The essentials in brief:
- EU Commission proposes new sanctions package against Russia
- Moscow is said to have ordered new drones and missiles from Iran
- Warsaw accuses Berlin of breach of trust
- Poland is now taking Patriot anti-aircraft systems from Germany after all
- Ukraine demands more technical equipment
The European Commission intends to put further pressure on Russia with a comprehensive ninth package of sanctions. “We stand with Ukraine and make Russia pay for its atrocities,” wrote EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter.
The ninth package aims to add almost 200 people and organizations to the sanctions list. According to von der Leyen, the new list includes “key figures in Russia’s brutal and targeted rocket attacks on civilians and in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia.” Sanctions against three other Russian banks are also being considered. New export controls and restrictions are also proposed, particularly for goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, including certain chemicals, nerve agents, electronics and IT components. The EU also wants to ban the export of drone parts to Russia and Iran. In addition, four news organizations that spread propaganda, according to the head of the commission, are to be taken offline.
The measures proposed by the EU Commission require a unanimous decision by the member states. Ideally, they should come into force next week.
Kremlin is said to have ordered hundreds of drones
According to diplomats, Russia is said to have ordered hundreds of drones and ballistic missiles from Iran. “We know that Iran is planning to increase its deliveries of unmanned missiles and missiles to Russia in significant quantities,” officials at the United Nations in New York told the German Press Agency. Moscow wants to counteract the acute shortage of military supplies. There are several hundred projectiles and hundreds of drones. “I don’t think they’ve shipped yet, but they’re definitely on the order books,” a statement from New York said.
According to consistent reports, Iran sent drones to Russia in August that can be used, for example, to attack military objects such as radar systems and artillery. A few weeks later, Russian forces repeatedly attacked targets in Ukraine with Iranian Shahed 136 kamikaze drones, which crashed at high speed and caused extensive damage.
Warsaw accuses Berlin of breach of trust
In back and forth over the German offer of Patriot air defense systems, Warsaw has now accused the German government of a breach of trust. “The fundamental mistake of the German side was that they went to the media with the offer of the Patriot systems before the negotiations were over,” Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz told the public broadcaster TVP.
Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak had previously announced that Poland would now accept the German air defense systems after all. Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and Blaszczak had “agreed in principle,” said a spokesman in Berlin. Details such as conceivable locations for stationing and the necessary infrastructure are now being discussed at specialist level.
Combat-ready Patriot air defense system of the Bundeswehr at the Schwesing military airport in Schleswig-Holstein
After a rocket hit the Polish border area with Ukraine in mid-November, Germany offered to support its NATO partner Poland with the Patriots. Blaszczak initially accepted the offer. A day later, however, he surprisingly suggested that German anti-aircraft defenses should be stationed on Ukrainian territory instead of in Poland. This caused resentment in Berlin. The deployment of the Patriots in western Ukraine would have increased Polish and Ukrainian security, Blaszczak explained via Twitter.
Selenskyj named “Person of the Year”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for opposing Russia’s invasion of his country. Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal said: “Whether the struggle for Ukraine fills one with hope or fear, Volodymyr Zelensky has electrified the world in a way we haven’t seen in decades.” The 44-year-old made a “fateful” decision not to leave his country after the Russian invasion at the end of February, but to stay in Kyiv. “His information offensive changed the geopolitical climate and unleashed a wave of global action,” the magazine continued.
“Need defense systems and equipment for power plants”
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal calls for further support in the face of Russian missile attacks on the energy supply. “We need two things to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and a new large wave of refugees,” Schmyhal told the newspapers of the Funke media group. He named modern air defense and missile defense systems that Western countries, including Germany, had at their disposal. In addition, Ukraine needs equipment and resources to restore damaged power plants. Russia has damaged around half of all power plants in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensyj visited soldiers in the war zone on Monday.
USA: Did not encourage Ukraine to attack
Following the alleged Ukrainian drone strikes on military bases in Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has denied allegations that Washington “encouraged” or “enabled” Kyiv to attack Russia. However, it is important to understand “what the Ukrainians experience every day as a result of the ongoing Russian aggression,” said Blinken.
According to Russian sources, three people were killed and two planes damaged in Monday’s drone strikes on three bases in central Russia. The government in Kyiv has not yet commented on this.
Experts assume that the Ukrainian armed forces could also have entered Russian airspace with simple Soviet-era drones – and did not resort to the billions of dollars in military aid from Western allies.
London: Moscow builds defense posts on the border
According to British intelligence services, Russia is increasingly building up defensive positions on the border with Ukraine. Sophisticated systems to defend against attacks have been set up in the border region of Belgorod, according to a report by the Ministry of Defense in London. Trenches were also dug there. London interpreted this as concerns about a Ukrainian invasion. It is also conceivable that the Kremlin wants to strengthen patriotism in its own country.
USA and Great Britain expand energy partnership
In the face of rising energy prices in the wake of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Britain and the US are expanding their cooperation. The United States is aiming to export at least nine to ten billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via British terminals in the coming year, the government in London said. That is twice as much as in 2021.
This partnership will lower prices for British consumers and help end Europe’s dependence on Russian energy, said British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. It also aims to boost clean energy investments and share ideas on energy efficiency and gas demand reduction.
uh/qu/nob/sti/se/mak (rtr, afp, dpa, ap)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified.