Davos is everything to them – Newspaper Kommersant No. 8 (7453) of 01/18/2023

On Tuesday, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict became the main topic for discussions of world politicians in several places at once. Thus, a representative delegation from Washington came to Kyiv to discuss the details of American assistance. However, the meetings of the guests from the United States with their Ukrainian colleagues were relatively quiet, behind closed doors, which could not be said about the World Economic Forum that started in Davos, where wartime issues sometimes prevailed over economic ones. So, in Davos from the first day there was talk about new arms supplies to Ukraine, energy security and sanctions pressure on Russia. Which, among other things, greatly outraged Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

On January 16, a high-ranking delegation of American officials arrived in Kyiv. Judging by its composition, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Pentagon Deputy Head for Political Affairs Colin Cole and Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Jonathan Finer arrived in the Ukrainian capital to discuss comprehensive support for Kyiv. Of course, one of the purposes of the visit was to once again show “the strong and unwavering commitment of the United States” to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. On the other hand, there have been plenty of such statements over the past year, and the rank of the guests rather indicated that they came to Kyiv for a comprehensive and substantive discussion of the problems facing Ukraine and agreeing on specific assistance that the United States can provide to solve them.

In particular, as stated on the website State Department, discussed with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal US and international assistance to stabilize the Ukrainian economy and “a strong US-Ukrainian trade and investment partnership as Ukraine recovers.” With Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov, it was about “diplomatic efforts and assistance in the field of security.” And with Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Kubrakov and the head of the board of the national energy company Ukrenergo, Vladimir Kudrytsky, there was a conversation about “extraordinary efforts to repair and maintain the energy system of Ukraine.”

The next day, January 17, negotiations continued, and their culmination was to be a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is noteworthy that before going to Kyiv, Wendy Sherman visited Germany and Poland, where, together with her colleagues, she was able to “appreciate US assistance to Ukraine.”

And although the question of what exactly American officials were doing in Germany remained outside the information field, the words “Germany” and “Ukraine” in the same sentence in recent weeks sound special in the context of new military aid supplies.

Since the beginning of the year, Kyiv’s allies have been putting pressure on Berlin from all sides to allow the German government to allow Leopard tanks to be sent to Ukraine. A number of countries have already expressed their readiness to provide such tanks, which are in service with their armies. However, this cannot be done without the consent of the German government.

The Leopard was even talked about in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, where German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived. Despite the name of the forum, military issues often prevailed over economic ones. In particular, President of Poland Andrzej Duda spoke. “We hope and try to organize a lot of support for Ukraine. We hope that several partners, allies will provide tanks to Ukraine, ”said the Polish politician at the panel session, who promised Vladimir Zelensky a week ago, while on a visit to Lviv, German Leopards.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda also supported him, saying that he “strongly believes” in Berlin’s final decision to give the green light to such supplies. “We don’t have the luxury of such delays. This must be done quickly,” the Lithuanian leader said. Allied pressure on Germany is intensifying ahead of the meeting of partners in support of Kyiv in the Rammstein format next Friday. As Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albarez Bueno assured, “important decisions will be made” at the upcoming event. However, he added that Madrid itself is not yet ready to send Leopards to Kyiv, which are in service with the Spanish army.

By the way, this turn of the discussion in Switzerland did not leave indifferent the ex-President of the Russian Federation, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev. He drew attention to the fact that “there was another discussion in Davos before.”

The Russian official did not pass by the fact that the President of Poland started this conversation. “There, this Polish duda announced that it was gathering a coalition of Western countries to supply armored vehicles to Kyiv,” Mr. Medvedev was indignant. True, he connected the appeals of the leader of Poland with the “long-awaited for the psheks”, in his opinion, the division of Ukraine, which should come closer with the organization of a “tank coalition”.

However, the economy in Davos, of course, was also discussed on Tuesday. True, often – in relation to the conflict. Thus, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, speaking at the forum, reported on the imposition of sanctions by the European Union against Russia.

“We are imposing the strongest sanctions against Russia, which plunge its economy into recession for decades, and its industry is deprived of modern and critical technologies,” Ms. von der Leyen said.

According to her, Brussels will continue to impose restrictive measures against Moscow “for as long as necessary.” She also announced the development of the tenth package of EU sanctions, the purpose of which is to “close loopholes” in the restrictive measures already taken.

The issue of energy security has not been bypassed in Switzerland either. So, according to the mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko, the collapse of the energy infrastructure of Ukraine may occur at any moment due to Russian missile strikes. “Now we have a shortage of electricity in Kyiv of about 30%. Now it is quite cold in Ukraine – minus 10, minus 20, sometimes minus 30 degrees in winter. And in these weather conditions, it is almost impossible to live without electricity, to live without heating, and therefore the situation is critical, we are fighting for survival,” said the Kyiv mayor.

Later, he explained that in Davos, at meetings with colleagues, Ukrainian delegates discussed the supply of air defense systems, heavy weapons, as well as the provision of economic and humanitarian assistance, including generators in case of prolonged power outages. Separately, Mr. Klitschko met with Vice-Chancellor – German Economy Minister Robert Habek. According to him, “further support and assistance to Ukraine, in particular the transfer of weapons” was discussed. “Positive decisions have been made. Good news will come soon,” said the mayor of Kyiv. And although he did not specify what exactly these decisions would be, the Western media concluded that it was more about Leopard tanks than about generators. Anyway, generator such discussions are not provoked by anyone, and sometimes they are delivered to Ukraine even by those whom Moscow still considers partners, for example, Azerbaijan.

By Tuesday evening, Volodymyr Zelensky also had a chance to discuss further cooperation with Germany directly. The Ukrainian leader held a video conference negotiation with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, where, among other things, politicians touched upon “increasing defense support for Ukraine.”

Alexey Zabrodin

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