President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Davos on Wednesday called for “speed” in the decision-making process for aid to Ukraine, Germany is still hesitant to approve the delivery of Leopard tanks.
Fourteen dead in the crash of the Ukrainian Interior Minister’s helicopter, the NATO allies who will supply Ukraine with “heavier and more modern” weapons, Putin who has “no doubt” about a Russian victory… Le Figaro takes stock Thursday, 18 January, the conflict in Ukraine.
In Davos, Zelenskyy draws hope for “heavier and more modern” weapons
Soon “heavier and more modern” weapons for Ukraine: This was announced by the NATO Secretary General on Wednesday in Davos, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on his allies to make quicker decisions about aid for his country in the face of the Russian invasion. The Contact Group for Ukraine, which brings together some fifty countries led by the United States, met Friday at the American base in Ramstein, Germany, to coordinate continued aid to Kyiv. “The main message will be increased support with heavier and more modern weapons,” said Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the Atlantic Alliance, during a World Economic Forum roundtable meeting at the Schweizer Ski Resort station this week.
Shortly before, Volodymyr Zelensky had intervened via video conference to launch a “call for speed,” in which it was hard to miss a reference to Germany’s reluctance to authorize supplies of Leopard tanks to its country. The latter are among the modern, Western-designed heavy tanks that Kyiv is asking its allies for and which experts say will be crucial in the upcoming fighting in eastern Ukraine. “Tyranny advances faster than democracies,” lamented the Ukrainian president. “The time the free world spends thinking is being used by a terrorist state to kill,” he accused.
Pressure on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has particularly increased in recent days to quickly approve the delivery of Leopard, very powerful main battle tanks, to Ukraine. Any shipment of German-made war material must indeed get the green light from Berlin, and Finnish, Lithuanian, Polish and British leaders had again called for a quick decision on Tuesday. Olaf Scholz, who spoke shortly before President Zelenskyy in the Davos ski area, made no such announcement in his speech.
Washington will not immediately deliver Abrams tanks to Ukraine
The United States is unwilling to provide Ukraine with its most advanced heavy tank, the Abrams, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday, citing maintenance and training issues as the reason for the refusal. Ukraine has been asking the West for modern tanks to repel the Russian invasion for weeks, but the latter have so far only sent light tanks and armored personnel carriers.
“I don’t think we’re there,” Pentagon number three Colin Kahl said when asked during a press conference about the possibility of sending Abrams tanks to Kyiv after Britain last weekend announced the first country that promised heavy tanks, Challenger 2. “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It’s expensive, it requires rigorous training, it has a jet engine. I think it uses 11 liters of kerosene per km,” said Colin Kahl, Secretary of Defense for Strategy. “It’s not the easiest system to maintain,” he added, without ruling out a change in the US position in the future.
Fourteen dead in Ukrainian Interior Minister’s helicopter crash
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky was killed on Wednesday near Kyiv when his helicopter crashed, killing at least 14 people, including a child from a kindergarten, as he traveled to the front lines in full war with Russia. The plane, a Super Puma EC-225 (Airbus Helicopters, ex-Eurocopter), according to the State Emergency Situations Service (SES) to which it belonged, crashed at 8:20 a.m. in Brovary, near Kyiv. “The kindergarten building was hit, and the fire then spread to the windows of a fourteen-story building and three cars,” SES said on Telegram, adding that there were nine people on board the plane, including the minister and his deputy . 25 people were also injured and hospitalized, including 11 children.
“Our pain is inexpressible,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an online message, referring to the fact that the crash involved a kindergarten as well as the deaths of the Interior Minister, his deputy Yevgeny Lenin and State Secretary Yuriy Lubkovich. “The Security Service of Ukraine has opened a criminal investigation into this horrific incident,” Zelenskyy said in a speech late Wednesday. Ukrainian security services said they are considering all possibilities, including “deliberate destructive actions”. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser offered Kyiv Berlin’s “support” in these investigations. In a statement, US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden hailed “a reformer and a patriot” and denounced a “heartbreaking tragedy”.
” SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Interior minister killed in helicopter crash near Kyiv
Putin has “no doubt” of a Russian victory
President Vladimir Putin assured on Wednesday that he had “no doubt” about a “guaranteed” Russian victory, almost a year after the start of the Russian operation on Ukrainian territory. He claimed Russia faces a “neo-Nazi regime” in Ukraine and said it will continue to “help” the population of Ukraine’s separatist east during a visit to an arms factory in Saint Petersburg. His Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went even further, comparing Western countries’ actions against his country to the Nazi regime’s “final solution” to exterminate the Jews.
“Just as Napoleon mobilized almost all of Europe against the Russian Empire, just as Hitler mobilized and conquered most European countries to act against the Soviet Union, the United States assembled a coalition against Moscow today,” he told a news conference. Their task is “the same: the ‘final solution’ of the Russian question. Just as Hitler wanted to solve the Jewish question, Western leaders are now saying in no uncertain terms that Russia must suffer a strategic defeat,” he added.
” SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Putin says he has “no doubts” that Russia will win
President of Ukraine wrote to Xi Jinping on ‘dialogue’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote a letter to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to engage in “dialogue,” his wife Olena Zelenska said on Wednesday, who shared the letter with the Chinese delegation at the Davos Forum. “It’s a gesture and an invitation to dialogue,” she said during a press conference in Switzerland, having recently referred to the letter, adding that she “sincerely hopes that there will be a response to this invitation “.
Russia: A soldier was killed after leaving a military base
Russian authorities announced on Wednesday that they had shot dead a soldier who had left a military base. Several media outlets reported that he left his unit behind as part of the offensive in Ukraine. “Dmitry Perov, who is wanted for leaving a military unit voluntarily without permission, has been found and eliminated,” the government of the Lipetsk region in western Russia said in a statement on Telegram. This source did not specify where and under what circumstances the man was killed. The 31-year-old soldier left the “special military operation area in Ukraine” and is wanted in both Voronezh and Lipetsk, the local branch of the state media VGTRK reported.
The new President of the Red Cross will travel to Moscow this week
New ICRC President Mirjana Spolyaric is traveling to Moscow on Thursday and Friday to meet with Russian government officials and discuss access to soldiers captured since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the organization said on Wednesday. Urgent humanitarian needs and prisoners of war will be “the focus” of his visit following his mission to Ukraine in December, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement. In Moscow, Mirjana Spolyaric, who took office last October, will “discuss pressing humanitarian issues with government officials and the Russian Red Cross Society.”