Tag Archives: USA

NATO pledge for heavy weapons to Ukraine

Brussels 07.04.2022 The NATO member states have agreed to supply new types of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, alliance representatives have said, as Kyiv prepares for a next offensive by Russia in the Donbass region.

The pledge has been announced after a plea from Ukraine Foreign minister to move faster with weapons supplies. Six weeks since Russia invasion of Ukraine, some of the troops have largely withdrawn from territory north of Kyiv after failing to seize the capital, but are regrouping and rearming ahead of an attempt to advance in the Eastern region near Donbass.

These events influenced demands from Kyiv for western countries to supply more heavy weapons, armour and more advanced systems. Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he would use the Alliance meeting in Brussels to ask for aircraft, missiles, armoured vehicles and heavy air defence systems, additionally to the other types of equipment.

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said to press that member states had agreed to send more weapons.

“There was support for countries to supply new and heavier equipment to Ukraine, so that they can respond to these new threats from Russia,” the top diplomat explained. “And we agreed to help Ukrainian forces move from their Soviet-era equipment to NATO standard equipment, on a bilateral basis.”

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said Washington was looking at sending “new systems” to Ukraine.

“We are not going to let anything stand in the way of getting Ukrainians what they need,” he said. “We are looking across the board right now, not only at what we have provided . . . [but] whether there are additional systems that would make a difference.”

Previously the allies have supplied Ukraine with anti-tank missiles, drones and other defensive weaponry before and during the war. However, they have declined to supply other classes of weapons or impose a no-fly zone, as Kyiv has demanded, over the risk of engaging Russia in a wider war.

Ukrainian defence forces with NLAW anti-tank weapons in Kyiv last month: Nato countries have promised to send more advanced systems as a fresh assault by Russia looms
Kuleba said afterwards he was “cautiously optimistic” that alliance states would meet his demand but warned that delays would result in more deaths.

“Either you help us now, and I am speaking about days . . . or your help will come too late,” Kuleba said. The Ukranian diplomat added also added that without these weapons many people might die.

He added: “I was very specific about the requests and the timeline that they should be accommodated. I will be looking forward to the follow-up from allies.”

Ukraine has warned Russia is preparing a fresh offensive in the Donbas, aimed at seizing territory in the two administrative regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which separatists have partially occupied since a Moscow-backed uprising in 2014.

Ukraine’s military authorities on Wednesday called on residents living in the regions to leave “while they still had the chance”.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, said allies had agreed to “further strengthen” support for Ukraine immediately and in the “medium and long term”.

The promise of further military aid came amid regrets of Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, admitting Russia had suffered “significant losses of troops” during the invasion of Ukraine, which he described as “a huge tragedy” for his compatriots.

Peskov said Russia had withdrawn from Kyiv and Chernihiv in central Ukraine last week as a “goodwill act to lift tension from those regions and show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions to continue negotiations”, however fighting would continue in the Donbas, he added.

“It was a clear message from the meeting today that allies should do more and are ready to do more to supply more equipment. They realise and recognise the urgency,” he said.

EU-US:enhancing transatlantic security & defence

Brussels 24.03.2022 Today, the European Council was joined by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States have issued the joint readout:

“The leaders discussed the coordinated and united response of the European Union and the United States to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression in Ukraine.

“They reviewed their ongoing efforts to impose economic costs on Russia and Belarus, as well as their readiness to adopt additional measures and to stop any attempts to circumvent sanctions.

“Leaders discussed the urgent needs caused by Russia’s aggression, committed to continuing providing humanitarian assistance, including to neighbouring countries hosting refugees, and underscored the need for Russia to guarantee humanitarian access to those affected by or fleeing the violence.

“Leaders welcomed the opening of international investigations, including by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and ongoing efforts to gather evidence of atrocities.

“In addition, leaders discussed EU-U.S. cooperation to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, accelerate the transition to clean energy, as well as the need to respond to evolving food security needs worldwide.

“The leaders also concurred on the importance of strengthening democratic resilience in Ukraine, Moldova, and the wider Eastern partnership region.

“Finally, leaders underscored the importance of enhancing transatlantic security and defence, including through robust NATO-EU cooperation as described in the EU’s Strategic Compass”.

NATO-Russia: Biden announces new sanctions

Brussels 24.03.2022 President Biden has given a press-conference after NATO and G7 Summits in Brussels touting unity in the Western response to Russia as allies worked behind the scenes to formulate their plans for the next phase of the conflict in Ukraine.

Biden said he supported ejecting Russia from G20, which is scheduled to convene in November, though other members of that grouping would have to sign on, admitting that at the moment there are some state opposing this perspective.

Biden maintained his view that direct U.S. military intervention in Ukraine would result in catastrophe and defended a sanctions regime which, according to him should bring results, if used on a wholesome and permanent basis as long as needed.
“Putin was banking on NATO being split,” Biden said in a news conference at NATO headquarters late afternoon.
“NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.”

During the critical day of meetings, Biden announced new measures directed at members of Russia’s Parliament – Duma – and unveiled a plan to accept as many as 100,000 refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine, steps intended to show American resolve in confronting the crisis.

A discussion of NATO’s force posture along its eastern border was also part of the last-minute diplomatic effort. And leaders conferred on what to do if Russia deploys a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon,the answer should be united, and decided on a consensus basis.

“The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” Biden said, answering a question.

As the Summit got underway Thursday morning, leaders heard a call for more help from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed the gathering online. He stopped short of issuing his usual request for a no-fly zone, however he insisted Ukraine needs fighter jets, tanks and air-defence systems.

Ukraine: EU Council 24-25 March

Brussels 23.03.2022 The March 24-25 European Council will discuss Russian military aggression against Ukraine, security and defence, energy, economic issues, COVID-19 and external relations.(Image above: archive)

US President Joe Biden will be joining EU leaders during the first day of the European Council for a discussion on support for Ukraine and its people and on strengthening transatlantic cooperation in response to Russia’s aggression.

Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine
The European Council will assess the latest developments on the ground, including the humanitarian situation and refugees.

The EU remains committed to Ukraine and its people and is working to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support, as well as support for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine.

EU response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (background information)
Security and defence
The European Council will discuss security and defence, building on the Versailles declaration and taking into account the new security situation in Europe.

In this context, EU leaders will discuss how to enable the EU to act more quickly and decisively when facing crises, while also securing its interests and protecting citizens. They will also discuss defence investment and funding instruments.

The European Council is expected to endorse the Strategic Compass, an initiative aiming at strengthening the Union’s security and defence policies around the themes of crisis management, defence capabilities, resilience and partnerships.

EU cooperation on security and defence (background information)
The Versailles declaration (10 and 11 March 2022)
Energy
At the informal meeting in Versailles, EU leaders agreed to phase out dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal imports as soon as possible.

The European Council will discuss sustained high energy prices and its impact on citizens and businesses, also in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The European Commission will provide a basis for the discussion by putting forward options for ensuring affordable energy prices and security of supply.

Energy prices (background information
Economic issues
The European Council will continue its discussion on how to build a more robust economic base, as laid out in the Versailles declaration, notably by reducing strategic dependencies in sensitive areas like critical raw materials, semi-conductors, health, digital and food.

The European Council will address how to further strengthen the single market to accelerate the green and digital transitions, as well as how to strengthen the resilience of the EU economy.

The European Council will be invited to endorse the policy priority areas for the European Semester in 2022.

European Semester in 2022 (background information)
COVID-19
The European Council will discuss coordination efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and take stock of international cooperation on global health governance and solidarity, including through roll-out of vaccines.

The European Council will also discuss the work, under the guidance of the WHO, on a future instrument to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic: the EU’s response.
External relations
In the light of events, the European Council may address specific foreign policy issues.

Euro Summit
EU leaders will meet for a Euro Summit, to be held in inclusive format.

Lavrov denounces NATO arrogance

Brussels 16.03.2022 Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told RBC News that “neutral status is now being seriously discussed along, of course, with security guarantees.”

The ‘arrogant’ US-led West ignored Moscow’s proposed security guarantees following many years of admonitions and exhortations from the Russian side regarding NATO’s steady eastward expansion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“Once the Warsaw Pact dissolved, and even after the Soviet Union became extinct, NATO, at its own discretion and without consultations whatsoever with anyone, who had been a part of the balance of power on the European continent, set out on moving eastward and kept moving the line of the defence, pushing it further and further in the direction to the east,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russia’s RBC TV channel.

“When this line was pushed right up [to Russian borders] and all our admonitions over the past 20 years were not taken seriously, we drafted our own initiatives on European security and they, to our deep disappointment, have been shrugged off by our arrogant Western partners,” Lavrov explained.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on March 12 that the previously proposed security guarantees to the United States and NATO were no longer valid because the situation has dramatically changed.

Stoltenberg opens Defence Ministers meeting

Brussels 16.03.2022 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at NATO headquarters on Wednesday 16 March 2022 ahead of an extraordinary meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.

The Secretary General praised Secretary Austin’s personal engagement, commitment, and leadership and highlighted the critical role played by the United States in responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the presence of one hundred thousand US troops currently in Europe.

“We will address the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, our strong support for Ukraine, and further strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence in response to a new reality for our security” Stoltenberg said, while announcing the Extraordinary Council. “At this critical time, North America and Europe must continue to stand together in NATO”.

NATO has repeatedly assessed Russia invasion to Ukraine as “unprovoked and unjustified”, posing a potential threat to NATO nations including Ukraine’s neighbouring Romania, Hungary, Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. More than three million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country into neighbouring states since the assault began on February 24, according to the United Nations.

NATO has responded in a united and swift way, Stoltenberg continued, pointing to severe sanctions on Russia.
Meanwhile the allies provided significant support to Ukraine: military, financial and humanitarian.

Hundreds of thousands of troops on heightened alert, one hundred thousand U.S. troops in Europe, and
40,000 troops under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of our Alliance,supported by naval and air forces, the Secretary General of NATO concluded.

Russia sanctions Biden and Blinken

Brussels 15.03.2022 Moscow has imposed personal sanctions on President Joe Biden and representatives of the U.S. leadership and persons associated with them on Tuesday, March 15, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced in a statement.

“In response to a series of unprecedented sanctions prohibiting, among other things, entry into the United States for senior officials of the Russian Federation…From March 15, President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Secretary of Defense L. Austin and 10 others are included in the Russian ‘stop list’ and are to be sanctioned in retaliation and are barred from entering Russia,” the Russian diplomacy statement reads.

The Foreign ministry said it was maintaining official relations with Washington and if necessary would make possible that high-level contacts with the people on the list could take place.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, many Western countries announced large-scale sanctions against Russia, primarily against the banking sector and the supply of high-tech products. In addition, many brands have announced the termination of work in the country.

MEPs express solidarity with Ukraine

Strasbourg 14.02.2022 President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola expressed MEPs’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine, at the opening of the session.

Highlighting that the plenary session will be dominated by discussions and decisions on Ukraine, President Metsola expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they continue to face uncertainty and the fear of Russian military aggression.

The defiance of the Ukrainian people protesting on the streets of Kyiv “must be matched by continued European resolve and unity” she said, adding, “the position of this house is clear – we are with Ukraine.”

Calling the Russian military build-up at Ukraine’s border “a serious threat to peace in Europe”, President Metsola underlined that whilst Parliament is urging for a de-escalation of the current tension, it stands ready to support swift, forceful and concrete action should the situation deteriorate.

“We owe a strong show of support to the people of Ukraine and, this week, this parliament will do just that”, she concluded.

Russia: U.S. submarine Kuril incident

Brussels 12.02.2022 Anna van Densky Russia’s Defense Ministry has summoned the U.S. military attaché over the incident with Virginia-class American nuclear-powered submarine detected on Saturday, February 12, morning near the Pacific Fleet’s drills near Iturup Island of the Kurils. (Image above: illustratoin).

“The defense attaché issues at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has been summoned to the Russian Ministry of Defense in connection with the violation of the Russian state border by the U.S. Navy’s submarine,” the statement reads.

According to the Ministry officials, the Virginia-class submarine belonging to the U.S. Navy was detected on February 12, 2022 at 10.40 (Moscow Time) in the waters, surrounding Iturup Island.

In accordance with the laws on protection of the Russian state border in the underwater environment, the crew of the Pacific Fleet’s frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov used “appropriate means”.

The U.S. submarine started a self-propelled simulator to split the target image on radar and acoustic control means into two parts and retreated from Russian territorial waters at a maximum speed, the Russian Ministry explained.

The Pacific Fleet’s vessels continue scheduled drills, including the operations to ensure control in the underwater environment.

Iturup is the largest island in the Southern Kurils, ownership of which is a matter of a long time dispute between Russia, and Japan.

The island was Japanese territory since 1855 until the end of the Second World War in 1945, when Soviet military took over of all the Kurils and forced out Japanese residents. The island is still claimed by Japan. During the recent press conference, Japanese chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno informed that “Russia has issued a warning that it will carry out firing practice from February 8 in the area to the southeast of Kunashir Island.”

This statement was corroborated by Russian state news agency TASS. Mr. Matsuno added that “we view the increase of Russia’s military presence on the four Northern Territories as unacceptable.” Matsuno also called the drills a “navigational hazard” for the area.

Biden sends troops to Poland

Brussels 06.02.2022 A plane carrying USA troops landed in Poland on Sunday, February 6, a Reuters news agency reports, as Washington reinforces its NATO allies in Eastern Europe amid a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border.(Image: illustration)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, February 2, ordered nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania, as Washington moves to reassure East European NATO allies.

The Pentagon said that around 1,700 service members, mainly from the 82nd Airborne Division, would deploy from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland.

Sunday’s arrival of the C17 aircraft followed a plane carrying the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Major General Christopher Donahue, which landed on Saturday, February 5, at Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, and a few planes with U.S. military equipment and an “advance group”.

It was not immediately clear how many troops arrived, but a C17 aircraft is “designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and their equipment”, according to the U.S. Air Force website.

“Our national contribution here in Poland shows our solidarity with all of our allies here in Europe and obviously during this period of uncertainty we know that we are stronger together,” Donahue said on Sunday.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said minutes after the plane landed that this was the first group of American soldiers “from an elite unit”.

“…More planes will be landing in the coming hours. The soldiers will operate in the southeastern part of our country,” he added.

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