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Lavrov spokeswoman accuses West of Nord Stream 2 "hypocrisy" - prisoner exchange confirmed

2023-02-05T08:01:10.693Z


Russia speaks of "hypocrisy" in the investigation into Nord Stream-2. And: For the first time, Ukraine receives confiscated oligarch assets. News ticker


Russia speaks of "hypocrisy" in the investigation into Nord Stream-2.

And: For the first time, Ukraine receives confiscated oligarch assets.

News ticker

  • Lavrov spokeswoman

    on

    Nord Stream 2 "hypocrisy"

    : She wants "sorry" from Scholz

  • Germany

    wants to deliver

    dozens of tanks

    to Ukraine : The federal government has issued an export license for the Leopard 1 main battle tank that has been discarded.

  • After

    Lavrov

    warning: Moldova demands the withdrawal of Russian troops from their own country.

  • This ticker has ended.

    You can read

    all the latest news on

    diplomatic events

    surrounding the

    Ukraine war in our new news ticker.

Update from February 4, 11:36 a.m .:

Russia and Ukraine have apparently carried out the largest number of prisoner exchanges since the beginning of the year.

"During a difficult negotiation process, 63 Russian soldiers were withdrawn from the territory controlled by the Kiev regime," the Russian Defense Ministry said on its Telegram channel.

Ukraine confirmed the exchange and return of 116 of its prisoners.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the freed soldiers received medical and psychological care.

They could also have already contacted their relatives.

Among those released were people from a "sensitive category" whose release the United Arab Emirates mediated, the statement said.

The ministry did not specify whether these were high-ranking officers, mercenaries or spies.

Meanwhile, the head of the presidential office in Kyiv, Andriy Yermak, gave more detailed information about the Ukrainian prisoners.

114 soldiers and non-commissioned officers plus two officers were released.

According to Yermak, the Ukrainians were taken prisoner in Mariupol, in Kherson and in Bakhmut.

For the first time since the beginning of the war: Ukraine receives confiscated oligarch millions

Update from February 4, 8:15 a.m .:

For the first time, money confiscated by a Russian oligarch was transferred to Ukraine.

This was announced by US Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The money confiscated from influential Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeev will go to the US State Department "in support of the Ukrainian people," Garland told CNN.

The transfer of 5.4 million dollars (equivalent to around 4.7 million euros) would be used for the "reconstruction of Ukraine".

According to Garland, Malofeev's assets were seized in April 2022 after he was charged with evading existing sanctions.

At the time, Garland's ministry - which is also the top federal law enforcement agency in the US - said the billionaire had tried to circumvent those sanctions to "secretly" buy media in Europe.

Malofeev is considered one of the most important financiers of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine-News: Nord Stream 2 explosions: Investigators share current status

Update from February 4, 7:21 a.m .:

From the investigators’ point of view, the investigations into the blasting of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea have not yet provided any evidence of Russia’s authorship.

"It is currently not verifiable," said Attorney General Peter Frank of the

world on Sunday.

The investigations are ongoing.

With the support of two research ships, the federal prosecutor's office had water and soil samples and the remains of the pipelines removed and comprehensively documented the crime scene, said Frank.

“We are currently evaluating all of this forensically.

Sweden and Denmark are conducting their own investigations, but we are in contact.”

A total of four explosions in the Baltic Sea in September caused several leaks in the pipelines that once transported Russian gas to Germany.

The pipelines were not operating at the time of the explosions but contained gas.

According to Sweden, sabotage is behind the incident.

Accordingly, explosive residues were detected.

Lavrov's spokeswoman accuses West of Nord Stream 2 "hypocrisy" - and wants an "apology" from Scholz

Update from February 3, 9:30 p.m .:

Russia accuses the West of “hypocrisy” in investigating the explosions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

“Generally one has the impression that Berlin has something to hide.

The statement made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz on February 2, 2023 is symptomatic - he actually needs to apologize," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to a report by Russia's Tass news agency on Friday.

Accordingly, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was asked on Thursday why Berlin did not disclose any information about the incident.

“This whole story is another manifestation of Western hypocrisy.

If it is necessary to blame Russia, it is done in a flash, without investigation, without evidence [...],” Zakharova continued.

“When there is direct or indirect evidence of improper actions by allies and no way to find a 'Russian lead', Western capitals pose as staunch supporters of legality and the presumption of innocence just to hide the shocking truth ' the spokeswoman continued.

At the end of September 2022, there were explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, immediately afterwards the EU and NATO named sabotage as the cause.

The pipelines lay in international waters in the exclusive economic zones of Denmark and Sweden.

The Swedish news service Säpo and the Swedish public prosecutor's office determined in November that it was serious sabotage - but without naming a culprit.

In October, the federal prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe initiated investigations.

Russia had accused Britain of being responsible for the sabotage, but without providing any evidence.

EU Commission President announces further aid for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia

Update from February 3, 8:30 p.m .:

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced further aid for Ukraine of one billion euros after the EU summit in Kiev on Friday.

This amount is intended to help rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by Russia.

Since the beginning of the invasion of Russia, the EU has given Ukraine aid totaling 49 billion euros.

In addition, the head of the EU Commission announced a tenth package of sanctions against Russia.

"The new measures will affect the trade and technology that support Russia's war machine," von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.

"We are very interested in the fact that Russia has no way of reviving its defense industry," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday.

Previous sanctions only slowed down Russian efforts.

Our 9 packages of sanctions are biting, and a 10th one is on its way.



With our partners, we must deny Russia the means to kill Ukrainian civilians and destroy homes and offices.



New measures will hit the trade and technology that supports Russia's war machine.

pic.twitter.com/bXKOa92ENP

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 3, 2023

US pledges EUR 2 billion in military aid to Ukraine, including longer-range missiles

Update from February 3, 6:33 p.m .:

The USA has promised Ukraine further military aid worth almost 2.2 billion dollars (around two billion euros).

The planned delivery includes armored vehicles and artillery ammunition as well as anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, including so-called GLSDB missiles with a range of 150 kilometers, as the US Department of Defense announced on Friday.

That is almost twice the range of missiles that Ukraine has so far.

This would allow Kyiv to attack Russian targets far behind the lines of the front lines.

The weapons would help Ukraine "defend its people," the Pentagon said.

The US is the main supplier of armaments to Ukraine.

Since Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, the United States has pledged more than $29 billion in military aid to Ukraine, according to the Pentagon.

Ukraine officially initiates investigations against Wagner boss Prigozhin

Update from February 3, 5:55 p.m .:

Ukraine is officially investigating “Putin’s cook” and Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin for “thousands of war crimes”.

Ukraine News: Söder contradicts fighter jet delivery to Kyiv

Update from February 3, 2:10 p.m .:

CSU boss Markus Söder made it clear on Friday that his party was strictly against the delivery of Western fighter jets to Ukraine.

"We're really happy to help," he emphasized - the CSU had also spoken out in favor of the delivery of Leopard tanks to the Ukraine at an early stage.

"But now there are also fighter jets, submarines, what do I know, what else is conceivable - I think a limit has now been reached," said the Bavarian Prime Minister after a meeting of the party executive in Munich.

Söder vehemently opposed "this constant putting one more thing on top".

"We are not at war with Russia," emphasized Söder and sharply criticized Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens).

She had recently caused a stir with a statement at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg - because she called for the cohesion of the western allies with the following words: "We are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other." war participation of Germany or its allies meant.

Germany wants to deliver dozens of tanks to Ukraine - export license for Leopard 1 granted

Update from February 3, 12:05 p.m .:

What has already been reported by several media is now official: the federal government has granted an export license for Leopard 1 main battle tanks to Ukraine.

This was confirmed by government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Friday in Berlin, without giving any further details.

These will become “more concrete in the coming days and weeks”.

So far, the federal government had only announced the delivery of the more modern Leopard 2 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine.

A spokesman for the German Defense Ministry pointed out that the old Leopard 1 models differed significantly from the Leopard 2 tanks that the German government had recently decided to supply.

Compared to the Leopard 2, "especially in the more modern variants", the Leopard 1 "could not keep up at all," said the spokesman.

War in Ukraine: Federal government also wants to provide Leoapard 1 tanks

Update from February 3, 11:15 a.m .:

The federal government wants to deliver more battle tanks to Ukraine.

This is reported by the ARD “Tagesschau”, citing government circles.

The tanks are said to be older Leopard 1 models that can be handed over to Ukraine from industrial stocks.

However, formal approval has not yet been granted.

As the

Süddeutsche Zeitung

reports, the armaments group Rheinmetall, in cooperation with the Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG), wants to reprocess dozens of models of the tank.

However, one would still have to clarify the question of ammunition procurement.

The Leopard 1 is the predecessor of the Leopard 2 tank, of which the Ukrainian army is to receive 14 units from German stocks in the spring.

The tank type was decommissioned and replaced by the Bundeswehr in 2003.

+

Germany also wants to release the delivery of older Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine (archive photo).

© imago-images

Ukraine war: Putin threatens Germany

Update from February 3, 6:49 a.m .:

80 years after the Red Army’s victory over the Wehrmacht in the Battle of Stalingrad, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin accused Germany of now being drawn into a war with Russia.

"It's unbelievable, but it's a fact: we're being threatened again with the German Leopard tank," Putin said at a ceremony in Volgograd (formerly: Stalingrad).

The Wehrmacht did not have any tanks with the type designation Leopard in their inventory.

As in the Second World War, German weapons are being used to fight against Russia on Ukrainian soil, the Kremlin chief said.

Germany emphasizes that, despite the military aid to Ukraine, it is not or does not want to become a war party.


Russia will defend itself this time too, Putin said, referring to the war against Ukraine, which he himself ordered: "We have something we can answer with.

And the matter does not end with the use of armored vehicles.

Everyone should understand that,” said the president of the nuclear power.

Critics repeatedly accuse Putin of using the commemoration days, which are important for many Russians, to commemorate the victory over Hitler's Germany in World War II for propaganda purposes.

Scholz names troop withdrawal as a condition for negotiations with Russia

Update from February 2, 8:23 p.m .:

Chancellor Olaf Scholz only sees an opportunity for negotiations to end the Ukraine war if Russia agrees to withdraw troops from the occupied territories.

"The moment you let it be known that the way is troop withdrawal, the moment the way for talks with Ukraine - I'm pretty sure - is free," said Scholz on Thursday in a question and answer session with citizens in Marburg, Hesse .

Then there is also the opportunity to communicate.

"But we still have to work a bit towards that," added the Chancellor.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva proposed negotiations on Monday after talks with Scholz about an end to the war mediated by countries like Brazil and China.

Ukraine refuses to negotiate until Russian troops have completely withdrawn from Ukrainian territory, including Crimea.

Following the announcement by Germany and other Western countries that they would be supplying main battle tanks to Ukraine, the Russian leadership also backed away from the idea of ​​peace talks.

After Lavrov's warning: Moldova demands the withdrawal of Russian troops from its own country

Update from February 2, 6:30 p.m

.: Moldova has responded to renewed threats from Moscow and has called for the demilitarization of Transnistria.

Specifically, Moldovan government adviser Alexandru Flenchea, speaking to the daily newspaper Die Welt, called for a Russian troop withdrawal from the breakaway republic.

An estimated 1,500 Russian soldiers from the 14th Russian Guards Army are stationed in the region.

According to Flenchea, around 10,000 to 15,000 pro-Russian paramilitaries would be more of a security risk. 

The former Soviet Republic of Moldova, which is aspiring to join the European Union (EU), has once again called on Russia to accept its decision to adopt a pro-Western course.

The Foreign Ministry in the capital Chisinau dismissed statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as "aggressive".

In an interview with Russian state television, Lavrov claimed that the West was building Moldova into a “new anti-Russia” based on the model of Ukraine.

The Republic of Moldova, located between Romania and Ukraine, received the status of an EU accession candidate last year.

The planned membership in the EU is a decision of the citizens of the country.

It is a path for peace, freedom and democracy, it said in a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

Over half a billion euros for Ukraine: EU Council decides on seventh aid package

Update from February 2, 6:15 p.m

.: The European Council has approved a seventh aid package for Ukraine worth half a billion euros.

In addition, the body of heads of state and government of the European Union (EU) released 45 million euros for the training of Ukrainian soldiers.

"Today's new decisions send a clear message at a critical juncture: we will support Ukraine for as long as is necessary," said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell.

Update from February 2, 6:05 p.m

.: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) promises Russian athletes to take part in the 2024 Olympics in the French capital of Paris.

Kyiv and Berlin protest against it.

+

Won gold at Beijing 2022: figure skater Kamila Valeryevna Valiewa and cross-country skier Denis Spizow (Med.), here at a ceremony with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

© IMAGO/Vladimir Astapkovich

Despite relations with Russia: Israel no longer rules out arms deliveries to Kyiv

Update from February 2, 5:45 p.m

.: Despite close ties with Russia, Israel is no longer ruling out the delivery of anti-aircraft systems for Ukraine.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN that he was "thinking about" providing "aid other than humanitarian aid" to Ukraine.

According to the

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)

, corresponding requests are coming from the USA.

According to Israeli media, Washington is demanding that Israel supply two American anti-aircraft missile systems from its stocks: the MIM-23 HAWK and the Patriot.

Most recently, the United States and Germany announced that they would each provide the Ukrainian armed forces with a ground-based MIM-104 Patriot anti-aircraft missile system.

According to the

FAZ

, Ukraine would also like Israel to have the modern "Iron Dome" and "Barak" systems, which have a range of up to 150 kilometers.

In the CNN interview, Netanyahu also offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.

He would be ready "if asked by both sides and, frankly, if asked by the United States," the 73-year-old Israeli prime minister said.

In the past, Netanyahu had repeatedly confirmed a good relationship with Moscow ruler Vladimir Putin.

Update from February 2, 3:55 p.m

.: Germany and its NATO partners are delivering 90 “Leopard 2” to Ukraine.

But: The Russian army apparently has a missile system that can be dangerous for the main battle tank.

Sergey Lavrov announces: Russia wants to advance further into Ukraine

Update from February 2, 1:19 p.m

.: The Russian leadership is threatening to penetrate deeper into the country because of the delivery of long-range western weapons to Ukraine.

The goal must be to keep Western weapons as far away from Russian territory as possible, including the annexed areas, said Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with Russian television.

At the same time, Russia's chief diplomat accused the West of building up the former Soviet Republic of Moldova as a "new anti-Russia".

He questioned the election of President Maia Sandu: "They managed, with fairly specific methods that are by no means free and democratic, to put a female president at the head of state who is striving to join NATO," Lavrov said.

Sandu is "ready for anything," Lavrov said.

Western-educated Sandu defeated pro-Russian incumbent Igor Dodon in the 2020 election.

+

Recording from February 2, 2023: Sergei Lavrov in Moscow in an interview with Russian state television

© Grigory Sysoev/Imago

Ukraine News: Von der Leyen announces new Russia sanctions

Update from February 2, 12:57 p.m .:

EU Commission President von der Leyen has announced new sanctions against Russia.

"Between now and February 24, exactly one year after the start of the invasion, we want to finalize a tenth package of sanctions," she said at a press conference with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.

Among other things, new entry and property bans for those responsible in Russia and Belarus are expected for the new sanctions package.

A price cap for Russian petroleum products such as diesel or kerosene is to come into force as early as Sunday, and the EU countries are still discussing the amount.

All sanctions require a unanimous decision by the 27 EU countries.

The sanctions imposed so far have already caused considerable damage to the Russian economy, stressed the President of the Commission.

The price cap for Russian oil alone costs Moscow "about 160 million euros a day".

Update from February 2, 12:43 p.m .:

The EU wants to train 15,000 more Ukrainian soldiers.

Among other things, they should learn how to use Leopard main battle tanks, as the EU foreign policy representative Josep Borrell announced on Twitter.

He promised this to the Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal during his visit to Kyiv.

Russia brought war back to Europe, but Ukraine keeps fighting back.

Glad to announce to PM @Denys_Shmyhal that EU Military Assistance Mission #EUMAM will train additional 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers, taking the total number of EUMAM trained personnel to 30,000.


(1/2) pic.twitter.com/cLTspN6MBz

— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) February 2, 2023

Ukraine-News: Austria expels Russian diplomats

Update from February 2, 12:25 p.m .:

Austria has announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats.

Two of them are accredited by the United Nations in Vienna.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry said the diplomats had committed "incompatible actions" with their status, without giving any further details.

The four Russians were given a deadline of Wednesday to leave the country.

Ukraine-News: Russia's arms exports hit hard by sanctions

Update from February 2, 11:52 a.m .:

According to British military experts, Russia’s role as a reliable arms exporter is severely impaired by the Ukraine war and international sanctions.

This emerges from an intelligence update published by the British Ministry of Defense on Twitter.

"The shortage of components is likely to affect the production of equipment for export such as armored vehicles, attack helicopters and air defense systems," it said.

Russia's ability to provide spare parts and services for existing export contracts is likely to be limited for at least three to five years.

Update from February 2, 11:14 a.m .:

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has arrived in Kiev for a two-day visit.

Upon her arrival, she assured Ukraine of continued EU support.

As usual, they are "firmly committed to Ukraine," she emphasized on the online service Twitter.

The two-day talks between the EU Commission and the Ukrainian government will include legal options for punishing Russia's war of aggression and Ukraine's desire to join the EU as quickly as possible.

Ukraine News: Erdogan warns of "arms barons"

Update from February 2, 10:23 a.m .:

The delivery of western battle tanks to Ukraine will not help to achieve a solution in the Ukraine conflict, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a television interview on tank deliveries in the Ukraine war.

This is reported by the Russian news agency Tass.

Instead, Erdogan is calling for diplomatic efforts in the Ukraine war: "We expect Western countries to support our demands for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia," he is quoted as saying by Tass.

More weapons for Ukraine are a "risky move," Erdogan said, and "profitable, especially for arms barons."

A few days ago, the USA, Germany and a number of other countries decided to supply Western main battle tanks to Ukraine.

Fighter jet delivery: EU chief diplomat considers it conceivable – and compares it to other “red lines”

Brüssel/Berlin/Kiew - Polens Ministerpräsident Mateusz Morawiecki hatte sich zuletzt offen für Kampfjet-Lieferungen an Kiew gezeigt. Kanzler Olaf Scholz (SPD) und US-Präsident Joe Biden hingegen wollen solche Waffensystem bislang nicht an die von Russland angegriffene Ukraine abgeben.

Der EU-Außenbeauftragte Josep Borrell schließt nun nicht aus, dass es trotz der Zurückhaltung dazu kommt. Auch die Lieferung von Panzern sei anfangs stark umstritten gewesen, sagte der Spanier vor einem EU-Ukraine-Gipfel in Kiew. Schließlich sei es bei dem Thema aber doch zu einer Einigung gekommen und man habe diese „rote Linie“ überschritten.

So far, there have been warnings of escalation risks for all arms deliveries, Borrell said.

On the other hand, two security experts told

Merkur.de

that they do not believe in the delivery of fighter jets because the risk of escalation between NATO and Russia is too high.

Ukraine News: Debate on arms deliveries - but fighter jets for Ukraine?

The EU foreign policy representative did not want to answer the question of whether he himself was in favor of fighter jet deliveries.

"My job is to reach a consensus," Borrell said.

It is not helpful to publicly represent positions that could jeopardize this possibility.

+

A Bundeswehr fighter jet of the "Tornado" type (archive image)

© Oliver Pieper/Bundeswehr/dpa

Ukrainian soldiers in Germany: anti-aircraft training for fight against Russia

Meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in Germany for training on the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system.

The group of about 70 Ukrainians should start training on Thursday (February 2), security sources in Berlin told the dpa news agency.

In consultation with the United States, the federal government wants Ukraine to have an entire Patriot system to ward off Russian attacks with drones, rockets or planes.

(frs with material from AFP and dpa)

Rubric list image: © Russian Foreign Ministry/imago-images

Source: merkur

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