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War in Ukraine, Day 330 | Three countries promise arms to Kyiv, which asks for much more



(Kyiv) A trio of Ukraine’s European allies promised to deliver missiles and artillery to it on Thursday, as Ukraine itself urged its partners to “dramatically” increase their support on the eve of a major donor meeting.

On Friday, the Defense Ministers of Western countries providing military aid to the Ukrainians, in the forefront of which the American Lloyd Austin, meet in effect in Ramstein, Germany, to coordinate the continuation of military assistance to Kyiv.

But, as of Thursday, the United Kingdom has pledged to supply Ukraine with 600 additional Brimstone missiles, Denmark to give it its 19 French-made Caesar guns and Sweden to deliver Archer self-propelled guns.

Systems that all have a range of several tens of kilometers, but less than that claimed by the Ukrainians.

London had already pledged 14 Challenger 2 heavy tanks to Kyiv and Poland says it is ready to send it 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks, a total far short of the hundreds of such vehicles Ukraine says it needs for future offensives.

In this regard, the latter called on Westerners on Thursday to “considerably” increase their deliveries of weapons, in particular heavy tanks, and to “stop trembling in front of Putin”.

“We appeal to all partner states that have already provided or are planning to provide military assistance, urging them to significantly increase their contribution,” said Ukrainian Defense and Foreign Ministers Oleksiy in a joint statement. Reznikov and Dmytro Kouleba.

“We hear your message”

In particular, they pointed the finger at twelve countries, such as Germany and Turkey, urging them to deliver the German-made Leopard tanks that Kyiv says it badly needs, but whose shipment is uncertain due to German procrastination.

This call was supported during a visit to Kyiv by the President of the European Council Charles Michel, for whom “tanks must be delivered” to the Ukrainians, because “the next few weeks could be decisive” on the front.


European Council President Charles Michel and Ukrainian Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

“We hear your message. You need more air defense and artillery systems, more ammunition,” Charles Michel said on Twitter after a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

But Westerners fear, despite Ukrainian assurances, that Kyiv could provoke an escalation by using these weapons to strike deep into Russian territory and the air and naval bases of Crimea, a peninsula annexed in 2014 by Russia.

During a joint press conference, he also confirmed discussions between EU member states for a tenth round of sanctions targeting Russia.

At the same time, the head of diplomacy of the European Union Josep Borrell deemed “unacceptable and despicable” the reference to the Holocaust made by Moscow to denounce the support of Western countries for Ukraine.

Germany in sight

Speaking by videoconference on the sidelines of the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, Mr. Zelensky for his part derided Thursday, in a clear allusion to the Germans, those who say “I will deliver tanks if someone else the fact” “.

Germany is also under increasing pressure from several of its European neighbors to allow deliveries of Leopards.

“Against thousands of Russian tanks […]the courage of our army and the motivation of the Ukrainian people are not enough,” insisted Mr. Zelensky.

Shortly after, one of his advisers, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, called on Westerners to stop “trembling before Putin” and to deliver the armored vehicles that Ukraine says it needs.

The Leopards are among the modern, Western-designed heavy tanks that experts say are instrumental in the ongoing – and future – battles in eastern and southern Ukraine.

However, Western tanks are “not a silver bullet” against Russia, the Commander of Allied Forces Europe (SACEUR), US General Christopher Cavoli, warned on Thursday that “a balance between all systems (of armament) is necessary”.

The Ukrainian authorities also say in this regard that they need missile systems with a range of more than 100 km in order to be able to hit the Russian supply chain, in particular ammunition depots.

Kremlin warning

But Westerners fear, despite Ukrainian assurances, that Kyiv could provoke an escalation by using these weapons to strike deep into Russian territory and the air and naval bases of Crimea, a peninsula annexed in 2014 by Russia.


The site the day after the helicopter crash that killed 14 people in Brovary.

The Kremlin also sent a clear warning on Thursday: the delivery of longer-range weapons “would mean that the conflict would reach a new level” and that does not promise “nothing good for European security”.

However, according to the daily New York TimesJoe Biden’s government is starting to think about the possibility of giving Ukraine the means to attack Crimea, as it is a key rear base for the Russian war effort.

President Zelensky repeated that he wanted to take back all of the occupied Ukrainian territories, including the peninsula.

Russian thrust

On the battlefield, Russian forces, supported by the private paramilitary group Wagner, are stepping up their efforts to take Bakhmout, a city in the Donetsk region (east) which has been the subject of a bloody battle for months.

Over the past 15 days, Russian fighters have advanced a bit, seizing much of the nearby city of Soledar.

And on Thursday, they launched a “local offensive” in the south, near the town of Orekhiv, according to an official of the Russian occupation administration Vladimir Rogov.

In order to continue its counter-attacks, Kyiv needs equipment, because “Russia retains a substantial quantitative advantage in troops, weapons and other military equipment”, recalled Thursday MM. Reznikov and Kouleba.

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