A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
The U.S. will continue to support Ukraine even as it now pledges defense assistance to Israel, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said this week, hoping to ease Ukrainian concerns that the Hamas terror attacks on Israeli border communities, and potential Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, will undercut aid to Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zelensky requested to visit Israel to show solidarity with the country after the attacks, Axios reported, citing Ukrainian and Israeli officials. Kyiv has previously sought to obtain defense assistance from Israel but has been rebuffed.
Military Assistance to Ukraine
Rheinmetall has booked a further order for 155mm artillery ammunition destined for Ukraine. Tens of thousands of rounds are to be delivered in 2023, with the remainder due to ship in 2024.
The U.S. announced a $200 million security assistance package for Ukraine that includes AIM-9M air defense missiles, counter unmanned aerial systems equipment, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) ammunition, artillery and precision munitions, TOW missiles and other anti-armor systems, and other equipment.
The Biden administration may seek new security assistance funding for Ukraine in a combined package with aid for Israel and Taiwan and for domestic border security. Ukraine aid coffers will start running dry soon if Congress doesn’t appropriate additional funding for the 2024 fiscal year, which began October 1.
Germany will deliver around $1.1 billion worth of air defense systems to Ukraine as part of a new security assistance package, including Patriot air defense systems and two IRIS-T surface-to-air systems. Additionally, Germany will send Ukraine 10 more Leopard 1 A5 tanks and three Gepard anti-aircraft guns, as well as armored trucks and ambulances.
This week, Defense Secretary Austin gave an update on the Ukrainian F-16 training program, saying that the “earliest is next spring when we can see an initial capability” for Ukrainian pilots flying the jets.
To advance F-16 pilot training, the Netherlands said it will send 12-18 F-16s to Romania for use by Ukrainian pilots.
Belgium says it will provide an undisclosed number of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, but the aircraft are not expected to arrive until 2025. However, the decision would have to be approved by the next government after elections in May.
The Czech Republic and Denmark will jointly provide infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, small arms, and electronic warfare equipment to Ukraine, the Czech Ministry of Defense said this week. The MoD previously confirmed it will deliver 15 T-72EA main battle tanks to Ukraine.
Finland announced its 19th aid package to Ukraine, bringing total Finnish defense aid to Ukraine since the war’s start to EUR1.4 billion. The government valued the latest assistance at EUR95 million but did not disclose its contents.
Lithuania will soon hand over two NASAMS air defense systems to Ukraine and has purchased 155mm ammunition to supply Ukrainian troops on the frontlines.
Canada announced the delivery of winter clothing for Ukrainian troops, as well as 2,000 155mm rounds and several hundred 1,000-pound bombs.
The British government believes Russia is saving its missile inventory for winter attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure. Moscow hasn’t used its missile-armed long-range aircraft for strikes on Ukraine since September 21.
Russia has performed another missile attack on the northeast Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. This attack took place on October 6. Two missiles hit the city just after dawn.
Around 2,000 Russian troops launched an attack on the town of Avdiivka this week, according to Ukraine, which said its forces came under heavy bombardment from Russian artillery. The town is located close to Donetsk, the capital of one of the separatist regions annexed by Russia last year.
A Russian missile strike on a school in central Ukraine killed four, according to the region’s governor.
The Russian campaign against Ukrainian cities and infrastructure continues with a missile attack on Nikopol. The town, which is in the central Ukrainian region of Dnipropetrovsk, was hit on October 11.