Federal Defense Minister Pistorius is traveling to Ukraine to mark the 10th anniversary of the protests on Maidan Square. He promises the country further support.
Pistorius promises further solidarity
Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius pledged further support for Ukraine during his visit to Kyiv. He is in Ukraine to show Germany’s “solidarity and deep solidarity and ours too Admiration for the courageous, brave and losing battle that is being waged here“, said Pistorius on Tuesday in Maidan Square in the Ukrainian capital. There he placed flowers at the memorial to the “Heroes of the Maidan”.
The pro-European protests in Ukraine began ten years ago on Maidan Square in central Kyiv, which led to the fall of the government three months later. “Ten years ago we became eyewitnesses, contemporary witnesses, of what happened here and what continues to have an impact today,” said Pistorius. “Today, for almost a year and a half, Ukrainians have been fighting for their freedom again, in this case against an attacker from outside.”
It is the second visit by the German Defense Minister to Ukraine since he took office in January. The big topics of the trip are the training of Ukrainian soldiers and military aid. In addition to political talks with his Ukrainian colleague Rustem Umerov, a visit to a Ukrainian military training facility is also planned. (afp)
Exports to Russia continue to decline
Germany’s exports to Russia continue to decline. In October, goods worth only 0.6 billion euros were exported to the country, which was 37.3 percent less than a year ago, as the Federal Statistical Office announced on Tuesday. This puts Russia in 18th place among the most important export countries outside the EU. In February 2022, shortly before the start of the Ukraine war, it was still in fifth place.
Overall, German exports to these so-called third countries rose slightly by 1.7 percent in October compared to September, but were down 6.6 percent year-on-year. The most important export country for German goods was still the USA with a volume of 14.3 billion euros, which was 2.3 percent more than in October last year.
China followed, where exports fell by 6.7 percent to 7.9 billion euros. Exports to the United Kingdom increased by 8.6 percent year-on-year to 6.8 billion euros. (afp)
Ukraine: New Russian missile attacks
According to Ukraine’s own statements, several important civil infrastructure facilities were damaged in recent nighttime Russian drone and missile attacks. “The central municipal hospital in the city of Selydovye in the Donetsk region, the building of the Kotlyarevska mine and other civilian infrastructure were destroyed and damaged,” it said in a statement. Nothing was initially reported about possible victims.
The Ukrainian army said Russian forces fired four guided missiles and one cruise missile and launched 11 attack drones. Ten drones and the cruise missile were repelled.
As was the case last winter, Kyiv expects attacks on its cities and the country’s energy and heat supply infrastructure in the coming months. After the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last winter, thousands of people were stuck in the cold and darkness for long periods of time. Since then, Kyiv has received more air defense systems from its Western allies, including Germany. (afp)
USA imposes sanctions against “Butchers of Butscha”
The US government imposes entry bans on two Russian military officers for their involvement in “serious human rights violations”. The measure affects, on the one hand, Asatbek Omurbekov, who is known as the “Butcher of Bucha,” the US State Department announced on Monday. The US government accuses him of “extrajudicial killings of unarmed Ukrainian civilians” in the village of Andriivka in eastern Ukraine. He also led his unit to Butscha, where they “killed, beat, dismembered, burned civilians and carried out mock executions.”
Also the European Union had already imposed sanctions on Omurbekov because of his “direct responsibility for killings, rape and torture” in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.
The US government has placed another guard corporal, Daniil Frolkin, on the sanctions list because of the killings in Andriyivka. “The reports that Omurbekov and Frolkin were involved in serious human rights violations, as documented by nongovernmental organizations and independent investigations, are serious and credible,” the US State Department said.
As a result of the sanctions, Omurbekov, Frolkin and their immediate family members can no longer enter the United States. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US government imposed numerous sanctions against Moscow, Russian institutions or allies of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. This includes the Russian military unit that is held responsible for the atrocities in Bucha. (dpa)
Senior cybersecurity officials fired
In Ukraine, the two highest-ranking civilian cybersecurity officials have been fired. Among them is Viktor Schora, who is internationally known for Ukraine’s efforts against hacker attacks from Russia, as Cabinet member Taras Melnytschuk announced on Telegram. In addition, Schora’s boss Yuri Shchyhol, head of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection, was fired.
The prosecutor’s office announced that several people were suspected of embezzlement in connection with the purchase of software in 2020-2022. Neither Zhora nor Shchyhol were named in the statement from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. It said that suspects included the head of the state secret service and his deputy. The State Service for Special Communications is involved in the case.
This state service announced on its website that it had complied with legal regulations when making purchases since 2020. Authorities should not make allegations against individuals before completing the investigation, it said. Schora told the AP news agency that he had nothing to add.
There have been several corruption scandals in Ukraine. Most recently, six deputy defense ministers were fired. The prerequisite for Ukraine’s admission to the EU and NATO are government reforms and the fight against widespread corruption. (ap)
Players and fans: Italians clap during Ukraine anthem
The players and fans of European soccer champions Italy sent a sign of peace before the decisive European Championship qualifier against Ukraine on Monday. Before the last group game, which took place in Leverkusen because of the Russian war of aggression, they clapped completely during the Ukrainian anthem. The Ukrainian players certainly seemed moved.
Because of the war, the Ukrainians have already played home games in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Before the duel on Monday, both were tied on points, and Italy would be enough to qualify directly for the 2024 finals in Germany. (dpa)
New US military package for Ukraine
Ukraine is receiving a new arms package from the USA for its own defense. According to information from Washington, the package worth 100 million US dollars (around 91.4 million euros) is military aid that has already been approved by the US Congress. The armament package includes, among other things, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, a Himars-type multiple rocket launcher and artillery ammunition. “In particular, there will be more artillery shells, which are particularly needed now,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his daily video message on Monday. According to him, the weapons aid was also during the visit of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Kyiv discussed.
During the talks, the situation at the front, the prospects there and ways to strengthen the Ukrainian defense were examined, Zelensky said. He described the meeting as productive. He thanked the United States for its “continued leadership role in aid.”
US Defense Secretary Austin said during his stay in Kyiv on Monday: “In a conflict like this, there is no silver bullet.” It is important to provide the right capabilities and integrate them sensibly so that the right effects can be achieved on the battlefield could.
He assured Ukraine of further support. He sees “cross-party support in both chambers of Congress” for this. Some members of Congress have legitimate questions that the administration will answer. President Joe Biden’s administration must fight to release new funds for Ukraine. The continuation of aid in the US Congress is controversial.
Ukraine has been defending itself against a Russian war of aggression for almost 21 months. Kyiv received massive financial and military aid from the West. Ukraine fears military setbacks due to the looming decline in support. (dpa)