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  • Writer's pictureAnton Kuchuhidze

International press review dated 2 - 6 January 2023

Many media materials about Ukraine were published this week. To a greater extent, they were reviews about the effectiveness of the defence and security forces of Ukraine and about the effectiveness of the use of Western equipment, provided to our country.

The conclusion from these materials is obvious. The article in the Wall Street Journal is the leader in this topic. It notes the efficiency of the defence and security forces of Ukraine in shooting down Iranian drones in the current year that has begun. The article also notes the effectiveness of using Western technologies to protect the sky. This issue also published a systematic analysis of the digitization of the work of the security and defence forces of Ukraine, in which observers of the Wall Street Journal came to the conclusion that Ukraine succeeded in creation in a very short period of time of technological solutions for the defence and security forces management systems, on which, for example, the Pentagon spent billions of dollars, and also a lot of time was devoted to the adaptation of certain technological solutions during the work of the military. Such positive assessments will help Ukrainian diplomacy to continue to act powerfully and achieve specific results in terms of increasing military aid to our country. An increase in the number of positive assessments reduces the possibility of individual Western political figures to parasitize on the topic of the transfer of weapons to Ukraine and serves the interests of our country.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was traditionally active this week. After his discussions with President Zelenskiy, Great Britain clearly and unequivocally stated the long-term military support from Britain and that Ukraine can count on a systematic approach in this regard. This is evidence of very effective and trusting relations directly between Mr. Sunak and President Zelenskiy. As a result of these discussions, brief information was published that Great Britain is transferring 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles to protect the skies of Ukraine. However, it is clear from the official release that the parties had a wider agenda, which for obvious reasons is not published in full.

Journalists did not miss the issue of transferring seized russian assets to Ukraine. In particular, Germany was the focus of Bloomberg publication. According to Bloomberg, Olaf Scholz is generally not against the implementation of the concept of reparations payments to Ukraine. However, he has not yet officially outlined his position on the transfer of seized russian funds to Ukraine, and, according to Bloomberg, the discussion within the ruling coalition continues. However, we have seen Germany fundamentally changed its position over the past year. Currently, it supplies weapons, so sooner or later they will reach the point that the seized russian money must be sent to a fund for reconstruction of Ukraine.

CNN also paid attention to the statements of Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Here we see the consistent position of Germany, which was announced by the minister: the war must end with the victory of Ukraine. Germany takes a principled stance and believes that the transfer of air defence systems to Ukraine is fundamental for the defence of Ukraine and for achieving the ultimate goal of repelling the rashist aggression.

Le Monde provided information that France is transferring the latest Western-made AMX-10 RC tanks to Ukraine. This is the first time (at least publicly) when French tanks will be received by Ukrainian armed forces. Finally the ice broke. In principle, we have confirmation of certain insiders that France, perhaps not so obviously, not so publicly, but still helps and supports Ukraine in a military sense and bets on Ukraine's victory.

As I have already written several times, the trend of assessments of Western observers is fundamental for strengthening Ukrainian positions during negotiations in the West. Glory to all defence and security forces as Western journalists see their work as very effective. This allows the political leadership of the country to reach unprecedented decisions regarding the transfer of heavy weapons to Ukraine. As we can see, the unity of the President-military-people triangle gives a positive result for strengthening the defence capability of our country.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has told Volodymyr Zelenskiy that the Ukrainian president can count on Britain for support over the long run following recent drone attacks, Sunak's office said on Tuesday.

"The leaders discussed the abhorrent drone attacks on Ukraine in recent days," the spokesperson said in a statement issued after the two leaders spoke earlier in the day.

"The Prime Minister said Ukraine could count on the UK to continue to support it for the long term, as demonstrated by the recent delivery of more than 1000 anti-air missiles."

Ukraine is improving its ability to intercept the Iranian-made Shahed drones that Russia has relied on to damage Ukrainian infrastructure, with Western-supplied air-defense systems increasingly helping Kyiv repel the attacks.

In total, all 84 drones launched at Ukraine since the start of the year have been shot down, according to a spokesman for the air force; more than 500 drones have been shot down since September.

In recent months, however, Ukraine has received upgraded air defenses from the U.S. and several other Western countries. Ukrainian officials said they used NASAMS, a medium-to-long-range surface-to-air missile-defense system that the U.S. sent to Ukraine in November, to down drones earlier this week.

Germany is open to using billions of euros in frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine rebuild as long as legal issues can be resolved and allies follow suit.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government supports Ukraine’s demand for war reparations but hasn’t yet taken an official position on seizing assets from the Russian state. The issue is complex and some parts of the ruling coalition are more ardent than others, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Ukraine has achieved a cut-price version of what the Pentagon has spent decades and billions of dollars striving to accomplish: digitally networked fighters, intelligence and weapons.

Kyiv’s improvised web of drones, fighters and weapons, linked through satellite communications and custom software, is giving its soldiers a level of intelligence, coordination and accuracy that has allowed the initially outnumbered and outgunned forces to run circles around Russia’s massive but lumbering armies.

Ukraine’s grab bag of systems, built largely around off-the-shelf equipment, remain a far cry from the U.S. military’s sprawling and hugely ambitious digitization effort, which has evolved and expanded with technological advances and carries names such as network-centric warfare. The Defense Department aims for network scale, security and bandwidth that far exceed Ukraine’s ambitions.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Wednesday urged Western countries to continue to provide weapons to Ukraine to fight against Russia, saying that weakening support to Kyiv means "encouraging Putin to carry on."

“As bitter as it is, every sign of weakening support means encouraging Putin to carry on," Baerbock said at a news conference in Lisbon.

"Since we want this war to end with victory for Ukraine, we have to ask ourselves again and again how we can even better help Ukraine protect its citizens and its civil infrastructure,” she added.

The foreign minister stressed that continuing to provide air defense systems to Ukraine is “fundamental.”

Le président de la République française l’a annoncé mercredi à son homologue ukrainien, Volodymyr Zelensky. «C’est la première fois que des chars de conception occidentale sont fournis aux forces armées ukrainiennes», a précisé la présidence française.

Le nombre de chars de combat légers AMX-10 RC et les délais de livraisons n’ont pas été précisés. Selon Paris, Emmanuel Macron, qui a réaffirmé à Volodymyr Zelensky le «soutien indéfectible» de la France «jusqu’à la victoire», a ainsi voulu «manifester la pérennité et la continuité» de l’aide militaire française.

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