SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 4 February 2023, Saturday |

Fighting rages in east Ukraine, G7 considers more air defense for Kyiv

Ukraine’s General Staff reported on Monday that Russian missiles, artillery, and drones had pounded targets in eastern and southern Ukraine while major economic players promised to strengthen Kyiv’s military capabilities with a focus on air defenses.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pleaded with the virtual G7 summit for contemporary tanks, artillery firepower, and long-range weapons to fend off Russia’s disastrous invasion, and the Group of Seven pledged to “meet Ukraine’s urgent requirements.”

He also urged the G7 to help Kyiv obtain an extra 2 billion cubic metres of natural gas in light of Ukraine’s dire energy shortages as millions languish without power in subzero cold after further Russian air strikes on critical infrastructure.

Separately, European Union foreign ministers agreed to put another 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion) into a fund that has been used to pay for military support for Ukraine, after it was largely depleted during almost 10 months of war. More top-ups may be possible at a later stage.

There are no peace talks and no end in sight to the conflict, the biggest in Europe since World War Two, and which Moscow describes as a “special military operation” against security threats posed by its neighbor. Ukraine and its Western allies call it an unprovoked, imperialist land grab.

Russia does not yet see a “constructive” approach from the United States on the Ukraine conflict, RIA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin as saying on Monday.

There are no peace talks and no end in sight to the conflict, the biggest in Europe since World War Two, and which Moscow describes as a “special military operation” against security threats posed by its neighbour. Ukraine and its Western allies call it an unprovoked, imperialist land grab.

Russia does not yet see a “constructive” approach from the United States on the Ukraine conflict, RIA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin as saying on Monday.

According to the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden informed Zelenskiy on Sunday that bolstering Ukraine’s air defenses was a top priority for Washington. Zelenskiy claimed he praised Biden for the “extraordinary defense and financial” assistance the US has given during the call.

British Defense Minister Ben Wallace stated on Monday that if Russia continued to attack civilian areas, he would be “open minded” to providing Ukraine with longer-range missiles to target the launch locations for Russian drones that have hit infrastructure.

On Monday, the Black Sea port of Odesa in Ukraine restarted operations that had been put on hold after two energy installations were attacked by Russian drones produced in Iran on Saturday. About 1.5 million people are starting to get power again, but the situation is still challenging, according to national grid operator Ukrenergo on Monday.

    Source:
  • Reuters