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    StartNewsUkraine war: NATO chief asks allies for tanks and five other stories

    Ukraine war: NATO chief asks allies for tanks and five other stories

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    1. Deliver the tanks to Ukraine, NATO chief tells allies in Berlin

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged allies on Tuesday to speed up deliveries of heavy and more advanced weapons to repel Russian forces in Ukraine and expressed confidence that a decision on sending battle tanks to Kyiv would come soon.

    Stoltenberg was speaking in Berlin alongside Germany’s new defence minister, Boris Pistorius, who said his government would act quickly on the tanks if a consensus were to be found.

    Pressure has been building on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries to do the same — under military procurement rules, Germany must authorise any re-exports.

    But Scholz’s Social Democrat party has been holding back, wary of sudden moves that could cause Moscow to escalate further.

    Poland, which has accused Germany of dragging its heels on the tanks, said on Tuesday it had formally requested permission from Berlin to re-export its Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

    “At this pivotal moment in the war, we must provide heavier and more advanced systems to Ukraine, and we must do it faster,” NATO’s Stoltenberg told reporters.

    “I therefore welcome our discussion today.

    Consultations among allies will continue and I’m confident we will have a solution soon,” Stoltenberg added.

    Pistorius said Germany was not standing in the way of other countries training Ukrainian troops to use the Leopard tanks while talks continued. He said it was wrong to say that “there’s disunity or that Germany is isolated”.

    Scholz was trying to forge consensus on the tanks issue, he said, adding that NATO must not become party to the war in Ukraine.

    Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock had signalled a possible breakthrough on Sunday when she said her government would not stand in the way if Poland wanted to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

    But on Tuesday, a German foreign ministry official appeared to temper those remarks by saying that Scholz would decide on sending the tanks.

    President of Poland Andrzej Duda promises to send tanks to Ukraine Berlin would not ‘stand in the way’ of countries giving German-made tanks to Ukraine
    Efrem Lukatsky/Copyright 2023 The AP.</body></html>” /></div>
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<h2>2. Zelenskyy’s anti-corruption purge results in series of high-profile resignation</h2>
<p>Several senior Ukrainian officials resigned on Tuesday in the biggest leadership shakeup of the war with Russia so far, in what an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called an answer to public calls for “justice”.</p>
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<p>Some, though not all, of the resignations were linked to corruption allegations. Ukraine has a history of graft and shaky governance and is under international pressure to show it can be a reliable steward of billions of euros in Western aid.</p>
<p>“There are already personnel decisions — some today, some tomorrow — regarding officials at various levels in ministries and other central government structures, as well as in the regions and in law enforcement,” Zelenskyy said in an overnight video address.</p>
<p>Zelenskyy aide Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted: “The president sees and hears society. And he directly responds to a key public demand – justice for all.”</p>
<p>Among those stepping down or fired on Tuesday morning were a deputy prosecutor general, a deputy defence minister and the deputy chief of staff in Zelenskyy’s own office.</p>
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<p>The changes came two days after a deputy infrastructure minister was arrested and accused of siphoning off about €360,000 from contracts to buy generators, one of the first big corruption scandals to become public since the war began 11 months ago.</p>
<p>“Ignoring the war is a luxury no one can afford,” he said. “If they want to rest, they will rest outside the civil service.”</p>
<p>The changes are a rare shakeup of an otherwise notably stable wartime leadership in Kyiv. Apart from purging a spy agency in July, Zelenskyy had mostly stuck with his team.</p>
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<p>Kyiv says a surge in patriotic feeling has dampened corruption since Russia’s invasion. But the head of Zelenskyy’s Sluga Narodu or Servant of the People party promised on Monday that officials would be arrested in a coming anti-corruption drive, which would resort to martial law if necessary.</p>
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<div>Explained: Where EU leaders stand on Ukraine’s membership to the blocUkraine corruption scandal: String of officials resign in Kyiv</div>
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<div><img decoding=A bus drives by a vandalized mural depicting the logo of Russia’s Wagner Group with “No War” added on a wall in Belgrade, 15 January 2023Darko Vojinovic/Copyright 2022 The AP.

    Norway questioned fleeing Wagner mercenary over alleged war crimes, authorities say

    Norwegian police have begun questioning a former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who recently fled to Norway about his time in Ukraine, police said on Tuesday.

    Andrei Medvedev, who escaped from Russia by crossing the Russian-Norwegian border, has said he fears for his life after witnessing what he said was the killing and mistreatment of Russian prisoners brought to the front lines in Ukraine to fight for Wagner.

    Kripos, Norway’s national criminal police service, which has responsibility for investigating war crimes, has begun questioning him about his experiences in Ukraine.

    “Kripos can confirm that Andrei Medvedev has been questioned,” it said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

    “We do not want to go into what he has explained in these interviews, but specify that he still has the status of a witness.”

    Medvedev’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, was not immediately available for comment.

    Kripos is part of the international effort to investigate war crimes in Ukraine conducted by the International Criminal Court.

    “He has previously said that he was part of the Wagner group, and it is interesting for Kripos to get more information about this period,” Kripos added, declining to give further details.

    On Monday, Medvedev was detained by immigration police due to “disagreement” about measures taken to ensure his safety.

    Former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group apprehended in NorwayRussian prisoners who fought as mercenaries in Ukraine given freedom
    AP/Copyright 2022 The AP.</body></html>” /></div>
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<h2>4. Russia to amend law on exiting the country</h2>
<p>Planned amendments of Russia’s transportation law will make it mandatory for people to book a time and place for any intended crossing of the border by car, the TASS news agency reported, raising the possibility of new restrictions on travel.</p>
<p>“The passage of vehicles … in order to cross the state border of the Russian Federation is carried out on a reserved date and time in accordance with the procedure established by the government,” the agency said later on Monday, citing a draft amendment it said was due to come into force on 1 March.</p>
<p>Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year, many Russian citizens and residents fled from the country, with the number growing significantly after the government declared the mobilisation of some 300,000 personnel for the military in September.</p>
<p>While precise totals are not available, the number of Russians who have left could run into hundreds of thousands, according to media reports and figures released by neighbouring countries.</p>
<p>The amendments to the law covering border crossings were prepared by the Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, TASS reported.</p>
<p>It was not clear when the required readings of the draft amendments would take place.</p>
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<div>Ukraine war: Russia’s mobilisation efforts are likely to fail, according to ISW think tankUkraine war: Russians flee to Mongolia after Putin’s mobilisation order</div>
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<div><img decoding=Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov, right, attends the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 17 December 2022Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik

    5.

    “So I had to fix everything on the go.”

    Ukraine puts top Russian general Gerasimov on ‘most wanted’ listPutin removes his top commander in Ukraine after just three months
    Mikhail Klimentyev/SputnikRussian President Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin in Moscow, 7 January 2023Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik

    6. Kyiv doles out further sanctions against Russian Orthodox Church affiliates

    Ukraine has imposed sanctions on 22 Russians associated with the Russian Orthodox Church for what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said was their support of genocide under the cloak of religion.

    According to a decree issued by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the list includes Mikhail Gundayev, who represents the Russian Orthodox Church in the World Council of Churches and other international organizations in Geneva.

    Russian state media reported that Gundayev is a nephew of the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.

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