Russia scorns Germany for sending Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

Germany’s transfer to ship Leopard 2s to Kyiv will result in ‘everlasting escalation’, says Russian embassy in Berlin.

Moscow has slammed Berlin’s transfer to provide Ukraine with battle tanks and accused Germany of abandoning its “historic accountability to Russia” arising from Nazi crimes in World Conflict II.

The Russian embassy in Germany mentioned on Wednesday the choice to ship 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv and permit allies to re-export the identical fashions would worsen the battle in Ukraine to a brand new degree and result in “everlasting escalation”.

“This extraordinarily harmful choice takes the battle to a brand new degree of confrontation and contradicts the statements of German politicians in regards to the unwillingness of the Federal Republic of Germany to be drawn into it,” Ambassador Sergei Nechayev mentioned.

“It destroys the remnants of mutual belief, causes irreparable harm to the already deplorable state of Russian-German relations, and casts doubt on the opportunity of their normalisation within the foreseeable future.”


Kyiv has for months referred to as for Western tanks, arguing they’re desperately wanted to offer troops firepower and mobility to interrupt via Russian defensive strains and recapture occupied territory within the east and south.

Moscow has repeatedly mentioned Western-supplied tanks will “burn” and dismissed strategies they may have an effect on the end result of the 11-month battle, warning they may solely delay Ukrainian struggling.

Germany’s transfer is predicted to pave the best way for Poland, Finland and a bunch of different European nations to supply Ukraine tanks from their very own shares of Leopard 2s.

“With the approval of the management of Germany, battle tanks with German crosses will once more be despatched to the ‘jap entrance’, which can inevitably result in the deaths of not solely Russian troopers, but in addition the civilian inhabitants,” Nechayev mentioned.

The UK has already pledged to ship 14 of its Challenger 2 battle tanks to Kyiv, whereas the USA is poised to reverse course and provide Ukraine with greater than 30 of its personal M1 Abrams.

Ukraine says it has enough energy for winter amid Russian attacks | Russia-Ukraine war News

After months of assaults on vitality services, Ukraine is working with companions to hurry up restore work.

Ukraine has sufficient coal and gasoline reserves for the remaining winter months regardless of Russian assaults on its vitality infrastructure, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has mentioned.

Shmyhal mentioned the scenario within the vitality sector stays troublesome however underneath management after a months-long Russian marketing campaign of drone and missile assaults on important infrastructure that broken roughly 40 p.c of the vitality system.

“For now, all Russia’s makes an attempt to plunge Ukraine into darkness have failed,” Shmyhal instructed a authorities assembly on Monday.

“We’ve got sufficient reserves to proceed and finish the heating season in regular mode. About 11 billion cubic metres of gasoline are saved in gasoline storages and almost 1.2 million tonnes of coal are in storages.”

Rescue workers at a destroyed building
Rescue employees clear the rubble from an residence constructing that was destroyed in a Russian rocket assault at a residential neighbourhood within the southeastern metropolis of Dnipro [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo]

Shmyhal added that the federal government had authorised a call to permit the state oil and gasoline firm, Naftogaz, to obtain a 189 million euro ($205m) grant from the European Financial institution for Reconstruction and improvement.

Regardless of a warmer-than-usual December and January, Ukraine’s areas are experiencing energy blackouts attributable to an vitality deficit.

However Shmyhal mentioned the nation has continued to work with companions to hurry up restore works, get well distribution services, and implement new vitality effectivity programmes.

Russia launched an aerial marketing campaign of missile and drone assaults focusing on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure to extend the stress on Kyiv over the winter after Ukrainian forces made a sequence of battlefield beneficial properties.

Ukraine has condemned the aerial assaults as “battle cimes”. Russia has constantly denied attacking civilian targets.

At a gathering of Ukraine’s allies final week, pledges had been made to ship air defence methods and different weapons to bolster Kyiv’s capabilities to repel the Russian assaults.

However Ukraine continues to ask Western international locations to ramp up weapons deliveries, together with battle tanks that it seeks for a possible new offensive towards Russian forces within the coming months.

Kyiv has pleaded for months for Western tanks, which it says it wants to offer its forces the firepower and mobility to interrupt by Russian defensive strains and recapture occupied territory.

As Russia’s monthslong aerial marketing campaign has continued, Ukrainian and Western army officers have mentioned Moscow faces a scarcity of arms after firing 1000’s of artillery shells and missiles at Ukraine because it invaded 11 months in the past.

Talking on Monday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev mentioned Russian weapons shares had been sufficient to proceed preventing in Ukraine.

Deputy head of Russia's Security Counci
Deputy head of Russia’s Safety Council and chairman of the United Russia social gathering Dmitry Medvedev visits the Kalashnikov Group plant in Izhevsk, Russia [Ekaterina Shtukina/Sputnik/Pool via Reuters]

“Our opponents are watching, they periodically make statements that we don’t have this or that … I need to disappoint them. We’ve got sufficient of all the pieces,” Medvedev mentioned throughout a go to to a Kalashnikov manufacturing facility in Izhevsk, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) east of Moscow.

In a video posted on his Telegram channel, Medvedev was seen inspecting assault rifles, artillery shells, missiles and drones.

Medvedev instructed officers throughout the go to that drones had been in exceptionally excessive demand for its “particular army operation”.

Drones, utilized by the warring international locations, have been seen as exact, low cost and safer to function than manned plane.

Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the Safety Council, turned head of a brand new military-industrial fee final December to supervise weapons manufacturing to assist the battle.

He’s one among Russia’s most hawkish pro-war voices.

Final week, he mentioned {that a} defeat in Ukraine may set off a nuclear battle.

Ukraine helicopter crash: What we know so far | Russia-Ukraine war News

At the very least 15 folks, together with Ukraine’s inside minister, have been killed after a helicopter crashed in a suburb of the capital, Kyiv, based on Ukrainian emergency companies.

Three youngsters have been among the many useless and greater than 20 others wounded in Wednesday’s incident have been being handled in hospital, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU) mentioned. An area official had earlier put the demise toll at 18.

There was no fast official assertion on the reason for the crash. Russia, which invaded Ukraine almost 11 months in the past, has but to remark.

Here’s what we all know to date:

The place did the helicopter crash?

The helicopter got here down at about 8:20am native time (06:20 GMT) close to a nursery and residential constructing within the city of Brovary, on the Ukrainian capital’s northeastern outskirts.

Movies shared on social media confirmed a burning constructing on the purported location the place the helicopter got here down. Individuals may very well be heard screaming within the footage.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential workplace, mentioned the helicopter – which belonged to Ukraine’s emergency companies – was flying in the direction of frontline positions within the nation’s east when it crashed.


How many individuals have been killed?

The SESU mentioned in a Fb publish that 9 folks had been on board the helicopter in whole. It was not instantly clear if any of the passengers had survived.

In whole, 15 folks have been confirmed to have been killed as of 11:00am native time (09:00 GMT), the SESU mentioned. The demise toll included three youngsters, it added.

An extra 25 folks, together with 15 adults and 10 youngsters, have been hospitalised with wounds sustained within the incident, the SESU mentioned.

Earlier, Oleksiy Kuleba, the governor of Kyiv area, had mentioned 18 folks have been killed within the crash.

Who was on board?

Ukrainian Inside Minister Denys Monastyrskyy, his deputy Yevhen Yenin and State Secretary of the Ministry of Inside Affairs Yurii Lubkovych have been amongst thosetravelling on the helicopter.

All three have been killed within the crash, based on Ukraine’s nationwide police chief Ihor Klymenko.

Monastyrskyy was answerable for the Ukrainian police and different emergency companies.

Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyy
Monastyrsky (left) was answerable for Ukraine’s police drive and the nation’s different emergency companies [File: Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE]

What prompted the crash?

It was not instantly clear what had prompted the helicopter to return down.

Ukrainian officers didn’t present a right away explanationand made no reference to any Russian assault within the space on the time.

Ukraine’s prosecutor normal, Andriy Kostin, mentioned authorities had launched an investigation into the incident.

“For now, we’re contemplating all attainable variations of the helicopter crash accident,” Kostin mentioned in a publish on the Telegram messaging app.

There was no fast remark from Russia.

What has been the response?

Ukrainian officers lamented the demise toll from Wednesday’s incident, which got here simply 4 days after a Russian missile strike on an house constructing within the central metropolis of Dnipro killed 45 civilians, together with six youngsters.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned the helicopter crash was a “horrible tragedy” that had prompted “unspeakable” ache.

“I’ve instructed the Safety Service of Ukraine, in cooperation with the Nationwide Police of Ukraine and different authorised our bodies, to seek out out all of the circumstances of what occurred,” Zelenskyy mentioned in a publish on the Telegram messaging app, hailing the inside ministry management group who misplaced their lives as “true patriots” of Ukraine,

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal echoed Zelenskyy’s message and described the demise of Monastyrskyy as a “nice loss” for Ukraine’s authorities.

“My honest condolences to the households of all of the victims,” Shmygal mentioned in a Telegram publish.

Chatting with Al Jazeera, Finland’s Overseas Minister Pekka Haavisto additionally known as the crash “a really tragic occasion”.

“It’s a really unhappy day,” he mentioned on the sidelines of the World Financial Discussion board. “Youngsters are [also] concerned on this accident and are in intensive care, so this can be a very dramatic occasion.”

Will the West deliver the tanks Ukraine is asking for? | Russia-Ukraine war News

The UK has pledged to ship greater than a dozen battle tanks to Ukraine because it continues to struggle Russia’s invading forces.

Moscow has reacted with fury, saying that all the models that the UK plans to ship “will burn” and do nothing to change the result of its practically yearlong struggle.

The UK announcement is more likely to improve strain on Germany to permit the export of German-made tanks to Ukraine, as a number of European nations await Berlin’s approval.

Right here’s what that you must know:

Why is Ukraine calling for tanks?

The Ukrainian authorities has repeatedly pleaded for extra weapons – together with battle tanks – from its Western allies to bolster its effort to push Russian forces in a foreign country.

Till now, Ukraine has relied totally on Soviet-era T-72 tank variants.

Battle tanks designed by NATO nations – similar to these produced by the UK and Germany – would offer Kyiv’s forces with higher safety, and extra correct firepower.

Nevertheless, they might not present an instantaneous increase when it comes to fight functionality as a result of Ukrainian forces would should be skilled to make use of any tanks equipped by Western allies – a course of that’s more likely to take a number of weeks at the least, if not longer.

Which nations have promised tanks?

The UK confirmed on Monday that it will ship 14 of its Challenger 2 predominant battle tanks to Ukraine in addition to different superior artillery help within the coming weeks.

Amongst Kyiv’s different allies, Poland has mentioned it’s eager to ship German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine as a part of a global coalition, however requires Berlin’s approval to take action below guidelines governing the re-export of German navy gear.

Finland has additionally floated the potential of supplying Ukraine with Leopard tanks, however mentioned doing so is dependent upon Germany’s lead.

Latvia, in the meantime, urged Kyiv’s allies to supply it with “all needed help”.

“Ukraine ought to have all [the] needed weapons … to withstand this offensive. Subsequently, all tanks must be given to Ukraine when potential,” Latvia’s President Egils Levits informed Al Jazeera on Monday.


Are there divisions within the West’s response?

Germany has resisted supplying Ukraine with battle tanks thus far, saying such models ought to solely be supplied to Kyiv if there may be settlement amongst its predominant allies, notably the US.

The re-export of Leopards requires German authorities approval, so different nations with such tanks couldn’t ship them to Ukraine with out it.

The US operates hundreds of M1 Abrams tanks constructed by Basic Dynamics, however they’re seen as unsuitable for Ukraine as they’re pushed by gasoline turbine engines.

One other key Ukrainian ally, France, has not mentioned whether or not it will be prepared to supply any of its personal Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the US mentioned it will ship dozens of Bradley armoured preventing automobiles to Ukraine, as Germany and France additionally dedicated to sending armoured automobiles.

A decision in regards to the Leopard 2 tanks could possibly be reached on Friday, when Ukraine’s allies are attributable to maintain talks in Germany over boosting navy help for Ukraine.

The assembly in Ramstein comes as Chancellor Olaf Scholz faces mounting strain to permit the export of Leopard 2 tanks.

Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, whose economic system ministry is chargeable for approving defence exports, mentioned on Thursday that Berlin mustn’t stand in the best way of nations that possess such models and wish to provide them to Kyiv.

Visual of countries sending weapons to Ukraine.

How has Russia reacted?

The Kremlin has mentioned the tanks that the UK plans to ship to Ukraine “will burn”.

“They [the UK] are utilizing this nation as a software to realize their anti-Russian objectives,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed reporters on Monday when requested in regards to the transfer.

“These tanks … will burn similar to the remainder,” he mentioned, including the brand new provides wouldn’t change the state of affairs on the bottom in Ukraine.

In the meantime, a pro-Kremlin presenter on the Rossiya 1 state tv channel mentioned the UK had “de facto entered the struggle” with its transfer to provide the models.

“I take into account Britain is now a reliable goal for us,” Vladimir Solovyev mentioned.

Will tanks make a distinction within the struggle?

With Russian troops fortifying their positions in occupied elements of Ukraine’s east and south, and maybe making ready for a brand new offensive within the months to come back, battle tanks would offer Ukraine with a way to raised defend itself and doubtlessly make breakthroughs on the battlefield.

Specialists on the Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research (IISS), a British think-tank, mentioned final week that about 100 tanks can be required for there to be “any important impact on the preventing”.

“This is able to replenish Kyiv’s tank fleet, which has suffered attrition, and add to its capabilities,” the IISS mentioned.

“Whereas politically notable, the availability of a small quantity would in impact solely be a token gesture,” it added.

Deaths, blackouts as Russian missiles hit multiple Ukraine cities | Russia-Ukraine war News

Russia has launched a brand new barrage of missiles at targets throughout Ukraine, killing no less than 12 folks within the eastern-central metropolis of Dnipro and disrupting energy provides within the Kyiv and Kharkiv areas, officers stated.

The assaults on Saturday smashed a nine-storey condominium block in Dnipro, decreasing a whole part of the constructing to rubble and sending smoke billowing into the sky. The deaths included that of a 15-year-old lady, based on officers.

Some 64 others had been additionally wounded.

“Tragedy!” stated Borys Filatov, mayor of the rocket-making metropolis on the Dnieper River.

“I’ve gone to the positioning. … We will likely be going by way of the rubble all night time.”

Photos from the scene confirmed firefighters placing out a blaze across the carcasses of some vehicles in Dnipro. A broad chunk of the condominium block was lacking, whereas the outside of the remainder of the constructing was badly broken.

Trapped residents had been signalling their location below the particles with their cell phone torches, based on Ukrainian media experiences.

“They maintain sending SMS-es,” Mikhailo Lysenko, deputy mayor of Dnipro stated in a social media video. “We cease our work every now and then to maintain silence and we hear folks scream from beneath the rubble.”

Regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko stated seven kids had been among the many wounded, the youngest three years outdated.

“The destiny of 26 folks remains to be unknown,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated it was not but identified what number of had been below the rubble.

“Sadly, the loss of life toll is rising each hour,” he stated in his nightly deal with.

Apart from Dnipro, different cities hit on Saturday included Odesa within the south, Kharkiv within the east, Lviv within the west and the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Civilian infrastructure, together with electrical energy websites, had been as soon as once more broken and energy outages had been reported.

Emergency blackouts had been utilized in “most areas” of Ukraine on Saturday because of the raids, Vitality Minister German Galushchenko stated.

He warned that the approaching days can be “tough”.

Officers stated the Kharkiv area misplaced energy fully and that disruptions to electrical energy and water provides in Lviv had been additionally potential.

Russia has been focusing on Ukraine’s power infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, inflicting sweeping blackouts and disruptions to central heating and working water.

Army high commander Valerii Zaluzhny stated that Russia fired 33 cruise missiles general on Saturday, of which 21 had been shot down.

UK pledges tanks

Moldova, Ukraine’s southwestern neighbour, stated it had discovered missile particles on its territory after the most recent Russian raids.

“Russia’s brutal struggle towards Ukraine instantly impacts Moldova once more,” President Maia Sandu tweeted, posting pictures of the wreckage.

“We strongly condemn at present’s intensified assaults.”

In his nightly speech, Zelenskyy appealed to the West to produce extra weapons to forestall additional deaths from what he described as “Russian terror”.

“What’s wanted for this? The form of weapons that our companions have in stockpiles and that our warriors have come to anticipate. The entire world is aware of what and how one can cease those that are sowing loss of life,” he stated.

Saturday’s assault comes as Western powers take into account sending heavy weaponry to Kyiv and forward of a gathering of Ukraine’s allies in Ramstein in Germany subsequent Friday, the place governments will announce their newest pledges of navy assist.

The UK on Saturday turned the primary Western nation to pledge heavy tanks for the struggle effort, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying his nation will ship 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Sunak’s workplace stated the British prime minister believed {that a} “lengthy and static struggle solely serves Russia’s pursuits”.

“UK defence and safety officers imagine a window has opened up the place Russia is on the backfoot resulting from resupply points and plummeting morale,” the assertion stated. “The Prime Minister is due to this fact encouraging allies to deploy their deliberate assist for 2023 as quickly as potential to have most influence.”

Saturday’s assaults got here as Ukrainian and Russian forces battled for management of Soledar, a small salt-mining city in japanese Ukraine that for days has been the main target of a relentless Russian assault.

Capturing Soledar, which had a pre-war inhabitants of 10,000, may enhance the place of Russian forces as they push in direction of what has been their foremost goal since October, the close by transport crossroads of Bakhmut.

Russia stated on Friday that its forces had taken management of the city, however Ukraine has denied the declare.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from close to Soledar, stated there was no apparent signal of a Ukrainian withdrawal from the city.

“Russia says it’s taken full management of Soledar, however the smoke rising from influence websites, the explosions from nearly fixed artillery and heavy machine gun fireplace suggests in any other case,” he stated.

On streets resulting in Soledar, military medics had been ready at intervals to take the wounded to hospitals away from the entrance line, stated Stratford. Ukrainian armoured personnel carriers had been seen carrying troops in direction of the city, whereas the tree strains had been full of artillery in defensive positions.

One soldier appealed for higher weapons.

“Will probably be laborious for us to push them again,” he instructed Al Jazeera. “We’ll undergo huge losses. They transfer in such nice numbers that generally our outdated weapons overheat as we attempt to shoot as many as we are able to.”

Turkey stated Saturday it was able to push for native ceasefires in Ukraine and warned that neither Moscow nor Kyiv had the navy means to “win the struggle”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s overseas coverage adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, conceded that it appeared unlikely that the warring sides had been able to strike an “overarching peace deal” within the coming months.

Ukraine denies Russian claim it killed hundreds of soldiers | Russia-Ukraine war News

Moscow mentioned its ‘retaliatory strike’ killed greater than 600 troopers however Kyiv mentioned its armed forces weren’t affected.

Russia has claimed its navy carried out a lethal “retaliatory strike” on barracks utilized by Ukrainian troopers within the Donbas area as Ukraine denied there have been any casualties within the assault.

The Russian defence ministry mentioned missiles hit two momentary bases housing 1,300 Ukrainian troops in Kramatorsk, within the jap Donetsk area. It mentioned “greater than 600 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed” on account of what they known as a “retaliatory strike” on Ukrainian troopers.

Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov mentioned the strike was performed in retaliation after Ukraine killed dozens Russian troops in an assault on Makiivka final week.

Ukrainian officers denied there have been any casualties within the Russian assault on Kramatorsk.

Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s forces within the east, mentioned that Russian strikes on Kramatorsk broken solely civilian infrastructure.

“The armed forces of Ukraine weren’t affected,” he added.

Folks have a look at the location of a Russian missile strike that occurred through the night time, in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on January 8, 2023 [Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters]

The top of the Donetsk regional administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, mentioned earlier on Sunday that Russians launched seven rocket assaults on Kramatorsk, including that “an academic establishment, an industrial facility and a storage cooperative” had been broken and that there have been no casualties.

Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko mentioned two college buildings and eight condominium homes had been broken.

Reporters from the Reuters information company visited the 2 school dormitories that Russia’s defence ministry mentioned had been briefly housing Ukrainian servicemen near the entrance line of the warfare on the time of the in a single day strike.

Neither appeared to have been instantly hit by missiles or critically broken, they mentioned. There have been no apparent indicators that troopers had been dwelling there and no signal of our bodies or traces of blood.

Assault in Makiivka

Within the early hours of January 1, Ukrainian forces launched rockets at a facility the place Russian troopers had been stationed in Makiivka, Donetsk.

At the least 89 Russian troopers had been killed in one of many deadliest assaults on Moscow’s forces because the warfare began on February 24, 2022.

Additionally on Sunday, the Ukrainian navy claimed to have hit a residential corridor of a medical college in Rubizhne, a city within the Russian-occupied jap Luhansk area, killing 14 Russian troopers housed there. The variety of wounded was unknown, it mentioned.

Elsewhere within the east, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko mentioned one individual was killed in strikes on Bakhmut, and eight others had been wounded.

Within the northeastern Kharkiv area, the city of Merefa was hit through the night time, killing one individual and two different settlements within the area had been shelled, Governor Oleh Syniehubov mentioned.

The developments got here after Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered a 36-hour ceasefire to mark Christmas for Orthodox Christians, who rejoice the vacation on January 7. The ceasefire ended at 11pm in Kyiv (21:00 GMT) on Saturday.

Russian hypocrisy and the death of a Zambian student in Ukraine | Opinions

On December 11, the stays of 23-year-old Zambian citizen Lemekhani Nyirenda lastly made it again dwelling to his household. A month earlier, the Zambian authorities had launched an announcement on his demise in Ukraine, which raised extra questions than solutions.

Subsequently, it turned clear that Nyirenda, who studied in Russia earlier than being imprisoned on drug costs, had signed up for the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary firm, to battle in Ukraine in a bid to get a lowered sentence.

In a November 29 submit on the Russian social media platform VKontakte, Wagner founder Evgeny Prigozhin claimed he spoke to Nyirenda, who allegedly informed him he had volunteered as a result of: “You, Russian, helped us Africans achieve independence. When it was tough for us, you stretched out a hand to us and proceed to do that now. Wagner is saving hundreds of Africans; going to conflict with you is paying again for not less than a few of our debt to you.”

However Nyirenda’s household has insisted on an investigation into his recruitment, suspecting he might have been coerced. Additionally they say he was wrongfully convicted; he had been working as a courier to assist himself whereas learning in Moscow however was stopped and searched by the police, who discovered a bundle he was carrying with medication in it.

Nyirenda’s demise and the way the Russian authorities dealt with it communicate to the obvious hole between Russian official rhetoric and the way it treats Africans in actuality. Whereas it insists it has an anti-imperialist method to Africa, Russia has no qualms about victimising Africans on the continent and inside its personal borders.

An ‘anti-imperialist’ drive

As Russia turned a world diplomatic pariah within the aftermath of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Africa’s significance to its overseas coverage and public relations has grown. The Kremlin has labored onerous to take care of a picture as an anti-imperialist drive that helps the African wrestle in opposition to (neo)colonialism – one thing Prigozhin referenced in his alleged dialog with Nyirenda.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and varied Russian authorities officers have additionally constantly made references to supposed Russian assist for African states’ wrestle in opposition to colonial powers. “Our nation has at all times been on Africa’s facet and has at all times supported Africa in its battle in opposition to colonialism,” he declared in June.

This rhetoric has been prominently featured in Russian media and official social media accounts. On December 2, for instance, the English-language Twitter account of the Russian overseas ministry tweeted: “#Russia was among the many few world powers that neither had colonies in #Africa or elsewhere nor participated in slave commerce all through its historical past. Russia helped, in each doable method, the peoples of the African continent to realize their freedom and sovereignty #EndSlavery.”

Hooked up was an image of a well-liked Soviet-era political poster that includes an African man breaking the chains binding his palms together with the phrases: “Africa fights, Africa will win.”

The tweet displays the Russian authorities’s declare that it maintains Soviet anti-imperialist insurance policies in direction of the International South. Whereas participating in an ideological battle in opposition to the US in the course of the Chilly Conflict, the Soviet Union targeted its sources on constructing a sphere of affect in Africa.

The Soviets supported varied left-leaning governments and teams all through the continent and equipped arms, navy coaching, and funds to anti-colonial actions in Southern Africa, together with Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. Soviet specialists went to varied nations on the continent to coach residents of newly unbiased nations in governance, know-how, and sciences. On the identical time, the USSR invited hundreds of African college students to pursue larger training in varied Soviet republics.

The Kremlin’s use of Soviet-African relations to craft a picture of optimistic engagement with the continent has labored. African leaders and folks have largely embraced the Russian narrative on the conflict in Ukraine.

Throughout the UN Normal Meeting vote on a decision calling for Russia to take away its troops from Ukraine in early March, of 35 nations that abstained, 17 had been African; and one of many 5 that voted in opposition to was Eritrea.

Over the approaching months, various African leaders welcomed Russian overseas minister Sergey Lavrov to their nations and reiterated their assist for Moscow.

The Russian authorities has additionally sought in charge the worldwide meals disaster exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine on Kyiv – a story that has additionally been embraced by many Africans. In June, after receiving an official invitation from Putin, African Union President Macky Sall travelled to Russia to fulfill with the Russian president to debate the grain shortages.

Just a few weeks later, Russia struck a cope with Ukraine and the UN to launch grain blocked in Ukrainian ports. In official authorities rhetoric, the settlement was offered as an indication that Moscow protects African pursuits.

Extractive insurance policies and racist views

However the Kremlin’s narrative on Africa belies a really completely different actuality. Though it claims to assist Africa’s struggles in opposition to former colonial and present neocolonial powers, Russia itself has engaged in predatory practices on the continent that smack of neocolonialism.

It’s fairly ironic that Prigozhin alleges Nyirenda noticed the Wagner Group as a supply for good provided that it has been on the forefront of Moscow’s extractive insurance policies in Africa. Wagner has change into notorious in Sudan and the Central African Republic for each its employed weapons and its involvement in illicit mining operations.

The group has additionally had a hand in navy conflicts plaguing the Central African Republic, Mali and Mozambique. The United Nations has accused the Russian mercenaries of committing a number of human rights abuses, together with harassment of civilians, wrongful detainment, torture and abstract executions.

Russia doesn’t deal with Africans that significantly better inside its personal borders both. As Nyirenda’s case illustrates, Africans who come to Russia to review or work don’t discover the post-colonial, anti-imperialist paradise Moscow claims to be.

Africans have confronted racism and anti-Black violence, which was significantly lethal within the 2000s and 2010s. In a 2006 report, Amnesty Worldwide mentioned African college students and asylum seekers they met in Russia “averted going out after darkish and one coated his face with a shawl so his pores and skin color was much less conspicuous to passers-by”. Additionally they detailed a number of murders of African college students, together with the 2004 stabbing of Bissau-Guinean pupil Amaru Antoniu Lima and the 2006 capturing of Senegalese pupil Lamsar Samba Promote.

In media experiences, African college students have shared tales of being denied service by taxi drivers, being barred from shops and golf equipment, seeing “Slavs solely” necessities in rental adverts, and being ignored when reporting violence in opposition to them to the police.

When African college students making an attempt to flee the Russian invasion confronted racism in Ukraine, the Russian authorities took benefit, encouraging anti-Ukrainian sentiment amongst Africans by amplifying their tales. However the Russian authorities have remained largely silent on racism and discrimination inside Russian borders.

Anti-Black racism in Russia, after all, is nothing new. Africans didn’t really feel that rather more welcome throughout Soviet occasions both, with African college students typically encountering racism and violence due to their pores and skin color. In 1963, African college students staged a uncommon protest after the killing of a Ghanaian pupil allegedly as a result of his relationship with a white Soviet girl.

Just like the miscegenation fears within the American South in the course of the Jim Crow period, the Soviets wished Africans to maintain their distance from Slavic ladies. Combined-race youngsters typically confronted racist abuse and had been known as “Pageant Kids” and “Olympics youngsters”, referring to worldwide occasions throughout which overseas guests supposedly fathered youngsters with Soviet ladies.

This sentiment endured after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Forward of the 2018 World Cup that Russia hosted, Tamara Pletneva, head of the State Duma Committee on Kids, Ladies, and Household, reminded Russian ladies to not enter into relationships with guests who weren’t of the identical race.

Afro-Russians nonetheless routinely face racism in Russia. Russian-born footballer Bryan Idowu, who has performed for a number of Russian soccer golf equipment, has been vocal concerning the racist abuse he confronted on and off the sector. Regardless of being a well known participant, he says he has been racially profiled by the police, routinely getting stopped and searched.

In June 2020, amid the Black Lives Matter protests urgent for an finish to institutional racism in the US and Western Europe, a viral video of a Russian taxi driver refusing service to an African pupil highlighted simply how little the Russian public was prepared for such conversations. After the driving force was fired by the corporate he labored for, an internet marketing campaign in his assist was launched underneath the hashtag #RussianLivesMatter.

In the meantime, Maria Magdalena Tunkara, an Afro-Russian blogger who tried to clarify BLM to her Russian viewers, confronted a brand new wave of on-line harassment and demise threats.

On this context, Lemekhani Nyirenda’s life in Russia and his demise in Ukraine are consultant of Russia’s two-faced method to Africa and Africans. Whereas the Russian presence in Africa may be very a lot extractive and Russian views of it fairly racist, the continent continues to buoy Russia’s worldwide repute, simply because it did in the course of the Chilly Conflict.

Moscow launders its repute via African want. Many African states rely on Russian agricultural exports or on Russian navy coaching and provides and have few causes to show in opposition to it.

Till there’s a concerted and targeted Western effort to enhance relations with the continent that features reckoning with the long-lasting impacts of European and US imperialism, Russia will proceed to have an outsized affect in Africa and can proceed to downplay and ignore the anti-African racism and xenophobia in its midst.

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Belarus summons Ukraine envoy over stray air defence missile | Russia-Ukraine war News

Minsk says it downed a Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile amid a wave of Russian assaults on cities throughout Ukraine.

Belarus has protested to Ukraine’s ambassador after saying it had downed a Ukrainian S-300 air defence missile in a discipline, throughout one in every of Russia’s heaviest aerial onslaughts for the reason that begin of the warfare.

The navy commissar of Belarus’s southwestern area of Brest, Oleg Konovalov, performed Thursday’s incident down in a video posted on social media by the state-run BelTA information company, saying locals had “completely nothing to fret about”.

“Sadly, these items occur,” he stated.

Konovalov in contrast the incident to 1 in November, when an S-300 believed to have strayed after being fired by Ukrainian air defences landed on the territory of NATO-member Poland, triggering fears of an escalation that had been quickly defused.

Nonetheless, the Ukrainian ambassador was summoned to the overseas ministry in Minsk to obtain a proper protest.

“The Belarusian facet views this incident as extraordinarily critical,” Anatoly Glaz, a spokesman for the ministry, stated.

“We demanded that the Ukrainian facet conduct an intensive investigation … [and] maintain these accountable to account and take complete measures to stop the recurrence of such incidents sooner or later.”

A Ukrainian navy spokesman in impact acknowledged the missile was a Ukrainian stray, saying the incident was “nothing unusual, a results of air defence” and one thing that “has occurred greater than as soon as”.

Soviet-era defence system

The S-300 is a Soviet-era air defence system utilized by each Russia and Ukraine.

Belarus stated the missile had come down close to the village of Harbacha within the Brest area, some 15km (9 miles) from the border with Ukraine, at round 10am native time (07:00 GMT).

“Fragments had been present in an agricultural discipline … the wreckage belongs to an S-300 anti-aircraft guided missile fired from the territory of Ukraine,” the nation’s defence ministry stated.

The incident occurred as Russia was launching its newest wave of missile assaults on cities throughout Ukraine.

BelTA revealed images and video of what it stated had been elements of an S-300 missile mendacity in an empty discipline.

Belarus allowed Moscow to make use of its territory in February as a launchpad for the invasion of Ukraine, and there was a rising flurry of Russian and Belarusian navy exercise in Belarus in latest months.

Minsk has, nonetheless, insisted that it’s not collaborating within the warfare, and won’t take part except its personal safety is threatened by Ukraine or Ukraine’s Western allies.

Whereas Kyiv has used the S-300 system to intercept incoming Russian missiles, Russia has appeared to make use of repurposed S-300 missiles to assault floor targets.

Is a negotiated settlement possible in Russia’s war in Ukraine? | Russia-Ukraine war

Video Period 25 minutes 30 seconds

From: Inside Story

Vladimir Putin accuses his opponent of avoiding talks however Volodymyr Zelenskyy says it’s only a delay tactic.

The conflict in Ukraine is the worst army battle in Europe because the second world conflict.

There isn’t any official demise toll, however within the 10 months of combating, there have been tens of hundreds of army and civilian casualties and thousands and thousands of individuals have fled their properties.

All wars finish finally – some in outright victory and defeat, others on the negotiating desk.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is reportedly engaged on a peace plan to be unveiled in February.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says he’s open to discussions to finish the conflict – and blames his opponents for refusing to barter.

Presenter: Imran Khan


Pavel Felgenhauer – Defence and army analyst

Hanna Shelest – Safety Research Programme Director, Ukrainian Prism

Chris Weafer – CEO, Macro-Advisory

Pope urges end to ‘senseless’ Ukraine war in Christmas message | Russia-Ukraine war News

Francis says throughout conventional ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing and message that the world is experiencing ‘a grave famine of peace’.

Pope Francis, in his conventional Christmas message, has appealed for an finish to the “mindless” warfare in Ukraine and different conflicts, calling for an finish to the usage of meals as a weapon of warfare.

Delivering the tenth Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” (to town and the world) blessing and message of his hold forth, the top of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday additionally urged folks to look past the “shallow vacation glitter” and assist the homeless, immigrants, refugees and the poor of their midst looking for consolation, heat and meals.

“Allow us to see the faces of all these kids who, all over the place on the earth, lengthy for peace,” he mentioned, talking from the central balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica on the Vatican.

“Allow us to additionally see the faces of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who’re experiencing this Christmas at midnight and chilly, removed from their properties as a result of devastation brought on by 10 months of warfare,” Francis instructed the tens of hundreds of individuals within the sq. under.

“Might the Lord encourage us to supply concrete gestures of solidarity to help all those that are struggling, and will he enlighten the minds of those that have the facility to silence the thunder of weapons and put an instantaneous finish to this mindless warfare!” the 86-year-old pontiff mentioned.

Pope Francis delivers his traditional Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi message at the Vatican
The pope delivered the tenth Christmas message of his hold forth [Yara Nardi/Reuters]

He spoke simply hours after air raid sirens wailed throughout Ukraine and a day after Ukrainian officers mentioned a Russian assault on the not too long ago liberated metropolis of Kherson killed at the very least 10 folks and wounded dozens.

The pope once more condemned the usage of meals as a weapon of warfare, saying the warfare in Ukraine had put thousands and thousands liable to famine, mentioning Afghanistan and nations within the Horn of Africa.

The Ukraine battle, the pope mentioned, shouldn’t diminish concern for folks whose lives have been devastated by different conflicts or humanitarian crises, naming amongst others, Syria, Myanmar, Iran, Haiti and the Sahel area of Africa.

“We all know that each warfare causes starvation and exploits meals as a weapon,” he mentioned, lamenting what he described as “a grave famine of peace”.

“[Let us] beginning with those that maintain political duties, commit ourselves to creating meals solely an instrument of peace,” he added.

As many sat round “a well-spread desk”, large quantities of meals every day go to waste and assets are spent on weapons, he mentioned.

The pope additionally known as for a resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians within the Holy Land, the place of Jesus’ start.

This yr has seen the worst ranges of violence within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution in additional than a decade, with at the very least 150 Palestinians and greater than 20 Israelis killed.