Ukraine continues push for fighters

Even though U.S. and Britain have dismissed the notion, Ukraine continues to press other NATO members to supply fighter aircraft President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says are critical to counter Russia’s invasion. Latvia and Poland evidently are receptive to the call and France has not discounted it. “I don’t know how quick it will be, this response from Western allies,” says Ukrainian Defense [node:read-more:link]

New START talks not restarting

The U.S. Administration has told Congress that Russia’s refusal to allow resumption of on-site inspections is endangering the New START nuclear treaty and arms control overall. The January 31 statement follows months of more optimistic U.S. assessments despite ongoing tensions between the two countries. Both paused inspections due to pandemic-related issues but Russia unilaterally ended cooperation in August 2022 to protest U.S. support for Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Landmines used in Ukraine

Human Rights Watch is calling for an investigation into the “apparent use” of antipersonnel landmines by Ukrainian forces in part of Kharkiv province when it was Russian-occupied. HRW said January 31 that the “butterfly” or “petal” munitions, proscribed by the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty that Ukraine ratified in 2005, “hinder the delivery of humanitarian aid and prevent agricultural activities.” [node:read-more:link]

South Korea urged to expand Ukraine support

Even though it has a policy of not exporting military materiel to countries involved in conflict, South Korea is being urged by NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg to “step up” support for Ukraine. He thanked South Korea for its nonlethal aid to date but said there is an “urgent need” for ammunition and pointed out that some NATO countries also had amended “longstanding policies not to export weapons to countries in conflict.” [node:read-more:link]

Russia reacts predictably to tank news

Today’s announcements that Germany, Poland and the U.S. as well as other NATO members would be sending up to 88 main battle tanks to Ukraine yielded a predictable initial response from Russia. “This extremely dangerous decision takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation,” said its envoy in Germany, Sergei Nechayev, warning that it would lead to “the death of not only Russian soldiers, but also the civilian population.” He also said Ukraine’s allies are “not interested in a diplomatic solution.” [node:read-more:link]

German Leopards for Ukraine

After months of internal debate and under pressure from many allies which use its Leopard 2 main battle tanks, the German government agreed today to send an initial 14, paving the way for other countries, including Canada, to do likewise. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his “important and timely decisions” on the tanks and other weapons, saying they are a “green light for partners” to follow suit. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. commits Abrams MBTs to Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced today that the U.S. will send a battalion of 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine. However, they are not expected to arrive for months as the Pentago addresses challenges in providing the equipment, fuel and training to operate the 70-ton vehicles which, unlike other diesel-powered MTBs, are powered by gas turbines. [node:read-more:link]

No Swedish tanks "on the plate"

A senior Swedish official said today that the government, which has 120 Leopard 2 main battle tanks, has not decided whether to give any to Ukraine. “We are, politically, open to support with all types of capabilities but tanks have not yet been on the plate,” the official said. “We have made a substantial contribution . . . and of course that gives challenges but also opportunities” for Swedish defence modernization. “We . . . cannot give away stuff without refilling our own equipment reserves” [node:read-more:link]

Rapid Ukrainian tank training expected

New tank training programs in Poland could get the Ukrainian army ready to operate Leopard 2 main battle tanks in as few as six weeks due to their experience thousands of Ukrainians have built up in combat with their own and captured Russian armour. That could position Ukraine for a spring counteroffensive against Russian invaders a year into their war. [node:read-more:link]

Leopard MBTs for Ukraine

Unnamed German government sources say their government, subject to parliamentary debate January 25, is prepared to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. The expected ratification would effectively free Canada and other NATO allies to ship their Leopards as well to bolster the country’s defences. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine needs “hundreds” of tanks

Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said today that his country needs “several hundred” main battle tanks to mount an effective counteroffensive against Russia and reclaim Crimea. “Our goal is the borders of 1991 and punishing the enemy, who will pay for their crimes,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

Germany open to tank re-exports

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said January 22 that her government will not object if Poland decides to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. However, she said, Poland had not formally requested approval. “If we were asked, we would not stand in the way,” she said, acknowledging “how important these tanks are” to Ukraine. “This is why we are discussing this now with our partners.” [node:read-more:link]

Poland willing to ship tanks

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reiterated today that his government is willing to ship Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without authorization by Germany, which has legal power to veto re-exports. “We will ask for such permission, but this is an issue of secondary importance,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

Anand non-committal on tanks for Ukraine

Fresh from a meeting with her NATO counterparts in Germany last week, Defence Minister Anita Anand said in a January 22 broadcast that she had “no news to share” on whether Canada will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as repeatedly requested by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Canada has 82 of the German tanks but has said it has said it needs permission from Germany to ship them to a third country. [node:read-more:link]

Turkish drone maker spreads its wings

The Turkish drone manufacturer, Baykar, has announced another export sale, increasing its international market to more than two dozen countries. Its latest deal is a US$370-million contract to provide Kuwait with armed Bayraktar TB2s. [node:read-more:link]


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