Germany’s Scholz: We will continue to support Ukraine

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PARIS, Jan 22 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday that Germany would continue to support Ukraine, speaking days after Western allies dampened Ukraine’s hopes for a rapid shipment of battle tanks.

“We will continue to support Ukraine – for as long and as comprehensively as necessary. Together, as Europeans – in defence of our European peace project,” Scholz said in Paris at an event to celebrate friendship between Germany and France.

In Other Developments:

WEAPONS

* Britain still wants an international deal to provide Ukraine with the German-made tanks that Kyiv says it needs in its fight against Russia but whose transfer needs Germany’s consent, British foreign minister James Cleverly said.

A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged Kyiv’s allies on Saturday to “think faster” about stepping up their military support, a day after they failed to agree on sending battle tanks coveted by Kyiv.

* Germany’s new defence minister, Boris Pistorius, plans to visit Ukraine soon, he told a German newspaper, as Berlin faces pressure to allow the shipment of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

* Senior U.S. officials are advising Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of U.S. weaponry is in place and training has been provided, a senior Biden administration official said on Friday.

* A close ally of President Vladimir Putin said that deliveries of offensive weapons to Kyiv that threaten Russia’s territories will lead to a global catastrophe and make arguments against using weapons of mass destruction untenable.

FIGHTING

* Russia increased shelling of Ukraine’s eastern regions outside the main front line in the Donbas industrial area, officials from the Zaporizhzhia and Sumy regions said on Saturday.

* Russia’s defence ministry said a recent offensive had put its army’s units in more advantageous positions along the Zaporizhzhia front line, a claim Ukrainian military officials called an exaggeration.

* Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

ECONOMY

* Western countries are working to structure price caps on Russian refined petroleum products to ensure continued flow of Russian diesel, but the markets are complicated and there is a chance things do not go to plan, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

WAGNER GROUP

* The United States will impose additional sanctions next week against Russian private military company the Wagner Group, which U.S. officials say has been helping Russia’s military in the Ukraine war, the White House said on Friday.

* The head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, published a short letter to the White House on Saturday asking what crime his company was accused of, after Washington announced the new sanctions.

Photo: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looks on at the end of the International Expert Conference on the Reconstruction of Ukraine in Berlin, Germany, 25 October 2022. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

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