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"Crocodile" Putin, Le Pen's moot excuses, and new scandal with Berlin: Foreign media digest as of April 21

The Page collage

The Page collage

Ukraine does not leave the pages of the Western media: they continue to report about the atrocities of the Russian invaders in our territories, as well as about how Kyiv's allies are trying to suppress the Russian economy and help us resist the terrorist state.

On April 21, the media report about Vladimir Putin’s statement about Azovstal and the response of the Azov commander, new speeches by Boris Johnson and Joe Biden, Russia’s penalty to Google, as well as Le Pen’s attempts to distance herself from Moscowia, and Germany’s refusal to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons.

The Page has compiled a fresh digest on how the European and American media are covering the 57th day of active Russian invasion..


Putin cancels assault on Azovstal

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Reuters quotes Vladimir Putin as ordering the Russian military on April 21 to cancel plans to storm the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, where thousands of Ukrainian defenders and civilians are hiding.

The bloodthirsty dictator stated that it was unnecessary to try to eliminate the defenders barricaded inside the plant.

Quote"I consider the proposed assault on the industrial zone unnecessary," he told his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.

According to him, there is no need to "climb into these catacombs" and crawl underground through these industrial facilities:

Quote"Block off this industrial area so that not even a fly can get through."

According to Shoigu, about 2,000 Ukrainian fighters remained at the plant. Putin urged them to surrender, saying that Russia would treat them with respect.

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The commander of the Azov Regiment, Sviatoslav Palamar, rejected these demands and called on "third parties" to ensure the safety of hundreds of civilians hiding in the plant's bunkers.

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

Quote"We do not accept the terms of the Russian Federation on the surrender of our weapons and the surrender of our defenders," he stated.

Russia has blocked all Ukrainian efforts to send aid to Mariupol or buses to evacuate civilians.

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British General: Russia to focus on Donbas

Photo: gov.uk

Photo: gov.uk

BBC cites General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of UK Joint Forces, as commenting on the cancellation of the assault on Azovstal.

According to him, it's clear Ukrainian soldiers holed up in the plant would have been really difficult for Russia to defeat without an "enormous cost to both sides.

He says that battle is no longer "really relevant" to who controls the port city and the roads that run through it — which now connect Russia to Crimea.

Today's announcements from Russia on Mariupol were intended to show there had been "some success" on the eve of the Russian Orthodox Easter.

Quote"And it allows the military not to expend much more resource on a battle for the steelworks which was military irrelevant and turn to what really matters now — the battle of the Donbas,"

Asked who has the upper hand in the war right now, he says it's "very finely balanced indeed," Barrons says.

Asked who has the upper hand in the war right now, he says it's "very finely balanced indeed". Now Russia will try to encircle the Ukrainian military and get behind their positions in the JFO zone.

If the Russians can do this, it will be a significant success for Moscow, but if the Ukrainians can hold them off it could result in a "very difficult stalemate", the General noted. At the same time, The Page has already reported about how the Russian army is switching to old Soviet military hardware over the heavy losses in Ukraine.

Johnson: Putin is a crocodile that got your leg in its jaws

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Reuters quotes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as saying that any peace talks on Ukraine are likely to fail.

According to Johnson, dealing with Putin is like "a crocodile when it's got your leg in its jaws" and said it was vital that the West continues arming Ukraine.

Quote"Putin’s strategy, which is evident, is to try to engulf and capture as much of Ukraine as he can and perhaps to have some sort of negotiation from a position of strength."

The prime minister also headed to India, where he will encourage his counterpart Narendra Modi to end its neutrality over the war in Ukraine.

Germany cuts weapons for Ukraine

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The Guardian reports that the office of Germany’s chancellor crossed several heavy weapons off a wishlist of military hardware it has offered to buy on behalf of the Ukrainian government.

This casts doubt over Olaf Scholz’s claim to have agreed the procurement process with Kyiv.

The chancellor assured that he had asked military contractors to compile a list of weapons systems that they could quickly supply to Kyiv:

Quote"Ukraine has now made a selection from this list and we will provide it with the required money for the purchase."

According to a report in the German newspaper Bild on April 21, the industry’s offer in mid-March still included/ in particular;

  • Boxer transport vehicles;
  • Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 artillery system;
  • Leopard 2 battle tank manufactured by Munich-based defence company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

At the end of March this list shrunk from 48 to 24 pages and only included three of 15 types of arms requested by Kyiv. Two follow-up requests by the Ukrainian government on 9 and 16 April were reportedly ignored by the German side.

The Page has already reported about how Putin planned to capture Kyiv in two days and put the West in its place — plans that the US and Britain apparently do not forget, but other allies have memory lapses

Oil on the fire of diplomatic scandal

This report is likely to add further fuel to a diplomatic row in which Scholz’s coalition government says it is doing everything within its means to help Ukraine withstand Russia’s assault, while Ukrainian diplomats accuse Berlin of stalling on arms shipments out of fear of provoking Putin into escalating the war.

The list of industry products that Germany says it will pay for does include some modern machinery such as radar systems, remote-controlled weapons stations that can be mounted on Ukrainian tanks, and armoured transport vehicles.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, on Wednesday said cryptically that her government had in the past chosen not to make public all of its weapons exports to Ukraine.

Quote"We have delivered anti-tank missiles, Stingers and other things that we have never spoken about publicly, so these deliveries could happen quickly."

Russia fines Google for "fakes" about war

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The Guardian also reports that Russia has fined Google 4 million roubles ($50,000) for failing to delete what it terms "fake" information about the bloody war (which, we recall, Moscowia calls "special military operation").

According to TASS news agency, Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said earlier this month it was taking steps to punish Google for "spreading fakes" on YouTube. It has previously warned the US company that it would be fined if it failed to comply.

Fortunately, Google has not lost its common sense to remove real facts about Russian atrocities for fear of getting some fines from Russia.

Macron calles Russia Le Pen’s banker

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The New York Times reports that President Emmanuel Macron of France and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen had a heated exchange over Ukraine during a televised presidential debate.

This happened after Le Pen had expressed her solidarity with the Ukrainian people in an apparent attempt to distance herself from Putin.

Quote"You are, in fact, in Russia’s grip," Macron shot back.

He referenced a loan that Le Pen’s party took from a Russian bank a few years ago, saying:

Quote"When you speak to Russia, you speak to your banker."

Sanctions against generals and another Moscow’s delirium

Photo: witter.com/trussliz

Photo: witter.com/trussliz

Sky News reports that the The UK has announced a new wave of 26 sanctions targeting Russian generals "committing atrocities on the front line" as well as individuals and businesses supporting Vladimir Putin's military.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said today the new sanctions would be imposed on those with "Ukrainian blood on their hands", including the commander of the unit which occupied Bucha.

Quote"The depravity of Russia's assault on the people of Ukraine is plain for all to see. They are deliberately targeting hospitals, schools, and transport hubs in Mariupol and beyond – just as they did in Chechnya and Syria."

Sky News also draws attention to the report by the TASS news agency that Russia and Belarus will respond to the strengthening of NATO forces. Alexey Polishchuk, a diplomat at the Russian Foreign Ministry, said:

Quote"Together with Belarusian allies we have to respond to the military strengthening of NATO forces on the borders of the Union State (Russia and Belarus) and the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation), and to coordinate steps in the international arena."

Russia is blocked from access to U.S. ports

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The Washington Post reports that President Biden announced on April 21 that the United States would provide an additional $500 million in direct economic assistance to the Ukrainian government, bringing the total U.S. economic support to Ukraine to $1 billion.

The aid is separate from the military assistance the United States has been providing Ukraine.

Quote"This is money the government can help use to stabilize their economy, to support communities that have been devastated by the Russian onslaught and pay the brave workers that continue to provide essential services to the people of Ukraine."

Biden also stated that the United States will no longer allow Russian-affiliated ships to enter American ports.

Quote"No ship that sails under the Russian flag or that is owned or operated by Russian interests will be allowed to dock in the United States port or access our shores."

This step is being taken with the U.S. partners in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries.

Biden: Putin hopes for West to crack

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Biden stressed that it is important that the United States continue to take tougher stances as the war continues.:

Quote"As Russia continues to grind out the military advances and their military advances, the brutalities against Ukraine, Putin is banking on us losing interest, on Western unity will crack. And once again, we’re going to prove him wrong."

Biden also had a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at the White House on the morning of April 21, shortly before the announcement of additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine.

Quote"I had the honor of spending some time with the Ukrainian prime minister," the President of the United States said. "We had a good discussion."

Instead of an afterword. While Russia decided to turn all its attention to the Donbas, abandoning attempts to storm Azovstal and at the same time not giving a chance to save civilians at the plant, Berlin has greatly reduced the list of weapons that it intends to give to Kyiv. This, along with the fact that almost all lists of military assistance to Ukraine lack heavy weapons, as well as fighter jets, reduces the chances of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defend Donbas.

Most likely, the diplomatic crisis between Germany and Ukraine will worsen amid this, although there is always a possibility that Kyiv will still get heavy weapons, but this will not be officially announced.

At the same time, the allies continue to provide economic and at least some weapons to our state. However, along with the strong support of Boris Johnson, the phrase of the British general that the retention of Russian troops in the East of Ukraine will lead to a "difficult stalemate" looks strange, while he calls our possible defeat simply "Moscow’s success".

The attempts of Emanuel Macron's opponent Marine Le Pen to distance herself from Moscow are also quite ridiculous — France as a whole is not very good at it, but the closeness of the far-right leader to Vladimir Putin and her dependence on Moscow may not be particularly proved. Meanwhile, Ukraine has been defending its independence for 57 days.

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