The essentials in brief:
- Heusgen demands further deliveries of weapons
- Ukraine hints at own losses
- Li praises military cooperation with Russia
- Lula wants to put together “peace group”.
The head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, calls for more efforts by the West to ward off the Russian attack on Ukraine. In a guest article for Berlin’s “Tagesspiegel” (Monday), the former adviser to ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel warns that simply proclaiming unwavering support is not enough – and that deeds don’t quite match words. “The current level of gradual and hesitant military support will only produce a stalemate on the battlefield.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin misjudged all aspects of the war when he launched the invasion of Ukraine last year, according to the text, which Heusgen co-authored with four former security advisers from the US, Britain, France and Italy. “He believed his army was strong, China behind him 100 percent, Ukraine weak and the West divided. He couldn’t have been more wrong.” Now Putin’s only hope is “that his determination is stronger than that of his opponents and that he can win a war of attrition. We have to prove him wrong again!”
“We must go all out in our aid to Ukraine,” the authors of the article continued. Ukraine’s supporters have taken impressive steps, but now is not the time for complacency. “We must provide Ukraine with the weapons and ammunition it needs to fight back Russia’s war of aggression.”
Ukraine hints at own losses
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has given an approximate estimate of the country’s own losses since the beginning of Russia’s war of aggression. “I can’t give you an exact figure, but I can assure you that it’s lower than the death toll in Turkey’s earthquake,” he said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper La Razón. According to Turkish information, more than 50,000 people died in the earthquake in early February in the south-east of the country.
In the interview conducted in Madrid last week, Resnikov also spoke positively about Germany. When asked if he was satisfied with the support from the federal government, the minister replied: “To be honest, yes. It was not easy to persuade them to be more courageous, but we managed it.” The reasons for Germany’s initially hesitant attitude are understandable. After the Nuremberg trials (against leading representatives of the Nazi regime), Germany had become a pacifist country. The Germans had changed. “That could also happen in Russia if there is a Nuremberg II there and the war criminals are brought to justice,” said Resnikov.
Li praises military cooperation with Russia
During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu emphasized the “very strong relations” between the two countries. “They are better than the military and political alliances of the Cold War era,” Li said in the Kremlin. “Recently, cooperation between Russia and China in the military and technical fields has been developing very well. It is a contribution to global and regional security,” Li was quoted as saying by the Russian state agency TASS.
After the break with the West as a result of the Ukraine war, Putin is trying to win over China as a strong partner. The People’s Republic considers itself neutral in the war. However, Western states accuse the government in Beijing of tacitly supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Lula wants to put together “peace group”.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva has once again brought up a “peace group” ahead of a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Brazil. He also discussed his initiative with China’s President Xi Jinping, Lula said. “I think we need to sit down at a table and say, ‘That’s enough, let’s start talking’.” War has never been good for humanity.
The “peace group” should include countries that are in no way involved in the war, Lula explained. It would not only have to deal with Russia and Ukraine, but also with the US and the EU. Lula had criticized the United States and the European Union for their arms sales to Ukraine.
Yellen: Russia has to pay for damage
According to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Russia should take financial responsibility for the destruction of Ukraine. “I think Russia should pay for the damage it has done to Ukraine,” Yellen said on American television. However, she was hesitant to respond to Ukraine’s demand for the seizure of Russian assets: “It’s something we’re discussing with our partners. But you know there are legal restrictions on what we can do with frozen Russian assets.”
During the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for the assets of the Russian central bank to be confiscated on Wednesday. “Russia must feel the full price for its aggression,” he said via video. Ukraine’s allies have so far largely lagged behind these demands. This is due to legal concerns, practical hurdles and political risks. Russia had repeatedly threatened countermeasures in the event of expropriations.
Kremlin critic expects long prison sentence
The verdict in the trial of opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Mursa, who is accused of high treason, is expected in Moscow this Monday. The 41-year-old Kremlin critic faces 25 years in prison. The public prosecutor’s office had demanded this sentence for “high treason”, spreading “false information” about the Russian army and working illegally for an “undesirable” organization.
Last week, Kara-Mursa declared that despite the long imprisonment he was threatened with, he did not regret any of his statements. However, he blames himself for not having been able to convince enough compatriots and politicians in democratic countries of the danger that the current Kremlin leadership poses to Russia and the world.
wa/ack (dpa, rtr, afp)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from the combat zones cannot be independently verified