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UKRAINE

German football club ends partnership with Russia’s Gazprom

German football club Schalke 04 announced Monday it had prematurely ended its partnership with Russian gas giant Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Gazprom logo on a Schalke 04 football shirt
The Gazprom logo on a Schalke 04 football shirt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Strauch

The deal between the second-tier German club and Gazprom had been due to run until 2025 with Schalke receiving around €9 million ($10 million) per year in sponsorship.

Had the Gelsenkirchen-based club won promotion back to the Bundesliga at the end of this season, the sponsorship figure would have risen to €15 million annually.

Schalke had already removed the Gazprom logo from their shirts for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe.

In a statement, Schalke said their finances were “unaffected by this decision”.

“The club’s management is confident that it will be able to present a new partner in the near future.”

READ ALSO: OPINION: Germany has scuppered Nord Stream 2 but there are questions left to answer

Gazprom representative Matthias Warnig resigned from the club’s supervisory board last Thursday.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, interim president of the German Football Association (DFB), had already hinted there could be financial aid for Schalke if they split from Gazprom.

“If this requires the solidarity of other clubs in Germany to get them out of this situation, then we have to discuss how we can manage that,” Watzke told ZDF.

READ ALSO: Germany set to shut airspace to Russian planes on Sunday

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UKRAINE

Germany to support defence of Polish airspace

Germany on Monday said it had reached an agreement to help Poland protect its skies following a deadly rocket strike close to the border with Ukraine.

Germany to support defence of Polish airspace

Berlin would “send Patriot anti-aircraft systems to Poland and support the securing of Polish airspace with Eurofighter (jets)”, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Germany to buy F-35 fighter jets in military shopping spree

Two people were killed last week when a missile landed in the Polish village of Przewodow, six kilometres (four miles) from the Ukrainian border.

Warsaw and NATO have said the explosion was likely caused by a Ukrainian air-defence missile launched to intercept a Russian barrage, but that Moscow was ultimately to blame because it started the conflict.

Before the deal was agreed, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said he “welcomed the German proposal with satisfaction”.

Blaszczak said on Twitter he would propose for the systems to be “stationed close to the border with Ukraine”.

Germany has already sent Patriot anti-aircraft units to Slovakia, where Berlin hopes to keep them deployed for longer than currently planned.

The air-defence systems should remain in Slovakia “until the end of 2023 and potentially even beyond”, Lambrecht told the Rheinische Post daily.

“It is our utmost responsibility that NATO does not become a participant in this conflict,” while strengthening its air defences, she said.

READ ALSO: Germany and Spain to train Ukraine troops under EU programme

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