Zelensky begins to follow up visits of the Russian Foreign Minister across South America with zoom sessions of his own….
NATO membership for the Ukraine?…Don’t hold your breath…Sweden can’t even get in….
Unknown if this is real or disinformation but the WashPost is featuring a ‘leaks’ story that the Ukraine would send troops to Syria to fight Russian troops….
The Ukraine has Western combat vehicles and light tanks arriving…..
Ukraine troops still hold Western Bakhmut….The Russiana and Wagner Group hold what’s left of the rest….
Russia and the Ukraine are beginning to get ready for the expected Ukraine Spring Offense…..
Patriot Missle batteries have arrived and are operational in unknown spots one would assume and around Kyiv…..
The Ukrainian president urged Mexican lawmakers to show solidarity with his country, as the Russian foreign minister visited Cuba after stops in Venezuela, Brazil and Nicaragua. Here is what we’re covering:
‘Nobody in the world has the right to ruin peace,’ Zelensky tells Mexican lawmakers.
The image of a dying pregnant woman in Mariupol is honored as Photo of the Year.
E.U. grain proposals aim to maintain unity against Russia’s invasion.
Here is why Ukrainian grain imports are stirring tempers in parts of Europe.
NATO’s top official, visiting Kyiv, says Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in the alliance.
With needs so great in Ukraine after a year of war, some amputees are finding their way to a clinic in Minnesota.
Who can rebuild Ukraine? A team of women starts small, but with enthusiasm.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Denmark and the Netherlands are set to donate 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Danish Foreign Ministry confirmed. Germany, which developed the Leopard, announced in January that it would deliver tanks to Ukraine and authorized other countries to export its Leopards to Kyiv. Ukraine favors the Leopard 2 tanks because they are fast and easy to use, arm and refuel.
- “Let me be clear: Ukraine’s rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family,” Stoltenberg said at the news conference. “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO. And over time, our support will help you make this possible.” The secretary general’s visit comes as NATO is expanding, having just added Finland as its 31st member. Sweden, another prospective member, has had its accession process held up by objections from alliance members Hungary and Turkey.
- Zelensky pushed for a road map for NATO membership. “The time has come for the [alliance’s] leaders to define the prospects of Ukraine’s acquisition of NATO membership, to define the algorithm of Ukraine’s movement towards this goal, and to define security guarantees for our state for the period of such movement — that is, for the period before NATO membership,” the Ukrainian leader said.
- Ukraine continues to hold Bakhmut’s western edge,despite suggestions from Washington months ago that Kyiv cut its losses and let the city go, according to a leaked classified U.S. assessment obtained by The Post. The document, marked “top secret,” cautioned that “steady” Russian advances since November “had jeopardized Ukraine’s ability to hold the city,” and Ukrainian forces would probably be “at risk of encirclement, unless they withdraw within the next month.” Ukraine has since clung onto western Bakhmut, framing its defense as an imperative far greater than the city’s strategic military value — one that denies Russia a victory and boosts Ukrainian morale.
- The mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko said the capital has ended its land lease agreement with Russia’s embassy. On Telegram on Thursday, he said the city council appealed to federal officials to return the property to the Ukrainian state.
- Russia may have formed a new military grouping to defend the southern Ukrainian territory it has captured in the war, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. A Tuesday statement from the Kremlin referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit with the “Dnipr Group of Forces” — using the Russian spelling of the Dnieper River in Ukraine. This new reference suggests the existence of “a large, task-organised operational formation” whose role is “likely to defend the southern sector of the occupied zone, and especially the south-western flank which is currently marked by the Dnipro river,” the ministry said.
- Ukraine has already begun conducting some counteroffensive actions, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said during a local telethon. But Ukrainian forces will not preemptively announce when the counteroffensive has started because of the classified nature of such military action, she added. Malyar said the counteroffensive would be aimed at liberating all of Ukraine’s territory, according to the Institute for the Study of War think tank.
- Patriot missile systems sent to Ukraine by Western allies have arrived, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a tweet, thanking the United States, Germany and the Netherlands. “Today, our beautiful Ukrainian sky becomes more secure,” Reznikov wrote.
- Colombian President Gustavo Petro said that Colombian-owned Russian weapons “are not going to war” when asked at the White House on Thursday about his rejection of a U.S. proposal to send Russian-made weapons to Ukraine. He told reporters that his position on those weapons was that they would be sent to neither Russia nor Ukraine.
- The European Union proposed sending financial support to local farmers in five countries bordering Ukraine after several banned grain imports from the country. The European Commission said it met with representativesfrom Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Romania — which, amid the Russian invasion, have become transit routes for Ukrainian grain, prompting an influx of the product and angering local farmers.
- President Biden spoke by phone Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron, and in an earlier call, with Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. In both calls, the leaders reiterated mutual support for Ukraine, according to a White House readout.
- Switzerland imposed sanctions on the Wagner Group, the Russian mercenary army headed by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, for its “active participation in Russia’s war,” the Swiss government said in a statement Thursday.
- Ship inspections under the Black Sea Grain Initiative continued Thursday following successful negotiationsthe day before to resume them, the United Nations said. Under the agreement, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations inspect all ships traveling to and from Ukrainian ports. The deal has allowed wheat, corn, sunflower oil and more to be exported globally during wartime. But its future is in question: Parties to the deal agreed on Saturday to extend it, but it’s unclear for how long. Russian officials have said that further extensions would be contingent on Western countries lifting some sanctions against Moscow.
- The South Korean presidential office said any decision on providing lethal aid to Ukraine will “depend on Russia.” It added that Moscow, which has said such a move would make Seoul a party to the conflict, was “commenting on something that isn’t happening,” reported the Yonhap news agency. In a Reuters interview, President Yoon Suk Yeol appeared to open the door to shifting South Korea’s policy of providing only nonlethal aid to Ukraine.
- NASA denied that a flash of light seen in the sky above Kyiv on Wednesday night was caused by one of its satellites. Serhiy Popko, the head of the city’s military administration, initially said the flash — which sparked fear among the city’s residents of a Russian attack — might have been caused by the reentry into the atmosphere of a satellite from the U.S. space agency. But NASA told news outlets that the satellite in question, which was expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere that day, was still in orbit at the time. Popko later said the flash wasn’t caused by a NASA satellite or by a missile attack….
Ukraine’s military appears to be gearing up for a counteroffensive. “Patriot air defense systems have arrived in Ukraine,” the country’s defense minister Oleksii Reznikov announced Wednesday—about three months after Ukraine sent about 65 troops to Oklahoma’s Fort Sill to train on the systems. “Our air defenders have mastered them as fast as they could, and our partners have kept their word,” Reznikov tweeted Wednesday morning.
Germany sent the latest Patriot system to Kyiv to help Ukraine “defend itself against Russia’s indiscriminate missile attacks on civilians and infrastructure,” Germany’s Ambassador to the UK Miguel Berger tweeted. The system can engage enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles at a distance of about 60 miles and up to an altitude of about 18 miles.
But Russia has been increasingly using glide bombs to hit targets inside Ukraine. And Patriot systems aren’t known to be as effective against glide bombs, which are released by jets at a significant distance beyond the Patriot’s 60-mile range. Newsweek has a bit more about all that, reporting last week, here.
Also new: U.S.-provided Bradley Fighting Vehicles have arrived in Ukraine as well. Kyiv’s military tweeted an image of the systems painted in a new color scheme on Monday. A Pentagon official on Tuesday confirmed to The Drive that the vehicles had indeed arrived. The official wouldn’t say when they arrived or how many are now in Ukraine; more than 100 are expected. Read more, here.
Germany has also sent Ukraine its second of four medium-range IRIS-T air defense systems officials in Berlin pledged last year, according to Der Spiegel. The system has a range of about two dozen miles and altitude coverage about a dozen miles high. The first of those four arrived in October. Egypt has even reportedly “ceded” one of the units it was going to buy from Germany, Der Spiegel reported. Sweden has sent 12 IRIS-T launchers (the system has three main vehicular components—a launch pad, a radar, and a lead vehicle) to Germany for processing and shipping to Ukraine; but finding the other elements hasn’t proven terribly easy just yet.
Why won’t the U.S. send Ukraine long-range missiles like ATACMS, or jets like F-16s? The Pentagon’s top policy official offered some insight during an event Monday hosted by Foreign Policy. “We have prioritized what Ukraine needed most in that moment,” Colin Kahl said. The country’s needs are predominantly three-fold at the moment, he said: air defense, artillery, and mechanized, or armored forces. But U.S. support is “not unlimited,” he said. “We could spend all of [allocated funds] on F-16s and those aircraft would arrive 1.5 years from now,” he explained. “But those aircraft would be completely irrelevant to this spring and summer,” he said. “We have to make those hard choices,” he told the audience. Read more at FP, here.
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