Tuesday, December 13, 2022

As fighting rages in Ukraine, the G7 considers increasing air defence

G7 considers more air defence for Ukraine as fighting rages

 KYIV: The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian artillery, drones, and missiles struck targets in eastern and southern Ukraine as global economic powers pledged to enhance Kyiv's military capabilities with an emphasis on air defense.

After President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested modern tanks, artillery, and long-range weapons to combat Russia's devastating invasion, the Group of Seven pledged to "meet Ukraine's urgent requirements."

In addition, Zelenskyy urged the G7 leaders gathered at a virtual meeting to support his plan to organize a special Global Peace Summit to promote peace in his nation.

The implementation of Kyiv's 10-point peace plan, which demands, among other things, Russia's withdrawal of all of its troops from Ukraine and no territorial concessions on Kyiv's part, would be the primary focus of the summit.

Ben Wallace, the British defense minister, said on Monday that if Russia continued to target civilian areas, he would be "open minded" about providing Ukraine with longer-range missiles to target launch sites for Russian drones that have hit infrastructure.

Sunday, US President Joe Biden told Zelenskyy that strengthening Ukraine's air defenses was Washington's top priority.

Despite the war's displacement of millions and the deaths of thousands of non-combatants, Moscow has denied targeting civilians.

The Norwegian Refugee Council's Jan Egeland stated that "unliveable conditions" were likely to bring a second wave of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees into Europe during the winter.

According to Ukrainian military and civilian officials on Monday, Russian artillery destroyed nearly 20 settlements around the demolished eastern city of Bakhmut and "massive shelling" of the liberated southern city of Kherson by Ukrainian forces.

The most recent battlefield accounts could not be independently verified by Reuters.

Energy crisis Zelenskyy also pleaded with leaders of the G7 to assist Ukraine in acquiring an additional 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas in light of the dire energy shortages that have millions of people without power in subzero temperatures.

On his Facebook page, the head of YASNO, which supplies Kyiv with electricity, Sergey Kovalenko stated that the restriction on power consumption in the capital remained significant.

Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa resumed operations on Monday, two days after Russian drones made by Iran struck two energy plants. According to Ukrenergo, the grid operator, approximately 1.5 million people are gradually restoring power.

Separately, foreign ministers from the European Union agreed to contribute an additional 2 billion euros, or 2.1 billion dollars, to a fund that was used to pay for Ukraine's military support after it was largely depleted. The conflict, which Moscow describes as a "special military operation" against security threats posed by its neighbor and which is the largest in Europe since World War Two, does not appear to be coming to an end, and additional funds may be added in the future. It is referred to as an unprovoked, imperialist land grab by Ukraine and its Western allies.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, as reported by RIA, stated on Monday that Russia does not yet perceive a "constructive" approach from the United States regarding the conflict in Ukraine.

Heavy fighting President Vladimir Putin will not hold his annual televised year-end news conference this month, which he has used to demonstrate his command of issues and endurance against the backdrop of Russian forces' setbacks.

Ukraine claims that Russian forces are losing a lot in brutal dug-in fighting on the eastern front, where Moscow is fighting for full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, two of four territories that Moscow claims it annexed in illegal votes rejected by most countries.

According to a senior US military official, Russia was using 40-year-old rounds with high failure rates because it was burning through so much ammunition.

Ukrainian troops are also suffering severely as a result of the fighting.

"There are days when many people are seriously injured: four or five amputations at once," an army doctor in his 35s who declined to provide his full name told Reuters at a military hospital in eastern Ukraine.

On social media, unverified accounts of an attack on a bridge in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, which is considered essential to Russia's defense of its southern territories, including Crimea, were shared.

On his Telegram channel, a Russian-installed official in the Zaporizhzhia region named Vladimir Rogov posted a video of what he claimed to be the bridge and attributed the damage to Ukrainian "terrorists." The exiled mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, also shared a video that appeared to show damage to the same bridge.

The reports were not independently confirmed by Reuters.

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