Ukraine: EU, tanks in Kiev are not an escalation but a response to Moscow

The delivery of tanks to Ukraine by EU countries should not be considered as an escalation in tensions but a response to the actions of Russia, which continues to attack Ukraine, including its energy infrastructure and residential areas. A spokesman for the European Commission said so. “Since Russia does not abandon its strategy of wanting to destroy the Ukrainian state, the EU is helping Ukraine to defend itself,” he added.

Five people have been killed and 13 others injured in Russian attacks in nine regions of Ukraine in the past 24 hours: this is what emerges from the balance of data provided by the various regional authorities. This was reported by the Kyiv Independent. The affected regions, in addition to Kherson, are Donetsk, Kharkiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Lugansk. The Kherson region – the hardest hit (42 times), with three fatalities – was attacked with artillery, multiple launch missile systems (MLRS), mortars, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. In the city of Kherson, Russian forces have targeted a hospital – as reported yesterday – as well as a port, a school, a bus station, a post office, a bank and residential buildings.

Russia “doesn’t lose hope” that political forces interested in a dialogue with Moscow emerge in Europe. This was stated by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “We have never abandoned a dialogue on the basis of equality with our European partners or the search for ways to solve security problems”, underlined Lavrov, quoted by the RIA Novosti agency, recalling the proposals on security guarantees made by Moscow in December of 2021.

“President Macron and I strongly condemned Iran’s active participation in the injury of innocent civilians in Ukraine.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this when announcing a telephone conversation he had today with the French president. “I thanked Macron – he added – for participating in the mourning of the families who lost their loved ones in the attack in Jerusalem”. The two also agreed to meet soon.

A residential building was hit by the Russians in the evening to Kharkov, in the ‘Kiev’ district: according to the mayor of the Ukrainian city, Terekhov. The fourth floor of the building was completely destroyed, Ukrinform reports, adding that “according to local residents, at least two injured people were taken out of the building.” But according to what the head of the Kharkiv regional state administration writes on Telegram, three were injured, and one of these people later died of her wounds.

Meanwhile, Kiev is stepping up its pressure on its allies to receive even more powerful weapons and better face the great battles of spring, when the ground will no longer freeze. Volodymyr Zelensky’s first request is for long-range missiles, but the real target is fighter jets. And in Washington, now, the question is starting to be taken into consideration. Instead in Europe, on the German side, attempts are being made to rekindle a flame of dialogue: Chancellor Olaf Scholz has underlined that he wants to speak again with Vladimir Putin. And the Kremlin seems to have appreciated. Zelensky, in his evening message to the nation, thanked allies, including Italy, for the latest “significant achievements in the field of defence”.

And he hoped that this “momentum” will be maintained, in two directions: “accelerate” with the supplies of arms already agreed and “evaluate” the sending of “new types”. The Ukrainian leader has “long-range missiles” in mind first of all. Because the American Himars rocket launchers used up to now “have a range of 80 kilometers and cannot reach many of the occupied areas”. Instead, with an endowment of “Atacms with a 300-kilometre radius” it would put the Russian artillery far from the front under pressure, and which so far has been able to strike cities undisturbed, underlined Zelensky, who also summoned the General Staff to take stock of weapons and ammunition. In addition to Atacms, Kiev will try to get something that at the beginning of the war seemed a taboo for Westerners, namely fighter jets. About twenty, including US F16s, the French Rafale or the Swedish Gripen, are the wishes of the Air Force to modernize the Soviet-era fleet. This type of supply has already been requested in the past, but the novelty is that the Americans are not closing the door. Indeed, according to Politico, there is a group of military officials at the Pentagon who are putting pressure in this direction. Moreover, notes the Wall Street Journal, the fear that a long war could play into Moscow’s hands seems to be growing among NATO officials. Hence the urgency to arm Kiev as much as possible. For the moment, Berlin does not want to hear about jets for the Ukrainians. Putting this issue on the table “wouldn’t be considered serious by public opinion”, Scholz said, returning from the painful yes to sending Leopard tanks, under pressure from the allies. The German chancellor remains committed to “avoid an escalation” that leads to a “war between NATO and Russia”. For this, he announced, “I will speak to Putin again on the phone. It is up to him to withdraw troops from Ukraine and stop this terrible senseless war”. The Kremlin’s reply is sibylline, but not closing: “No agreed conversations are planned”, but “Putin has been and remains open to contacts”, assured Dmitry Peskov.

But all the Western skepticism towards Moscow is summed up by Guido Crosetto: “I have never had any prejudice against Russia. On the contrary. I had also been critical of some NATO approaches that I considered unjustified. I hoped it could become an ally of the West. I was wrong I. Because then he decided to try to annex another nation,” said the defense minister. The day after the severe attack and insults received by Dmitry Medvedev. On the ground, the hottest front of the fighting remains Donetsk, between the cities of Bakhmut and Vugledar. In the south, the Ukrainians reported yet another bombing of Kherson, which also allegedly hit a hospital. Causing at least three deaths. The pro-Russian authorities instead reported four victims following an attack by Kiev on a bridge in the Melitopol district. In addition to cannons, we fight with sanctions. Kiev targeted 182 Russian and Belarusian companies, as well as three individuals. Among the entities sanctioned also two branches of European banks, Unicredit Leasing and Raiffeisen Leasing.

Source: Ansa

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