DThe Bundeswehr intends to end its stationing of the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system in Poland and Slovakia this year. Both NATO partners are informed about these plans, a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Defense told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Friday editions). According to the current status, the assignment in Poland should end in June, and the assignment in Slovakia at the end of the year.
“Of course, we are in constant close contact with our partners and NATO in order to be able to react appropriately to changes in the situation,” added the spokesman.
After the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Bundeswehr stationed two Patriot systems in Slovakia last year. In January, the Bundeswehr then moved three more systems to Poland. A Bundeswehr Patriot system was handed over to Ukraine.
The ground-based Patriot system is mobile, the launch pads can be mounted on trucks. A Patriot battery can keep an eye on up to 50 targets and fight five flying objects at the same time.
All developments in the live ticker:
00:32 – Russian fighter-bomber causes explosion in Russian city
A Russian warplane accidentally dropped ammunition over a Russian city, causing a massive explosion. The Defense Ministry in Moscow said a Su-34 fighter-bomber accidentally released ammunition over Belgorod, the capital of the region of the same name. The city is about 25 kilometers from the border with Russia-attacked Ukraine.
The governor of the region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said at least two people were injured in the blast. Houses were damaged and a crater about 20 meters in diameter was formed.
12:00 a.m. – Pistorius: Ukraine’s NATO membership will not be decided now
Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) has rejected a quick decision on Ukraine’s possible NATO membership. “That will be decided in due course. The door is open a crack, but this is not the time to decide now,” says Pistorius on the ZDF program “maybrit illner” according to a broadcaster’s statement.
Ukraine is aware of the corresponding decision-making situation. First of all, the conflict with Russia must be averted. The inclusion in the defense alliance must then be carefully considered. This is not a question that “one decides just out of solidarity”, but “with a cool head and a warm heart”.
At the meeting of the Ukraine contact group in Ramstein on Friday, neither Ukraine’s accession to NATO nor the EU were on the agenda. Pistorius also says that Ukraine must win the war. But that does not necessarily mean that the war will ultimately only be won militarily. A peace agreement that would lead to the Ukrainian state territory returning to Ukrainian sovereignty and integrity would be ideal.
11:22 p.m. – Zelenskyj demands an invitation to join NATO in July
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on NATO to clear the way for his country to join the western military alliance at its summit in July. Neither in Ukraine, nor in Europe, nor in NATO would the majority of the population understand if Kiev did not receive a “well-deserved invitation,” Zelensky said in his daily video address that evening. On Wednesday he received NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Kiev for the first time since the Russian war of aggression began almost 14 months ago.
The meeting was not just about defending Ukraine, but about “defending the entire rules-based international order and protecting life,” said the President. Hardly anyone is currently contributing more to Euro-Atlantic security than the Ukrainian soldiers. Kiev therefore “did everything to ensure that our request was fulfilled”. Several members of the alliance have reservations about Ukraine’s admission. The next NATO summit of heads of state and government will take place in Lithuania on July 11 and 12.
22:40 – Heavy explosion in Russian border town of Belgorod
A heavy explosion shook the Russian city of Belgorod not far from the border with Ukraine. “A huge crater with a radius of 20 meters has formed at the intersection of one of the main roads,” said the governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, on Thursday evening. According to initial information, however, there were no fatalities or injuries. The amount of property damage was unclear. The information could not be independently verified.
In the surrounding blocks of flats, windows were broken by the explosion, it said. Several cars were badly damaged and power poles were cut. Officially, there was no information on the probable cause. However, more than a year after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Russian border regions have recently come under increasing fire. According to the governor, such shelling has killed 30 civilians from the Belgorod region since the beginning of the war.
7:38 p.m. – Henkel sells Russian business for 600 million euros
The consumer goods group Henkel has found a buyer for its Russian business. The company announced on Thursday in Düsseldorf that the activities would be sold to a consortium of local financial investors. The price is the equivalent of around 600 million euros. The consortium included companies such as Augment Investments, Kismet Capital Group and Elbrus Services. Henkel emphasized that the buyers are not subject to any EU or US sanctions. They also had long-standing business relationships in Western countries.
19:26 – Estonia announces further military aid to Ukraine
Estonia has announced that it will supply more weapons to the country attacked by Russia. The aid package includes artillery ammunition with a caliber of 155 millimeters, the Ministry of Defense announced in Tallinn. This is Estonia’s contribution to an agreement between EU countries to supply Ukraine with one million artillery shells. The Baltic EU and NATO country also wants to hand over night vision devices and ammunition for handguns to Kiev.
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