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

A mobile missile launcher sits on a city street
SAMP/T Ground Based Air Defense System. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Political Developments

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Singapore over the weekend to publicly ask Asian nations for support at an upcoming peace summit in Switzerland, and to meet with American Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. During his visit, Zelenskyy accused China of disrupting peace talks.

Russia has warned Germany not to provide TAURUS air-launched strike missiles to Ukraine.  The German government is reluctant to deliver the TAURUS, worrying it might further strain relations with Moscow especially if the missile is used to hit targets inside Russian territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that Russia could deliver long-range weapons to other countries to strike back at the West, if Western weapons are used against targets inside Russia.

At a joint press conference with Finland’s President Alexander Stubb, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Alliance is not planning to send troops to Ukraine.

“NATO has no plans to deploy forces to Ukraine. We are focusing on how we can establish a stronger…institutionalized framework for our support to Ukraine and how to establish and agree a long-term financial commitment to ensure that we stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.” – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

Military Assistance to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Thursday that Paris will send Mirage 2000 combat aircraft to Ukraine, as well as train up to 4,500 Ukrainian military personnel. Macron also held discussions with Zelenskyy on the establishment of a KNDS plant on Ukrainian soil. 

The U.S. announced a $225 million security assistance package for Ukraine on Friday. Equipment will be pulled directly from U.S. inventories and sent to Ukraine. The aid package includes air defense equipment, artillery systems and munitions, armored vehicles, and anti-tank weapons. Some of the specific systems being donated include HAWK air defense missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, HIMARS ammunition, M113 armored personnel carrier, TOW missiles, Javelin missiles, and AT-4 anti-tank weapons.

Italy plans to send a second SAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine, according to the Italian foreign minister. The system, also called the MAMBA, is a Franco-Italian design capable of intercepting up to 10 targets simultaneously, including ballistic missiles.

The United Kingdom plans to provide 1,000 first-person view (FPV) drones to Ukraine.  These small drones will be fitted with a warhead capable of engaging armored vehicles.  This potential contract is worth GBP300,000 ($383,652).

Battlefield Updates

U.S. officials said that Russia’s advances near Kharkiv have started to slow, after making steady gains earlier this month. The primary reason for the change in momentum is that Russian forces are now reaching stronger Ukrainian defense lines that were established in the leadup to Moscow’s offensive, and Washington’s recent authorization for Ukraine to use donated weapons strike Russian positions across the border.

The Congressional Research Service released a report on Ukraine’s military performance and outlook. Ukraine has faced high casualty rates and recruiting challenges, and Kyiv remains reliant on donations from Western countries as it faces shortages of ammunition and advanced equipment. Ukraine is working to develop a professional noncommissioned officer corps and improve training, but its military still struggles to sustain effective operations and respond to Russian advances.

Denmark said this week that the Ukrainian military can use its ex-Danish F-16s to carry out strikes on military targets in Russian territory. Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told media, “Even if they are inside Russia, they are legitimate military targets because Russia attacked Ukraine. It fully complies with the rules of war.”

Russia has frequently tested new military hardware in Ukraine. Footage emerged this week showing that Russia has deployed its new 2S43 Malva self-propelled gun to the war. State trials on the artillery gun concluded last year. Separately, Russian media reported this week that a new mine-clearance unmanned ground vehicle had been tested in Mariupol.