Good morning dear readers,

you have to be careful with images of military language these days, but the term “thrown into battle” refers to our new secretary of defense really close: Thursday at 8 am Boris Pistorius must receive his certificate of appointment from the federal president, then take the oath in the Bundestag and Defense Department received with military honors, and then met with the United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, for talks that same morning.

Hopefully your plane doesn’t have too much of a tailwind over the Atlantic, otherwise the timetable will get mixed up.

The meeting of the pro-Ukrainian states in Ramstein continues on Friday, where Pistorius must give answers to the question of whether the Ukraine German-made Leopard tanks.

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As if the weapons chiefs were going to change their minds given the fresh wind on the Bendler block. kicking our heels together in advancereports the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”: Leopard manufacturers now see themselves in a position to deliver the first tanks to Kyiv as early as the third quarter. Just a few days ago, the head of the arms company rheinmetallArmin Papperger said that this would not be possible until 2024.

Judging by the public reactions, it seems Germany have collectively decided: Former Lower Saxony Interior Minister Pistorius is the right person in the right place at the right time. Even the fact that he is not a woman and thus upsets the promised gender parity in the federal cabinet is forgiven for once.

Boris Pistorius: The new defense minister was previously the interior minister in Lower Saxony.

Or, as our deputy Political chief Martin Greive commented: “Lower Saxony has good prerequisites: you are considered assertive, a man of clear words. Character traits, which are also in the hierarchical ticking. armed forces to be appreciated.”

However, Pistorius is not an expert in defense policy either, and Greive considers that quite symptomatic: “Since the end of the Cold War and in the absence of a military threat, the talent of defense politicians and the ability to think strategically in the country have become quite manageable.

Perhaps we will console ourselves with another person who once had to leave Hannover in a hurry as an emergency solution.to save the day. Paul von Hindenburg was living there peacefully as a pensioner when, on August 22, 1914, he was surprisingly appointed von Hindenburg’s commander. Russia he was designated to the beleaguered 8th Army and boarded the eastbound special train the next morning. Four days later Battle of Tannenberg, rest of the story. Take a step.

Henry Kissinger: The former US Secretary of State was criticized by the Ukrainian side for an initial peace plan he presented last year.

In the evening, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, 99, spoke via video link at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. a peace plan for Ukraine summarized: The front should freeze along the lines in Donbass, where Ukrainian troops and Moscow-controlled rebels clashed before the Russian attack on February 24 last year. In the next step, “political talks on the resolution of the conflict” would have to begin.

The result of these talks need not “necessarily” be a division of territory along the front, Kissinger stressed. This would mean that Ukraine could take back the annexed Crimean peninsula and areas of Donbass from Russia after all. To keep the pressure on the Kremlin, Europe and the US should not relax their economic blockade against Russia until a peace treaty has been negotiated. The pacified Ukraine could then become a member of the NATO Will.

A first assessment: Nobody will be enthusiastic about this plan. In Kyiv, people dream of a military recapture of all the occupied territories, including the Crimea. And it is even likely that Moscow will only declare its willingness to evacuate the occupied areas after February 24 under enormous military pressure.

However, Kissinger expresses what is thought in almost all Western capitals: At the end of this war there will have to be some form of compromise with Moscow. And whether this is acceptable or not is decided not in Kyiv, but in the states that make it possible to defend Ukraine with their money and weapons.

Not only in politics, sometimes a little more time is needed for the perception of the inevitable to prevail. After months of criticism of the compromise in Russia, the BASF-Consequences of the subsidiary Wintershall Dea. The oil and gas giant announced last night that it would “completely withdraw from Russia”. Wintershall CEO Mario Mehren said after the relevant Supervisory Board decision: “Wintershall Dea will terminate its activities in Russia. Continuing our business in Russia is not sustainable.”

Joint ventures there have been “de facto economically expropriated” by Russia. BASF owns around 70 per cent of the shares of Wintershall Dea and has to amortize its participation in 7,300 million euros. Therefore, the chemical company recorded an after-tax loss of 1.4 billion euros in 2022. Hardly any other company advocates the integration of the German energy industry with Russia like Wintershall Dea. We have been in close cooperation with for decades gazpromproduces gas in Siberia and has a stake in the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

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I don’t know about you, but our family’s planned ski vacation in the Black Forest literally fell apart in the first days of January. It’s not an unusual phenomenon like that. Handelsblatt correspondents investigating about the future of winter sports in the Alps.

Increasingly, the crucial question is no longer: Is there enough snow? But: do we have enough snow cannons and enough water for artificial snow?

Métabief in the French Jura mountains even plans to go skiing by 2040. By then at the latest, according to a forecast, winter sports will no longer be profitable there due to climate change. Instead of investing in new lifts, the municipality now wants to invest in mountain bike trails and other tourism alternatives. Or you can just go straight to the après-ski.

I wish you a day as smooth as a well-groomed slope.

Sincerely

you christian rickens

Editor-in-Chief Handelsblatt

Morning Briefing: Alexa

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