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GERMANY AND POLAND

Poland asks Germany to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine

Poland's defence minister has asked Germany to ship a Patriot surface-to-air missile defence system intended for Poland to Ukraine instead to help defend itself against Russia.

Germany's Patriot missile defence system
Germany's Patriot missile defence system at a military training ground in Schwesing, Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Axel Heimken

The offer follows a deadly missile blast in a Polish village last week that Warsaw believes may have been a stray Ukrainian air defence missile launched against a barrage of Russian strikes.

“I have asked Germany to send the Patriot system offered to Poland to Ukraine where it could be installed on their western border,” Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter late on Wednesday.

“This would allow Ukraine to protect itself against incurring more casualties and blackouts and reinforce the security of our eastern border,” he said.

READ ALSO: Germany offers to aid Polish air patrols after rocket strike

The German government earlier this week said it had reached an agreement to help Poland protect its skies following an explosion near the Ukrainian border which killed two people.

Poland and NATO have said the blast was probably caused by a stray Ukrainian air defence missile launched against a Russian strike but have said Moscow is ultimately responsible.

Germany has already sent Patriot air defence units to Slovakia, where Berlin hopes to keep them deployed until at least the end of 2023.

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GERMANY AND RUSSIA

Scholz urges Putin to withdraw troops for ‘diplomatic’ end to war

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday pressed Russia's President Vladimir Putin to seek a diplomatic solution to end his war in Ukraine, including troop withdrawals, Berlin said following a call between the two.

Scholz urges Putin to withdraw troops for 'diplomatic' end to war

“The chancellor urged the Russian president to come as quickly as possible to a diplomatic solution including the withdrawal of Russian troops,” according to the German leader’s spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

During the one-hour call, Scholz “condemned in particular the Russian airstrikes against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and stressed Germany’s determination to support Ukraine in ensuring the defence capability against Russian aggression”.

On Russia’s end, Vladimir Putin told Scholz that Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure were “inevitable” and accused the West of pursuing “destructive” policies. 

“It was noted that the Russian Armed Forces had long refrained from precision missile strikes against certain targets on the territory of Ukraine,” the Kremlin said in a statement following the discussion. 

The leaders also discussed the issue of global food security, which is under pressure because of the war.

They also agreed to “remain in contact”, said Hebestreit.

Scholz and Putin have been in regular phone contact through the war.

The previous call between them took place in September and lasted 90 minutes, with Scholz then also urging Putin to “come to a diplomatic solution as possible, based on a ceasefire”.

‘Return to the pre-war peace order’

Despite his firm line on the war in Ukraine, the Chancellor drew sideways glances this week after telling the Berlin Security Conference there was a “willingness” to solve common security issues with Russia. 

“We can come back to a peace order that worked and make it safe again if there is a willingness in Russia to go back to this peace order,” Scholz said, according to reports by Times correspondent Oliver Moody. 

Scholz had prefaced his comments with a reference to Russia’s “imperialist” tendencies, which he said reflected the approach of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, “where a stronger country just thinks it can take the territory of a neighbour, understanding neighbours as just hinterland, and some place they can give rules to be followed.”

“That can never be accepted,” he added. 

He also blamed Russia for destroying the European peace order that countries had worked on “for decades”. 

Nevertheless, commentators accused the SPD politician of stubbornly sticking to Germany’s historical appeasement of Russia rather than recognising the realities of the present day. 

On Wednesday, German MPs also passed a motion to recognise the starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s under Russian dictator Joseph Stalin as ‘genocide’. 

Parliamentarians described the move as a “warning” to Russia as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter due to Moscow’s invasion.

READ ALSO: Germany recognises Stalin famine in Ukraine as ‘genocide’

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