Ukraine Latest: Defense Ministers Meet To Discuss Tanks For Kyiv
The US and its allies meet in Ramstein, Germany, Friday, to discuss more military assistance for Ukraine, including heavy weapons, with pressure mounting on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to deliver Leopard tanks.
(Bloomberg) -- The US and its allies met at Ramstein Air Base in German on Friday to discuss more military assistance for Ukraine, including heavy weapons, with pressure mounting on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to deliver Leopard tanks.
The new German defense minister, Boris Pistorius, told public broadcaster ARD he wasn’t aware of a link between sending Leopards with the US supplying its Abrams, potentially opening the door for movement from Berlin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed the meeting by video, calling on allies not to “bargain about the different number of tanks, but to open a principle supply which will stop Russian evil.” Ukraine’s foreign minister urged Norway to join the international tank coalition.
Russian authorities deployed air-defense installations in and around Moscow, including near President Vladimir Putin’s residence, after several recent drone attacks hit the country’s heartland.
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- German Tanks for Ukraine Are Stuck as US Resists Sending Its Own
- Russia Boosts Air Defenses Around Moscow Amid Drone-Strike Fears
- Russia Seeks New Oil-Price Formula as Cap Hits Revenues
- EU to Consider More Russia Sanctions Despite Difficult Debates
- US Seen Pushing for Russian Oil Price Cap to Stay at $60
- CIA Director Burns Assures Ukraine of US Support in Kyiv Visit
On the Ground
Russian forces have been concentrating their main efforts on further offensives in Bakhmut and Avdiyivka, the Ukrainian general staff said in a post on Facebook. Over the past day, the Russian military conducted nine missile and 23 air strikes. Senior Kremlin officials continue holding high-level meetings with the Belarusian national leadership, the Institute for the Study of War said. A new Russian attack against Ukraine from Belarus in early 2023 seems less likely given current Russian military activity, although an attack from Belarus in late 2023 seems more plausible.
(All times CET)
Russia Boosts Air Defenses Around Moscow (1:10 p.m.)
Russian authorities have deployed air-defense installations in and around Moscow after several drone attacks hit the country’s heartland. The deployments came after drone attacks in December hit military bases in Saratov and Ryazan, about 500 km (311 miles) from the capital, said officials familiar with situation.
Local residents posted photos in social media of cranes lifting Pantsir systems to rooftops in downtown Moscow, as well as defenses installed near President Vladimir Putin’s official residence.
Read more: Russia Boosts Air Defenses Around Moscow Amid Drone-Strike Fears
Russia Seeks New Oil-Price Formula as Cap Hits Revenues (1 p.m.)
Russia is considering changes to the way it calculates taxes on oil, seeking to limit a plunge in budget revenue due to EU sanctions and the price cap on its exports imposed by the US and its allies over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The government is discussing revisions to the price formula for crude oil that is the basis for calculating taxes on oil producers, according to people familiar with the efforts. Officials are trying to strike a balance between accurately reflecting the market prices and ensuring budget revenues don’t suffer, one of them said.
Read more: Russia Seeks New Oil-Price Formula as Cap Hits Revenues
Zelenskiy Says Expects ‘Important News’ After Ramstein (12:30 p.m.)
Ukraine’s president said on Twitter that he’s “waiting for important news” following the Ramstein meeting in Germany focused on offers of military equipment to Kyiv.
In a second tweet, Zelenskiy quoted from his remarks to the meeting in saying that “time must become our common weapon, just like air defense, artillery, armored vehicles and tanks” in defeating Russia.
Ukraine to Raise Funds for FPV Drones Fleet (12 p.m.)
Ukrainian defense intelligence is starting a fundraising campaign to buy 1,000 “first person view” drones, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry said on Telegram. The small drones contain cameras that wirelessly transmit a video feed.
US Defense Secretary Says War in ‘Crucial Moment’ (10:54 a.m.)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russia’s war in Ukraine was entering a “crucial moment,” and added that the Americans would support Ukraine for as long as it takes.
“Russia is regrouping, recruiting and trying to reequip,” Austin told reporters before the Ukraine Defense Contact Group met in Ramstein, Germany. “This isn’t a moment to slow down. It’s time to dig deeper. The Ukrainian people are watching us. The Kremlin is watching us. History is watching us. We won’t let up.”
Finland Will Send Heavy Artillery to Ukraine (9:23 a.m.)
Finland will deliver its 12th package of military materials to Ukraine, including heavy artillery and munitions, the Finnish Defense Ministry said in a press release. The cost to replace the materials will exceed €400 million ($434 million), taking the combined value of defense materials supplied by Finland to Ukraine to €590 million.
Finnish and Swedish defense ministers are expected to sign a statement of intent on support for Ukraine in Ramstein, Germany.
CIA Chief Assures Ukraine of US Support in Kyiv Visit (2:20 a.m.)
CIA Director William Burns traveled to Kyiv last week, where he sought to reassure Ukrainian leaders that the US would maintain support as the war drags on.
Burns, who last visited in November, reinforced that commitment in meetings with Zelenskiy, and his Ukrainian intelligence counterparts, according to a US official.
US officials have repeatedly sought to reassure Ukraine that money and weapons will keep flowing to the Kyiv government despite warnings from Republican leaders who now control the House of Representatives that they will scrutinize the assistance more closely.
US Sending New $2.5 Billion Round of Military Aid (2:20 a.m.)
The Biden administration announced a major new package of military hardware for Ukraine, sending 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers, 59 Bradley fighting vehicles and an array of other gear as Western allies look to give the country a boost before Russia launches a new ground campaign expected this spring.
The $2.5 billion package includes millions of rounds of ammunition, tens of thousands of artillery rounds, night vision gear and other equipment, the Pentagon said. It marks the 30th drawdown from Defense Department stocks since the war began.
The announcement came on the eve of a defense ministers’ meeting on Ukraine at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. A number of Western nations have offered new shipments of weapons before the gathering.
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