KSoon after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Western politicians were confident: Ukraine would have to hold out until sanctions against Russia came into effect. Then Vladimir Putin will get into trouble and may have to end his war of aggression. You rarely hear this kind of sound anymore. Despite the numerous sanctions packages against Russia, the Kremlin is showing no signs of slowing or ending its brutal war in Ukraine.
Chancellor Olaf Schultz also appears to believe that sanctions will not dissuade Vladimir Putin from continuing the war for long. When asked when Putin will run out of weapons and money, Schulz said in an interview that no one really knows him.
„Putin is the leader of a very large country with a lot of people and great resources,” Schultz said Friday night. Broadcasting a conversation with the American television station CBS. „I think the decision for this war was made a year or so ago, because Putin was preparing for it,” Schultz said in the English-language interview.
“And so he will be able to continue the war for a really long time.” At the same time, Schultz was convinced that Putin was feeling the consequences of the sanctions, even if he „didn’t really want to admit it.” Schulz said, looking at his phone calls with the Russian president.
„You can understand that he is really hurt and that he understands the serious consequences of the sanctions on his economy.” Russia is not very advanced and needs technology from the rest of the world to bring prosperity to the people.
Confronting the president with the statement that Germany spends up to two billion dollars (about two billion euros) per month on Russian energy, Schulz did not directly disagree, but emphasized that the amount was constantly declining. Schulz explained that Putin could hardly do anything with that income. „He can’t buy anything with the money he gets from us,” Schultz said.
The reason is that the West has imposed sanctions and the technology can no longer be sold to Russia. About four weeks ago, Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck (the Greens) made a similar statement in the Bundestag. “Putin can buy less and less with the money he earns,” the vice chancellor said at the time.
He could still supply his army, but he still suffered severely from penalties. At the same time, Habeck admitted that the income that Putin received from Germany for his energy was „harming”. “One can only be ashamed that we did not succeed in reducing dependency,” Habek said, referring to the lack of diversification prior to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Since the beginning of the War of Aggression, Germany has reduced its dependence on Russian energy, significantly in some cases.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s withdrawal from Snake Island in the western Black Sea puts Ukraine in a better position. „Snake Island is a strategic point and this dramatically changes the situation in the Black Sea,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Friday evening. This significantly limits the freedom of action of the Russian army, even if this does not guarantee security.
Russia occupied Snake Island shortly after attacking Ukraine on February 24. The fact that few Ukrainian soldiers in front of it rudely recommended the sunken Russian cruiser „Moskva” to go to hell made the small island famous and boosted the morale of Ukrainians. Reclaiming the island is also a symbolic success for them. In this way, Zelensky said, Russian forces would be driven out of all of Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian military, Snake Island allows control of parts of the Ukrainian coast and shipping lanes. With the Russians withdrawing from the island, there is no need to fear the landing of Russian units in the area around the port city of Odessa. On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it would leave the island as a sign of goodwill, but the Ukrainian military responded that a series of artillery and air strikes had driven away the occupiers. Ukraine also sees this as confirmation that it can succeed militarily against Russian forces with more modern weapons.
Ukrainian sources reported that a Russian missile attack on the Odessa region killed ten people in an apartment building. Serhiy Prachuk, head of the local military administration, said the missile destroyed part of the nine-storey building. A fire broke out after the attack. The missile was launched from a Russian warplane over the Black Sea. The information cannot be independently verified.
At least 18 people were killed in a rocket attack on a shopping mall in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchug on Monday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any responsibility for his country’s armed forces.