Ukraine: Western military aid continues, Russia awaits Turkish mediation offer

Ukraine: Western military aid continues, Russia awaits Turkish mediation offer

Ukraine continues to receive military aid from its western allies to defend the skies in the face of Russian attacks, which continued on Thursday while Moscow awaits an offer of mediation from Turkey.

Kyiv, which has claimed several places in the south of the country from the Russians, welcomed the support of its western allies, who pledged to deliver air defenses “as soon as possible” after a wave of 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”.

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.

– New commitments from London and Paris –

The pledge comes as Ukraine has come under “massive” volleys of rockets, missiles and drones since Monday, targeting in particular its civilian energy infrastructure, in retaliation for the bomb attack that damaged the Crimean bridge on Saturday and was blamed for heading to Kyiv via Moscow .

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov has welcomed “a new era of air defense” with the arrival of the “Iris-T system from Germany” and the upcoming delivery of the “American NASAMS”.

The UK 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.

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.

On Tuesday, at a virtual meeting with the G7, Mr Zelenskyy asked for help in creating an “air shield” and warned that Mr Putin “still has the means to escalate”.

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.

– Drones in Kyiv, bombings in Mykolaiv –

Early Thursday morning, Russia attacked the capital Kyiv with Iran-made drones, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, head of Ukraine’s presidential administration. “Another kamikaze drone attack on critical infrastructure,” he said without further detail.

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.

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.

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.

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.

– Meeting with Putin and Erdogan –

For its part, the Kremlin said Wednesday it expects Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to make a concrete proposal for mediating the conflict to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when they meet 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. “Probably Erdogan will come up with something officially,” he added, adding that he expected an “interesting and useful discussion.”

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.

Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly condemned the “illegal annexations” of Ukrainian territories, sending a “clear message” to Moscow, according to US President Joe Biden.

Russia earlier announced the arrest of eight people suspected of involvement in the Crimean bridge attack and claimed to have foiled 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.


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