Live blog: ++ Estonia calls for higher NATO defense spending ++

live blog

As of: September 27, 2023 10:09 a.m

Estonia’s head of government calls for increased defense spending within NATO. Airbnb wants to support Ukraine tourism after the war. All developments in the live blog.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office is investigating a possible war crime in the Kiev suburb of Hostomel. As a spokeswoman confirmed at the request of the dpa news agency in Karlsruhe, the authority initiated the first personal investigation in mid-July. The allegation is that civilians – including a person with German citizenship – were shot at and injured by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town. “In this respect, there is an initial suspicion of the commission of war crimes.” We are in close contact with the Ukrainian law enforcement authorities to clarify the matter. Further details and when the incident in Hostomel occurred are not yet known. “Legal Tribune Online” had previously reported on this, citing the “FAZ”.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office had already initiated so-called structural investigations into war crimes in the Ukraine war in March 2022. The aim is to initially secure as much evidence as possible without specific suspects.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has assured NATO allies in the Baltics of Germany’s military reliability in deterring Russia. “Germany is taking responsibility. And Germany is taking a leadership role,” said the SPD politician at the security conference in the Estonian capital Tallinn. At the same time, Pistorius assured Ukraine of long-term support in defending itself against the Russian attackers. “We will stand by them for as long as it takes,” he said.

Pistorius confirmed plans to station a Bundeswehr brigade in Lithuania. The minister said the details should be worked out by the end of the year. The plans call for 4,000 men and women from the Bundeswehr to be permanently stationed in the country, including with families or children. “We will station German soldiers in Lithuania as soon as the necessary infrastructure is in place,” said Pistorius. Representatives of the Baltic republics as well as other NATO countries and Ukraine take part in the meeting (“Annual Baltic Conference on Defense/ABCD”).

Boris Pistorius pledged military support to the Baltic states at the Annual Baltic Conference on Defense.

According to British military experts, a Russian offensive in the war of aggression against Ukraine has currently become less likely due to the deployment of previously uncommitted troops. This emerges from the daily intelligence report from the Ministry of Defense in London. Accordingly, Moscow probably deployed parts of its newly founded 25th Army for the first time in battle west of the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Kreminna. “Since the beginning of the invasion, Russia has rarely held back an uncommitted army-sized group that could potentially form the basis of a major new offensive push,” the British statement said. But with parts of the 25th Army being deployed to reinforce thinned ranks at the front, a concerted new Russian offensive in the coming weeks is less likely.

Former Ukrainian boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko currently sees no chance of negotiating peace with Russia. “Negotiations with whom, with Russia, with Putin, Lavrov, with whom?”, the 47-year-old answered a question in Markus Lanz’s ZDF program. The brother of Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko added: “They are liars, they have lied to the world for decades with their propaganda.” If you go into negotiations, don’t do it from a position of weakness.

Klitschko said he was worried that people in Germany and other countries could become war-weary. “Prices have become higher, life has become more expensive, life in Europe has changed,” he said. Nevertheless, according to us, most people understand and support the Ukrainians. “In sport as well as in war, endurance beats everything.” Even if everything is progressing very slowly and laboriously.

Former boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko currently sees no chance for peace talks.

A few days before an impending budget freeze in the USA, Democratic and Republican senators presented a compromise proposal for a short-term interim budget. The compromise, released yesterday (local time), would ensure funding for federal authorities until November 17th. The proposal also includes around $6 billion (5.7 billion euros) in additional aid for Ukraine. President Joe Biden asked Congress for $24 billion. The compromise proposal’s chances of success in the House of Representatives were initially uncertain.

However, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, stated that he did not want to provide any funds for Kiev. “They are putting Ukraine above the Americans,” he said, calling instead for money to fight illegal immigration to the United States. It was “the wrong priority” to focus on Ukraine instead of the southern US border, McCarthy said.

Russian authorities temporarily interrupted traffic on the Crimean Bridge this morning. According to Russia’s Telegram message, the bridge has now been reopened. Traffic would flow again without major traffic jams. It is unclear why the bridge was closed. Traffic on the car and railway bridge that connects the annexed Crimean peninsula and the Russian mainland is repeatedly stopped due to Ukrainian drone attacks.

Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has encouraged the other NATO countries to significantly increase their defense spending following the example of the Baltic republics. She referred to her own country, which will increase this budget item to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product next year. “And that is something that I also promote at NATO level,” Kallas told the dpa news agency on the sidelines of the Baltic security conference. The regional security situation following Russia’s attack on Ukraine will be discussed today in the Estonian capital Tallin.

US accommodation provider Airbnb and Ukraine’s tourism agency have signed a joint agreement to support post-war tourism. “This agreement is very important to me. Even if only a very limited tourist offer is possible in Ukraine today, it is important to set the course now for the period after the war,” said Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.

The chairman of the Russian Security Council, Medvedev, said he visited soldiers in eastern Ukraine. According to the Kremlin, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Sokolov, is alive, contrary to Ukrainian information. All developments from Tuesday to read.

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