+++ News in the Ukraine war +++: Kyiv threatens to boycott the Olympics
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister is against the participation of Russian athletes in Paris 2024. Selenski opened the Berlinale and will be connected to the Munich Siko.
250 million euros confiscated from oligarchs
According to a court order and according to the secret service in Kyiv, Ukraine will receive assets by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska worth the equivalent of 250 million euros. The Supreme Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine has confirmed a decision by the Ministry of Justice in Kyiv, according to which Deripaska’s companies, land and holdings will be transferred to the state, the secret service said on Thursday evening. Ukraine wants to use the money to compensate for war damage.
Deripaska, who is close to the head of the Kremlin Vladimir Putin and is also subject to sanctions in the West as a supporter of the war of aggression against Ukraine, is one of the richest Russians. The multi-billionaire, who became rich in the aluminum business, among other things, has managed companies through a network of companies and business structures in various regions of Ukraine, it said. He tried to hide his ownership.
According to the secret service, it was discovered that Deripaska owned or partially owned several companies. More than 300 objects were also confiscated, including real estate that would now be transferred to state assets. The total value of the assets transferred to the state is ten billion hryvnia (around 250 million euros), the secret service said. Deripaska has been criticized for making money directly from the war in Ukraine through his commodity deals and proximity to the Kremlin. (dpa)
Ukraine threatens to boycott the 2024 Olympics
Ukraine has threatened to boycott the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris if Russian or Belarusian athletes participate. “This is one of several options,” said Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba the French newspaper Ouest France from Friday. If Russian and Belarusian athletes came to Paris instead of Ukrainian athletes, it would be against all moral, sporting and political standards. This also applies if they compete under a neutral flag, as suggested by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
Kuleba sharply criticized the IOC leadership: “The hypocrisy of the IOC President and the committee is simply pathetic.” Most Russian athletes who had won medals at the past Olympic Games represented sports clubs of the Russian army. “A country that commits aggression – condemned by a large majority of the UN General Assembly – loses the right to compete in the Olympic Games. This also applies to all his athletes,” said Kuleba. (rtr)
Kyiv specifies the demand for the delivery of fighter jets
Just before the start the Munich Security Conference on Friday Ukraine specifies its demand for delivery western fighter planes. “We would be particularly interested in fighter jets from the US, UK, France and Germany. These countries have the highest production capacities and the largest aircraft fleets,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Funke media group newspapers in a preliminary report. The machines could be used to shoot down enemy missiles and are important for the counter-offensive. This year’s security conference, to which Kuleba is also expected, begins in Munich on Friday.
For Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, diplomatic initiatives to end the war only stand a chance on the basis of Ukraine’s fully restored territorial integrity. This is the prerequisite for talks with Russia and is non-negotiable, the minister tells the newspapers of the Funke media group immediately before the start of the Munich Security Conference. If the Kremlin understands that it can conquer territories militarily, it has no incentive to end the war. “We learned a bitter lesson: if you give Russia the little finger, it takes the whole hand,” Kuleba said. (rtr)
Zelenski welcomes prisoner exchange
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described the return of soldiers from Russian captivity as a success. 100 soldiers and the first deputy mayor as the location of the largest European nuclear power plant Zaporizhia The well-known city of Enerhodar is free again, Zelensky said in his evening video message on Thursday in Kyiv. “I am happy for the more than 100 families whose sons, brothers and husbands are returning,” he said. Russia had also received 101 soldiers from Ukrainian captivity.
At the same time, Zelensky emphasized that the fight was still focused on keeping the front line under control and preparing for new escalation steps by the enemy. “Moving forward in the further liberation of our country is a priority,” Zelensky said. For this, deliveries of weapons and ammunition from the West and training of the military are necessary.
Selenski thanked once again for the international support, including from Norway, Great Britain and Lithuania. After a video speech at the Opening of the Berlinale he praised the solidarity of the organizers of the 73rd Berlin Film Festival with Ukraine.
“The blue and yellow colors of the Berlinale symbol, the famous bear, are very touching. And powerful,” he said, looking at the blue and yellow national flag of Ukraine. Filmmakers have supported Ukraine with the power of their work and influence, said Zelensky, who himself was a film actor before being elected president in 2019. (dpa)
France sees a special role for itself in the Ukraine war
They are a month apart in age, both came into office as outsiders and are not afraid to break with political traditions: Emmanuel Macron and Volodymyr Zelensky, the French and Ukrainian presidents, were personally close even before the start of the Ukraine war. At the same time, Macron is also the one who negotiated the most persistently with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the beginning of the war a year ago.
Both contribute to France claiming a special role among the EU states in the conflict. Selenski’s lightning visit to Paris last week before the EU summit, to which Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was invited at the last minute, underlined this. While Scholz then traveled alone to Brussels at night, Macron Selenski offered to fly in his presidential plane.
In contrast to Scholz, Macron has hardly been criticized at all for the fact that his country has not yet delivered battle tanks to Ukraine. “This also has to do with the fact that France sent material, such as helicopters, even before the start of the war,” says Marie Dumoulin, head of the European program at the European Council on Foreign Relations, the agency afp.
Despite Macron’s closeness to Zelenskiy, the French president has repeatedly come under criticism for showing too much consideration for Russia. The image of Macron and Putin at his XXL negotiating table is remembered by many – it was one of the last unsuccessful attempts to prevent the war. Macron later spoke regularly to Putin on the phone.
Macron’s contact with Putin has been broken since September, “impressed by the atrocities, the attacks on infrastructure and the suffering of the civilian population,” says Célia Belin, Paris office head of the European Council for Foreign Relations. The joint trip to Kiev with Scholz and the visit to Butscha last June certainly played their part.
Macron is likely to use the Munich security conference on Friday to secure a place for France at a future negotiating table. “The Franco-German team will no longer play a role,” says Belin. The Normandy format (comprising representatives of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany) has become obsolete. She adds: “The USA has become indispensable for this.” (afp)