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Kiev Receives First Unit Of German Air Defense System

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Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov has hailed the arrival of the IRIS-T as the beginning of a “new era of air defenсe”

The first unit of Germany’s cutting-edge IRIS-T air defense system has arrived in Ukraine, the country’s Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov has confirmed. His German counterpart Christine Lambrecht described the shipment as an important contribution to the Eastern European nation’s ability to defend itself from “missile shelling.”

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Reznikov wrote: “A new era of air defence has begun in [Ukraine]. IRIS-Ts from [Germany] are already here.” The minister noted that Kiev needs more weapons of this kind, arguing that protecting the sky over Ukraine against the “terrorist state” of Russia is a “moral imperative.”

Several hours later, Germany’s defense ministry posted a tweet of its own, stressing that Berlin had kept its word and announced that the “first IRIS-T SLM air defence system has arrived in #Ukraine.”

In a follow-up message, ministry officials quoted their boss Christine Lambrecht as hailing the shipment as “very important support to Ukraine in its fight against missile shelling, against terror.”

Der Spiegel media outlet reported on the delivery already on Tuesday. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the original pledge back in June, with the shipment initially slated for November. A total of four units made up of a command vehicle, a radar vehicle, and a truck-mounted launcher are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine some time in 2023.

According to media reports, Kiev requested at least a dozen of these ultra-modern air defense systems and offered to purchase them directly from the manufacturer, Diehl Defense.

Der Spiegel claimed the three units promised by Berlin have not even been manufactured yet, however. 

Meanwhile, Germany’s own military has not received a single unit of the ground-based IRIS-T system variant yet. This underlines concerns voiced by some German politicians and media outlets that Berlin is seriously depleting its own weapons stockpiles by supplying the hardware to Kiev.

Meanwhile, Ukraine had until recently consistently lambasted Germany over its perceived unwillingness to provide heavy weaponry.


READ MORE: German army has ammo for only two days of war – media

With an effective range believed to be up to 40km (25 miles), the air defense system is rather expensive, according to former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andrey Melnik. Speaking to Wirtschaftswoche magazine back in June, the diplomat estimated that one such unit could cost some €140 million ($135.4 million).

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Sanctioned Son Of Russian Tycoon Records ‘I’m A Ukrainian’ Video Appeal

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Mikhail Fridman’s son Alexander Ozhelskiy accused Kiev’s “f****** bureaucrats” of sanctioning him despite his stance

Alexander Ozhelskiy, son of a Russian business tycoon Mikhail Fridman, has called on Kiev to lift “unfair” sanctions against him. In a YouTube video address, recorded in English, the 22-year-old businessman accused the “f****** bureaucrats” of ignoring his pro-Ukrainian stance.

I can’t believe that my position regarding the war wasn’t even taken into consideration. And I can’t believe that the sole reason for these sanctions is my relation to another person,” Ozhelskiy said.

He emphasized that he is “appalled and offended” by the Ukrainian authorities’ October 20 decision to include him in their list of 256 sanctioned Russian businessmen and their relatives.

Ozhelskiy explained that he has been opposing the Russian military operation in Ukraine “since day one,” left Russia immediately after its launch on February 24 and has no plans to return.

I left a lot, I left my friends, I left my business and I left it because I value my freedom more,” the businessman explained, revealing that he is now based in Dubai and lives in an Airbnb apartment, rather than in a “f****** mansion.”

Ozhelskiy said that in the past he had participated in “pro-Ukrainian protests” in London and in some demonstartions in Russia and that he doesn’t understand why “a bunch of f****** bureaucrats” is ignoring those facts.

I think that this decision should be overturned,” he said.

Fridman’s son emphasized that he considers himself Ukrainian and “can’t believe” that he cannot visit his relatives in the country anymore.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Zelensky sanctions thousands of Russians

Ozhelskiy is the only son of Lviv-born Fridman. In May, he, along with his four sisters, featured on the Forbes’ list of the richest heirs of Russian billionaires, with his inheritance share estimated at $2,6 billion.

Fridman, however, made it clear several years ago that he was going to leave almost all of his wealth to the charity rather than to his children.

In March, the $13-billion worth magnate said that the sanctions imposed against him and  against other Russian businessmen by the Western countries are “unfair” and “useless.”

He also described an assumption that being close to the Kremlin is paramount to make billions in Russia, as a “very typical and inappropriate” myth.

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US-Led Force Might Intervene In Ukraine Conflict – Ex-CIA Chief

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The US and its allies may join the conflict between Moscow and Kiev even if there is no threat to NATO, David Petraeus believes

The US and its allies might directly intervene in the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, even when there is no threat to any NATO member states, retired US Army general David Petraeus told France’s L’Express weekly on Saturday. Washington might form a new coalition of the willing in such a scenario and use it instead of NATO, Petraeus, who also briefly served as the CIA director, believes.

Russia could take some actions in Ukraine that would be “so shocking and so horrific” that it would prompt a response from the US and other nations, he said, adding that they “might react in one way or another, but as a multinational force led by the US and not as a NATO force.”

The military alliance would still likely be bound by its treaty and would only join the conflict if Article 5 is invoked, i.e. if one of its members is attacked, the general believes. Petraeus also said that Moscow is not interested in escalating the conflict and turning it into a global war. A wider conflict is “the last thing” Russian President Vladimir Putin needs right now, he added.

Earlier in October, Petraeus claimed that the US could wipe out all Russian forces in Ukraine, alongside with the Russian Black Sea fleet, if Moscow uses nuclear arms in Ukraine. On Saturday, he doubled down on these words by saying that Washington’s response to such a move on Russia’s part would involve “more than diplomatic … economic and legal actions.”

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Ex-CIA chief outlines potential US response if Russia uses nukes

At the same time, Petraeus said that his earlier words had described “just one” of “many options” America has in store in case Russia resorts to the use of nuclear arms, which he called an “extremely bad decision.”

The general also said that he still thinks there is nothing Russia could do to change the situation on the frontlines, which, according to Petraeus, is unfavorable to Moscow.

Petraeus commanded US forces in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, presiding over America’s highest death tolls during the 20-year war, and increased civilian casualties.

The general helped persuade then-President Barack Obama to deploy an additional 30,000 US troops to the country, but his counterinsurgency plan, which hinged on “securing and serving” the local population, flopped.

He then became CIA director in 2011, only to resign the following year after having an extramarital affair with the woman who was writing his biography.

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Russia Offers ‘heating Points’ In EU Cities

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Russian cultural centers in Finland and Luxembourg have welcomed their first visitors

Russian cultural centers in Finland and Luxembourg are welcoming visitors who need to “warm up” as energy prices continue to skyrocket, according to the country’s federal agency for compatriots living abroad and international humanitarian cooperation.

The agency, Rossotrudnichestvo, has opened “heating points” in its centers, which provide those in need with an opportunity to warm up while enjoying tea or watching a movie.

“Little by little, [the people] are coming. In Finland, Luxembourg, they were already warming up yesterday. The film program is up to February,” a spokesperson told the Russian media on Saturday.

As the energy crisis continues in the European Union, exacerbated by anti-Russia sanctions and a sharp decrease in Russian energy supplies, Rossotrudnichestvo said on Friday. It added that “human warmth from Russia” and its “traditional hospitality” is what “freezing European families” need.

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Katharina natural gas storage facility in Bernburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
EU says its gas reserves are ready for winter. But there’s a catch

While the agency emphasized that its Russian houses “are outside of politics,” the head of the agency, Evgeny Primakov, made it clear who he believes is responsible for the unfolding crisis.

Europeans, do not freeze because of your stupid and evil leaders! If your children are wrapped in jackets at home and you have started to save heavily on electricity because Ursula [von der Leyen], Olaf [Scholz] and Emmanuel [Macron] gave away your money for weapons for the Ukrainian Nazis, come and warm up in our cultural centers in your capitals,” he wrote on Telegram.

Apart from having tea and enjoying movies and cartoons, visitors to the Russian houses will also be able to recharge their phones and get involved in “a lot of interesting things going on,” Primakov said.

Following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the EU authorities pledged to end their dependence on Russian energy supplies as quickly as possible. 

President Vladimir Putin likened the bloc’s attempts to cut itself off from Russian fossil fuels to economic “suicide.”

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