Berlin While the West is discussing the delivery of increasingly modern weapons to Ukraine, Moscow is spreading perseverance slogans and excluding negotiations with the leadership in Kyiv. “Our victory is certain, I have no doubts about that,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to an armaments factory in St. Petersburg. He swore his country and the west to a long-lasting war in Ukraine.
The Russian president also had nothing to do with the acute shortage of ammunition and weapons that has been repeatedly reported recently: “All in all, our defense industry produces as many missiles for various purposes in one year as all military-industrial companies in the world,” Putin claimed in the Obukhov plant in St Petersburg. The Russian armaments industry is now producing in three shifts around the clock, Putin said.
He will ensure that workers in arms factories are no longer drafted into the army. Bosses and employees of armaments companies had repeatedly complained about this.
Putin’s full-bodied statements on the state of the Russian defense industry are a surprising about-face. Russian military experts don’t think much of his statements in St. Petersburg either. A few days ago, at the first meeting of the Russian government, he insulted the ministers responsible for the armaments industry: “What nonsense are they doing,” Putin snapped at Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who he had named for armaments issues. Again and again he lost his temper when it came to state contracts for the Russian armaments industry.
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Russian observers such as ex-minister Vladimir Milow interpret the reversal as the country committing itself to a long war. Putin will not give up and agree to peace negotiations. On the contrary: During the visit to the Obukhov works, Putin swears by the “unity and cohesion of the Russian people and, in general, of the multinational Russian people”, which will inevitably ultimately lead to Russia’s victory over Ukraine.
Selenski asks allies for faster help
Meanwhile, his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ruled out the negotiations between the two presidents, which Western politicians have also repeatedly called for: “Negotiations with (Ukrainian President Volodomir) Zelensky are out of the question,” he said at a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday. Lavrov also accused the United States of acting like Hitler’s: Washington had also subjugated Europe in order to wage war against Moscow, Lavrov implied.
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Putin again claimed on Wednesday that he was fighting a “neo-Nazi regime” in Ukraine. US President Joe Biden called Russia’s efforts to “denazify” Ukraine cynical and improper, noting that Ukraine’s President Zelensky is Jewish and his family suffered in the Holocaust.
In a video-transmitted speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Zelenskiy accused Russia of exporting terror: “Russia has earned a place among the terrorists,” he said of Russia’s increasingly inhumane attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. Most recently, a residential building in the city of Dnipro was targeted and dozens of civilians died.
NATO chief Stoltenberg is putting pressure on the Leopard issue
In his speech, Zelensky urged the West to provide further rapid support. The delivery of anti-aircraft systems and tanks to Ukraine must be faster than the Russian attacks on his country.
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Meanwhile, Western politicians are also increasing the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been hesitant to date on the tank issue: the SPD politician promised Ukraine continued unlimited support in Davos. But he also did not respond to demand for the delivery of battle tanks.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the European Parliament and the governments of Poland and Finland increased pressure on Scholz on Wednesday to agree to deliveries of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. A “significant increase” in military aid is needed, said Stoltenberg. Putin gives no indication that he advocates peace. “Therefore, he must realize that he cannot win on the battlefield.” It is at a “decisive moment in the war.”
The European Parliament has asked to open the way for the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine. According to a decision by the European Parliament, the chancellor should “without further delay” initiate a consortium of countries that can provide such tanks.
On Thursday, after being sworn in, Scholz’ new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) will be the first to discuss further support for Ukraine with his US colleague Lloyd Austin in Berlin. On Friday, the states supporting Ukraine will meet in Rammstein to discuss further arms deliveries to Ukraine.
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