US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken once again made serious accusations against Russia in the Ukraine conflict. „Moscow has systematically tried to weaken Ukrainian democratic institutions and divide Ukrainian society,” Blinkin said after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his colleague Dmytro Kuleba. Blinken said Russia currently has about 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border. He warned that this number could double in a relatively short period of time.
Blinken stressed that his visit aims to show „unwavering US support” for Ukraine. Ukrainian democracy, which is its fundamental right to exist as an independent and sovereign state, is facing an unprecedented challenge from Russia. „We have made it clear that we prefer the diplomatic path to defuse the conflict with Russia. This is the responsible path,” Blinken emphasized. Addressing Ukraine, he said: „Don’t let Moscow divide you!”
Amid high tensions in the Ukraine conflict, Blinken arrived in Kiev on Wednesday morning for talks. The US secretary of state is then scheduled to travel to Berlin for talks on the conflict scheduled for Thursday. Blinken also wants to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for talks in Geneva on Friday. According to American information, he wants to urge the Russian government to take immediate steps to calm the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Despite all diplomatic efforts, Russia has so far sought to reverse the de-escalation. Putin can attack Ukraine anytime and anywhere. (19.01.2022)
The British warn that the war could kill tens of thousands
Britain issued stern warnings to Russia about a war on Ukraine. James Hebei, the British Foreign Secretary at the British Ministry of Defense, told Radio Times that the first digital war between two advancing militaries in Europe in generations may be just weeks away. „This is not something that Moscow should consider bloodless. This is not something the rest of the world should stand by and ignore,” Hebe said. Tens of thousands of people could die.
Hebei said it was right to exhaust all diplomatic avenues. The conservative politician stressed: „I only hope that now that we are on the edge of the abyss, the people of Moscow will begin to consider that thousands will die. And this is something no one should feel comfortable with.” At the same time, he stressed, it was „not entirely realistic” for British soldiers to fight against Russian forces.
Earlier, Great Britain announced that it would supply Ukraine with light anti-tank weapons. A small number of British military personnel will train the Ukrainian army in the use of weapons. Ukrainian Ambassador to Britain Vadim Prystaiko welcomed the arms shipments. He told the BBC that it would make a difference on the battlefield. Nor is there a solution to how the weapons will reach Ukraine. „We are facing the largest army in Europe and we are alone,” Pristico told the BBC, adding that the advantage of the Russians and their allies had been overwhelming.
Moscow has been highly critical of the arms deliveries. „This is very dangerous and does not help ease tensions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Interfax as saying on Tuesday. Moscow is concerned that neighboring Ukraine is being supplied by more and more arms suppliers. Often these are not just defensive weapons. (19.01.2022)
Ukraine wants warships and air defense systems from Germany
The Ukrainian government did not surrender even after the German government clearly refused to hand over the weapons. She named specific weapon systems that she hoped Germany would have: warships and air defense systems. The Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andrei Melnik, told dpa that the arms shipments are necessary to raise the costs of the Russian invasion and to dissuade President Vladimir Putin „off his insane course”.
Ukraine has been asking Germany for weapons for years so that it can defend itself against a possible Russian attack – so far to no avail. „The German federal government has pursued a similar strategy on this issue for many years. This includes not exporting lethal weapons,” says Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Foreign Minister Annalina Barbuk (the Greens) also rejected the request during her visit to Kiev on Monday.
But in the Traffic Lights Coalition, there are initial doubts about this position. The chair of the Defense Committee, Marie Agnes Strack Zimmermann, called in the Bild newspaper to at least consider providing the federal government with defensive weapons.
The reference to German history, which forbids the handover of weapons, is sparking outrage in Ukraine. „The fact that the question of historical responsibility is also used in Berlin as an argument for refusing military assistance is astonishing,” Ambassador Melnik said. „This responsibility must be passed on to the Ukrainian people, who lost at least eight million people during the Nazi German occupation.” (19.01.2022)
The Kremlin criticizes the delay in Nord Stream 2
In light of threats from the West in the Ukraine conflict, the Kremlin has warned of further delays in the operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on the Baltic Sea. „The fact that it has not yet been put into operation is bad for both the participants in this project and gas consumers in Europe,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Interfax as saying.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that operating the line could lead to lower wholesale prices. Peskov said that the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is a purely economic project. On Tuesday, Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD) did not rule out stopping the project in the event of an invasion of Ukraine. (01/19/2022)
Schultz warns Russia of „heavy costs” if it invades
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party) called on Russia to reduce its forces on the border with Ukraine and again warned of the „heavy costs” of an invasion. Asked whether there would be consequences for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Schulz said, „Everything should be discussed if there is a military intervention against Ukraine.” A potential joint coordinated reaction is being prepared and discussed with coalition partners. So far, Scholz has reacted conservatively to calls to threaten Nord Stream 2 with an end.
At the same time, after a conversation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, he spoke of his support „to do everything to ensure that there is no military aggression against Ukraine.” He referred to the talks between Russia, the United States, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that began last week. We all want constructive and stable relations with Russia.” They are also ready for a “serious dialogue” on security issues with Moscow. He also stressed that he will continue to call for the resumption of talks between Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. (18.01.2022)
Foreign Minister Annalena Barbuk (the Greens) and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, held their joint press conference after a long delay – and it appears that they have been talking to each other much longer than planned.
Lavrov said the talks were „interesting and constructive” based on mutual respect between the two countries. Lavrov noted that many topics were touched upon, such as the joint exchange of goods, renewable energies, and the North Stream 2 gas pipeline. Russia indicated that this project would be „politicised.” He also expressed concerns about the trajectory of NATO. They also exchanged views on the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border, the stabilization of the situation in Kazakhstan and the Ukrainian crisis.
Barbock confirmed that she came to Moscow „with a thick file of discussion.” There are „many points on which we differ”. But the portfolio is very dense because we see great potential for collaboration on many issues, Barbock said. „Both Russia and Germany play a major role in the European home.” For example, without the largest country in the world, this is impossible. to deal with the climate crisis.
Barbock clearly addressed the conflict with Russia, saying that it is difficult not to consider the deployment of troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border a threat. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine presents a security challenge. „We didn’t choose this situation, but we’re not going to avoid it either,” Barbock said. We are ready to work on solutions that will bring more security to everyone in the region.
Barbock spoke in favor of a speedy resumption of peace negotiations in the Ukraine conflict. To this end, the next meeting should be held in the Normandy format – that is, mediated by Germany and France with Ukraine and Russia. It is important that we breathe new life into the Normandy process, and it is good that everyone adheres to the Minsk Peace Plan. The peace plan agreed upon in the Belarusian capital on the conflict in eastern Ukraine has yet to be implemented. Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of violating the agreement.
Regarding the security guarantees that Russia demands for the West, Barbuk said: „We are ready for a serious dialogue about agreements and mutual steps that will bring more security to all in Europe.” Talks between the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were the first steps over the past week. Lavrov explained that Russia is now waiting for written proposals from the West. Russia had demanded an end to NATO’s eastward expansion and Ukraine’s renunciation of joining the alliance.
At the press conference with Barbuk, several Russian journalists also asked about the Russian state broadcaster RT. Until now, he did not have a television license in Germany, and therefore he broadcast his show via YouTube. But the podium blocked RT in the fall. The accusation: The broadcaster is spreading false information about the pandemic. Russian authorities accuse Germany of obstructing the work of RT journalists. Barbock rejected this and asserted that the constitutionally protected freedom of the press prevents the state from directly influencing the content of media providers. (18.01.2022)