A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
This week, NATO leaders gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, for a summit that focused squarely on the conflict in Ukraine, as well as on whether to admit Kyiv into the Alliance. NATO leaders agreed to drop the requirement for a Membership Action Plan, an initial step toward joining NATO, but stopped short of approving the country’s bid to join.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who attended the summit, criticized the decision as “absurd,” telling a crowd in Vilnius, “NATO will make Ukraine safer, Ukraine will make NATO stronger.”
Though it rebuffed Ukrainian membership, the Alliance announced a multiyear assistance program to transition Ukraine’s military from Soviet-era equipment to NATO-standard hardware.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov confirmed this week that Ukrainian pilots will start training on the F-16 fighter jet in July, under an initiative led by 11 European countries.
An independent statistical analysis estimates that nearly 50,000 Russian troops have been killed since the start of the war. The analysis looked at excess deaths in the Russian population, similar to how scientists examined excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand the overall impact of the disease. The analysis was conducted by Russian independent media outlets Mediazona and Meduza. Moscow has labeled Mediazona a foreign agent.
The U.S. defended its decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine, with critics raising concern about the risk of unexploded ordnance harming the civilian population. The U.S. is sending a version of the weapon that has a dud rate of below 2.35 percent. Colin Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, said, “Things are going a little slower than some had hoped,” adding that the supply of cluster munitions will help bolster Ukraine’s confidence in the fight. Ukraine has provided written assurances that it won’t use the munitions in populated urban areas.
Europe has been unable to adequately ramp up production of ammunition, contributing to ammunition shortages in Ukraine, according to a report from The Kyiv Independent.
Australia is deploying an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft to Germany for six months to help support humanitarian and military supply lines heading into Ukraine. The aircraft will only operate in European airspace.
Australia also announced it will provide an additional 30 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles to Ukraine, bringing the total number of donated vehicles to 120.
A Russian general was sacked following his comments that Russian soldiers are not being supported on the front. Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov was dismissed following his comments about the failings of top military officials.
Ukraine’s domestic arms industry is trying to meet the demands of the war with Russia. Ukroboronprom has been dissolved and replaced with a more corporate joint stock company known as Ukraine Defense Industry.
Baykar, a Turkish defense company, has started construction of an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) manufacturing plant in Ukraine. The company has already provided its Bayraktar armed UAVs to the Ukrainian military.
France has delivered an undetermined number of SCALP cruise missiles to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced the decision to supply these missiles to the Ukrainian government.
Ukraine and Germany have reportedly come to an agreement concerning the delivery of additional Patriot launchers and missiles. Kyiv has been requesting further shipments of missile systems to strengthen its air defense capability.
The United States is still considering the possible delivery of ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems) to Ukraine. The Biden administration said the Ukrainian military is running dangerously low on munitions.
The Ukrainian military will soon receive Black Hornet small UAVs from Norway. These deliveries will include 1,000 UAVs, according to the Norwegian Ministry of Defense.
Norway will also provide Ukraine with an additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) support package containing two launch units, two fire control centers, and spare parts.