LIVE – Ukraine secures western air defense reinforcements
Ukraine said on Wednesday it had taken over several sites in the country’s south from the Russians and welcomed renewed support from its western allies, who pledged to deliver anti-aircraft systems “as soon as possible” following intense Russian bombing. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured that the delivery of these systems, which can neutralize Russian missiles in the Ukrainian skies, is “the priority”.
Information to remember:
- In the face of Russian bombing raids, Ukraine receives western air defense reinforcements
- Great Britain has announced that it will supply Ukraine with additional anti-aircraft missiles
- The EU agrees to the organization of a military mission to train Ukrainian armed forces
The G7 and IMF reiterated on Wednesday that they would support Ukraine “for as long as necessary” to deal with the multi-billion euro economic fallout from the Russian invasion. “The most important thing is to cover our budget deficit and quickly rebuild the destroyed infrastructure,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his daily speech, thanking the allied countries.
The pledge comes as Ukraine has suffered “massive” volleys of rockets, missiles and drones since Monday, specifically targeting its civilian energy infrastructure. Russian President Vladimir Putin presented these attacks as retaliation for the bomb attack that damaged the Crimean bridge on Saturday, which he blames on Kyiv.
The Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov has already hailed “a new era of air defense” with the arrival of the “Iris-T system from Germany” and the upcoming delivery of the “American NASAMS”.
French President Emmanuel Macron also promised anti-aircraft “radar, systems and missiles” in the evening, without specifying when they would be delivered. He reiterated that France was working with Denmark to send six Caesar guns in addition to the 18 already delivered.
Russia admits the deaths of mobilized soldiers
Five Russians drafted to fight in Ukraine as part of the mobilization ordered in September died after joining the army, authorities said on Thursday after similar announcements had multiplied in recent days. However, Russian officials do not specify the cause of these deaths or their location.
The press service of the Chelyabinsk region, quoted by the public agency TASS, confirmed the deaths of five people from this poor industrial area in western Siberia.
“We will provide all necessary assistance to the families and loved ones of our fallen soldiers,” the press service said, promising to pay one million rubles (16,000 euros) for each dead person.
The old woman, a Russian MP, Maxime Ivanov, had told him that a mobilized man from the Chelyabinsk region had died of a drug “overdose” while training for combat.
Britain delivers missiles to Ukraine for the first time
For its part, the United Kingdom announced on Thursday that it would provide Ukraine with additional anti-aircraft missiles, including ammunition capable of launching cruise missiles.
The AMRAAM missiles, which will be delivered to Kyiv “in the coming weeks” for use by the United States’ promised NASAMS air defense system, are the first London-supplied missiles capable of launching cruise missiles, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
On Tuesday, at a virtual meeting with the G7, Zelenskyy asked for help in creating an “air shield” and warned that Vladimir Putin “still had the means to escalate.”
EU organizes military mission to train Ukrainian armed forces
At the same time, the 27 members of the European Union agreed to organize a military mission to train Ukrainian armed forces in several member states. According to two diplomats, around 15,000 soldiers will initially be affected.
For its part, the Kremlin said on Wednesday it expects Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to make a concrete offer to settle the conflict to Vladimir Putin at his meeting in Kazakhstan on Thursday. “The Turks offer to mediate. If there were any (Russian-Ukrainian) contacts, they would be on Turkish territory,” Kremlin diplomatic adviser Yuri Ouchakov told the press.
Concerned about a possible nuclear accident, IAEA head Rafael Grossi is back in Kyiv, in agreement with Mr Zelenskyy, he tweeted after meeting with Vladimir Putin as part of his efforts to create a “safe zone” around Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
UN General Assembly condemns ‘illegal annexations’
Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly on Wednesday condemned the “illegal annexations” of Ukrainian territories with an “overwhelming” majority and sent a “clear message” to Moscow, according to US President Joe Biden. “143 nations have sided with freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Joe Biden said in a statement, saying Russia “cannot erase a sovereign state from the map.”
Russia has arrested eight people suspected of involvement in the Crimean Bridge attack
Russia earlier this morning announced the arrest of eight people suspected of involvement in the attack on the Crimean bridge and claimed to have thwarted two attacks on Russian territory instigated by Ukrainian special forces. Vladimir Putin had promised a “tough” response to any attack on Russia and its territory, while Moscow announced the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and four other Ukrainian regions in September.
Kyiv has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the explosion on the bridge connecting Russian territory with Crimea, but Ukraine has always stressed that it intends to retake this peninsula and all Russian-held territories.
On the southern front, in the Kherson region, one of the four that Moscow is said to have annexed, five new locations have been recaptured, Ukraine’s presidency said on Wednesday, which would mean a new setback for the Russian army in that zone as well as in the northeast and east decreased since early September.
But she noted that the Russian artillery offered resistance “to deter the counter-offensive along the entire line of contact.” The Russian Defense Ministry assured him that he had pushed back the Ukrainians in the small catchment area of Kharkiv region (northeast) still under Moscow control, in the north of the Kherson region and in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The mayor of Mykolayiv, Oleksandr Senkevich, said on Thursday via telegram that the city in southern Ukraine, which had already been severely battered by the Russian army, suffered “heavy bombardments” overnight, in which the two upper floors of a five-storey apartment building in particular were destroyed.
Two new mass graves discovered in Donetsk region
In the east, Ukrainian authorities have announced the discovery of two mass graves in towns in the Donetsk region, recently recaptured by Russian forces. In Lyman, a railroad junction occupied in early October, a forensic team clad in riot gear exhumed dozens of bodies, an AFP journalist noted.
On the energy front of the conflict, President Putin has claimed the ball is “in the court” for the EU to start Russian gas supplies via the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is unaffected by explosions that Russians and Westerners blame each other for.
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