UKRAINE: Ukraine’s defence minister is scheduled to meet with President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday in the midst of a debate among Ukraine’s allies over whether to supply fighter jets for its battle against Russia, following U.S. President Joe Biden’s denial of providing F-16s.
After acquiring supplies of main battle tanks last week, Ukraine intended to push for Western fourth-generation warplanes like F-16s, said a defence minister’s advisor on Friday.
When asked by reporters at the White House on Monday if the US would provide F-16s, Biden replied, “No.”
On Monday, Macron told reporters in The Hague that “by definition, nothing is excluded” when it comes to providing military support, suggesting that France and Poland are open to considering any such request from Ukraine.
In statements shown on French television before Biden spoke in Washington, Macron underscored that any such action would depend on a number of variables, including the need to prevent escalation and guarantees that the aircraft would not “touch Russian soil.” On Tuesday in Paris, Reznikov will also meet Sebastien Lecornu, according to him.
Prior to Biden’s speech on Monday in Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki responded to a reporter’s inquiry by saying that he had not ruled out the possibility of sending F-16s to the neighbouring Ukraine.
Any such transfer would occur “in complete coordination” with NATO nations, Morawiecki stated in statements published on his website.
The head of the Ukrainian president’s office, Andriy Yermak, wrote in two posts on his Telegram channel that Poland had sent “positive signals” and that France “does not exclude” such a move.
Shortly before Biden made his statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy claimed that Russia had started attacking Ukraine nonstop in the east as retaliation for Ukraine’s resistance to its invasion.
Zelenskiy has been warning for weeks that Moscow intends to intensify its attack following almost two months of essentially deadlock along the front line that spans the south and east.
Last week, Germany and the US revealed their intentions to send heavy tanks to Ukraine, breaking weeks of diplomatic gridlock on the subject.
While there was no indication of a wider new Russian offensive, Denis Pushilin, the administrator of Russian-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, claimed that Russian troops had gained a foothold in Vuhledar, a coal mining town whose ruins have served as a Ukrainian stronghold since the war’s inception.
Pushilin reported that Ukrainian forces were still sending reinforcements to the three towns of Bakhmut, Maryinka, and Vuhledar, which are situated directly west of the city of Donetsk and run from north to south.
He was quoted by the Russian state news agency TASS as stating that although the advances were “not clear-cut,” that is, “here there is a war for literally every metre,” Russian forces were making progress there.
Oleh Zhdanov, a military expert for Ukraine, claims that Maryinka and Vuhledar are still under Ukrainian control and that Russian attacks there were less severe on Monday.
Although Kyiv claimed to have thwarted attacks on Blahodatne and Vuhledar, we were unable to independently confirm the circumstances there.
However, the reported battlegrounds showed definite, albeit incremental, Russian successes.
Russian forces shelled more than 40 communities in the southern Kherson region and the central Zaporizhzhia region, according to the Ukrainian General Staff. Kherson was one of the targets, and there were casualties there.
The Russians also fired four rocket attacks on Ochakiv in southern Mykolaiv on the day Zelenskiy met the Danish prime minister in nearby Mykolaiv city, the army said.
Western weapons deliveries are “months away”
The majority of the hundreds of contemporary tanks and armoured vehicles that Western nations have recently offered to Ukraine are still months away from delivery.
Without providing a specific timeline, British Defense Minister Ben Wallace stated that the 14 Challenger tanks his country supplied would be sent to the front lines in April or May.
Zelenskiy is pleading with the West to hurry up with the promised weapons supply so Ukraine can launch an offensive.
The key reason Kyiv’s progress had stalled since November was the West’s refusal to provide the essential weaponry last year, according to the American Institute for the Study of War.
In a report, the researchers claimed that once the promised weaponry arrives, Ukraine may still be able to retake lost territory.
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