The KEY issue Right now for Alliance…..
US President Biden against ‘tanks’ going to the Ukraine…..
Europe afraid to go around Biden right now….
The Brtish WILL send its Challenger 2 tank and other weapons and vehicles though iregardless of Biden…..
American combat troop stregth is increasing in Europe….
(US Army combat Troops in Romina are the closest to the Southern Ukraine border….)
Germany has been under pressure to supply Ukraine with its Leopard 2 tanks as the country continues to battle invading Russian forces. At a news conference Friday, new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin was still weighing the pros and cons of supplying the tanks. But the idea that Germany is “standing in the way” of allies who are ready to do so is “wrong,” he said.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- The Treasury Department will designate Russia’s Wagner Group as a “significant transnational criminal organization,” John Kirby, communications coordinator for the National Security Council, said Friday. Additional sanctions will be imposed against Wagner next week, he said in a briefing. The group, a private military contractor founded by a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has committed “widespread atrocities and human rights abuses,” including in Ukraine, Kirby said.
- Kirby also showed satellite images of what he said were Russian rail cars entering North Korea to transport weapons to Wagner. “North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles into Russia for use by Wagner toward the end of last year,” Kirby said. He urged North Korea to halt those deliveries, but added that the weapons have “not changed battlefield dynamics in Ukraine.”
- A former Navy SEAL who deserted from the service in 2019 was killed in Ukraine this week, military officials said.
- Pistorius said Friday that he had ordered an audit of Leopard tank stocks, but added that “none of us can yet say when a decision will be made and what the decision will look like.” Germany has so far declined to provide its powerful Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, saying it will only do so if the United States sends tanks as well.
- Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) exhorted the Biden administration and Germany to send tanks to Ukraineas he and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said they met with Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday.
- The United States on Thursday announced a $2.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine, including hundreds of armored vehicles, as well as ammunition and Avenger air defense systems. “This isn’t about one single platform — our goal … is to provide the capability that Ukraine needs to be successful in the near term,” Austin told reporters in Germany on Friday, praising “deepened cooperation” among the contact group. Allies “will support Ukraine’s self-defense for as long as it takes,” he said.
- Mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group have become “a key component of the Ukraine campaign,”the British Defense Ministry said Friday. In its daily update, the ministry echoed U.S. estimates that up to 50,000 Wagner fighters are fighting in Ukraine, most of which Washington says were directly recruited from Russian prisons.
- Russia’s state nuclear power conglomerate, Rosatom, has been working to supply the Russian arms industrywith components, technology and raw materials for missile fuel, documents show, aiding Moscow’s deadly onslaught on Ukraine and leading to calls for the company to be put under sanctions.
- Officials from 11 European nations announced a separate aid package for Ukraine, including a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks from Britain, on Thursday. “We recognize that equipping Ukraine to push Russia out of its territory is as important as equipping them to defend what they already have,” they said in a joint statement.
- Senior Kremlin officials have been meeting with the Belarusian national leadership, potentially “setting conditions” for a Russian attack on Ukraine from Belarus, the Institute for the Study of War reported. The think tank said such an attack is “unlikely but more plausible” in late 2023…..
The Pentagon will keep several thousand American troops in southeast Romania for at least nine more months, closer to the war in neighboring Ukraine than any other U.S. Army unit, officials said on Saturday.
Over the last year, the sprawling Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, just a seven-minute rocket flight across the Black Sea from where Russian forces have settled in Crimea, has become a training hub for NATO forces in southeast Europe. The forces would be a first line of defense should Russia invade further west.
There are around 4,000 U.S. soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division who have been stationed at the air base since last summer, including small groups of troops that frequently train right on Romania’s border with Ukraine. Before that, there was a smaller contingent from the 82nd Airborne that was sent as part of a quick-response force after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The 101st Airborne Division troops will leave in the next two months, and officials said they would be replaced by a different brigade from the 101st Division, which is based at Fort Campbell, Ky…..
Biden admin asks the Ukraine to ‘wait?”
Senior U.S. officials are advising Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of U.S. weaponry is in place and training has been provided, a senior Biden administration official said on Friday….
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