Russia has sent up to 1,000 troops to defend occupied Kherson, Ukraine says, as expected battle looms

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has plunged Europe into an era of insecurity, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Friday, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the world faces the ”the most dangerous decade” since the end of World War II. 

Russia’s war in Ukraine has ”also plunged us in Germany into another time, into an insecurity we thought we had overcome: a time marked by war, violence and flight, by concerns about the expansion of war into a wildfire in Europe,” Steinmeier said in a rare, nationally televised speech.

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“Harder years, rough years are coming,” Steinmeier warned. 

“When we look at the Russia of today, there is no room for old dreams,” Steinmeier said, referring to former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev’s vision of a “common European home.”

Steinmeier, who is from a wing of Germany’s Social Democrats that long argued for closer economic ties to Moscow, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had caused an ”epochal break” in Germany’s ties with Moscow.

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Steinmeier, whose role as head of the German state is largely ceremonial, said in his address to the nation that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for the turmoil in Europe.

”In his imperial obsession, the Russian president has broken international law,” he said.

Steinmeier made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, where he promised Germany’s ongoing support to Ukraine, particularly in the field of air defense. It was Steinmeier’s first wartime visit to Ukraine after two failed attempts in April, when he was uninvited due to his links with Russia, and last week when his visit was canceled for security reasons.

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