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

M270 MLRS. Ukraine now has US permission to utilize American weapons to strike targets inside Russia. Image – Pixabay/Military Material

Political Developments

Facing a renewed Russian push towards Kharkiv, NATO allies are increasingly allowing Ukraine to use Western weapons to strike back within Russia itself. This follows recent decisions by the US and Canada, with over a dozen allies now on board.

While Washington has not given Ukraine a complete green light, a U.S. official told Politico, “The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S. weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them.” 

Paris could allow Ukraine to use SCALP-EG missiles to attack targets outside of Ukrainian territory.  Up to this point, France has not allowed the use of SCALP-EG missiles against military targets inside Russia.  France has delivered the SCALP-EG, while the United Kingdom supplied the Storm Shadow cruise missile.

Berlin, meanwhile, said on Friday that Kyiv could use German-supplied weapons to hit targets just over the border in Russia. 

Another contentious issue under debate among Ukraine’s partners centers on whether to deploy troops directly to Ukrainian soil. On Thursday, diplomatic sources told Reuters that France could soon approve the deployment of military trainers, with an announcement possibly coming the first week of June. 

The EU is imposing “prohibitive” grain tariffs on Russia and Belarus to cripple their war funding, but these won’t affect grain just passing through Europe to other parts of the world.

The Russian government wants to increase license production of the Shahed attack drone.  Moscow builds this drone at a facility in Alabuga.  China is reportedly providing components to support this production line.

Military Assistance to Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the delivery of American weapons to Ukraine, coupled with efforts to provide additional air defenses, is playing a crucial role in stabilizing the frontline of the battlefield and sending a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he cannot outlast Ukraine.

Sweden plans to send $1.3 billion worth of military equipment to Ukraine, according to a statement from the Swedish government. While Sweden has dropped discussion of sending Gripen fighter jets, the security assistance package will include the Saab ASC-890 airborne surveillance and control aircraft, which will be able to track airborne and maritime targets. The package will also include RB 99 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), 155mm artillery shells, and Sweden’s entire stock of PBV 302 armored tracked personnel carriers, which were removed from service in 2021. Sweden plans to offset the aircraft donation by procuring additional S 106 BlobalEye aircraft and advancing previous orders for two new GlobalEyes.

The ASC-890s will complement Ukraine’s fleet of F-16s. The Ukrainian Air Force is due to start flying the combat aircraft imminently, and this week Belgium pledged that it would deliver 30 F-16s to Kyiv through 2028. 

General Dynamics is opening a new ammunition production facility in Texas to help produce 155mm artillery shells for Ukraine. The new plant is expected to produce around 30,000 shells per month. Ukraine fired between 4,000 and 7,000 shells per day for several months in 2023, and Kyiv has faced a shortfall of artillery ammunition. The Pentagon subsequently set a goal of increasing its own production of artillery shells tenfold to 100,000 shells per month. General Dynamics is also constructing a new factory in Arkansas that will open next year.

The Czech-led initiative to source ammunition from existing global stockpiles will deliver its first batch of 155mm shells to Ukraine in the coming days, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Tuesday. 

Luxembourg has contributed EUR5 million to help fund the purchase of another Caesar 155mm self-propelled howitzer for the Ukrainian Army, French Minister of Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu said on Wednesday. 

The Netherlands outlined plans to source another Patriot air-defense system for Ukraine through the acquisition of donated parts. The Dutch MoD said this week that it has identified the suppliers for the initiative and is in negotiations. 

Battlefield Updates

The Ukrainian military has gained the ability to strike targets located on the Crimean Peninsula.  The U.S. approved delivery of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) in February.  In March, the U.S. included a “significant” number of ATACMS in a $300 million aid package.

The Ukrainian government has released video of an AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile being fired from a NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) fire unit.  Ukraine also uses the NASAMS equipped with AIM-120 AMRAAMs.

Ukraine launched strikes against a Russian airfield in the Luhansk region housing a Nebo-M long-range radar system. Unconfirmed reports suggest Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) were used to target the radar system. If damaged or destroyed, the loss of the radar could hinder Russia’s ability to detect incoming aerial threats, including aircraft, missiles, and drones.

Hetman Ivan Mazepa, the first Ada-class corvette for the Ukrainian Navy, entered sea trials this week. It launched in October 2022. The other corvette on order, Hetman Ivan Vyhovskyi, was laid down in August but has not yet launched.