The self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as Zaporizhia and Cherson, want to hold referenda on joining Russia from Friday. In the evening, Putin was supposed to give a speech on TV, but he didn’t show up. All voices and developments on the Ukraine war in the ticker here.
9:35 p.m .: The Russian announcement that “referenda” would soon be held in several regions caused a stir on Tuesday. In the evening, Putin wanted to make a speech on Russian television. The speech was eagerly awaited, as the timing seemed anything but coincidental. It would have been the first time in months that he addressed the Russian population in a speech.
Would be – because Putin never showed up. First, the speech should be delayed by an hour, then by two. Eventually, several Russian broadcasters withdrew the announcement from the program. Reporters, citing Sergei Markov, who is close to the Kremlin, reported that the speech would no longer take place on Tuesday. Instead, it should be postponed to Wednesday.
“RT” also took the announcement out of its broadcast notes. The head of the station, Margarita Simonyan, wrote in the evening: “Go to bed.” A clear indication that Putin really won’t speak anymore today.
5:06 p.m .: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has rejected the referendums on annexation by Russia announced by the pro-Russian authorities in four Ukrainian regions as unacceptable. It was “very clear that these sham referendums cannot be accepted,” Scholz told journalists in New York on Tuesday. They are “not covered by international law and by the understandings that the international community has found”.
5:05 p.m .: Ukraine reacted calmly to the “referendums” announced by Russia and the Russian occupation authorities in the occupied areas in the east and south of the country. “Neither the pseudo referendums nor the hybrid mobilization will change anything,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. Ukraine will continue to liberate its territory, no matter what is said in Russia.
The head of the presidential office in Kyiv, Andriy Yermak, spoke of “naive blackmail” and “fear-mongering”. “This is what the fear of defeat (of the Russian troops) looks like. The enemy is afraid and manipulates in a primitive way,” wrote the 50-year-old on the Telegram news channel.
3:58 p.m .: Against the background of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has called for a significant increase in arms production. “Armaments industry organizations must ensure that the armed forces are supplied with the necessary weapons, technology and combatants as quickly as possible,” Putin said at a meeting with the heads of Russian armaments companies on Tuesday, according to the Interfax news agency. At the same time, it is necessary to completely dispense with imports in weapons production.
Putin stated that Russian weapons had proven to be equal to those of the West. But at the same time he claimed that “all the reserves of NATO’s arsenals” would be used in the war. Therefore, “we have to strengthen our opportunities in terms of quality and, based on the experience we have gained, perfect our technology and weapons where necessary,” said the 69-year-old.
3:39 p.m .: In the occupied part of the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia, the Russian military administration also wants to vote on accession to Russia, as in Luhansk, Donetsk and Cherson. However, the “referendum” will only take place in the Moscow-controlled parts of Zaporizhia, according to the head of the military administration, Vladimir Rogov, on Tuesday. Everything is ready, “in the next few days” can be voted on, said Rogow.
3:12 p.m .: The Russian parliament has made legislative changes in urgent proceedings that could indicate possible preparation for the imposition of martial law in the country. For example, the Duma determined on Tuesday that times of “mobilization” and “state of war” are particularly prone to crime. Among other things, the criminal law was tightened in the second and last reading, according to which the prison sentences for voluntarily becoming prisoners of war and for looting are significantly increased.
Independent observers close to the Kremlin saw this as a possible preparation by the Kremlin for the declaration of a state of war and a mobilization. In view of the war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow hadn’t even really started there. The State Duma also passed a law that would allow foreigners who enlist in the military to become Russian citizens more quickly.
2:28 p.m .: The pro-Russian authorities in Kherson have also announced a “referendum” on joining Russia for Friday.
2:26 p.m .: According to Slovenian information, Slovenia and Germany agree on a ring exchange as military aid for Ukraine. According to this, Slovenia is handing over 28 old M-55S main battle tanks to the country attacked by Russia. This was announced by the Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob in Ljubljana after a telephone conversation with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). From Germany it will get 35 heavy military trucks and 5 tank trucks, it said on Monday evening. Official confirmation was still pending in Berlin on Tuesday.
The M-55S tank is a modernized variant of the Soviet T-55 tank type, which is in service with many countries, including Ukraine. The federal government organized part of the military aid for Ukraine as an exchange with eastern NATO partners. These hand over weapons of Soviet design to the Ukraine and receive more modern replacements from Germany. Such deals have already been made with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Greece; no agreement was reached with Poland.
1:49 p.m .: After the Luhansk region, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine has now also scheduled a controversial “referendum” for accession to Russia. The vote will be held from September 23 to 27, the People’s Assembly announced on Tuesday. The simultaneous “referendums” are seen as a reaction to the current Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east of the country.
1:45 p.m.: The separatist leadership in the contested Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine has called a controversial “referendum” on joining Russia.
The vote will be held from September 23-27, the head of the separatist parliament, Denis Miroshnichenko, said on Tuesday, according to the Interfax news agency. The “referendum” is seen as a reaction to the current Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east of the country.
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.”
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