1. Germany offers Patriot missile defense system to Poland
Germany has offered Warsaw the Patriot missile defense system to help it secure its airspace, after a stray missile crashed in Poland last week, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told newspaper.
The German government had already said it would offer its neighbor additional air policing assistance with German Eurofighters after the incident, sparking initial fears that the war in Ukraine could spill over the border.
“We offered Poland support in securing the airspace – with our Eurofighters and with Patriot air defense systems,” Lambrecht told the Rheinische Post and General Anzeiger.
The missile that hit Poland last week, killing two people, appears to have been fired by Ukrainian air defenses rather than a Russian strike, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
Ground-based air defense systems such as Raytheon’s Patriot are designed to intercept incoming missiles.
NATO has moved to bolster air defenses in Eastern Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. More than a dozen NATO allies led by Germany in October launched an initiative to jointly acquire air defense systems for multiple threat layers, including Patriot.
Germany had 36 Patriot units when it was NATO’s frontline state during the Cold War. German forces currently have 12 Patriot units, two of which are deployed in Slovakia.
2. Ukraine will investigate allegations that its troops killed Russian forces while surrendering
Ukraine has said it will investigate video footage released on Russian social media which Moscow says shows Ukrainian forces killed Russian troops who may have been trying to surrender, after one of the men apparently refused to lay down his weapon and opened fire.
“Of course Ukrainian authorities will investigate this video,” said Olha Stefanishyna, Ukrainian deputy prime minister who oversees the country’s efforts to join the European Union, on the sidelines of a security forum in Halifax, Canada. .
Stefanishyna said the edited short excerpts “are highly unlikely” to show what Moscow is claiming.
The Russian authorities announced Friday the opening of a criminal investigation on the basis of the extracts posted on the Russian Telegram channels and relayed on other social networks. They present a confused and incomplete picture.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed the footage showed an “execution” and said Russia wanted an international investigation.
Stefanishyna, however, said Ukrainian forces are “absolutely not interested in executing anyone” and have direct orders to take “as many POWs as possible” so they can be exchanged during prisoner exchanges with Russia.
“Every potentially executed Russian soldier is a Ukrainian who cannot be exchanged, so the wit and logic is not there,” she said.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has called for further investigation.
3. New bombardments threaten the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
Powerful explosions rocked Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, on Sunday morning, the world’s nuclear watchdog said in a statement, calling for “urgent action to help prevent a nuclear accident.” at the Russian-occupied facility.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said two explosions – one on Saturday evening and another on Sunday morning – near the Zaporizhzhia plant abruptly ended a period of relative calm around of the nuclear facility which has been the site of fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces since the war began on February 24.
Fears of a nuclear disaster have been at the fore since Russian troops occupied the plant at the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Continued fighting in the region has raised the specter of disaster.
In what appeared to be renewed shelling near and at the site, IAEA experts at the Zaporizhzhia facility reported hearing more than a dozen explosions in a short time on Sunday morning, the statement said, adding that the IAEA team could see explosions from their office windows.
Several buildings, systems and equipment at the plant – none of them critical to the plant’s nuclear safety and security – were damaged in the bombardment, the IAEA statement said, citing information provided by the management of the plant. No casualties were reported.
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4. Russia seeks a world ‘where might does good’, says US Secretary of Defense
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned over the weekend that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offered a glimpse of a world where countries with nuclear weapons could threaten other nations and said that Beijing, like Moscow, seeks a world where might is good.
Austin made the remarks at the annual Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, which attracts defense and security officials from Western democracies.
“The invasion of Russia offers a glimpse into a possible world of tyranny and turmoil none of us would want to live in. And it’s an invitation to an increasingly uncertain world haunted by shadow of nuclear proliferation,” Austin said in a speech.
“Because (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s other autocrats are watching. And they may well conclude that obtaining nuclear weapons would give them their own hunting license. And that could lead to a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation.
Austin dismissed Putin’s claims that “modern Ukraine was created entirely by Russia”, calling it “a world in which autocrats decide which countries are real and which countries can be suffocated”.
He added that war “shows the whole world the dangers of disorder. This is the security challenge we face. It’s urgent and it’s historic.”
5. Eurovision winner joins Ukrainian rally in Athens
Hundreds of Ukrainians and supporters marched through central Athens on Saturday night to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war.
The protesters were joined by Ukrainian singer Ruslana, who won the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest.
Protesters gathered in Athens’ central Syntagma Square, where they sang Ukrainian folk songs, led by Ruslana.
They were also joined by a small group of Iranian protesters marching for women’s rights in Iran.