WHAT ELSE IS NOT SAVED BY MACRON'S TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS WITH THE RUSSIAN FÜHRER? (2023 01 24)
Political strategic level
European Union foreign ministers agreed yesterday to allocate a further €500 million ($542 million) in military aid to Ukraine, officials said, with Berlin facing more pressure over Kyiv's calls for it to supply German-built Leopard tanks.
Agreement on the seventh tranche of such aid was reached when the EU's 27 foreign ministers met in Brussels last week after Western countries failed to agree on sending tanks to Ukraine, but pledged billions of dollars in aid.
"We continue to strongly support Ukraine's armed forces," tweeted a representative of the Swedish rotating EU presidency.
Hungary's foreign minister said that while his government was not in favour of the EU sending funds to Ukraine to buy weapons, it would not block the planned support to Kyiv.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Szijjarto dismissed as "lies" media reports last week that Hungary planned to veto funds for Ukraine under the bloc's European Peace Facility.
"We don't think that the arms shipments and the hundreds of millions of euros that Europe has spent to fund them are a good idea. But we will not block a solution", he said.
Although the Hungarian government has not blocked previous disbursements under the facility, which has so far provided €3.1 billion to Ukraine to finance arms, it vetoed an €18 billion aid package in December, so the other 26 EU countries have been doing their utmost to prevent the money from being cut off.
For its part, Poland said on Monday it would formally ask Berlin for permission to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but its prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki did not specify when the request to Germany would be made. He said that Poland is building a coalition of countries ready to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. If Germany does not give the go-ahead, Warsaw will take its own decisions, Morawiecki told a press conference.
Russia and Estonia expelled each other's ambassadors on Monday and their diplomatic missions will be headed by charge d'affaires, as relations between the countries have sunk to their lowest level since Estonia regained independence. Latvia, in a show of solidarity with its neighbour, has announced that it will also downgrade diplomatic relations with Moscow from 24 February, the one-year anniversary of Russia's war in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Estonian Ambassador Margus Laidre and ordered him to leave the country by 7 February. In a statement issued by the ministry, the Estonian diplomatic representative will now be demoted to charge d'affaires.
"The Estonian leadership has deliberately destroyed the entire spectrum of relations with Russia," the ministry said, referring to the country's "total Russophobia" following a recent decision in Tallinn to drastically reduce the number of staff at the Russian embassy. The ministry added that the move was made in response to "a new unfriendly step by Estonia".
In response, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu stated that the Russian ambassador would leave on the basis of the "principle of parity".
Mhm, it seems that soon none of the Baltic countries will have a terrorist country's marooned representatives in their capitals.
Sweden should not count on Turkey's support for its NATO membership, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, following a protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm at the weekend in which a copy of the Koran was burnt.
"Those who allow such blasphemy in front of our embassy can no longer count on our support for their NATO membership," Mr Erdogan said in a speech after a cabinet meeting. "If you love and defend the members of terrorist organisations and the enemies of Islam so much, then we advise you to seek their support for the security of your countries", he said.
Turkey has articulated a "very serious and justifiable" reason on the basis of which it can "legitimately" not ratify Sweden's admission to NATO. Could Russia have helped it to do so? Of course, who could deny it. There is only Finland. Who knows what in the Moscow-Ankara game has been invented for her?
The European Union has imposed sanctions on more than 30 Iranian officials and organisations, including units of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), accusing them of a 'brutal' crackdown on protesters and other human rights violations. The United States and Britain have also announced new sanctions against Iran, reflecting the deterioration in Western relations with Tehran in recent months.
Some EU governments and the European Parliament have made it clear that they would like to see the IRGC added to the bloc's list of terrorist organisations in its entirety, but the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has pointed out that this could only happen if a court in an EU country found the IRGC guilty of terrorism.
Whether these decisions will deter or encourage Iran to supply ballistic missiles to Russia?
When asked about a possible ceasefire with Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, on a visit to South Africa, said that the US and other Western powers had prevented Ukraine from settling the conflict peacefully.
"It is well known that we supported the Ukrainian side's proposal to negotiate at the beginning of the special military operation and at the end of March the two delegations agreed on the principle of a settlement of this conflict," Lavrov said.
The representative of terrorist Russia forgot to tell his friends in South Africa that it was Russia that started the large-scale war and that, while trapped in Ukraine, it has repeatedly rejected demands from Ukraine and the West that it withdraw completely from Ukraine as a condition for any negotiations. US President Joe Biden has previously indicated that he would be prepared to talk to Mr Putin if the Russian leader showed that he was serious about ending the invasion.
Burkina Faso has decided to end a military agreement that allowed French troops to fight rebels on its territory because the government wants the country to defend itself, the government said on Monday.
The West African country is facing an Islamist insurgency led by groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which has seized large swathes of land and forced millions of people to flee their homes in the Sahel region in sub-Saharan Africa.
On 18 January, the military junta-led government suspended the 2018 military agreement with Paris, giving France a month to withdraw its troops.
The leader of the military junta and the de facto leader of Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Traore, the world's youngest dictator, with the rank of captain at 34, is notorious for his links with the Wagner group, which is allegedly helping to fight jihadists in the African country.
As we can see, Macron's telephone conversations with Führer Putin are not helping to preserve the colonial legacy either.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the National Security and Defence Council had taken a major decision on the departure of civil servants abroad. "This applies to law enforcement officers, deputies, prosecutors and all those who have to work for the state and in the state. If they want to rest now, they will rest outside the civil service. Officials will no longer be allowed to go abroad for holidays or other non-state purposes," the President said in an address yesterday.
According to the decision of the NSGC, during mobilisation and martial law, civil servants can only travel outside Ukraine on business trips. The Cabinet of Ministers is expected to amend the rules on crossing the state border within five days.
The Ukrainian President also said that he expects to receive the previously promised Patriot surface-to-air missile systems and is already looking at Abrams tanks. "Global freedom has long lacked global victories. Ukraine, together with America and our partners, is addressing this deficit," he said.
V. Zelensky promised that after the war is over, Ukraine will be able to offer American business many interesting projects. Cooperation with JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Starlink and Westinghouse has already started.
Russia's new military reforms are a response to the possible expansion of NATO and to the possibility that the "collective West" may use Kyiv for a hybrid war against Russia, said Valery Gerasimov, responsible for Russia's military operations in Ukraine. In his first public comments since his "appointment" on 11 January, the war criminal general also admitted that there were problems with the mobilisation of troops after public criticism forced Putin to reprimand the military.
The military reforms announced in mid-January were approved by Putin and may be adjusted to respond to threats to Russia's security, Gerasimov said. "Today, such threats include the North Atlantic Alliance's ambitions to extend its reach to Finland and Sweden, as well as the use of Ukraine as a tool of hybrid warfare against our country," said Gerasimov, who is also Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, or commander of Russia's entire Horde.
Russian forces have increased the number of naval battle groups on standby in the Black Sea. There are now eleven ships with a total salvo of 28 Kalibr cruise missiles, according to Vladislav Nazarov, spokesman for the Ukrainian joint forces group "South".
Norway arrested Andrei Medvedev, a former Wagner fighter who escaped from Russia and crossed the Norwegian border from neighbouring Russia on 13 January. According to Gulagu.net, the Russian rights group that helped him escape, Andrei Medvedev is facing deportation to Russia.
Charles McGonigal, a former top Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official, has been accused of violating US sanctions by working for Russian energy tycoon Oleg Deripaska. He sought to have US sanctions against the oligarch lifted, the US Department of Justice said.
The occupiers fired salvoes of fire from their firing systems at Chasiv Yar. At least one person was killed and two injured, and the besieged district was left without electricity and heat.
Russian forces continue to surround Bakhmut. Over the past day, the marauders have advanced in the south and south-east, but in the north they have not been able to take control of the section of the 05-13 road necessary to approach Bakhmut.
The Russian occupiers have struck several settlements in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions 9 times with missiles. In addition, the enemy launched 27 air strikes and 79 volley bombardments.
The threat of air and missile strikes remains high throughout Ukraine.
Despite heavy losses, the enemy continues to advance towards Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
In the direction of Kupyansk, the horde attempted an offensive which failed. All enemy attacks were repulsed by the Ukrainian defenders.
In the south, in the Zaporizhzhya and Kherson areas, the enemy is attacking with all kinds of weapons, but does not take an active offensive.
Over the last 10 days, a decrease in the number of enemy personnel has been observed in some settlements in Luhansk oblast. In addition, mobilised personnel are being sent to the front line more frequently. Meanwhile, professional military personnel are doing their utmost to stay behind the front line.
According to available data, the Russian occupation administration of Luhansk is evacuating the families of the Russian 2nd Army Corps soldiers to the territory of the Russian Federation.
Over the past day, the Ukrainian Air Force has carried out 8 air strikes against Russian troop, weapons and equipment concentrations and once against a Russian anti-aircraft missile complex.
In addition, the Ukrainian defenders shot down 2 enemy Su-25 aircraft; a Ka-52 attack helicopter; an Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicle; and 2 Kh-59 missiles.
Over the past day, Ukrainian rocket and artillery forces attacked 3 Russian military concentration points and a logistics depot.
Photo: As of 1 March, to cross the Russian border by car, one will need to book a date and time.
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