War in Ukraine: kyiv calls on allies to “stop shaking in front of Putin”

I’Ukraine on Thursday repeated its call for its Western allies to provide tanks and “stop shaking” in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite reluctance from some leaders who fear an escalation with Moscow. “There are no restrictions. From Washington to London, from Paris to Warsaw, one thing was said: Ukraine needs tanks; this is the key to ending the war”, launched on Twitter Mykhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the presidency of Ukraine. “It’s time to stop shaking before (Vladimir) Putin and take the last step,” he urged.

Ukraine on Thursday called on the West to “significantly” increase its arms shipments in order to defeat the Russian army. England and Denmark responded. Britain will send an additional 600 Brimstone missiles to Ukraine to help counter a Russian invasion, Britain’s Defense Minister announced Thursday in Estonia. “Today I can say that we will also be sending another 600 Brimstone missiles into the field of operations, which will be very important in helping Ukraine dominate the battlefield,” Ben Wallace said.
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For its part, Denmark has decided to give Ukraine all of its 19 French-made Caesar long-range weapons, some of which have yet to be delivered, the government announced on Thursday. The government, backed by parliament, “has decided to donate all 19 French-made Caesar artillery pieces to the army in Ukraine,” Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said in a statement. But the Kremlin has emphasized that the transfer to Kyiv of long-range weapons, capable of striking deep into Russian territory, will lead to an escalation when the contact group for Ukraine meets on Friday to coordinate the continuation of Western military assistance.

Reluctant United States

Speaking by videoconference on the sidelines of the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday tutored those who hesitated, mocking those who said “I will send tanks if someone else does.”. “I don’t think this is the right strategy”, he lamented, targeting Berlin which was also subject to increased pressure from some of its European neighbors to allow the Leopard shipments. According to press reports, Berlin will only deliver heavy tanks if the United States does the same with its Abrams. However, Washington is not ready, in the near future, to provide Ukraine with this powerful battle tank, according to a senior Pentagon official.

“Nothing good”

The Leopard is a Western-designed modern heavy tank that experts say is critical in the ongoing and upcoming battles in eastern and southern Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities also say they need long-range missiles to be able to reach Russia’s supply chain, including ammunition depots. But Westerners fear, despite Ukrainian assurances, that kyiv could trigger an escalation of the war 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.

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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 promised “nothing good for Europe’s security”. Nevertheless, according New York Time, the Biden administration began to consider providing Ukraine with the means to attack Crimea, as it was a major rear base for Russia’s war effort. President Zelensky reiterated his desire to reconquer all occupied Ukrainian territory, including the peninsula.

On Friday, defense secretaries and senior military officials from Western countries providing military aid to Ukraine will meet around US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Ramstein, Germany to coordinate. Britain has promised 14 Challenger 2 heavy tanks and Poland has said it is ready to deliver 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks. But Ukraine needs several hundred of these vehicles to be able to launch attacks in the East and South.

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Especially since Russian troops, backed by the Wagner paramilitary group, redoubled their efforts to capture Bakhmout, a town in the Donetsk region that was subject to months of bloody fighting. Over the past 15 days, Russian fighters have gained some ground, capturing most of the nearby town of Soledar. Throughout the fall, thanks to Western weaponry in particular, Ukraine has inflicted a series of setbacks on the Kremlin forces, retaking the northeast and parts of the south of the country.

The “heavier, more modern” weapons.

To continue its counteroffensive, Kyiv needed equipment, as “Russia maintained a substantial quantitative advantage in men, weapons and military equipment”, Reznikov and Kouleba recalled. Wednesday in Davos, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured that member states would provide “heavier and more modern” weapons. At the same time, European Council President Charles Michel was in Kyiv on Thursday to discuss new support measures with Volodymyr Zelensky.

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In Ukraine, investigations resumed a day after the helicopter crash near Kyiv that claimed the lives of Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and at least 13 other people. Asked Thursday about the cause of the crash, Volodymyr Zelensky refused to “talk about different hypotheses until the investigation is complete”. On the humanitarian front, the new president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mirjana Spoljaric, traveled to Moscow on Thursday and Friday to meet with Russian government officials and discuss urgent humanitarian needs and access to prisoners of war. .

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