Ukraine’s allies have pledged to send more weapons to help it defend itself against a renewed Russian offensive.
The US and others have vowed to send artillery, anti-tank and air defence aid to Kyiv during a 90-minute late-night video call on Tuesday (April 19, 2022). Ukraine said it needs the weapons to help defend itself as Russia launched a new campaign of attacks in the country’s East.
The arms pledges followed persistent calls from President Zelenskyy for allies to increase their weapons supplies to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
“We need heavy artillery, armed vehicles, air defence systems and combat aircraft, anything to repel Russian forces and stop their war crimes,” Mr. Zelenskyy said on Twitter last week. “Nobody will stop Russia except Ukraine with heavy weapons”.
Clashes there have marked what Ukraine’s Leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy described as the start of the “battle for the Donbas”. The Eastern Donbas, which comprises the Luhansk and Donetsk Regions, is where Russia is concentrating its attack efforts. According to Ukraine, Russian Forces have been attacking Ukrainian positions along the entire 300-mile (480km) front line since Monday, April 18, 2022.
It is during these renewed attacks that Western Leaders met to discuss further military assistance for Ukraine. Following the meeting, the US Defence Department disclosed that additional military aircraft and aircraft parts have been sent to Ukraine to increase their fleet size and repair others in Ukraine’s arsenal that are damaged.
The US Defence Department also disclosed that it has not yet provided aircraft to Kyiv itself, and did not disclose details on which countries have provided the aircraft. President Zelenskyy has been appealing to the US for Soviet-made air defence systems and fighter jets as an alternative to a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Last month (March), the US refused a proposal by Poland to provide it with MiG-29 fighter jets, which it would then transfer to Ukraine.
According to the US Media, President Joe Biden, in an interview with reporters after the meeting between Western allies, added that the US is planning to provide a further military aid package to Ukraine of a similar size to the $800m (£615m) aid package that was announced last week. It added that Washington would also be sending Ukraine more artillery, and heavy guns deployed in land warfare.
Other countries also pledged to help Ukraine with further military assistance during the meeting.
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said “They [Ukraine] need support with more artillery, that is what we will be giving them”. In Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz intimated that Germany is providing finance to enable Ukraine to buy anti-tank weapons and ammunition from German arms manufacturers. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic said it would repair Ukrainian tanks and armoured vehicles when they are damaged in combat.
Russia’s Defence Chief, Sergei Shoigu, revealed that “The United States and Western states under its control are doing everything to drag out the military operation for as long as possible”.
Other Discussions by Leaders
A French Presidential advisor revealed that leaders also discussed how to provide security guarantees to Ukraine after the war even though Ukraine is not a member of NATO.
NATO, a military alliance made up of 30 members, including the US, UK and Germany, agreed to come to one another’s aid in the event of an armed attack against any one of their members. But since Ukraine is not a NATO member, the alliance isn’t under any obligation to come to Ukraine’s defence. Its members fear that involving themselves in direct armed confrontation could lead to an all-out conflict between Russia and the West. Instead, NATO members have supplied Ukraine with military aid, worth millions of dollars since the beginning of the Russian invasion on Thursday, February 24, 2022.