimed. After the expulsion of the observers, corresponding documents were found. Since 2014, the OSCE has attempted to separate the parties to the conflict in Donbas and to monitor the ceasefire. At the end of February, after the start of the Russian invasion, she had to end her mission and withdraw observers from the war zone.
Lavrov’s criticism went even further. The Russian chief diplomat complained that the OSCE was being dominated by the West and had thus lost its own importance as a mediator. Poland “has been digging a grave” for the organization all year, he said.
Warsaw refused Lavrov, who had been banned from entering the EU because of Russia’s war of aggression, with a visa to attend an OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting on Thursday and Friday in Lodz, Poland.
Thursday, December 1, 2022, 6:46 a.m.: Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck emphasized the need to deliver arms to Ukraine. “I don’t doubt it for a moment,” the Green politician told Stern magazine. “And yet one cannot applaud that lightly when one realizes that a large number of the 300,000 Russian recruits will be injured or die – also from weapons that we sent. I. The release bears my signature.” The deliveries are “as correct as they are, also an impertinence,” said the Vice Chancellor.
Germany recently supplied Ukraine with Gepard tanks and a modern Iris-T anti-aircraft system to ward off the Russian war of aggression. In May 2021, before the start of the war, Habeck was one of the first German politicians on a trip to eastern Ukraine to demand arms deliveries for the country’s defense purposes.
Habeck described 2022 as the “year of decisions”. “This country and its democratic institutions have shown an amazing, almost insane willingness to perform and shape,” he said. He cited the work of his ministry as an example. In the first ten months of the legislature alone, House officials brought 27 bills into the Cabinet and wrote 32 ordinances – only six fewer than in the entire previous legislature. The pace had been accelerated by the multiple crises, said the Federal Minister of Economics. “Nevertheless, I believe that democracies are able to learn and change even without the pressure of war.”
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