Ukraine: Fast-Track Arms Talks Underway01/28 09:48
Ukraine and its Western allies are engaged in "fast-track" talks on the
possibility of equipping the invaded country with long-range missiles and
military aircraft, a top Ukrainian presidential aide said Saturday.
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine and its Western allies are engaged in
"fast-track" talks on the possibility of equipping the invaded country with
long-range missiles and military aircraft, a top Ukrainian presidential aide
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,
said Ukraine's supporters in the West "understand how the war is developing"
and the need to supply planes capable of providing cover for the armored
fighting vehicles that the United States and Germany pledged at the beginning
of the month.
However, in remarks to online video channel Freedom, Podolyak said that some
of Ukraine's Western partners maintain a "conservative" attitude to arms
deliveries, "due to fear of changes in the international architecture." Russia
and North Korea have accused the West of prolonging and taking a direct role in
the war by sending Kyiv increasingly sophisticated weapons.
"We need to work with this. We must show (our partners) the real picture of
this war," Podolyak said, without naming specific countries. "We must speak
reasonably and tell them, for example, 'This and this will reduce fatalities,
this will reduce the burden on infrastructure. This will reduce security
threats to the European continent, this will keep the war localized.' And we
are doing it,"
The U.S. and Germany agreed Wednesday to share advanced tanks with Ukraine
along with the Bradley and Marder vehicles promised earlier, a decision that
led to criticism not only from the Kremlin but from the prime minister of NATO
and European Union member Hungary.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban asserted Friday that Western countries
providing weapons and money to assist Ukraine in its war with Russia have
"drifted" into becoming active participants in the conflict. Orban has refused
to send weapons to neighboring Ukraine and sought to block EU funds earmarked
for military aid.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it would summon Hungary's ambassador to
complain about Orban's remarks. A ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, said
Orban told reporters that Ukraine was "a no-man's land" and compared it to
"Such statements are completely unacceptable. Budapest continues on its
course to deliberately destroy Ukrainian-Hungarian relations," Nikolenko said
in a Facebook post.
President Joe Biden's announcement that the U.S. would send 31 M1 Abrams
tanks to Ukraine reversed months of arguments by Washington that they were too
difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain.
The U.S. decision persuaded German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who had expressed
concern about a unilateral action drawing Russia's wrath, to agree to send 14
Leopard 2 tanks from Germany's stocks and to allow European countries with
tanks to send some of theirs.
Amid news of the coordinated effort, Russia bombarded Ukraine with missiles,
exploding drones and artillery shells. The attacks continued Saturday, when
Russian missiles struck the city of Kostyantynivka in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk
The missiles fell in a residential area, killing three civilians, wounding
14 and damaging four high-rise apartment buildings, a hotel and garages, Gov.
Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
"Kostyantynivka is a city relatively far from the front line, but still, it
constantly suffers from enemy attacks. Everyone who remains in the city exposes
themselves to mortal danger," Kyrylenko said. "The Russians target civilians
because they are not able to fight the Ukrainian army."
In a separate Telegram post earlier Saturday, Kyrylenko reported that
Russian attacks in the province killed four civilians in all and wounded seven
others in 24 hours.
Russian rockets hit a residential area the Donestsk town of Chasiv Yar on
Friday night, killing of two people and wounding five more, the governor said.
Photos attached to Kyrylenko's post showed a three-story school building on
Donetsk province, where the territory is roughly split between Russian and
Ukrainian control, has become the battle epicenter of the war as Moscow tries
to jump-start a monthslong, grinding offensive to capture the city of Bakhmut.
Chasiv Yar lies on a hill strategically located for the defense of Bakhmut,
and has come under intensified Russian shelling. Capturing Bakhmut would allow
Russian troops to disrupt Ukrainian supply lines and potentially pave the way
for them to threaten Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the largest remaining
Ukrainian-held cities in the country's east.
Russian forces continued ground attacks around Bakhmut and Avdiivka, another
Donetsk city to the south, while Ukrainian troops were on the offensive in
southern and northeast Ukraine, the Ukrainian military said in a Saturday
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that Russian troops
"are defending themselves" near Lyman in Luhansk and Kharkiv provinces north of
Donetsk, as well in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces in the south.
The fighting has largely been deadlocked over the past months, with winter
conditions slowing down ground operations and neither side reporting
In the same update, the military reported that Russian forces launched 10
missile strikes, 26 air strikes and 81 shelling attacks on Ukrainian territory
between Friday and Saturday mornings. The shelling killed two civilians in
Kherson, another province that is partly Russian-occupied.
Podolyak, the presidential adviser, said Ukraine needs supplies of Western
long-range missiles "to drastically curtail the key tool of the Russian army"
by destroying the warehouses where it stores cannon artillery used on the front