War in Ukraine, Day 330 | Three countries promised arms to Kyiv, which asked for more

(Kyiv) Ukraine’s trio of European allies pledged to send missiles and artillery there on Thursday, as Ukraine itself urged its partners to “dramatically” increase their support ahead of a major donor meeting.

On Friday, Western defense ministers provided military aid to Ukraine, where America’s Lloyd Austin met in Ramstein, Germany, to coordinate the continuation of military aid to Kyiv.

But, on Thursday, Britain had pledged to supply Ukraine with 600 additional Brimstone missiles, Denmark would give it 19 French and Swedish made Caesar guns to deliver the Archer self-propelled guns.

The systems all have a range of several tens of kilometers, but less than that claimed by Ukraine.

London has pledged 14 Challenger 2 heavy tanks to Kyiv and Poland said it is ready to send it 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks, a far cry from the hundreds of vehicles Ukraine says it will need for a future offensive.

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

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

“We heard your message”

In particular, they pointed to twelve countries, such as Germany and Turkey, urging them to send German-made Leopard tanks which Kyiv said were urgently needed, but delivery was uncertain due to German delays.

This call was supported during a visit to Kyiv by European Council President Charles Michel, for whom “tanks should be sent” to Ukraine, because “the next few weeks could be decisive” at the front.


President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

“We heard your message. You need more air defense systems and artillery, 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 sea bases of Crimea, a peninsula that was annexed in 2014 by Russia.

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

At the same time, EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell found it “unacceptable and reprehensible” to refer to the Holocaust made by Moscow to denounce Western countries’ support for Ukraine.

Germany in plain sight

Speaking by videoconference on the sidelines of the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, Zelensky for his part scoffed Thursday, in an apparent allusion to the Germans, who said “I would have sent tanks if someone else had the facts”.

Germany is also under increasing pressure from some of its European neighbors to allow the Leopard shipments.

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

Shortly afterward, one of his advisers, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, called on Westerners to stop “trembling before Putin” and send in the armored vehicles Ukraine said it needed.

The Leopard is one of the modern Western-designed heavy tanks that experts say will play an important role in the ongoing – and future – battles in eastern and southern Ukraine.

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

The Ukrainian authorities also said in this regard that they need a missile system with a range of more than 100 km in order 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 sea bases of Crimea, a peninsula that was annexed in 2014 by Russia.


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

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

However, according to the Daily New York TimeJoe Biden’s government is starting to think about the possibility of providing Ukraine with the means to attack Crimea, as it is a major rear base for Russia’s war effort.

President Zelensky repeated that he wanted to reconquer all occupied Ukrainian territory, including the peninsula.

Russian push

On the battlefield, Russian troops, backed by Wagner’s private paramilitary group, stepped up their efforts to take Bakhmout, a town in the Donetsk region (east) that had been the target of months of bloody fighting.

Over the last 15 days, Russian fighters have advanced somewhat, capturing most of the nearby town of Soledar.

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

To continue its counterattack, Kyiv needed equipment, as “Russia maintained a substantial quantitative advantage in terms of troops, weapons and other military equipment”, recalled Thursday MM. Reznikov and Kouleba.

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