This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (November 17)

A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Leopard 1A5. Image – Rheinmetall

Political Developments

The E.U. is drafting its 12th round of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which should be issued in the next few weeks. According to media reports, the E.U. is looking at imposing a ban on the import of Russian diamonds.

Former prime minister David Cameron, named the U.K.’s Foreign Secretary this week, has made his first working trip abroad, traveling to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Cameron stated, “What I want to say by being here is that we will continue to give you the moral support, the diplomatic support… but above all the military support that you need not just this year and next year, but however long it takes.”

Military Assistance to Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with European defense ministers this week to discuss the importance of continued support to Ukraine, including the protection of critical undersea infrastructure. NATO has increased patrols in the Baltic and North Seas, and new organizations have been established to oversee the safety of undersea infrastructure.

However, the European Union will miss its goal of providing Ukraine with one million artillery shells and missiles by March, which is a goal established last March. European nations are still working to increase production rates of these systems.

Germany has contracted Rheinmetall to supply 25 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks, five armored recovery vehicles (Bergepanzer 2), and two driver training tanks to Ukraine. Deliveries will occur in 2024.

Berlin will also supply a pair of IRIS-T air-defense systems by the end of this year.

Germany announced it will double military aid to Ukraine in 2024 to 8 billion euros ($8.5 billion), to include Leopard 1A5 tanks, Wisent mine-clearance vehicles, drones, ammunition, radar, and other support. German defense minister Boris Pistorius said aid was quickly exhausted this year. The increased aid must be approved by lawmakers.

Swedish Archer artillery systems are now in Ukraine. Training on the 155mm truck-mounted, self-propelled artillery system is underway.

Lithuania has transferred counter-drone systems to Ukraine that will allow soldiers to jam incoming unmanned aircraft. The shipment also included generators. This year, Lithuania has provided Mi-8 helicopters, L-70 anti-aircraft guns and ammunition, and M113 armored personnel carriers.

The U.S. has purchased 60 Jordan-owned 35mm Gepard anti-aircraft guns for re-delivery to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Jordan purchased the AA guns from the Netherlands in 2016 at a cost of about EUR21 million.

Though it has discontinued military aid, Slovakia will continue providing other forms of assistance to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Juraj Blanár said on Monday. Slovakia will finance the production of a pair of Bozena IV mine-clearance vehicles for Ukraine, he added.

Battlefield Updates

The Institute for Science and International Security published a report on Monday assessing satellite imagery of a Russian plant license-producing Iranian drones. According to the report, Russia has made significant progress in expanding the facility.

Ukraine used a drone to attack a Russian manufacturing plant November 14. The missile production plant is run by KB Mashinostroyeniya (KBM) and near Moscow. The KBM factory builds Iskander and Kinzhal missiles.

A local government official said that Russia carried out air attacks on Khmelnytskyi Oblast early on November 16. Russia launched over a dozen drones and missiles, according to Ukraine.

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