A former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner has fled to Norway and wants to unpack there about mercenary boss Prigozhin. After the Russian missile attack on Dnipro, the death toll continues to rise. All reports on the Ukraine war can be found in the Newsticker.
4 p.m.: A former commander of the Russian mercenary group Wagner has fled to Norway and wants to apply for asylum there. This is reported by several media unanimously. It is about the Russian Andrei Medvedev, who managed a dangerous escape from Russia that lasted more than three months. “I can confirm that he arrived in Norway on Friday night,” Medvedev’s lawyer Jens Bernhard told VG. The explosive thing: It was the first time that a former commander of the Wagner troop had left Russia and fled to Europe since the beginning of the war.
Previously, he is said to have led a unit of the brutal Wagner group in Ukraine, which the Kremlin-critical online magazine “The Insider” says is said to have been called “Suicide Squad”. Within a few days only three of 30 men were still alive.
The Wagner deserter Yevnegny Nushin served in Medvedev’s unit, according to The Insider. Nushin was brutally killed with a sledgehammer by Wagner mercenaries. The mercenaries themselves posted the video of the execution online.
The former Wagner commander Medvedev now goes even further and wants to open up about the crimes of the group in Ukraine. “I am ready to testify against the Wagner group and Prigozhin (Editor’s note: Yevgeny Prigozhin is the head and founder of the mercenary group). Of course I am,” he said in an interview with “Gulagu”. Medvedev had already unpacked to “The Insider” that he knew of at least ten executions within his unit. Prigozhin was mostly directly involved.
“He realized very early on that he had enlisted on the wrong terms and that there were things going on in the war that he couldn’t be a part of. He wanted to stop and realized that in reality this was impossible. So he saw no other option but to flee,” his other attorney, Brynjulf Risnes, told VG.
In a video, the ex-commander described his escape from Russia. “I turned around and saw people with flashlights running in my direction about 150 meters away. I ran along the forest. I heard two shots, bullets whizzed by. I broke the phone and threw it in the forest, then I ran on the ice towards the light of the houses. They released the dog, but apparently he was tangled in a wire somewhere in a snowdrift,” the Barents Observer translated from the video.
Surf tip: Putin’s shadow army – mercenary group Wagner: What you should know about the killers
1:22 p.m .: Great Britain’s announcement that it would provide 14 Challenger 2 battle tanks to the attacked Ukraine was met with criticism in Russia. “We take it very negatively,” said Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Moscow keeps claiming that Western arms deliveries would only prolong the suffering in the neighboring country.
Overall, the Kremlin appears – at least publicly – to be completely unimpressed by the announced tank deliveries. This only creates trouble for Ukraine, according to Peskov, who continues: “These tanks are burning and will burn”. In addition, the offensive in Ukraine will continue, according to the announcement. “The military special operation will continue,” said Peskov.
Ukraine, on the other hand, emphasizes that foreign military aid is the only chance to defend its sovereignty against the Russian invaders.
1:20 p.m .: After a Russian rocket hit a residential building in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the Kremlin has rejected the blame for the many fatalities. “Russia’s armed forces are not attacking residential buildings or objects of social infrastructure,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, according to the Russian news agency. Representatives of the Ukrainian side themselves said that the “tragedy” over the weekend was caused by the Ukrainian air defenses, Peskov said. He was obviously alluding to statements made by the adviser in the Ukrainian presidential office, Oleksiy Arestovych.
Shortly after the attack on Saturday, Arestovych said in a live Internet broadcast: “It (the rocket) was shot down and fell on the entrance to the house.” version wanted to describe. The Ukrainian Air Force, on the other hand, stated that it was in no position to intercept missiles of this type.
The 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, as of Monday noon. Despite Moscow’s assurances that it is only targeting military targets, Russian shells have repeatedly killed many civilians in the nearly 11-month war of aggression.
1:15 p.m .: Ukraine will receive a new EU aid loan of three billion euros this Tuesday. As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Monday, it is part of a loan program totaling 18 billion euros that was agreed by the EU member states in December for this year. Helping Ukraine deal with its financing needs is essential and urgent in the face of Russian aggression, von der Leyen commented.
According to earlier information from the EU Commission, only 1.5 billion euros should actually be paid out from the new 18 billion euro program in January. Now, however, the financial requirement is obviously so great that 3 billion euros are already being transferred in the first step.
With the new financial aid, the EU wants to enable the Ukrainian state to continue paying wages and pensions. In addition, the operation of hospitals, schools and emergency shelters for resettled people should be guaranteed. The destroyed infrastructure is also to be partly rebuilt with the money.
12.40 p.m .: According to the Moscow government, Russia’s income from the sale of gas and oil rose by almost a third last year despite western sanctions. According to the Interfax agency, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the corresponding budget revenue in 2022 would have grown by 28 percent or 2.5 trillion rubles (around 31.6 billion euros at the end of 2022) compared to the previous year.
In the course of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, gas has not been pumped to Europe through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 for months, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has never been put into operation. Exports of conventional natural gas have fallen, but exports of liquefied natural gas have increased by eight percent to 46 billion cubic meters, Nowak said. Oil exports have increased by seven percent.
A key tool – the oil price cap introduced by the EU in early December – is unlikely to really show its effects until this year. The regulation is intended to force Russia to sell oil to buyers in other countries for a maximum of 60 dollars per barrel (159 liters).
The Russian Ministry of Finance announced last week that it was already expecting lost oil and gas revenues of 54.5 billion rubles (around 737 million euros) in January. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has in turn banned the sale of oil to countries that have decided on a price cap for the raw material. The ban comes into effect on February 1.
11.43 a.m .: Another drone attack on Crimea: According to media reports, the Russian air defense shot down three drones over Sevastopol. There is also talk of flight activity in the sky and explosions on social networks. As Skynews reports, Russian officials blame Ukraine for the attacks. The port city in Crimea has repeatedly been the target of drone attacks since the beginning of the war. Ukraine has not yet commented on the incident.
9:14 a.m .: According to British estimates, Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to pay a high price for their offensives in eastern Ukraine. “Over the past six weeks, both Russia and Ukraine have made hard-fought but limited gains on various fronts,” Britain’s MoD said in its daily intelligence update on Monday. However, there is a lack of units for larger gains in terrain. “Under these circumstances, a key challenge for both sides is to form formations of unattached, capable troops that can use tactical successes to achieve operational breakthroughs,” the ministry said.
On Sunday, Ukrainian units were probably still holding positions in Soledar north of the embattled town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, sources said. Troops from the Wagner mercenary group in particular continued to attack there. Fighting also continued around Kreminna in the Luhansk region. It was said that Ukrainian forces were making slow progress here.
7:58 a.m .: After the Russian rocket attacks on Ukraine, the death toll in a destroyed apartment building in the city of Dnipro continued to rise. The military governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Resnichenko, spoke of 35 deaths so far on Monday. More bodies were recovered from the rubble during the night. Two children were among the dead. 35 people are still missing. A large part of the nine-story skyscraper collapsed on Saturday after a rocket hit. At least 30 people were said to have died on Sunday evening.
07:39: A cargo ship coming from Ukraine has run aground in the Bosphorus. The strait between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean was then temporarily closed, as the Turkish Directorate-General for Coastal Safety announced on Twitter on Monday. Special ships tried to free the 142 meter long MKK-1 freighter, it said.
The incident happened near Umuryeri, between the second and third bridges over the Bosphorus. The freighter sails under the flag of the island state of Palau. It was initially unclear what the ship was loading and whether it was traveling as part of the so-called grain agreement.
Since the summer, Ukrainian grain has been exported across the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait. A corresponding agreement was reached in July, mediated by Turkey and the UN, and ended the month-long blockade of Ukrainian grain exports as a result of the Russian war of aggression.
Monday, January 16, 2023, 4 a.m.: In the debate about Leopard main battle tanks for Ukraine, the Union blames the federal government for impending supply problems on the part of industry and the Bundeswehr. Both Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the former Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht are responsible if Germany cannot quickly support Ukraine like other countries by providing battle tanks, said the defense policy spokesman for the Union faction, Florian Hahn, in the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Monday edition). “Now it’s taking revenge that Scholz and Lambrecht were once again surprised by the events and didn’t have the tank deliveries prepared in time,” explained the CSU politician.
Hahn criticized the fact that, according to the head of the armaments group Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, refurbished Leopard tanks could only be available in 2024. “These delays cost Ukraine time and lives,” said the CSU defense politician. “Scholz mustn’t hesitate any longer, but has to get both Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 off the ground,” demanded Hahn. The long-decommissioned Leopard 1 also makes sense for the Ukrainian army: “Both models can help the Ukrainian armed forces in the fight against the mostly older Russian tanks,” said Hahn.
The Union politician spoke out in favor of being the first to deliver operational modern Leopard 2 tanks to the Bundeswehr in Ukraine. “By the time the tanks are ready for use by the industry, it would be conceivable to hand over the Leopard 2-A5 models to the Bundeswehr,” said Hahn. “For every material handed over from the Bundeswehr, the traffic light must initiate immediate procurement in the same breath,” he emphasized. “Otherwise we irresponsibly weaken our own alliance and defense capabilities,” warned the CSU politician.
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