CZECH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WOULD NOT SEND TROOPS IF LITHUANIA IS ATTACKED (23 01 2023)
Political strategic level
The Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - have jointly called on Germany to strengthen its leadership and send its tanks to Ukraine, putting more pressure on Berlin to help Kyiv in its war with Russia. "We, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, call on Germany to immediately provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks," the Estonian foreign minister said on Twitter. "This is needed to stop Russian aggression, to help Ukraine and to quickly restore peace in Europe. Germany, as Europe's leading power, has a special responsibility in this respect."
The statement comes a day after Germany and its Western allies failed to take any decision on whether Berlin would agree to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or allow other countries to do so.
The day after this statement, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told the French TV channel LCI that Poland had not formally asked Berlin to agree to share some German-made Leopard tanks, but added that "if we were asked, we would not prevent it".
German officials "know how important these tanks are" and "we are now discussing this with our partners", Baerbock said in interview recordings released by LCI.
It seems to us that all Europeans already know that Germany is playing a game of "daggers" with itself and, in any case, has already lost the game.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that if NATO and a member of the European Union do not agree to hand over Leopard tanks to Ukraine, his country is ready to create a "smaller coalition" of countries that would send their tanks anyway.
"Almost a year has passed since the start of the war," Morawiecki said in an interview with Polish state news agency PAP on Sunday. "Evidence of war crimes by the Russian army can be seen on television and YouTube. What more does Germany need to open its eyes and start acting according to the potential of the German state?"
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Sunday, meeting President Volodymyr Zelensky and promising that Britain would "stand by Ukraine as long as it takes".
During his trip, Mr Johnson visited Borodianka and Buch, suburbs of the Ukrainian capital that became synonymous with atrocities in the West when Russian forces pushed into Kyiv in the first phase of the invasion.
"You will win and you will drive all Russians out of your country, but we will be here for a long time. And we will also want to help you rebuild", he said, speaking through a translator. Mr Johnson rejected suggestions that his activities in Ukraine could be seen as undermining British Prime Minister Sunak.
The phrase 'we will support as much as necessary' reminds us of the late Soviet dinosaur A. Brazauskas, who liked to say: 'it is good when it is good and bad when it is bad, but sometimes when it is bad it is good and when it is good it is bad.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that corruption - a persistent problem in the country that has been sidelined by the war with Russia - would not be tolerated, and promised that major decisions would be taken this week to eradicate it.
"I want to make it clear: there will be no return to what happened in the past, to the way life was lived by various people close to the state institutions, or those who spent their whole lives trying to occupy a chair," Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
The EU made anti-corruption reforms one of its key requirements when it granted candidate status to Kyiv last year.
"This week, the relevant decisions will be taken," said Mr Zelensky. "The decisions are already in place. I don't want to make them public at the moment, but everything will be right". He did not specify the identity of the official, but news reports said that Vasiliy Lozinskiy, acting deputy minister for regional development, had been detained on suspicion of taking a bribe. The renewed focus on corruption also concerns Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov after a newspaper reported that the army allegedly procured foodstuffs at highly inflated prices.
Reznikoff's ministry called the allegations "false" and asked a parliamentary committee to investigate.
Protests in Stockholm against Turkey's blocking of Sweden's bid to join NATO, including the burning of a copy of the Koran, have significantly increased tensions with Turkey.
"We condemn in the strongest terms the despicable attack on our holy book ... Allowing this anti-Islamic act against Muslims and insulting our sacred values to be carried out under the pretext of freedom of expression is totally unacceptable", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
This is Turkey's reaction to an attack by a far-right anti-immigrant politician who burned a copy of the Koran near the Turkish embassy. The Turkish ministry called on Sweden to take appropriate action against the perpetrators and invited all countries to take concrete action against Islamophobia.
A separate protest was held in the city in support of the Kurds and against Sweden's bid to join NATO. A group of pro-Turkish demonstrators also held a rally outside the embassy. Police permits were obtained for all three events.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said that the Islamophobic provocations were appalling. "Sweden has far-reaching freedom of expression, but that does not mean that the Swedish government or myself endorse the views expressed," Billstrom said on Twitter.
The Koran was burnt by Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party "Hard Line". Paludan, who is also a Swedish citizen, has staged several demonstrations in the past during which he burned the Koran.
It is primitive and pathetic. On both sides. If the actions of one half-breed can affect the foreign policy of an entire country, however spurious, we have not progressed as a human race since the Middle Ages. Then and now, wars are fought because one king is supposedly showing the other a stick.
Mikhail Podoliak, advisor to the head of the Ukrainian President's Office, explained the essence of the war in Ukraine in a popular way: "The partners need to realise the truth: unfortunately, there is a hole in the global ship, and Ukraine is part of the crew fighting for the ship's survival. Waiting and sitting back will not help." According to Podoliak, it will take joint action to save the "ship" that represents world peace.
We are afraid that there will be no joint action until the ship begins to sink. And, in fact, some of the passengers will just cause more chaos by trying to save themselves rather than the ship.
One such passenger, Andrej Babiš, a candidate for the Czech Presidency, has already stated that he would not send Czech troops to help Poland or the Baltic States if they were attacked.
This statement was made during a debate with the second candidate, Petr Pavel, reports novinky.cz. The statement raised many questions because the Czech Republic is a member of NATO and is obliged to comply with the Alliance's Article 5 agreements. It stipulates that an attack on one alliance country is considered an attack on all members of the alliance and that all countries take part in repelling aggression.
"No, of course not. I want peace, I do not want war. And I would never send our children and our women's children to war," said the former Prime Minister.
President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that Ukraine can win the war with Russia already this year if Ukrainians remain united. "The speed of the war (i.e. the end) depends on several things: the forces inside Ukraine and the forces from outside - the help of partners. The process cannot be allowed to slow down either from the outside or from the inside, as this would prolong the war", he said at a meeting with students at the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, the president's website reported. Mr Zelensky rejected the suggestion that a Ukrainian victory was not necessary or that a partial victory was acceptable.
At the same time, he said that the most important resource of the Ukrainian army is its personnel, which must be protected. "People are not only important, they are the most important", Zelensky said. In response to a question about the replenishment of the Ukrainian army, the Head of State said that the military command had been tasked to create reserves to allow the defenders to recover from combat operations.
Thanking Germany for the IRIS-T systems, in an interview with the German TV channel ARD, the Ukrainian President said that Ukraine needs protection on the battlefield. Artillery, salvo fire systems, armoured vehicles, tanks are important. "This is the kind of equipment that we really lack, there is nothing to hide. There is also a shortage of ammunition for all these weapons", he said.
Air defence systems are needed to protect Ukraine's skies. "We need to protect people, the roofs of houses. You see people dying from Iranian drone strikes and missiles. Towns and villages have become a battlefield." Zelensky also said that Ukraine needs planes and long-range missiles.
Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) accused Ukraine of storing Western-supplied weapons in its nuclear power plants. Without providing any evidence, the SVR claims that US-supplied HIMARS missile launchers, air defence systems and artillery ammunition have been delivered to the Rivne nuclear power plant in north-western Ukraine.
Even if this is true, so what? Ukrainian forces are on the territory of their own country, defending it against terrorists, war criminals and marauders.
"Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin has lost power and credibility in the eyes of Russian President Vladimir Putin due to failed attempts to capture Bakhmut, and his star has begun to sink, media reports quote analysts at the US Institute for the Study of War. In their view, Putin probably appealed to him and Army General Surovikin to get the former to conquer as much territory as possible and the latter to morally break the Ukrainians with massive missile attacks.
We can only shrug our shoulders in resignation. The analysts in this centre clearly have no idea who Russia is or what is going on there.
No, dear friends, no one has turned away from anything and no stars have fallen anywhere, except in the minds of Westerners, who judge according to their own understanding and mentality. Both the chef and the toaster and Surovikin and Gerasimov are all part of the same game, presented from different angles to naive Western analysts.
You have not learned your lesson, sit down. "F".
Across Ukraine, the threat of Russian land, sea and air missile and kamikaze drone strikes remains high.
During the day, the enemy launched 4 missile and 5 air strikes, as well as more than 40 salvoes of fire.
The occupiers unsuccessfully attempted to attack on the Avdiivka, Lyman and Zaporizhzhya axes and continued to attack the Ukrainian defence forces in the direction of Bakhmut. On the other front lines, Russian forces remain on the defensive.
On 18-21 January 2023, additional Russian troops were deployed near the towns of Vynohradovo and Brylivka (Kherson region). The newly arrived troops were armed only with small arms, few wore bulletproof vests and no military equipment was observed.
The enemy continues to suffer losses. According to available information, the hospital in Dniprorudny (Zaporizhzhya region) is full of wounded Russian soldiers. Some 150 attackers have been admitted to the hospital recently alone. At the same time, most of the hospital's staff refused to cooperate with the occupiers, forcing the occupiers to use doctors and other staff from the Russian Federation.
During the day, the Ukrainian Air Force carried out 3 airstrikes on enemy concentrations. 1 enemy Orlan-10 UAV was shot down.
Ukrainian rocket and artillery forces attacked 4 Russian troop concentrations and 3 ammunition depots.
Photo. Together. Source: Ukrainian Presidency.
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