War in Ukraine: Kremlin to set up ‘single’ corporate contribution to budget

UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – Le Figaro summarizes the latest information from journalists, Ukrainian and Russian statements, Western sources and international organizations.

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published 2/17/2023 at 7:54 PM, updated 2/17/2023 at 11:38 PM

This content is not accessible to all.

In front of the Kremlin, in Moscow. Natalia KOLESNIKOVA / AFP

The European Union is examining the possibility of joint munitions purchases for Kiev, Wagner claims a hold on Bakhmout, Macron wants to “intensify our support” for Ukraine… This Friday, February 17, Le Figaro takes stock of the latest information on the war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin wants to introduce a “one-off” corporate contribution to the budget

The Kremlin is currently discussing with Russian employers to set up a “single voluntary contribution” from companies to the federal budget in the coming weeks, subject to a sharp increase in spending related to the military intervention in Ukraine. “We expect (this contribution) to be around 300 billion rubles,” or 3.8 billion euros at the current exchange rate, Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel on Friday.

This content is not accessible to all.

The minister declined to go into detail about the exact mechanism to be put in place, arguing that he is still “in talks with the companies” but noting that amid “rising spending” such a contribution will “finance government programmes”. . . According to the Russian press, this “one-time voluntary contribution” would only affect beneficiary companies in 2022. Anton Siluanov merely indicated that small businesses, as well as companies in the gas and oil sector, will not be affected by such a measure, for which he hopes for a final decision “in the near future”.

” ALSO READ – According to Kremlin Magus, Vladimir Putin did not want the Minsk 2 agreements

EU examines possibility of joint ammunition purchases for Kyiv

Members of the European Union are examining options for joint purchases of ammunition for Ukraine, and the issue will be on the agenda of Monday’s meeting of foreign ministers of the 27 in Brussels, diplomatic sources told AFP on Friday. Estonia presented its partners with a quantified proposal: a €4 billion endowment provided by member states for the European Peace Facility (EFF), the fund used to buy and supply arms to Ukraine. This foundation would make it possible to buy one million 155mm shells.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz also on Friday urged countries that can supply main battle tanks to Ukraine to “really do it,” while deliveries mentioned by allies are slower than expected. Military support for Ukraine must continue, and “that implies that anyone who can deliver such battle tanks really does,” said Olaf Scholz at the Munich Security Conference.

” READ ALSO – Sébastien Lecornu and Thomas Gomart: “France before the new post-war order in Ukraine”

Macron: ‘Increase our support’ for Kyiv for ‘credible negotiations’

“We must step up our support” for Ukraine to seek “credible negotiations,” Emmanuel Macron said on Friday, while believing the time was “not for dialogue.” “It is imperative that we increase our support and our efforts to help the resistance of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian army and allow them to carry out the counteroffensive, which alone will enable credible negotiations on the terms chosen by Ukraine, its authorities and its people “, he said at the security conference in Munich.

“Today is clearly not the time for dialogue,” admitted the man who has long tried to maintain channels of dialogue with President Vladimir Putin, which sometimes draws strong criticism from European countries, particularly Ukraine. “Now is not the time for dialogue because we have a Russia that has chosen war, that has chosen to escalate the war and that has chosen to go as far as war crimes and attacks on the civilians,” he admitted. “Russia cannot and must not win this war and Russian aggression must fail because we cannot accept the downplaying of the illegal use of force, because otherwise the whole of European security and, more generally, global stability would be called into question,” he hammered.

This content is not accessible to all.

“SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine:”We are ready for a protracted conflict ‘ said Emmanuel Macron

Auchan of Kiev crushed for his activities in Russia

French distribution chain Auchan again in Ukraine’s sights: Kiev accused it on Friday of being “a full-fledged weapon of Russian aggression” after Le Monde newspaper published an investigation into which the group is said to have contributed to Moscow’s war effort. “Auchan has become a full-fledged weapon of Russian aggression. I intend to discuss it with my French counterpart,” Minister Catherine Colonna tweeted head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba. For his part, Auchan “categorically” denied these allegations.

” ALSO READ – Laure Mandeville and Constantin Sigov: “What is Ukraine?”

Wagner claims the conquest of a location north of Bakhmout

The leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagnera said on Friday his forces had taken the Ukrainian town of Paraskoviïvka, a town bordering Bakhmout to the north and was the scene of the longest battle in Donbass for a year. “Despite the ammunition blockade, despite heavy losses and bloody battles, the boys completely took over the village of Paraskoviïvka,” said Yevgeny Prigozhin, quoted by his press service. AFP could not verify these statements from an independent source.

For more than six months, the Wagner group and the Russian army have been attempting to capture Bakhmout in eastern Ukraine, a town of limited strategic importance, but which has acquired great symbolic importance due to the duration and sharpness of the fighting.

” READ ALSO – Wagner, a risky production

The German agent was supposed to deliver information to Moscow about Ukrainian positions, the newspaper said

A German intelligence agent arrested just before Christmas and suspected of spying for Moscow was supposed to provide Russian intelligence services with information on the Ukrainian army’s artillery and anti-aircraft positions, Der Spiegel said on Friday. According to the German weekly, this was information about the Iris-T missile defense system that Berlin had supplied to Ukraine after the Russian invasion and the Himar missile launcher systems that were provided to Kiev by the US.

This content is not accessible to all.

»SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Between tricks and fear, a Russian tells how he escaped mobilization

For its part, Focus, another German weekly, believes that this suspected spy, known as Carsten L., passed secret German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) access to hacking into Russia’s communications system to Moscow.

According to the first results of the Spiegel investigation, the Russian security services (FSB) asked Carsten L., who was arrested on December 22nd, to provide them with GPS data on the whereabouts of Iris-T Anti via an alleged accomplice who was arrested on January 26th to provide missile shield systems and Himars missile launchers. However, sources familiar with the investigation told the magazine it was unlikely such data would eventually be shared. Federal prosecutor Peter Frank is investigating the two men, who are both in custody, for high treason.

“SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: NATO must prepare for conflict”for the long term with Russia, according to Stoltenberg