Live blog | Olaf Scholz warns the West of a new cold war


Olaf Scholz warns the West of a new Cold War

10:05 | Chancellor Scholz has warned the West against creating another cold war by dividing the world into blocs. In an opinion piece published today for Foreign Affairs magazine, the German chancellor calls for every effort to build new partnerships.

He called China and Russia two countries that threaten a multipolar world and said that European and transatlantic unity should be strengthened. While he said the West must stand up for democratic values ​​and protect open societies, “we must also avoid the temptation to re-block the world,” Reuters said.

“This means that we must do everything possible to build new partnerships, pragmatically and without ideological blinkers,” he added. “The Germans want to become the guarantor of European security that our allies expect from us, a bridge builder in the EU and a supporter of multilateral solutions to global problems,” he wrote.

China continues to buy Russian oil despite the price cap

08:45 | China says it will continue energy cooperation with Russia despite EU, G7 and Australian price caps on oil exports. So says the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. China, which said it would proceed on the basis of respect and mutual benefit, has increased its purchases of Russian oil blends from the Urals this year, Reuters reports, citing the Russian news agency RIA.

The arms industry is facing shortages

08:40 | The arms industry is struggling with shortages of raw materials and parts, reports the Stockholm Institute for International Peace Research. While the West struggles with a shortage of raw materials such as steel, the Russians can no longer produce high-quality weapons due to the lack of shavings. “It’s a logistical race to see who has the most on the shelf,” says Lieutenant General Buitendienst and former head of the land force Mart de Kruif.

Three dead, six injured after explosion at Russian airport

08:20 | Three people have been killed and six injured after a fuel tanker exploded at a Russian airport. The explosion took place near the city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, Reuters reports with reference to the RIA Novosti news agency.

The British Ministry of Defense: the number of Russian flights significantly reduced

08:10 | In recent months, the Russian Air Force has conducted significantly fewer combat missions over Ukraine. This is stated by the British Ministry of Defense in an update.

Russian aircraft are now likely to fly dozens of missions a day, compared with a peak of up to 300 a day in March 2022, according to the latest British intelligence report that Russia has now lost more than 60 aircraft.

The decrease in the number of flights is probably due to the Ukrainian air defense and the worsening weather.

OPEC fears precedent

07:30 | According to Europe correspondent Stefan de Vries, the purpose of the measure is ‘not to disturb the oil market too much’. The price ceiling is $60 for a barrel of crude, but last week it was still traded for $57 by Russia, mainly to India and China. Furthermore, according to De Vries, the Russians can still circumvent the sanctions in various ways; ‘There are still opportunities in Asia, but European ports are also allowed to import Turkish diesel from Russia.’

A fifth of Russian oil flowing to Europe still enters via pipeline, a flow that is therefore not covered by the embargo because the exclusion relates to shipping. This primarily concerns deliveries to Hungary. According to De Vries, OPEC is not cooperating with the embargo because the club is afraid of setting a precedent if it turns out that the sanctions have an effect.

Kiev resumes blackouts

07:15 | Cities across Ukraine will resume scheduled power outages today. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko promised in a Telegram post late Sunday that there would be “as few deviations as possible.” Starting today, Kiev will return to stabilization closures according to schedule,” he said.

Oil embargo; uncertainty at the pump

06:35 | While the European import ban on Russian oil comes into force today, the oil-producing countries have decided to keep production unchanged. ‘It is not clear how much Russian oil will disappear from the market,’ says energy specialist Jilles van den Beukel from The Hague Center for Strategic Studies. It is also unclear what this means at the pump.

Germany is unable to meet the NATO standard

03:20 | Next year, nor from 2026, Germany will not be able to meet the so-called NATO standard and spend at least 2 percent of gross national income on defense, concludes a forecast from the German Economic Institute (IW) reported by the Rheinische Post. .

It has been agreed in NATO that the member states aim to spend 2 percent on the armed forces. Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed this goal shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February and announced the creation of a special fund worth 100 billion euros to help achieve the goal.

But problems in the bidding process and cumbersome bureaucracy would make the goal impossible, calculates the economic research institute IW. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht recently appeared to recognize this by revising the target to 2 percent of GDP ‘on average over the next five years’. This has angered Germany’s allies, who have complained for some time that Berlin is not accepting its responsibilities.

“The 2 percent goal is moving to the distant future despite the 100 billion euros in special funds, and even necessary short-term purchases are not progressing,” the Rheinische Post quotes from IW’s investigation. The general defense budget – not including the special fund – will need to increase by at least 5 percent a year if Germany is to meet the 2 percent target, the institute said.

According to NATO estimates, German defense spending will amount to about 1.4 percent of GDP this year, compared with 1.9 percent in France, 2.1 percent in Britain and 3.5 percent in the United States. In the Netherlands, the NATO standard will be achieved in 2024 and 2025. Nevertheless, a majority in the House of Representatives is not in favor of establishing the standard in law.

UN: probably no more large flow of refugees from Ukraine

01:25 | The UN refugee agency UNHCR does not expect a large number of Ukrainians to seek refuge in EU countries due to the war in their homeland. In the past, the number of internally displaced people could increase, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said in an interview with Der Spiegel published on Sunday.

‘I hope there will not be another large influx of refugees’, says Grandi, who also warns. “But war is unpredictable.” According to Grandi, the Ukrainians who remain will most likely need more support. “Those who have stayed in Ukraine so far have fewer contacts in Europe or are less mobile,” he told Der Spiegel.

In light of the winter weather and the continued Russian bombing of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure – especially electricity and heating systems – it is feared that many more Ukrainians may flee to the EU. “We are very concerned about this because these attacks mean that many people may be forced to flee the freezing cold in Ukraine,” Germany’s ambassador to London said on Sunday.

According to the UNHCR, the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February led to the largest displacement in decades. Almost eight million Ukrainians have sought refuge in European countries.

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