After tanks decision, Russia lashes out with missile strikes
Air raid warnings are sounding out across Ukraine on Thursday morning as the country braced itself for more missile strikes from Russia. Emergency power outages have been introduced in Kyiv city and the wider region as well as Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr while the threat of missile strikes is live.
Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram that there had been explosions in a part of the city as he warned civilians to shelter while Serhiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv City Military Administration, commented earlier on Telegram that Russian forces had “launched more than 15 cruise missiles in the direction of Kyiv.”
Popko said that “thanks to the excellent work of the air defense, all air targets were shot down.” He warned that the danger of air strikes had not passed, however.
A resident of Kyiv uses the subway as a bomb shelter on Dec. 5, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Emergency blackouts had been introduced in the city Thursday, with the city’s military administration saying “the reason is the threat of a missile attack. Early power outages will help avoid potential damage to critical infrastructure facilities.”
Moscow is fuming after Ukraine was given a big boost by its allies Wednesday after the U.S. and Germany agreed to send battle tanks to the country for the first time. Russia reacted angrily, with officials saying it was “extremely dangerous” and crossed “red lines.”
Serhii Bratchuk, the press person the head for the Odessa RMA (regional military administration) said earlier this morning that “around six Tu-95 aircrafts (preliminary from the Murmansk region) took off and fired missiles at the port city. We expect more than 30 rockets, which have already begun to appear in several areas. Air defense is working, there is no information about drones yet,” Bratchuk said.
CNBC was unable to immediately verify the reports.
— Holly Ellyatt
Japan’s Prime Minister to consider visit to Ukraine: Kyodo News
Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida speaks at the start of the tenth annual review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at U.N. headquarters on August 01, 2022 in New York City. Japan’s average minimum wage is set to rise at a record pace this year, the government said on Tuesday, a positive development for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s efforts to cushion households from global commodity inflation.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a parliamentary session that he would consider visiting Ukrainian capital Kyiv, depending on “various circumstances,” Kyodo News reported.
“Nothing has been decided at this point, but we will consider,” Kishida was quoted as saying.
The prime minister’s response came after a ruling party lawmaker urged him to follow the leaders of allied countries in the Group of Seven, as Japan prepares to host an upcoming G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.
– Jihye Lee
After tanks, fighter jets? Ukraine pushes NATO allies for more weaponry
A Belgian F-16 fighter jet flies over Florennes Military Air Base, in Florennes, Belgium. Ukraine is believed to be keen on receiving combat aircraft like this from its allies.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert | AP
The dust has barely settled after the U.S. and Germany’s momentous decision on Wednesday but talk has already turned to the possible supply of other weaponry to Ukraine, specifically combat aircraft.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to Kyiv’s allies Wednesday, stating that the decision by the United States, Germany and Britain to send tanks to Ukraine was “historic.” He said he had also spoken to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg yesterday and during that call he called for more assistance.
“We have to unlock the supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine, it is important for us to expand our cooperation in artillery, we have to achieve the supply of aircraft to Ukraine. And this is a dream. And this is a task. An important task for all of us,” he said in his nightly address.
Ukraine has made no secret of the fact that it would like to receive fighter jets, such as the U.S.’ F-16s, from its allies to help it fight Russia, but there has been little positive response.
Having just achieved a diplomatic victory in achieving tanks, however, the focus is now on practical matters, with Zelenskyy saying just how many tanks Ukraine would be receiving is a key issue.
“The key thing now is speed and volume. The speed of training of our military, the speed of supplying tanks to Ukraine and the volume of tank support,” he said.
— Holly Ellyatt
Training for Abrams tanks will take place outside of Ukraine, White House says
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (L) listens as National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing in the James S Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2022.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Pentagon’s upcoming training for Ukrainians using the M1A1 Abrams tanks will take place outside of Ukraine.
Kirby said the U.S. has not yet decided on a specific location or timing for the training.
He also said that the Pentagon does not have extra tanks to pull from its current arsenal to provide for Ukraine.
“We just don’t have them,” Kirby said, adding that “even if there were excess tanks it would still take many months anyway.” He also declined to provide a timeline of when the M1A1 Abrams tanks would be ready for Ukrainian forces.
— Amanda Macias
Zelenskyy thanks Biden for Abrams tanks decision
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for his decision to provide Kyiv with 31 Abrams tanks as well as training and maintenance support.
Zelenskyy said the transfer of M1A1 Abrams tanks is, “an important step on the path to victory.”
“Today the free world is united as never before for a common goal – liberation of Ukraine,” he added.
— Amanda Macias
State Department denies reports outlining riff between Washington and Berlin over tanks for Ukraine
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price holds a press briefing on Afghanistan at the State Department in Washington, August 16, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
The State Department downplayed reports that Germany and the U.S. were at odds over whether to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 and M1A1 Abrams tanks.
“Time and again, Germany has proven itself as a stalwart ally of the United States,” Price said, adding that Berlin and Washington have only had constructive discussions in the weeks leading up to the separate security assistance announcements.
Earlier on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Berlin would provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks.
Germany said its goal was to “quickly assemble two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine.” The country will supply 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks in what it called a “first step.”
— Amanda Macias
U.S. will send Abrams tanks to Ukraine ahead of expected Russian offensive
A M1A2 SEP (V2) Abrams Main Battle Tank being unloaded in
Staff Sgt. Grady Jones | U.S. Army | Flickr CC
The Biden administration said it will equip Ukraine with the mighty M1A1 Abrams tank, a key reversal in the West’s effort to arm Kyiv as it prepares for a fresh Russian offensive.
The 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks, which amount to one Ukrainian tank battalion, will expand on the more than $26 billion the U.S. has committed to Kyiv’s fight since Russia invaded nearly a year ago.
The U.S. plans to purchase the new M1s using funds from the congressionally approved Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
It will “take some time” for the tanks to be delivered to Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said Wednesday. “We are talking months as opposed to weeks,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Read the full story here.
— Amanda Macias
Russia furious that Western tanks will be given to Ukraine
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin speaks on the phone during a conversation with Agatha Bylkova from the Kurgan region, an 8-year-old participant of a New Year’s and Christmas charity event, in Moscow, Russia, January 3, 2023.
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Via Reuters
Russia expressed mounting fury at the prospect of modern Western tanks being sent to Ukraine, calling it “extremely dangerous” and saying previous “red lines” were now a thing of the past.
Germany announced earlier Wednesday that it was ready to send 14 Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, and to allow other countries to send their own German-made tanks to Kyiv. The U.S. is also expected to announce imminently its own intention to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
The Russian Embassy in Berlin called the German government’s decision “extremely dangerous” and said it “takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation” while the foreign ministry warned that “red lines” were a “thing of the past” as it slammed what is saw as the West waging a “hybrid war” against Russia.
The use of modern Western tanks by Ukraine is likely to add momentum to its efforts to push Russian forces out of occupied areas of the country, particularly the eastern Donbas region, but Russia sees the gift of tanks as further evidence that the West is fighting what it sees as a proxy war against it in Ukraine.
— Holly Ellyatt