- According to the official, the Himars are the centrepiece of a $700 million package that includes air surveillance radar, additional Javelin short-range anti-tank rockets
- The situation on the eastern frontier in Donbas has deteriorated, with Ukrainian communities subjected to near-constant Russian fire.
As Russian troops accelerate their aggressive bid to complete the seizure of a crucial eastern city, US President Joe Biden announced that the US will provide more powerful missile systems to Ukraine.
In recent days, the struggle for Severodonetsk has intensified, with high fatalities on both the Ukrainian and Russian sides.
On Tuesday, Russian troops struck a nitric acid tank at a municipal chemical facility, prompting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to accuse Moscow of “madness.”
Since Russia’s failed attempt to seize Kyiv, Severodonetsk has become a target of heavy Russian firepower.
According to regional authorities, the Russians currently control the most of the damaged city.
However, Biden has acknowledged that more US equipment is on the coming, which is a boost for the outgunned Ukrainian military.
“We will give the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions, allowing them to strike vital targets on the battlefield in Ukraine with more precision,” Biden wrote in The New York Times.
According to a US official, the weapons being provided are Himars, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, which have precision-guided munitions and a longer range than Ukraine’s present armaments.
According to the official, the Himars are the centrepiece of a $700 million package that includes air surveillance radar, additional Javelin short-range anti-tank rockets, artillery ammo, helicopters, vehicles, and spare parts.
The US is aiming to assist Kyiv’s military effort without being perceived as a direct belligerent, and the official emphasised that the weaponry would only be used to “repel Russian advances on Ukrainian territory,” not “against Russia.”
While some analysts believe the Himars could be a “game-changer,” others believe Ukrainian forces under Russian artillery bombardment should not expect them to immediately turn the tables.
The US notification came after Russian forces hit a nitric acid tank in Severodonetsk, causing the local governor to issue a warning to residents to stay indoors.
“Given the presence of large-scale chemical industry in Severodonetsk, the Russian army’s strikes there, including blind air bombardment, are just insane,” Zelensky stated.
The Russians were attempting to encircle Ukrainian troops, according to Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar, but the army was “resisting extremely effectively.”
“At the same time, we openly admit that the Russian army has a numerical advantage in terms of equipment, weaponry, and manpower,” she added in a YouTube video.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, European Union leaders were split on whether to prohibit Moscow’s natural gas after agreeing to impose a two-thirds oil embargo to tighten the economic screws.
These countries downplayed the likelihood of a quick gas embargo, but Zelensky voiced his gratitude for the EU’s actions so far against Russia’s “terrorist state.”
Following the Netherlands, Finland, Poland, and Bulgaria, Denmark was set to become the fourth European country targeted by Russia over gas shipments on Wednesday.
Orsted, a Danish energy company, warned Russian monopoly Gazprom Export would suspend gas supply if the Danes refused to pay in rubles, a demand Moscow makes of “unfriendly countries” in an attempt to avoid severe Western sanctions.
The situation on the eastern frontier in Donbas has deteriorated, with Ukrainian communities subjected to near-constant Russian fire.
Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, a French journalist, was slain in the Donbas on Monday while covering civilian evacuations.
A ‘few thousand’ war crimes
Iryna Venediktova, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said police have discovered a “few thousand” incidents of war crimes in the Donbas, including murder, torture, and child forced displacement.
In a meeting with international counterparts in The Hague on Tuesday, a key Zelensky adviser said Kyiv was already planning to prosecute 80 suspects for alleged war crimes committed on Ukrainian land.
Two Russian soldiers were sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison by a Ukrainian court on Tuesday for shelling two villages in the northern Kharkiv region. Another was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month for the murder of a civilian.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a pro-Western country, has effectively pulled Ukraine’s massive grain harvest off the world market, risking a global food crisis.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Tuesday that they had encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift the embargo on the Ukrainian port of Odessa.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that the problem must be resolved by the West and Kyiv, beginning with the easing of sanctions.
Meanwhile, in Kyiv, Ukrainian football supporters were gearing up to witness their national team play its first official match since Russia’s invasion, a World Cup qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow later Wednesday.
“I’m rooting for victory,” Andriy Veres, a 44-year-old army serviceman, told AFP.
“It is incredibly essential for the country, for all people, for all fans and even for those who are not supporters these days.”