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Ukraine updates: Germany to send €500 million in arms

August 23, 2022

Meanwhile, officials in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, have banned public celebrations commemorating independence from Soviet rule, citing a raised threat of Russian attack in the war. Follow DW for more.

The Iris-T air defense system
The Iris-T air defense system is among the weapons projected for deliveryImage: Jens Krick/Flashpic/picture alliance

Germany is prepared to ship in 2023 more than €500 million ($499.3 million) in weapons to help Ukraine fend off the ongoing Russian invasion, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced.

Among other things, Germany will send to Ukraine three more Iris-T air defense systems, a dozen armored recovery vehicles, 20 pickup mounted rocket launchers, precision ammunition and anti-drone devices, a government spokesman said on Tuesday during the chancellor's trip to Canada.

"This is a step towards a sustainable modernization of the Ukrainian armed forces," said the spokesman.

Scholz had recently promised further large-scale financial and military support for Ukraine.

Earlier this year Germany wrestled with the question of whether it should supply weapons to Ukraine, resulting in long delays that were the subject of considerable criticism both domestically and abroad.

But the deliveries have sped up, and Berlin says it has already supplied Ukraine with 15 self-propelled GEPARD anti-aircraft guns, 10 self-propelled howitzers, several armored personnel carriers, hundreds of portable air defense systems, as well as a slew of other lethal and non-lethal aid.

Ukraine: heavy weapons from Germany

Here's a roundup of some of the other key developments regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine on August 23.

Hundreds attend Dugina's funeral

Hundreds of mourners lined up on Tuesday to pay tribute to Daria Dugina, the daughter of ultra-nationalist ideologue and Vladimir Putin ally Alexander Dugin, who was killed by an apparent car bomb on Sunday. The funeral was attended by several politicians, celebrities and journalists.

In an emotional speech standing beside his daughter's casket, Dugin said "she died for Russia."

"The huge price we have to pay can only be justified by the highest achievement, our victory,'' he said.

"She lived for the sake of victory, and she died for the sake of victory. Our Russian victory, our truth, our Orthodox faith, our state.''

Dugin also shared several supposed anecdotes about his late daughter's early years, as well as her final moments. He added: "In her childhood, almost the first words we taught her were, of course, 'Russia,' 'our state,' 'our people,' 'our empire.'"

Russian authorities have pinned the attack on Ukrainian operatives, however Kyiv has denied any involvement.

Alexander Dugin at the funeral for Daria Dugina
Alexander Dugin sat beside his daughter's casket in a large funeral with hundreds of mournersImage: Vladimir Kondrashov/AP/picture alliance

US to announce $3 billion in military aid

The United States is set to announce military aid package to the tune of $3 billion (€3.01 billion) that will fund drones, weapons and other equipment.

Unlike previous military aid, which focused on Ukraine's immediate needs, the forthcoming package is expected to cover the country's medium-to-long term defense requirements. Some of the weapons might not be used "for a year or two," US officials said.

Officials told the Associated Press that the official announcement will likely be made on Wednesday — Ukraine's independence day and the six-month milestone since Russia invaded.

Stoltenberg urges further support for Ukraine

Six months after the start of the Russian war of aggression, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned against reducing military and financial support to Ukraine. "I'm not saying it's easy. It requires hard work," Stoltenberg told German public broadcaster ZDF.

He said that the states would "pay a price" for their support, for example "as a consequence of the sanctions and of course as a result of the fact that Russia uses energy as a weapon".

But there is "no alternative," Stoltenberg said. Not acting would suggest that aggressive military action would be rewarded. That would create “a more dangerous world” for everyone, he said.

Stoltenberg warned of war fatigue. People must remember what is at stake: “It is solidarity with more than 40 million Ukrainians. But it is also about protecting our own interests. It is the rule of the world order that great powers cannot simply invade their neighbors."

IAEA says it could visit Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in days

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine within days if talks to gain access succeed, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

"I'm continuing to consult very actively and intensively with all parties," the statement quoted IAEA chief Rafael Grossi as saying. "The mission [to Zaporizhzhia] is expected to take place within the next few days if ongoing negotiations succeed."

Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of shelling Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the fighting near the complex has stoked fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

Poland's president calls for dismantling of Nord Stream 2

During a visit to Kyiv, Polish President Andrzej Duda called for the dismantling of the Baltic gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, Nord Stream 2.

There can be no return to normality in relations with Moscow, Duda said on Tuesday at the Crimea Platform conference. Therefore, a new policy is required to dispose of Nord Stream 2, the president said.

Poland and other eastern EU countries long criticized the Russian-German project as giving the Kremlin leverage over Europe and putting the continent's energy security at risk.

The German government refused to put the pipeline into operation in February, due to the looming Russian attack. However, there are still advocates for Nord Stream 2 in Berlin.

US to announce $3 billion in new military aid for Ukraine — reports

The United States is expected to announce as early as on Wednesday a new security assistance package for Ukraine of about $3 billion (€3 billion), a US official said on Tuesday.

This weapons assistance package would be the largest such assistance package that Washington has generated for Ukraine in the six months since Russian troops invaded the country in February.

Ukraine eyes quiet independence day

Officials in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, have banned public celebrations commemorating independence from Soviet rule, citing a raised threat of Russian attack in the war.

The decision comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Moscow could try "something particularly ugly" ahead of the day.

Other cities have also restricted public gatherings. In the second city of Kharkiv, a northeastern city which has been under frequent and deadly long-range artillery and rocket fire, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said an extended overnight curfew would run from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. — effective from Tuesday to Thursday.

In the port of Mykolaiv, which is close to Russian-held territory in the south, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said there would be a precautionary order for residents to work from home on Tuesday and Wednesday.

He also urged people not to gather in large groups.

Fears of intensified attacks have risen after Russia's FSB intelligence service accused Ukrainian agents of killing Darya Dugina, the daughter of a Russian ultra-nationalist ideologue, in a car-bombing near Moscow near Moscow.

The US embassy in Kyiv has warned that Russia is planning to strike Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in the coming days.

"If you hear a loud explosion or if sirens are activated, immediately seek cover,'' the US State Department said in its alert.

"If in a home or a building, go to the lowest level of the structure with the fewest exterior walls, windows, and openings; close any doors and sit near an interior wall, away from any windows or openings."

The UN said on Monday has Russia's war has killed nearly 5,600 civilians, including many children.

Zelenskyy vows that Ukraine will retake Crimea

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised Tuesday that Kyiv would restore its rule over Crimea. The peninsula was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

"It is necessary to liberate Crimea. This will be the resuscitation of world law and order," Zelenskyy told delegates to the Crimea Platform, an online video conference.

The forum seeks to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity over the peninsula.

Polish President Andrzej Duda, who met Zelenskyy in person, urged other leaders not to turn a blind eye on Russian aggression, or abandon the idea of Ukraine taking back Crimea.

Other Western leaders who took part in the Crimea Platform virtually said they supported Ukraine in its will not to concede any territory lost to Russia since 2014.

Lithuania floats regional ban on Russian visas

European Unions members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland — all of which have a border with Russia — may stop Russian tourists from entering their countries if there is no European Union-wide ban, according to Lithuania's top diplomat.

"I have talked to ministers from all these countries... I don't see many differences politically," said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

"Russian tourists shouldn't be in the European Union... Their country is undertaking genocide," he added.
Finland and Estonia have been pushing the plan but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the European Commission are so far against the proposal. 

UN rights office says Mariupol POW trial unacceptable

The UN rights office says plans by Russian-backed authorities to try Ukrainian prisoners of war in Mariupol, possibly within days, could amount to a war crime.

"We are very concerned about the manner in which this is being done. There are pictures in the media of cages being built in Mariupol's philharmonic hall, really massive cages and apparently the idea is to restrain the prisoners," Ravina Shamdasani told a UN briefing. 

"This is not acceptable, this is humiliating," she said.

Shamdasani added that willfully depriving a prisoner of war to the right to a fair trial amounts to a war crime by Russia.

More artillery strikes near nuclear plant

Ukraine's General Staff says Russia has carried out artillery and air strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region — where fighting near Europe's largest nuclear power plant has raised fears of a disastrous nuclear incident.

With its six reactors and a net output of 5,700 megawatts, Zaporizhzhya — which is under Russian occupation and is being used as a base for strikes — is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

Meanwhile, the General Staff tweeted to mark a separate event to Ukrainian Independence Day. August 23 is the Day of the National Flag of Ukraine.

The General Staff said the flag would lead the country to victory and "will forever wave over a sovereign, integral, indivisible, independent, inviolable, independent, democratic, equal Ukraine within its internationally recognized state borders!"

Polish president arrives in Kyiv

Th office of Polish President Andrzej Duda confirmed his arrival in Kyiv, to discuss further support for Ukraine — including military aid.

"The visit will include a meeting with president Zelenskiy and talks on military support and defense of Ukraine in the economic, humanitarian and political sense,"  the head of Duda's office, Pawel Szrot, told reporters.

Szrot said that Duda would join Zelensky in online discussions in the context of the Crimea Platform,
a diplomatic initiative set up by Ukraine in August last year aimed at reversing Russia's 2014 annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

Ukraine hopes to use the platform's second meeting to garner support for recovering the Crimean Peninsula.

Other prominent leaders joining the discussions are German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg.

More on the war in Ukraine

Six months into the ongoing invasion of the country, the Ukrainian men's football Premier League resumed. For safety reasons, the games will take place without spectators.

Ukraine's central bank has been de facto printing money to pay its troops, but the measure is unsustainable. More international support is vital, but how much new cash could be raised domestically?

Shunned by the international community, Moscow and Pyongyang see benefits in collaborating on laborers and trade. Russia has also started to support the North in the United Nations.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his deputy Robert Habeck embarked on a three-day visit seeking to sign a hydrogen production deal with Canada and foster new energy ties amid Russia's invasion. 

The State Department has warned of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine's infrastructure, while Moscow has blamed Kyiv for the killing of Russian nationalist Daria Dugina. More from Monday's updates.

rc/jcg, jsi (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)