The Russian army is responsible for serious human rights violations in Ukraine, including murder, rape and kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia. “This is barbaric and inhumane,” Harris said in his speech shortly after noon on Saturday.
She emphasized that the US will work to ensure that Russian perpetrators of war crimes in Ukraine are held accountable. “Russia has committed crimes against humanity.”
China’s aid would ‘reward aggression’
Harris also warned China not to help Russia militarily. With that, the People’s Republic would only support aggression. Any move by China in that direction “would reward aggression, continue the killing and further undermine a rules-based order,” she told the MSC on Saturday.
Relations between Moscow and Beijing have strengthened since the Russian attack. If Russia succeeds in its war in Ukraine, other authoritarian countries around the world could be emboldened, Harris added.
Sunak asks for a more precise course
British Prime Minister Sunak called for tougher action by the international community against Russian aggression in Ukraine. Responses so far “are not strong enough,” he said on Saturday ahead of the MSC plenary.
Portal/Ben Stanstall Sunak not tough enough on Russia in context of war in Ukraine
London will support countries that can immediately supply fighter jets to Ukraine. He dodged questions about whether London also wanted fighter jets available.
Promised ranged weapons
The war in Ukraine is currently at a “tipping point”. Now “the time has come to double our military support”. Britain will be “the first country to supply Ukraine with long-range weapons”. Sunak did not provide details.
In her speech on Saturday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen advocated purchase guarantees for the arms industry in order to provide Ukraine with better and faster weapons and ammunition. “Now we must do what we did during the pandemic,” she said, referring to contracts with pharmaceutical companies to accelerate production of CoV vaccines. Purchase guarantees can now give the defense industry the opportunity to invest more quickly in production lines and increase supply volumes.
China announces peace initiative
China, led by US Vice President Harris, had already announced its own peace initiative for Ukraine. “We are going to come up with something. Namely, the Chinese position on the political solution of the crisis in Ukraine,” Beijing’s top foreign policy chief, Wang Yi, told the conference in Munich on Saturday, according to the official translation. The People’s Republic will be “on the side of peace and dialogue”.
AP/Petr David Josek Beijing wants to be “on the side of peace and dialogue”.
French call for EU rearmament
Earlier on Friday, the first day of the conference, French President Emmanuel Macron offered EU partners talks on nuclear deterrence in the EU. It could be about the European dimension of France’s nuclear deterrence, he explained at the security conference. The current Russian aggression against Ukraine is a reminder of the important role that nuclear weapons play and must continue to play in the Union.
Portal/Wolfgang Rattay Macron renewed his nuclear deterrence offer to Europe
Macron recalled that he had already made the offer in early 2020. At the time, however, European partners such as Germany reacted with caution. Since Britain left on January 31, 2020, France is the only remaining nuclear power in the EU. Macron has long demanded that Europe become more independent of the US superpower.
Scholz again campaigned for tank deliveries
In his speech in Munich on Friday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed that he was “intensively” promoting “that everyone who can supply such war tanks actually does so”. At the end of January, Berlin set the target of supplying Ukraine with up to 31 main battle tanks. 14 of them are said to come from Bundeswehr stockpiles, for the remaining tanks Berlin is expecting commitments from allies.
AP/Michael Probst Scholz once again spoke out in favor of delivering tanks to Ukraine
Scholz again emphasized that each new step in arms aid must be agreed with the partners. The German chancellor defended the supply of tanks to Ukraine against his own country’s concerns. It was not “our arms deliveries” that prolonged the war. The sooner Russian President Vladimir Putin realizes “that he will not achieve his imperialist objective, the greater the chance that the war will end soon and Russian troops will withdraw,” Scholz said.
Battle against “Goliath”
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his video speech that he expected the war to end in 2023: “Goliath has already started to lose. Goliath will definitely fall this year,” the president said.
He compared his country to the biblical David who had to defend himself against a Russian Goliath. There is “no alternative to our victory”, said Zelensky, who urged the West to speed up the delivery of weapons and support to his country.
Kyiv wants controversial ammunition
On the MSC on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Olexander Kubrakow called for both cluster and phosphorus munitions for Kiev – the use of both weapons is, however, very controversial. Like Russia, your country also wants to use this “type of weaponry”.
“It’s our territory,” said Kubrakov. He understands the difficulty because of conventions, but this type of ammo can help resist attackers. Cluster munitions are munitions that explode in the air over the target, releasing many small explosive devices. Phosphorous ammunition can cause severe burns and poisoning in humans.
Schallenberg: “We raised an unbelievable sum”
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Minister for Europe Karoline Edtstadler (both ÖVP) do not see Austria under pressure with its adherence to military neutrality in the Ukraine war. “I never received any requests to hand over weapons,” Schallenberg said on the sidelines of the security conference. “It is recognized that we are doing an incredible amount in other areas,” added Edtstadler, referring to humanitarian aid.
A Year of War in Ukraine: What Stops Putin?
In this regard, the Minister of Europe reported on his recent visit to Kiev, during which a fire brigade was mobilized after a Russian rocket attack. “The firefighter was wearing protective gear from Graz.” Schallenberg pointed out that Austria, as measured by its economic output, was number one in terms of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. In the conflict, Austria was also “sharpened to the limit of what is possible under neutrality law”.
Russia is no longer invited after cancellation
More than 150 high-ranking government representatives attend this year’s meeting in Munich. Russian government officials are absent for the second consecutive year. After the Kremlin declined all invitations to the meeting last year, just before Russia invaded Ukraine, this time Moscow did not receive the invitation.
The Munich Security Conference has been held since 1963. In addition to public discussions and speeches, it is known for its “backroom meetings” at the Bayerischer Hof, where politicians can exchange ideas in unofficial conversations.
Several thousand people protested the conference at several rallies in central Munich on Saturday. On the part of the security forces, around 4,500 Bavarian police and 300 members of the federal police were on the MSC until Sunday.