Military analyst Gressel rules out that Russia is currently using nuclear weapons. The airdrop would also not end the war. Russia hopes to save its economy by raising taxes on gas. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker here.

7:33 a.m .: The Kremlin is considering raising taxes on oil and gas. This should reduce the budget deficit predicted for 2023. This is reported by the Russian newspaper Kommersant. Central to the government’s considerations is an increase in gas export taxes of up to 50 percent.

Furthermore, the subject of the discussions is whether the national gas prices will also be raised. As a result, companies would also have to pay more taxes indirectly. An insider familiar with the talks told the newspaper that the Treasury Department had continued to push for hikes in oil export taxes. The state could then earn more with the export of oil products.

Tuesday, September 20, 4:01 a.m.: FDP defense expert Marcus Faber has asked the SPD to overcome its concerns about tank deliveries to Ukraine.

“Supplying tanks does not make you a party to the war, and Germany is already supplying tanks,” Faber told the Augsburger Allgemeine. German Gepard tanks are already helping to defend Ukraine. “Now it’s just a matter of doing more, also with the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, to throw back the invading troops,” demanded the FDP politician.

Faber said that the Social Democrats should follow up on the change in the tide proclaimed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “It’s the turning point for Olaf Scholz. Our partners expect it to be implemented and Germany to assume a leading role,” he emphasized. “The SPD should support their chancellor here. Some in the SPD still have to bring themselves to do this.”

4:26 p.m .: Ukraine is to receive four more self-propelled howitzers from the Bundeswehr for its defense against Russia. The Ministry of Defense announced on Monday in Berlin that the delivery would be initiated immediately. The Panzerhaubitze 2000 is a heavy artillery piece with a range of up to 40 kilometers. The delivery should also include an ammunition package.

The federal government emphasized that Ukraine had expressed the desire for more howitzers. “The Panzerhaubitzen 2000 delivered by Germany and the Netherlands have more than proven themselves in combat,” said Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) according to the announcement. “In order to continue to support Ukraine in its courageous fight against the brutal Russian attack, Germany will comply with this wish.” With the four self-propelled howitzers, the number of artillery pieces supplied by Germany increases to 14.

Monday, September 19, 1:04 p.m.: The situation of the Russian army in north-eastern Ukraine has deteriorated since the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, which has been successful so far. Tens of thousands of Putin’s soldiers have been cut off in northern Ukraine, heavy military equipment has been left behind in the retreat, and delivery routes have also been destroyed.

In an interview with “Welt”, military analyst Gustav Gressel ruled out the possibility that the Kremlin would use nuclear weapons to free itself from this unfortunate situation – at least for the time being. “In my opinion, a Russian use of nuclear weapons would be conceivable if the Russian army suddenly collapsed on all fronts,” explains Gressel. Putin could also threaten Russian soldiers streaming home with nuclear weapons in order to retain command of his army. In addition, if Ukraine attacks Crimea, Moscow could respond with a nuclear strike. “Putin has long seen it as his own territory. I really wouldn’t be sure how the Russians would react,” said the military analyst.

The dropping of a single atomic bomb, meanwhile, would not mean the end of the war. “A lot of barriers would come down in Washington in terms of arms deliveries and further sanctions against Russia,” says Gressel. According to the expert, such a drop would not happen unexpectedly. After all, Britain and the US would often intercept Russian military radio. “So there would be a warning period in every scenario. With non-strategic nuclear weapons, the chain of command is quite long, and all of these steps are observable,” says Gressel.

However, the use of a nuclear weapon would have “enormous consequences” for Putin’s country. In the recent past, Russia had further expanded its diplomatic relations with neutral countries such as Brazil – also in the hope that they would not join the West’s financial sanctions. “In such a scenario, everything would be in great danger,” says Gressel.

10:42 p.m .: Ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has again commented on the Ukraine war and criticized the European heads of state. “I would have expected that, in the tradition of the European policy of detente, at least an attempt would be made to end the war,” Schröder told the news portal “The Pioneer”.

Schröder made it clear that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was wrong. “Starting the war is a mistake by the Russians. I’ve always said that.” There are never reasons for a war, but there are “geopolitical explanations”.

However, when asked about his cautious criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war of aggression against a sovereign country, Schröder told the portal: “You cannot play a role in possible negotiations if you first go full distance and slam the door loudly.”

6:07 p.m .: Kyiv has ruled out negotiations and a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy at this point in time. “In short, the negotiation process itself and a face-to-face meeting between the presidents doesn’t make sense right now,” external adviser to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podoliak, said on Sunday, according to Ukrainian media.

Podoljak gave three reasons why talks are pointless at this stage. First, Russia will try to record and legitimize land gains. Second, maintaining the status quo is only serving Russia as a breathing space so that it can then continue the attacks on the new line. And third, Russia must be held accountable for crimes committed on Ukrainian territory. Negotiations are therefore only possible once the Russian troops have withdrawn from Ukrainian territory. Then the level of reparation payments and the handing over of war criminals could be negotiated, Podoljak said.

5:18 p.m .: The well-known Russian pop singer Alla Pugacheva has sharply criticized Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Since the Justice Department has blacklisted her husband Maxim Galkin as a “foreign agent,” they are asking to be included among the foreign agents, the 73-year-old wrote on her Instagram account on Sunday. “Because I am in solidarity with my husband, an honest, decent and sincere man, a real and irreplaceable patriot of Russia, who wishes his homeland prosperity, a peaceful life, freedom of speech and an end to our boys dying for illusory purposes that make our country a… pariah and make life difficult for our citizens.”

Pugacheva is considered a superstar in her homeland. She has shaped rock and pop music in Russia since the 1970s. Her success has survived the fall of the Soviet Union – with her constant TV presence she was one of the most dazzling show greats in Russia and her marriage to the 27-year-old presenter and comedian Maxim Galkin was a constant topic for the tabloid media. After the start of the war against Ukraine, the couple left Russia for Israel. In contrast to Galkin, who criticized the Russian leadership in Israel, Pugacheva has so far held back with political statements.

All the greater is the echo that could now follow their harsh criticism of the war. The political scientist Abbas Galliamov, once speechwriter for President Vladimir Putin, spoke of a “strong slap” for the Kremlin. “If there are still important people in the country about whom there is a consensus, then of course it is Pugacheva,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. You have always left politics outside. “Their sudden politicization can create in society that feeling, which is so dangerous for the authorities, ‘that’s enough’,” he said.

11:26 a.m .: Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht assumes that the Arrow 3 air defense system for Germany could be put into operation in 2025 at the earliest. “Should we decide in favor of the system and conclude contracts immediately and should the industry then be able to deliver immediately, then ideally we could start training next year,” said the SPD politician to the newspapers of the Funke media group. According to this, the system could “under optimal conditions be put into operation in 2025 at the earliest”.

During a visit to Prague at the end of August, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) suggested building a new air defense system together with European neighbors. The project is seen as a response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the resulting change in the security situation in Europe.

Lambrecht admitted in the conversation that there were “gaps” in air defense that needed to be closed. “The Israeli air defense system Arrow 3 is an option,” said Lambrecht.

07:44: The West must not allow itself to be blackmailed by Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons. This is what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskys is demanding, reports the Kyiv Independent. Talking with Russia out of fear of using nuclear weapons would only lead to bad results and embolden the aggressor, Zelenskyy said. The newspaper quotes the President as saying that this could lead to World War III. “I can’t even understand how the world’s security and intelligence services can allow Russia to even think about [using nuclear weapons],” the Ukrainian president said.

7:41 a.m .: The chairman of the NATO military committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, sees Western military aid and the warfare of the Ukrainian military as decisive factors for Kiev’s recent successes. “The ammunition, equipment and training that the allies and other nations provide make a real difference on the battlefield,” said the Dutchman on Saturday in Estonia’s capital Tallinn, where the committee, which includes the chiefs of staff from the 30 member states, met.

The Ukrainian army had recently recaptured territory occupied by Russian forces in a counter-offensive in the east of the country. According to Bauer, the chiefs of staff discussed at their two-day conference how to “maintain and expand” allied support for Ukraine. “NATO will support Ukraine for as long as necessary. Winter is coming, but support should remain steadfast,” he said.

The NATO Military Committee advises the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s highest political body, on military issues. One focus of the conference in Tallinn was the implementation of the resolutions of the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June. The defense chiefs of Finland and Sweden attended the conference as guests for the first time. The two Nordic EU countries had applied to be included in the defense alliance after Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

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