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  • Writer's pictureAnton Kuchuhidze

International Press Review dated 9 - 13 January 2023

Sanction pressure on the russian federation and an increase in military-technical assistance to Ukraine are again in the focus of the international media when they cover Ukrainian topic.

Reuters quoted this week Tobias Billstrom, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden. It should be noted that this country presides over the Council of the European Union and the presidency will continue for six months. The minister clearly stated that one of the work priorities during Sweden's presidency of the EU will be the increase of sanctions against ruscists, despite the nine packages of sanctions that have been already introduced by the European Union.

The same Reuters published insider information that Great Britain will also deliver tanks to Ukraine. That actually what I have written about in the previous reviews: Mr. Sunak is very actively working on increasing military and technical support, and it is gradually turning into specific facts and names of the relevant offensive military equipment that will be provided.

The Wall Street Journal also traditionally focuses on the topic of Ukraine. In the story dedicated also to the increase in supplies of heavy weapons to Ukraine, observers of the Wall Street Journal drew attention to such a thing, which I have already mentioned in my reviews several times. However, currently, quoting the words of high-ranking American officials, the authors of the story clearly indicate that the expansion of military and technical products for Ukraine by the United States is the evidence of ever-increasing confidence in Ukrainian capabilities to train, operate and effectively use the most modern military technologies on the battlefield.

Bloomberg noted that Berlin takes a very active position regarding the transfer of necessary weapons to Ukraine.

Le Monde has widely covered a strategic change in the approach of the French Republic to the provision of weapons. The editorial article actually contains a very positive assessment of the fact that France became more active in terms of military and technical support for the needs of the Ukrainian army. The publication fully supports Ukraine's right to self-defence.

The European Union is prepared for a long war in Ukraine and will support Kyiv against Russia's aggression as long as it takes, Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom, whose country holds the EU's presidency, said on Wednesday.

"Despite Russia's continued attempts to divide us, unity within the EU and across the Atlantic has been strong. The EU is prepared for a long war and will continue to stand by Ukraine's side with political, economic, military and humanitarian support for as long as it takes," Billstrom told a news conference.

He said the EU would continue working on more sanctions against Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine after nine packages of measures passed by the 27-nation bloc since the start of the invasion in February 2022.

Britain is considering supplying Ukraine with tanks for the first time to help the country fight Russian forces, Sky News reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources.

Discussions have been taking place "for a few weeks" about delivering the British Army's Challenger 2 main battle tank to Ukraine, Sky said, quoting a Western source with knowledge of the conversations.

Supplying tanks would represent a significant step-up in Western support to Ukraine, but the British government has not yet taken a final decision on the matter, the report added.

The arrival of armored vehicles from the U.S. and allies on the battlefield in Ukraine is designed to bolster Kyiv’s momentum in the war as well shore up defenses, as U.S. officials anticipate another Russian offensive when the ground thaws.

The type of vehicles, artillery and weapons provided illustrates the U.S.’s growing confidence in Ukraine’s ability to train on, operate and effectively maintain the complex advanced vehicles, U.S. officials said. And it is a recognition that the fight has shifted to a front line contested by armored infantry. That comes after an initial phase of the war, almost a year ago, of dueling and fluid artillery battles followed by a more recent phase characterized by Russian air attacks and Ukrainian air defense.

Germany aims to deliver as many as 40 combat vehicles and a Patriot air-defense system to Ukraine by the end of March as part of an effort to help the government in Kyiv in the event fighting intensifies in the spring.

The government in Berlin announced late Thursday in a joint statement with the US that it will supply Ukraine with Marder infantry fighting vehicles, as well as the Patriot. The US will contribute Bradley Fighting Vehicles, providing a significant upgrade in firepower in the fight against Russia’s invasion along with similar armored AMX-10RCs France pledged on Wednesday.

“Especially in large urban centers, the civilian population will be better protected against the seemingly endless Russian aerial attacks,” Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement after she spoke by phone with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Ukrainian troops are set to begin training on the Patriot missile system in the United States as soon as next week, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.

During the war the US has trained Ukrainian troops in Europe, but the decision to conduct patriot training on American soil could increase tensions with Moscow further as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has constantly warned western nations against further involvement in the war.

The training process and eventual deployment of the defensive weapons system, which had long been requested by Kyiv, will take months and won’t impact the course of the war in the short-term though once it’s completed it should provide better protection against Russian missile attacks that have devastated the country’s infrastructure.

In the war imposed on them by Vladimir Putin, one that puts the survival of their country at stake, the Ukrainians need the steadfast and appropriate support of the West. France's January 4 decision to deliver light armored combat vehicles to Ukraine marks a new stage in the assistance provided by democratic countries, as it was followed the next day by the United States and Germany. It is no longer just a matter of supplying Kyiv with defensive weapons, such as troop transport vehicles or artillery equipment, but with the means to support offensives. The French AMX-10 RCs, like the American Bradleys and German Marders, are vehicles armed with guns designed to be used as close to the front line as possible.

This evolution of the equipment delivered does not reflect a desire for escalation, but appears to be in line with the progression of Ukrainian war objectives. It is a question of helping the attacked country not only defend itself and reach a negotiation in the best possible situation, but to recover its entire territory by driving back the Russian army, and subjecting those responsible for crimes to international justice.

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