A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Ukraine has received ATACMS from the US as part of an aid package. Photo Source: U.S. Army.

Political Developments

Following approval by both houses of Congress, President Biden quickly signed a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Of the total $61 billion is earmarked for Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia would “Russia would struggle to sustain its assault on Ukraine without China’s support.”  He made the statement on a recent visit to Beijing.

Kyiv approved new travel restrictions for military-age men, who will no longer be able to apply for passports abroad.

Norway’s chief of defense highlighted the urgency of helping Ukraine this year, given the pace of rearmament of the Russian military.

“I have more sense of urgency in 2024 than I had in 2023. The modernized, or the rebuilt, Russian force is closer to us now than I would say one year ago — based also on what they are receiving from Iran, from North Korea, and how they have been able to basically not have sanctions have the effect that I expected them to have had you asked me last year.” – Norwegian Chief of Defense General Eirik Kristoffersen

Military Assistance to Ukraine

On Wednesday, the Pentagon provided details on an upcoming aid package to Ukraine, the 56th tranche of military assistance provided to the country since August 2021. The $1 billion package includes “air defense interceptors, artillery rounds, armored vehicles, and anti-tank weapons,” according to the statement. Deliveries will get underway quickly, as the Pentagon prepositioned equipment in anticipation of the Congress approving aid.

With the passage of the aid bill, American 155mm shell production should be able to rise to 100,000 shells monthly, General James Mingus, vice chief of staff of the Army, said this week.

Ukraine has secretly received long-range versions of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) from the United States.  Kyiv has used this missile at least twice in combat against Russian forces.  The ATACMS was part of a $300 million U.S. aid package for Ukraine approved on March 12.

While the U.S. kept those deliveries quiet, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan publicly confirmed the delivery of ATACMS this week, adding that ATACMS are “a capability we will continue to provide.”

Washington announced a $6 billion aid package on April 26. The funding, made possible by the newly-passed foreign aid supplemental, is provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). Unlike drawdowns, in which equipment is donated from U.S. inventory, USAI is used to secure gear directly from manufacturers or partners. The aid package includes Patriot missiles, NASAMS air defense missiles, counter unmanned aerial systems capabilities, radars, HIMARS ammunition and artillery rounds, Switchblade and Puma UAS, and other gear.

The U.S. may also send more military advisers to the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, who will assist the Ukrainian government in non-combat roles.

The United Kingdom has agreed to provide more military aid to Ukraine.  To date, this will be the largest British military aid package to Kyiv.  The value of this new aid package is GBP500 million and includes more than 1,600 strike and air defense missiles, as well as dozens of offshore raiding craft.

Spain will deliver a small number of Patriot missiles to Ukraine, according to a report in El Pais, but has ruled out sending additional launcher units.

BILD reported that Germany has missed several deadlines related to the supply of hundreds of 4×4 armored vehicles to Ukraine. Deliveries were supposed to get underway in 2023, but have yet to begin.

Battlefield Updates

The Russian military has deployed up to 25,000 troops to the vicinity of Ukrainian-held Chasiv Yar, which Ukrainian officials say Moscow wants to capture before Victory Day celebrations on May 9.

Ukraine’s remaining Abrams main battle tanks have been sidelined away from the front, U.S. officials told AP, over concerns that they are vulnerable to Russian drone warfare.

Russia may have lost a strategic bomber during a recent attack on Ukraine.  Ukraine said the aircraft was shot down, but Russia claims the aircraft crashed due to a malfunction.  Russian missiles struck cities in the central Dnipro region of Ukraine.

A Russian airstrike in Kharkiv destroyed a television tower, President Zelensky said on Monday.

The Ukrainian Army took delivery of locally-made Kozak-2M1 and Kozak-5 mine-resistance ambush-protected armored vehicles this week.