Canada steps up Ukrainian support

The federal government today confirmed more than $32 million to bolster “security and stabilization” in Ukraine, including some $9.7 million previously announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The total includes $7.5 million for de-mining, $12 million to “counter chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats” and some $13 million for “accountability efforts” including addressing conflict-related sexual violence. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. tanks for Ukraine delayed

General Dynamics Land Systems M1 Abrams tanks promised to the Ukraine by President Joe Biden last month are likely not to arrive until at least mid-2024. “None of the options that we’re exploring are weeks or two months,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth disclosed February 23. “I think there are options that are less than two years, less than a year-and-a-half.” [node:read-more:link]

North Korea ramps up tensions

Four missile tests by North Korea have heightened regional tensions as Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s influential sister warned that her country is prepared to turn the North Pacific into a “firing range.” Reacting to U.S. air exercises February 19 with South Korea and Japan, Kim Yo-jong said “the frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the U.S. forces’ action.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran denies enrichment claims

A report that it has intentionally enriched uranium to a purity of 84 per cent is being denied by Iran amidst ongoing issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was reported that IAEA inspectors had discovered the enrichment to just below the 90 per cent required for weapons production. An official with the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran said February 19 that particles with above 60 per cent purity had been found, as they had in the past, but that “does not mean that there has been enrichment over 60 percent.” [node:read-more:link]

Military budget booming in the Baltics

Latvian Defence Minister Ināra Mūrniece, hoping to sign major procurement contracts this spring, says Latvia’s defence spending could reach three per cent of GDP within three years. Mirroring developments in the two other Baltic NATO states, she told a parliamentary committee recently that she wants to accelerate coastal defences as well as acquire new artillery and air defence systems. [node:read-more:link]

Japan to bulk-order cruise missiles

As part of an accelerated military buildup, Japanese Defence Minister said February 14 that he plans to buy as many as 500 Tomahawk cruise missiles from Raytheon Technologies by March 2024 at a potential cost of US$1.6 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Rheinmetall to supply ammo to Ukraine

The German Ministry of Defence has tasked Rheinmetall with supplying 300,000 rounds of 35mm ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft tank, which is now deployed by the Ukrainian military. Valued in the low three-digit million euro range, the first shipments are expected to be delivered this summer. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine allies dig deep into ammo

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said today that the alliance members supporting embattled Ukraine have tapped their arsenals so deeply that they need new stockpile guidelines while working with manufacturers to replenish them. “The current rate of ammunition consumption is higher, bigger than the current rate of production,” he said. “Orders placed today will only be delivered two-and-a-half years later.” [node:read-more:link]

Saab “double-doubles” weapons output

Sweden’s Saab AB expects its annual output of its ground combat weapons to reach 400,000 units. “We have doubled capacity from one year to the next . . . and by 2025 we will have doubled capacity again,” says CEO Micael Johansson. “It is a huge ramp up. . . . We have invested now in building up capacity to the extent that it will be sufficient for quite some time.” [node:read-more:link]

Malaysian Airlines MH17 update

A Dutch-led team of investigators says there are “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the supply of the Buk missile to separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 283 aboard, most of whom were Dutch. Russia has consistently denied any involvement. [node:read-more:link]

High hopes for HIMARS

A proposed sale of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to Poland, worth an estimated $10 billion, has been approved by the U.S. State Department but still requires Senate endorsement. Warsaw first indicated its interest in May 2022 and the Lockheed Martin weapons have been used by Ukraine to devastating effect against invading Russian forces. [node:read-more:link]

Turkey under renewed pressure

Bipartisan forces in the U.S. Senate are pressing President Joe Biden to block a $20-billion arms sale to Turkey as long as it continues to block NATO membership for Sweden and Finland. “Once the NATO accession protocols are ratified . . . Congress can consider the sale,” the Senators say in a letter to Biden. “Failure to do so, however, would call into question this pending sale.” [node:read-more:link]

French seize Yemen-bound arms

Thousands of rifles, machineguns and anti-tank missiles shipped by Iran to Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen were intercepted by the French navy in the Gulf of Oman last month. Iran did not immediately acknowledge the seizure which was disclosed February 2, but images of the weapons showed they were similar to U.S. interceptions. [node:read-more:link]

Cryptotheft funding North Korea nukes?

New York-based Chainalysis, which analyzes the cryptocurrency market, reported February 1 that North Korea-backed hackers stole US$1.7 billion in 2022, nearly quadruple their theft in 2021 and accounting for 44 per cent of all cryptocurrency hacks last year. Critics say North Korea uses the proceeds to accelerate nuclear weapons development. [node:read-more:link]


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