The US and some of its European allies have announced significant new arms donations to Ukraine, including armoured vehicles and heavy weaponry, just days before a crucial meeting on bolstering the defences of the country almost one year after Russia invaded the country.
The US stated that its military assistance package, which includes armoured personnel carriers, air defence systems, and tens of thousands of rockets and artillery rounds, is worth $2.5 billion. The US Defense Department said in a statement on Thursday that there will be 59 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 90 Stryker Armoured Personnel Carriers.
it is a “major new security support package to enable Ukraine to continue to defend itself against Russia’s terrible conflict.” He added that the latest package brings US military assistance to Ukraine to $27.4 billion.
Earlier, in a joint statement with defence ministers and representatives from nine European countries, the UK said it would send 600 Brimstone missiles to Kyiv, While Denmark has committed to deliver 19 howitzers produced in France by Caesar and Sweden has offered its Archer artillery system, Ukraine has been asking for a modern mobile howitzer for some months.
“We recognise that providing Ukraine to drive Russia off its territory is equally as critical as arming them to defend what they currently have.”
We will continue to support the Ukrainian government as it moves from actively battling Russian forces on Ukrainian territory to driving them out. The new level of required combat power can only be reached by utilising a combination of main battle tank squadrons, operating beneath air and missile defence, operating alongside divisional artillery groups, and additional deep precision fires that enable targeting of Russian logistics and command nodes in occupied territory.”
The announcements came ahead of a meeting of defence and other officials from more than 50 countries, including all 30 NATO members, at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss support for Kyiv in the face of brutal battles in Ukraine’s east and Russia’s ongoing air attacks on its cities.
Looking ahead to the German talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated late Thursday that Kyiv anticipates “strong decisions” from the meeting.
According to what Zelenskyy stated in a video speech, “in actuality, we are currently waiting for a decision from one European city to start the developed chains of cooperation with tanks.”
“We’re getting ready for the Ramstein meeting tomorrow. We anticipate firm decisions.
Pressure on Germany to provide its modern Leopard 2 tanks is increasing, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government so far appearing hesitant to authorise their transfer for fear of upsetting Moscow. Germany has the right to veto any potential transfer.
On Thursday, the Kremlin warned that sending heavy weapons capable of striking Russian territory would be interpreted as an escalation.
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, warned reporters, “This may be very hazardous.” It will escalate the confrontation, threatening global and pan-European security.
Ukraine and Russia have depended mostly on Soviet-era T-72 tanks, which have been destroyed in the hundreds since the war that began on February 24 last year when Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed forces across the border in a “special military operation”.
Ukraine has increased calls on its allies to increase assistance, fearing that the colder months will give Russian forces time to regroup and launch a significant attack.
During a visit to Washington, DC in December, Zelenskyy told the US Congress that supporting Ukraine was an investment in democracy, not charity.
Berlin said the situation would “become evident in the next few hours or tomorrow morning” on Thursday, suggesting allies could supply Ukraine with tanks.
Ukraine’s Western allies have been hesitant to transfer heavier weapons to avoid NATO appearing to directly confront Russia, Kyiv officials claim tanks are needed to recapture Russian-occupied territory and fight against additional incursions.
“Ukraine needs tanks,” says Washington, London, Paris, and Warsaw. Tanks are critical to properly ending the war.
Meanwhile, CIA Director William Burns travelled to Kyiv in secret to meet Zelenskyy, a US official told Reuters on Thursday, declining to say when the visit occurred.
Fighting remained intense in the eastern industrial region known as the Donbas, according to Ukrainian military officials on Thursday night.
According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff, Russian forces shelled the town of Bakhmut, Russia’s main focus in the Donetsk province, which, along with the Luhansk province, makes up the Donbas region.
Solar, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Bakhmut, was also attacked. Russian forces claim control of the town, known for its salt mines, while Ukraine claims its military is still fighting there.
Russian forces also shelled nearby towns, including Klishchiivka, just south of Bakhmut, according to the Ukrainian military. Yevgeny Prigozhin, commander of the Wagner Russian mercenary army, claimed control of Klishchiivka, which Ukraine disputes.
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