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How Rosatom aids Russian army, how the discussions at Ramstein-8 are going, and why Trump has to pay $1 million

Rosatom as a sponsor of terrorism, Ramstein-8, and penalties for Trump: a digest of Western media of January 16–20

Rosatom as a sponsor of terrorism, Ramstein-8, and penalties for Trump: a digest of Western media of January 16–20

Ukrainian intelligence obtained evidence of the Russian army being sponsored by Rosatom, Serbia was outraged by a video showing its volunteers fighting in Ukraine, while Kyiv said it expected strong decisions from Ramstein-8.

Meanwhile, Germany's new Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said there was no requirement that Germany only provides tanks simultaneously with the U.S., but Berlin still dismissed Ukraine’s request.

In the U.S., Joe Biden authorized a new program for financing refugees, while Donald Trump was obliged to pay an immense penalty. The Page offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the January 16–20 business week.


Rosatom supplied materials for the Russian army

Rosatom is sponsoring war crimes in Ukraine: proof was found. Photo: novynarnia.com

Rosatom is sponsoring war crimes in Ukraine: proof was found. Photo: novynarnia.com

Ukrainian intelligence obtained a letter from a Rosatom department chief, dated October 2022, that shows the state nuclear company offering to provide goods to Russian military units and to Russian companies from the military-industrial complex that are under sanctions, The Washington Post reports.

Particularly, these are manufacturers of weapons—missile systems, multiple missile launch systems, bombs, missiles, armored carriers, and tanks.

Detailed descriptions of the products Rosatom’s subsidiaries offered to provide to Russian military and the arms industry are attached to the letter:

  • aluminum oxide, a vital component for missile fuel;
  • lithium-ion batteries to power tanks and other armaments;
  • 3D-printing technology;
  • chemical compounds used in aircraft and missile engineering.

Experts said that Russia could be using Rosatom’s current non-sanctioned status as a way to obtain components that would otherwise be embargoed.

Will Rosatom be sanctioned?

Rosatom may finally be sanctioned. Photo: dv.ee

Rosatom may finally be sanctioned. Photo: dv.ee

The author notes that after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Rosatom facilitated Moscow’s illegal seizure of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Witnesses said Rosatom employees stationed at the plant appeared to have directed some of the Russian artillery targeting the plant to cut off the plant from supplying electricity to Ukraine.

Nevertheless, previous calls by Ukraine backed by Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland to impose sanctions on Rosatom have not led to action. However, the situation may change now.

Quote"If Rosatom is providing support for the Russian arms industry, that’s sanctionable," said Daniel Fried, the former State Department’s sanctions coordinator.

Rosatom has so far escaped sanctions amid concerns over the potential consequences for the nuclear power industry across the globe. Out of the approximately 450 nuclear power plants around the world, about 20% are Russian-designed, including 18 in the EU. In addition, Rosatom controls about 30% of the global market for uranium enrichment and 17% of the market for reactor fuel.

The Ukrainian government, however, has been ramping up the pressure for sanctions in recent weeks. Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, met the State Department’s sanctions coordinator, James O’Brien, on January 12 to discuss Rosatom.

After talks this month with European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal indicated that he expected sanctions on Rosatom to be included in the E.U.’s next package of sanctions against Russia.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement to The Washington Post:

Quote"Nuclear cooperation with today’s Russia is not only immoral because it sponsors Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine, but also dangerous. … We call on all states to halt any nuclear cooperation with Russia, avoid getting into any new joint projects with Russia in this field, and impose personal sanctions on the key Rosatom officials and employees who had interfered with Ukraine’s nuclear system."

Serbian volunteers in the war against Ukraine: Belgrade’s reaction

A Russian news video claiming to show Serbian volunteers training to fight alongside Russian troops in Ukraine has prompted outrage in Serbia, BBC reports.

Russia's Wagner mercenary group made the Serbian-language videos to encourage recruitment for the war.

Vučić reacted angrily to Wagner’s video. Photo: Getty Images

Vučić reacted angrily to Wagner’s video. Photo: Getty Images

Serbia's president, Aleksandar Vučić, reacted angrily on national TV.

Quote"Why do you, from Wagner, call anyone from Serbia when you know that it is against our rules?" he said.

The number of Serbian recruits involved does not appear to be significant. Some did fight alongside Russian forces in Ukraine in 2014, but not with any sort of official endorsement.

It is illegal for Serbians to take part in conflicts abroad. Serbian courts convicted more than two dozen people for taking part in "fighting on foreign battlefronts".

On Thursday, a Belgrade-based lawyer and anti-war groups filed criminal complaints against the Russian ambassador as well as the head of Serbian intelligence, Aleksandar Vulin, for allegedly recruiting Serbians for the Wagner group.

Serbia has consistently voted in favor of resolutions at the United Nations condemning Russia's aggression. President Vučić this week made Belgrade's position crystal clear:

Quote"For us, Crimea is Ukraine, Donbas is Ukraine, and it will remain so."

Ramstein-8: Discussions around German tanks and Poland’s promises

The Ramstein Air Base meeting on January 20. Photo: Getty Images

The Ramstein Air Base meeting on January 20. Photo: Getty Images

Ukraine said it expected strong decisions from NATO and other countries that met at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday to discuss the provision of modern battle tanks, Reuters reports.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked allies for their support at the start of the meeting but said:

Quote"We have to speed up. Time must become our weapon. The Kremlin must lose."

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the meeting that Russia was regrouping, recruiting and trying to rearm.

Quote"This is not a moment to slow down. It's a time to dig deeper. The Ukrainian people are watching us," he said, without specifically mentioning tanks.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government has appeared reluctant to authorize the re-export of the tanks for fear of provoking Russia.

Some allies, along with Ukraine, say Germany's concern is misplaced with Russia already fully committed to war.

Quote"Some of the countries will definitely send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, that is for sure," Defence Minister Arvydas Anusauskas told Reuters about the Ramstein pledges, speaking after 11 nations met in Estonia on Thursday and pledged new military aid.

A German military source said later that Germany had yet to receive a request from any country for permission to re-export German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he was "moderately pessimistic" Berlin would give the green light. His government has suggested Poland may go ahead anyway.

However, it was revealed later that Germany refused to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

Boris Pistorius: there’s no requirement that Ukraine receive U.S. and German tanks simultaneously

Boris Pistorius assures that Germany can provide tanks separately from the U.S. Photo: Getty Images

Boris Pistorius assures that Germany can provide tanks separately from the U.S. Photo: Getty Images

According to Reuters, Germany's new Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said he did not know of any requirement that Ukraine receive U.S. and German tanks simultaneously.

Quote"I'm not aware of any such stipulation," Pistorius told ARD television when asked if that meant Abrams and Leopards had to be delivered at the same time.

Scholz has been criticized by allies for his stance on sending modern battle tanks to Ukraine.

An ARD opinion poll showed that Germans were split on the matter, with 46% in favor and 43% opposed. The split was especially acute within his own Social Democrats, 49% of whose backers said Germany should deliver.

The Americans will be allowed to sponsor refugees from Ukraine under a new program

Biden approved a new program for refugees in the U.S. Photo: Getty Images

Biden approved a new program for refugees in the U.S. Photo: Getty Images

The Joe Biden administration on Thursday unveiled a new program to allow groups of private citizens to sponsor refugees from around the world to live in the United States, the CNN reports.

Under the program, called the Welcome Corps, groups of at least five individuals can apply to sponsor refugees and help them acclimate to life in the U.S. The sponsor groups must raise a minimum of $2,275 per refugee, but they will not be required to provide ongoing financial support.

There have been programs in the U.S. that allow individuals to sponsor refugees from Ukraine and Venezuela. However, unlike the Welcome Corps, they require the sponsors to show that they can support the refugees financially for two years.

According to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the administration aspires to mobilize at least 10,000 Americans to support at least 5,000 refugees in the program’s first year.

Trump will pay nearly $1m in penalties

Trump will have to pay immense penalties for pursuing a frivolous lawsuit. Photo: Getty Images

Trump will have to pay immense penalties for pursuing a frivolous lawsuit. Photo: Getty Images

A federal judge has ordered Donald Trump and one of his attorneys to jointly pay nearly $1m in penalties for pursuing a frivolous lawsuit that accused Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and other perceived enemies of the former president of engaging in racketeering and concocting a vast conspiracy against him, The Guardian reports.

The suit had been dismissed in September, and Trump was ordered to pay tens of thousands in November after one defendant sought sanctions. The latest order came after a group of the remaining defendants, including Clinton, filed a separate request for sanctions.

In a scathing ruling, U.S. district court judge Donald Middlebrooks wrote that Trump and his lead attorney, Alina Habba, had abused the legal system by advancing a lawsuit replete with misinformation and errors.

Quote"We are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose," Middlebrooks wrote in the 46-page order imposing sanctions of $937,989.39 against Trump and Habba.
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