Ukraine conflict: Russia begins military exercises – NATO gains new ally

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From: Tim Vincent Dicke

In the midst of the Ukraine conflict, Russia organizes new troop maneuvers. Joe Biden is in talks with Qatar’s Emir. All developments in the news ticker.

  • In the conflict between Russia* and Ukraine wants the President of USA*, Joe Biden*, send additional troops to Eastern Europe.
  • Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is traveling to a meeting Wladimir Putin* To moskau.
  • Meanwhile, Russia is holding military exercises in a disputed region of Moldova.
  • All information and news about the Ukraine conflict in our current news ticker.

+++ 6.45 p.m.: NATO could gain a new important ally in the future: Qatar. Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamal Al Thani became the first head of state of the Gulf region to visit US President Joe Biden on Monday (January 31, 2022), reports the news channel CNN. Qatar wants to send a clear signal that it will remain an important player at international level.

Qatar plays an important role in the Ukraine conflict. The country is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. It promises help for contingency planning for Europe’s energy supply if Russia intends to invade Ukraine.

That is why US President Joe Biden wants to classify the country as an important non-NATO ally. “I think that’s long overdue,” stressed the US President. States that receive this status enjoy, among other things, simplified access to US armaments. Other examples of non-NATO allies are Israel*, Brazil, Australia or Egypt.

US President Joe Biden during a bilateral meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamal Al Thani. © Tom Brenner/imago

Ukraine conflict: Russia begins military exercises in separatist region

+++ 5.36 p.m.: Amid tensions in the Ukraine conflict, Russia has held fresh military exercises. This time military exercises were held in Transnistria, the pro-Russian separatist region in Moldova, The Moscow Times reports.

The Operational Group of the Russian Armed Forces (OGRF) held firefighting drills against “targets simulating advancing infantry and enemy military equipment” at its firing range in Transnistria, according to the Times.
“The soldiers practiced covert movements, firing positions and improvised disguises,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement. Particular attention should have been paid to “the destruction of small targets with maximum range”.

Ukraine warned last month that Russian special forces could prepare “false flag provocations” against Russian troops to justify an invasion of Ukraine.

Transnistria, whose 500,000 inhabitants are one-third ethnically Russian and one-third Moldovan, has striven to join Russia since seceding from Moldova in 1990.

Russian soldiers during an exercise.  (archive image)
Russian soldiers during an exercise. (Archive image) © imago

Ukraine conflict: Orban chats with Vladimir Putin in Moscow

First report from Tuesday, February 1st, 2022, 5:09 p.m.: Moscow – As the conflict over Ukraine continues to intensify, Russian President Vladimir Putin met the Hungarian head of government on Tuesday (02/01/2022). Viktor Orban* received in Moscow. At the start of the meeting, Orban said his visit to the Russian capital was part of a “peace mission”. In the EU, nobody wants “war,” he stressed. “We are ready for a rational agreement.”

Before the controversial visit, Hungarian Defense Minister Tibor Benko had clearly criticized NATO’s handling of the Ukraine crisis. “There is no need to send 1,000 NATO soldiers to Hungary and station them here permanently,” Benko said in an interview published in Hungarian media on Tuesday.

Reception at Putin’s: Viktor Orban visits Russia in the middle of the Ukraine conflict

In the current situation, heads of state and government should not resort to “Cold War rhetoric”, Benko warned. “Nobody wants to create a situation where people are scared and worried.”

The Secretary of Defense was apparently alluding to the announcement by US President Joe Biden that he would send additional US forces to the Eastern European NATO countries because of the conflict with Russia. The United States and other western countries fear a Russian invasion of the neighboring country because of a massive Russian troop deployment on the Ukrainian border.

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, sit at a table during the meeting in the Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, sit at a table during the meeting in the Kremlin. © Mikhail Klimentyev/imago

In a joint statement, the Hungarian opposition parties called on Orban to cancel his visit to Moscow. The parties argued that this contradicted Hungary’s national interests. By meeting with Putin, Orban is “indirectly encouraging the Russian President to further escalate the current tensions.”

Ukraine conflict: Orban’s visit to Russia with Vladimir Putin should displease Poland

Orban’s visit is likely to cause resentment among his close Eastern European allies. Together with the right-wing Polish government, Orban forms an inner-European front against the EU Commission accusing both Poland and Hungary of violating the rule of law*. In dealing with Russia, however, Warsaw and Budapest are pursuing opposite approaches.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday as a sign of solidarity. Hungary has been a member of NATO since 1999 and a member of the EU since 2004 – the right-wing populist Prime Minister Orban, of whom Donald Trump is also a big fan*, but has much closer ties to the Kremlin than many of its western partners. Also in the current Ukraine crisis Orban takes a softer stance on Moscow*.

Last but not least, Orban’s visit to Moscow is likely to be motivated by domestic politics. A new parliament will be elected in Hungary in March 2022. Polls say yes close race between Orban’s Fidesz party and an opposition alliance* in advance. (tvd / AFP) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

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