Ukraine Latest: US Joins Other Allies in New Military Shipments
The Biden administration is planning to send about 100 Stryker armored vehicles in its next package of military aid to Ukraine worth about $2.5 billion.
(Bloomberg) -- The US became the latest Ukraine ally to announce weapons donations to Ukraine before Friday, when defense ministers from several nations will gather at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for an event hosted by the US defense chief.
The Biden administration is sending 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers, 59 Bradley fighting vehicles and an array of other gear. The UK said Thursday it would send a further 600 Brimstone ground- or air-launched missiles, and Denmark will send French-made howitzers. Ukrainian officials have urged allies to provide more battle tanks, artillery and longer-range missiles systems.
The Biden administration is inclined to oppose any move to lower the price cap on exports of Russian crude oil. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his Iranian counterpart for the second time since the beginning of the year.
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- US Is Sending Ukraine Armored Vehicles in $2.5 Billion Package
- CIA Director Burns Assures Ukraine of US Support in Kyiv Visit
- US Steps Up Pressure on Turkey to Ratify NATO’s Nordic Expansion
- US Seen Pushing for Russian Oil Price Cap to Stay at $60
- NATO’s Lessons From War in Ukraine: More Air Defense, Ammo
On the Ground
Ukrainian troops repelled attacks near 14 settlements in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including Bakhmut and Soledar, over the past day, the General Staff said on Facebook. Russian forces conducted four missile strikes, 15 aviation raids and more than 30 salvos from multiple launch rocket systems over the past 24 hours, the General Staff said on Facebook. Several dozens of towns came under artillery fire. Russia is considering deploying a small number of its new T-14 Armata main battle tanks in Ukraine, the UK defence ministry said. Any deployment of the T-14s, 11 years in development and dogged by delays and reports of manufacturing problems, “is likely to be a high-risk decision” for Moscow, the UK said, saying that using the tanks in Ukraine would be mostly for propaganda purposes.
(All times CET)
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 President Volodymyr 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.
EU to Consider More Russia Sanctions Despite Tough Debates (7:39 p.m.)
The European Union will continue to consider new rounds of sanctions on Russia even though the bloc’s debates have become more challenging each time, European Council President Charles Michel said.
“Each debate on sanctions is much more difficult than the previous one,” Michel said Thursday in an interview with reporters during a trip to Kyiv. Michel made the unannounced visit in part to help plan for an EU-Ukraine summit scheduled for Feb. 3.
USAID, Bayer Partner on Seed Donations to Ukraine (6:10 p.m.)
The US Agency for International Development and Bayer announced a donation of vegetable seeds to Ukrainian farmers to help address the nation’s food crisis. The first shipment of carrot seeds is expected to supply up to 25,000 households and micro-farmers, with priority given to farmers in newly-liberated areas.
Lithuania to Give Ukraine Weapons Worth 125 Million Euros (6 p.m.)
Lithuania will provide Ukraine with a new lethal package that includes dozens of L-70 anti-aircraft guns, ammunition and two Mi-8 helicopters, Arvydas Anušauskas, Lithuania’s defense minister, said on Twitter.
US Pushes for Russian Oil Price Cap to Stay at $60 (4:19 p.m.)
The Biden administration is inclined to oppose any move to lower the price cap on exports of Russian crude oil, despite a push by some European countries to squeeze Moscow’s revenues even more.
Russia’s flagship oil Urals is trading far below international prices — and the Group of Seven’s $60 per barrel cap that came into effect on Dec. 5. The European Union agreed to review the price cap every two months, starting in mid-January, with an aim to keep the threshold at least 5% below the average market price.
Denmark Donates Self-Propelled Howitzers (4 p.m.)
Denmark will give Ukraine its new French-made heavy artillery system, a total of 19 self-propelled Caesar class howitzers.
The donation has been the subject of debate in the Nordic country because without the artillery, Denmark’s defense won’t be able to meet its own NATO obligations. Denmark will therefore “quickly look into the possibility of procuring other new capacities,” its defense ministry said.
Russia’s Lavrov Visits Minsk, Meets Lukashenko (3:30 p.m.)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Minsk on Thursday for talks with his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Aleinik and with President Alexander Lukashenko.
Lavrov said the meeting with Lukashenko “revolved around additional steps to implement a coordinated response to the actions that NATO and the EU are taking against Belarus and Russia,” according to the BelTA news agency.
Russian and Belarusian air forces continue joint “tactical exercises” to the north of the border with Ukraine, the Belarusian defense ministry said.
Ukraine to Start Talks on EU Membership This Year: Zelenskiy (3 p.m.)
Ukraine hopes to start negotiations on full EU membership this year, president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said at a press conference in Kyiv with EU’s Charles Michel.
“There are all the necessary preconditions, and we have a strong motivation,” Zelenskiy said. “We support your desire to become EU member,” Michel responded.
Ukraine Urges Sanctions on Russian Nuclear Industry (2:40 p.m.)
Zelenskiy urged Western sanctions against Russia’s nuclear and missile industries during a press briefing in Kyiv with the EU’s Charles Michel.
The measures could come as part of a 10th round of sanctions being discussed by the EU and allies, he said. Michel said that in general, sanctions should be strengthened and “more countries should be involved” in order to resist Russia.
UK Bolsters Ukraine’s Military Punch With 600 Brimstone Missiles (3 p.m.)
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK will send a further 600 Brimstone ground or air-launched attack missiles to Ukraine.
The UK has already announced this month it’s sending 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks, long-range artillery and more armored vehicles. Wallace made the announcement about the missiles at a news conference in Estonia.
Ukraine Wants Single Market Agreement with EU (2:30 p.m.)
Ukraine seeks to sign a seven-year single market agreement with the EU, its economy ministry said in a statement on its website. The program envisages a 4.2 billion-euro budget and will allow Ukraine to strengthen cooperation with the EU as part of its aspiration to join the union, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said.
The goal is to simplify access to markets, promote a favorable business climate and competitiveness and resilience of businesses.
Putin Speaks With Iran’s Raisi for Second Time This Month (2:20 p.m.)
Putin discussed energy and transport cooperation with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in a telephone conversation, the leaders’ second call for 2023 to date, the Kremlin said.
The two also spoke about the situation in Syria. Iran and Russia have boosted cooperation in a range of spheres since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Stormy Seas, Inspection Delays Slow Grain Exports, Ukraine Says (2 p.m.)
The number of grain ships leaving Ukrainian ports has fallen in January due to delays in inspections in Bosphorus and bad weather, the country’s agriculture ministry said on its website.
An average of 2.7 ships per day have left Ukrainian ports this month, down from a high of 5.9 ships daily in September and the lowest since the Black Sea Grain Initiative was agreed in late July. A total of 17.7 million tons of agriculture products has been sent from Ukraine as part of the grain deal.
Russian Embassy in Tallinn Stops Taking Bids to Renounce Citizenship (1:30 p.m.)
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said a move by the Russian embassy in Tallinn to stop processing requests to renounce Russian citizenship was meant to “harass” those opting to switch to Estonian passports.
A notice posted on Russia’s Tallinn embassy website says it’s temporarily not processing requests to renounce Russian citizenship. Around 700 Russian nationals have applied for Estonian citizenship in a country with over 80,000 Russian nationals since February. In response, the embassy blamed staffing shortages and said normal operations would resume in February.
Estonia decided last week to cut the number of Russian diplomats based in Tallinn roughly in half, so that staff numbers would be equal to those at Estonia’s embassy in Moscow.
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