West extends more help to Ukraine as new Russian offensive expected

KYIV: Western Allies Increase Support Ukraine with additional funding, sanctions against Moscow and expanded military training while defense minister Kyiv anticipates a new Russian offensive.
With RussiaAfter the invasion in the 10th month, European Union leaders on Thursday agreed to provide 18 billion euros in financing to Ukraine next year and hit Moscow with a ninth package of sanctions. The measures appoint nearly 200 more people and ban investment in Russia’s mining industry, among other steps.
“Our common resolve to support Ukraine politically, financially, militarily and in the humanitarian sphere for as long as necessary remains unbroken,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after talks between 27 EU national leaders in Brussels.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions displaced and cities in ruins since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in a “special military operation”, saying it was necessary to protect Russian speakers from Ukrainian nationalists. Ukraine and its allies call it a war of gratuitous aggression.
In Washington, the US military announced it would expand training activities for Ukrainian servicemen in Germany. Starting in January, 500 troops a month will be trained, building on the more than 15,000 Ukrainians who have been trained by the United States and its allies since April.
The program is among the multibillion-dollar programs that teach Ukrainians to operate specialized Western military equipment that the United States and its NATO allies have provided.
Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said the directive would focus on joint maneuvers and weapons coordination, which refers to striking the enemy with multiple capabilities at once.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in a speech published in the Guardian on Thursday that his country would gain an advantage over Russia thanks to its Western-trained army.
Kremlin says weapons are targets
Ukraine has repeatedly called on its allies to deploy more air defense systems to protect it from Russian heavy missile strikes, including on energy infrastructure.
Russia has fired a series of rockets at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure since October, disrupting electricity supplies and leaving people unheated in frigid winter conditions.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the United States was finalizing a plan to supply Ukraine with the Patriot missile defense system – one of the most advanced and could require months of training.
The Kremlin said the United States was “going deeper and deeper into the conflict in the post-Soviet republic” and that US Patriot systems would be a legitimate target, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Thursday applies to all arms supplied to Ukraine. West.
New Moscow offensive
Reznikov said that there is growing evidence that Russia, which has suffered a series of casualties on the battlefield, is planning a new, large-scale offensive. He speculates this could happen by February when half of the 300,000 troops Russia enlisted in October to support the Ukraine war will complete training.
“The second part of the mobilization, about 150,000 people, … needs a minimum of three months to prepare. That means they are trying to start the next offensive probably February, like last year. That was their plan,” Reznikov told The Guardian.
Both sides have ruled out a Christmas truce and there are currently no talks aimed at ending Europe’s biggest conflict since World War Two.
The new Moscow offensive could come as soon as January but is more likely to be in the spring, the Economist reported on Thursday, saying the assessment comes from the President of Ukraine. Volodymyr ZelenskyyGeneral Valery Zaluzhniy and General Oleksandr Syrskiy in recent interviews.
The offensive could be launched from the eastern Donbas region, the south or neighboring Belarus, and Russia could make a second attempt to capture the capital Kyiv, which it failed to invade. soon, the magazine cited officials as saying. .
Washington’s accelerated training of Ukrainian forces could help the military cope with any increase in fighting in the coming months.
On the ground, Russian shelling killed two people in central Kherson, the southern city liberated by Ukraine last month, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy chief of staff to the president. Officials said the shelling also knocked out power to the city.
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy said Russian forces shelled Kherson more than 16 times on Thursday alone and were continuing what he called a brutal large-scale offensive. in the eastern Donbas region.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army said that Russia’s main focus remains the eastern cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, but it is also trying to gain a stronger foothold in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify the battlefield accounts.


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