Day 463 since the beginning of the war: Kremlin spokesman Peskov accuses the West of “Russophobia”. Macron would rather negotiate with Putin than arrest him. All information in the news blog.
The most important things at a glance
Selenskyj asks again for missiles and fighter jets
1:24 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged his allies at the European summit in Moldova for support with modern fighter jets and Patriot anti-missiles. Military support for Ukraine now depends on two components: “a patriot coalition that puts an end to Russian blackmail with ballistic missiles, and a coalition of modern warplanes that proves that terror against our citizens has no chance.” Zelenskyy said on Thursday in the opening session of the European Political Community (EPG) summit in front of almost 50 heads of state and government at Mimi Castle in Bulboaca.
Ukraine has already received Patriot air defense systems from its allies – including from Germany. So far, however, the German government has not participated in a coalition forged at the G7 summit to support Ukraine with American-made F-16 fighter jets. Several other European countries, including the Netherlands and the UK, have announced plans to train Ukrainian pilots for the F-16. Germany does not have an F-16 itself, but neither does Great Britain.
At the summit, Chancellor Olaf Scholz again emphasized the importance of German support for Ukraine’s air defenses. This contribution is important right now, “when there are so many rocket, plane and cruise missile attacks by the Russian Federation,” he said at the start of the summit. This takes place only about 20 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
Moscow accuses Ukraine of “invading” Russia’s border region of Belgorod
12.45 p.m.: According to the Russian military, it has prevented an attempted “invasion” by Ukrainian forces in the Russian border region of Belgorod. As the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Thursday in the online service Telegram, the army used jets and artillery to push back the Ukrainian soldiers and tanks.
After the heavy shelling of civilian facilities in the southwestern region of Russia, the Ukrainian forces launched the attempted “invasion,” it said. “Up to two motorized infantry companies, reinforced by tanks, tried to penetrate Russian territory”.
Scholz emphasizes the “outstanding importance” of German air defense systems for Ukraine
12.40 p.m.: In view of the Russian air raids on Kiev, Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed the importance of German support for Ukraine with air defense systems. This contribution is important right now, “when there are so many rocket, plane and cruise missile attacks by the Russian Federation,” Scholz said on Thursday at the start of the European summit in Moldova, just 20 kilometers from the Ukrainian border . Read more about the meeting in Moldova here.
Europe is united in supporting Ukraine. “Germany is making a very outstanding contribution to this,” said Scholz. Germany’s financial, humanitarian and military support for Ukraine is “very essential and, after the USA, the largest contribution made by a single country”.
At least three people were killed and 14 others injured in a Russian rocket attack on Kiev on Thursday night, according to Ukrainian sources. Two children were among the fatalities of the night attack, Mayor Vitali Klitschko and the military administration of the Ukrainian capital said on Thursday morning. Germany has supported Ukraine with several air defense systems.
Austria’s population increases significantly due to the Ukraine war
12:36 p.m.: The strong influx of refugees from the Ukraine caused Austria’s population to rise above the 9 million mark last year. As the state statistics agency announced on Thursday, almost 137,000 people immigrated in 2022 – more than at the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015. Of these, 67,000 came from Ukraine.
At the beginning of the year, state statisticians counted 9.1 million people in the Alpine country. Among them were 225,000 Germans, who make up the largest foreign population group in Austria with almost 2.5 percent of the population. Without migration, the population would have fallen. The number of births fell last year by 4 percent to under 83,000. Deaths increased by 1.5 percent.