Will the war in Ukraine become global? As the fighting intensifies, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned of “the risks of escalation”. The world is heading “with eyes wide open” towards “a broader war”, he warned. These predictions came to fuel a particularly dark speech, presenting the priorities for 2023.
UN warns of ‘wider war’
The UN has warned: the “risks of escalation” in Ukraine must be limited. Because the world is heading “with eyes wide open” towards “a broader war”, said the secretary general, Antonio Guterres, as part of a speech presenting his priorities for 2023.
“We began the year with our sights set on a convergence of challenges never seen in our lifetime,” he told the General Assembly. He mentioned the war in Ukraine, but also the climate crisis and poverty. The conflict between Kyiv and Moscow was placed at the top of the list of urgent issues. “The prospects for peace keep shrinking. The risks of further escalation and carnage keep growing.” Antonio Guterres denounced the lack of “strategic vision” of political decision-makers, and their “penchant” for short-term actions, which leads them, according to him, to be ineffective.
Zelensky thanks Norway for financial support
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the Norwegian government for its help. He hailed on Twitter an “unprecedented program” and “a significant contribution to the future victory of Ukraine”.
Earlier in the day, Norway had indeed announced an envelope of 75 billion crowns (6.8 billion euros) to support Ukraine. This amount will be spread over five years, from 2023 to 2027. “We propose that Norway commits to give a sustainable contribution to Ukraine, over several years,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told a conference Press.
The envelope is supposed to cover humanitarian and military aid, and will be divided equally between these two purposes this year. Jonas Gahr Støre also proposed to increase by 5 billion crowns the aid “to the countries of the South which are the most affected by the war in Ukraine”, in particular because of the increase in the price of foodstuffs. The aid allocated to Ukraine is still likely to be modified in Parliament, where the government will need the support of other parties to get it adopted. Many have already tested positive.
Wagner boss challenges Zelensky
The boss of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine, has issued a challenge to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In a short video broadcast on Telegram, he assured that he would board a MiG-29 fighter on Tuesday. “If you want, we will meet in the sky. If your device takes over, you recover (Bakhmout), otherwise we will go to the (river) Dnieper”, he assured.
Evgueni Prigojine appeared on board what he presented as being an Su-24 bomber, returning from a bombardment of Bakhmout, a city in eastern Ukraine. “We landed, we bombed Bakhmout,” he said. This video comes as the Ukrainian Parliament has just passed a resolution describing the Wagner group as a “terrorist organization”, whose mercenaries fight alongside the Russian army.
A new Minister of Defense
Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov will replace Oleksiï Reznikov as defense minister in the face of mounting Russian pressure in the east and after corruption scandals, a Ukrainian MP announced on Sunday evening. Aged 37, “Kyrylo Budanov is going to lead the Defense Ministry, which absolutely makes sense in times of war,” said MP David Arakhamia, leader of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People parliamentary group. Oleksiï Reznikov, 56, will be appointed Minister of Strategic Industries, added the elected official. He indicated that this reshuffle would not take place this week, without giving a precise date.
“War dictates the movement of personnel,” explained the MP. “The times and the circumstances call for reinforcement and concentration. This is what is happening now and it will continue in the future”. “The enemy is preparing to advance. We are preparing to defend ourselves,” he said. Kyrylo Reznikov, one of the best-known figures in the war in Ukraine, was appointed Minister of Defense in November 2021 and helped to enable the supply of Western weapons to Ukrainian forces. But his ministry has been marred by corruption scandals.
Zelensky supports Turkey
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his country is ready to provide necessary assistance to Turkey following the earthquake that hit the country earlier on Monday.
“Shocked by the news of the death and injuries of hundreds of people as a result of the earthquake in Turkey, Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted. I offer my condolences to President Erdoğan, the Turkish people and the families of those who lost their life during the earthquake in Turkey and wish a speedy recovery to all injured. We stand with the Turkish people in this difficult time. We are ready to provide the necessary assistance to overcome the consequences of the disaster.”
Sergei Lavrov visits Baghdad
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Iraq on Sunday evening to meet Iraqi leaders and discuss energy and food security in particular in the light of the conflict in Ukraine, said the spokesman for Iraqi diplomacy. Sergei Lavrov landed in Baghdad on Sunday evening, leading a large delegation including representatives of “oil and gas companies and investors”, Iraqi diplomatic spokesman Ahmed al-Sahhaf told AFP. .
He will meet his Iraqi counterpart Fouad Hussein on Monday morning, said Ahmed al-Sahhaf, quoted by the state news agency INA. He will meet with Prime Minister Mohamed Chia al-Soudani, President Abdel Latif Rachid, and Speaker of Parliament Mohamed al-Halboussi. The visit “confirms Iraq’s openness to all its partners and friends”, said Ahmed al-Sahhaf, stressing the importance “of attracting investments […] particularly in energy”, according to INA.