News of the high-level EU visit to Kyiv. Last Minute EUROPE, France, CURRENT, Netherlands, England, Spain, Russia, Greece headlines and events
President of the Council of the European Union (EU) Charles Michel met with President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to discuss EU support for Ukraine and the reforms needed for Ukraine’s EU membership.
Ahead of the EU-Ukraine summit on February 3, Michel wrote under a photo he shared from the train on Twitter: “I am returning to Kyiv to discuss all areas of cooperation. May 2023 be the year of victory and peace. “
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shared a photo of himself from the messaging app Telegram while hosting Michel at the government building in Kyiv.
The day before, Michel said that he personally assesses positively the sending of tanks by the West to Ukraine. The United States and Germany are also trying to find a way out of the stalemate that has so far prevented the West from sending Kyiv the modern battle tanks it needs.
In a joint statement with Michel, Zelensky asked Ukraine’s allies to send more weapons to Kyiv as soon as possible and said that this would ensure the security of both Ukraine and Europe.
Last year, the EU granted Ukraine candidate status. Officials say Kyiv needs to continue its rule of law reform in order to join the EU after the war.
As the first anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches, the EU will provide Ukraine with 18 billion euros in financial support in 2023. The EU is also considering adding German Leopard tanks to the list of weapons it supplies to Kyiv and a tenth round of sanctions against Russia.
The EU is also helping to investigate war crimes allegedly committed during the occupation of Russia and, in working on this issue, is supporting the creation of an international tribunal that will try Russian political and military leaders involved in the war in Ukraine.
Ukraine urges to speed up military deliveries
Andriy Yermak, an adviser to the President of Ukraine, called on Western allies to expedite the delivery of tanks and air defense systems to Kyiv, saying: “We don’t have time, the world doesn’t have time.”
The Western Allies will meet tomorrow at the German Ramstein Air Base. The focus of the meeting is whether Germany will send the promised Leopard tanks to Kyiv, which is fighting the occupation of Russian troops.
Worried that the winter season will allow Russian forces to reorganize and launch a broader offensive, Ukraine is pushing for the acquisition of Leopard tanks from a number of NATO countries. However, sending these tanks to Ukraine is awaiting German approval.
In a statement, Yermak said: “The problem of tanks, like the problem of the air defense system, must be resolved immediately. We are paying for this slowness with the lives of the Ukrainian people.”
Germany, on the other hand, says it does not want to be left alone in the supply of weapons to Ukraine. A German government source said that Berlin would waive its hold on Leopard tanks if the US sent Abrams tanks.
Zelensky, on the other hand, criticized Germany’s position by saying: “I have power in Europe. I will help only if someone outside of Europe helps.” It doesn’t seem like a very good strategy to me.”
Almost 11 months have passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops control some lands in the east and south of Ukraine. For a while on the battlefield momentum was on Kyiv’s side, but Moscow increased its resources to push east.
The threat of another “full-scale” attack by Russian troops is “very real,” Ukraine’s Foreign and Defense Ministry said in a joint statement.
The statement shows that the Kremlin has an advantage in terms of the number of soldiers, weapons and military equipment.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that Kyiv called on Greece, Denmark, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, Finland and Sweden, which have Leopard tanks.
This week Britain became the first Western country to decide to send tanks to Kyiv.
11 NATO countries decided to send weapons to Ukraine
Eleven NATO countries, including the UK and Poland, have pledged new military support to Kyiv ahead of a meeting tomorrow in Germany on arms supplies to Ukraine.
Assistance from countries including Estonia, Latvia and Poland will include dozens of Stinger air defense systems, S-60 anti-aircraft guns, machine guns and training.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK plans to send 600 Brimstone missiles to Ukraine to support its fight against Russia.
Wallace met with other defense ministers at the Tapa military base in Estonia.
Wallace also spoke about the previously announced military support package, including the supply of Challenger tanks to Ukraine, and provided information on the types of missiles the UK will be purchasing.
Armored vehicle and artillery system from Sweden
The Swedish government has also announced a new military aid package that will include sending armored infantry fighting vehicles and an Archer artillery system to Ukraine.
The 4.3 billion SEK ($419 million) package will also include NLAW light portable anti-tank weapons, mine-clearing equipment and assault rifles.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told a press conference that “Ukraine’s victory in this war is of almost indescribable significance” and that Ukraine is fighting for the freedom of all of Europe.
Sweden will send about 50 Type 90 tracked and armored infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Equipped with a 40mm automatic cannon, these vehicles can carry up to eight infantrymen.
The government has not specified how many Archer systems it will supply.
Prior to the package it announced today, Sweden announced a SEK 5 billion military aid to Ukraine and humanitarian aid shipments to be delivered on several flights.
Caesar howitzer artillery system from Denmark
Denmark announced today that it will donate 19 French-made howitzer artillery systems to Ukraine in response to a request from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The statement also indicated that it would cause a deficit in the Scandinavian nation’s own military buildup.
Kyiv’s request for weapons systems from Copenhagen last month sparked a debate about whether the country would provide much-needed artillery systems.
Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said in a statement: “We are in constant contact with the Ukrainians, especially regarding Caesar’s artillery. I am glad that we have received broad support from the Danish Parliament to donate these systems to fight for the freedom of Ukraine.”
As part of its commitment to NATO, Denmark has been tasked with establishing a heavy infantry brigade known as the 1st Brigade by 2032. However, the project’s delay has drawn criticism from within NATO as well.
The ministry said the handover of the Caesar howitzer would further delay the creation of the 1st Brigade. The statement also said that Denmark would try to quickly acquire new military capabilities in parallel with the donation.
Denmark has not yet received all of the Caesar artillery systems developed by the French arms manufacturer Nexter.
Poland: “We can send tanks even without German approval”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki indicated that even if Germany did not approve the re-export of German-made Leopard tanks, he could send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as part of a broader coalition, noting that the Allies would have a difficult meeting in Berlin about further military assistance to Kyiv. stepped up the pressure.
“Consent here is of secondary importance, we will either get consent quickly or we will do everything necessary ourselves,” Mateusz Morawiecki told Polsat News exclusively late last night.
The Reuters news agency was unable to contact government officials to ask if Morawiecki was referring to Poland or if he wanted to say that a group of countries would send tanks without Germany’s permission.
Previously, Poland reported that it would send tanks only as part of a larger coalition.
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