- Biden said “no” when asked about F-16s for Ukraine
- Zelensky: Moscow is seeking “great revenge”.
- The Russian administrator claims to have a base in Vuhledar
- Kyiv may retake land after Western weapons arrive – group
KYIV, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s defense minister is expected to meet President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday, amid talks among Kyiv’s allies to provide fighter jets for the war against Russia, after President Joe Biden America refused to give F. 16 p.m.
Ukraine planned to develop fourth-generation Western fighters such as the F-16 after securing the main battle tanks last week, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Friday.
Asked at the White House on Monday whether the United States would provide F-16s, Biden told reporters: “No.”
But France and Poland appear ready to accommodate any Ukrainian request, with Macron telling reporters in The Hague on Monday that “by definition, nothing is excluded when it comes to military aid”.
In remarks broadcast on French television ahead of Biden’s speech in Washington, Macron stressed that any move would depend on several factors, including the need to de-escalate and ensure the plane “does not touch Russian soil.” He said that Reznikov will also meet his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu in Paris on Tuesday.
On Monday in Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in response to a reporter’s question before Biden’s speech, did not rule out the possibility of delivering F-16 aircraft to neighboring Ukraine.
Morawiecki said in a statement posted on his website that any transfer would be done “in full coordination” with NATO countries.
Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, noted “positive signals” from Poland and said France “does not rule out” such a move in separate messages on its Telegram.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was in Japan on Tuesday, where he thanked Tokyo for the “aircraft and cargo capacity” it is providing to Ukraine. A day earlier in South Korea, he asked Seoul to increase its military support to Ukraine.
Biden’s comments came shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had begun retaliating against Ukraine’s resistance to aggression with relentless attacks in the east, where it appeared to be making increasing gains.
Zelensky has warned for weeks that Moscow is aiming to step up its offensive after nearly two months of virtual stalemate on the front line, which stretches south and east.
Ukraine got a major boost last week when Germany and the United States announced plans to provide heavy tanks, ending a weeks-long diplomatic deadlock.
Denis Pushilin, the administrator of Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, said that while there were no signs of a major new Russian offensive, Russian forces had established a base in Vukhledar, a coal-mining town whose ruins were a welcome sight to Ukraine. . since the beginning of the war.
Pushilin said that despite heavy losses, Ukrainian forces are consolidating positions in industrial facilities.
“FIGHT FOR EVERY METER”
Pushilin said that Ukrainian forces are sending reinforcements to the towns of Bakhmut, Marinka and Vukhledar, located from north to south west of the city of Donetsk. According to him, the Russian state news agency TASS wrote that the Russian forces are making progress there, but “it is not true, that is, there is a war for every meter.”
Oleh Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military analyst, said Ukraine still controls Maryinka and Vukhledar, where Monday’s Russian attacks were not the most intense.
Yan Gagin, an adviser to Pushilin, said fighters of the Russian Wagner mercenary force had partially controlled the supply route to Bakhmut, a town that had been the focus of Moscow’s attention for months.
A day ago, the head of Wagner said that his fighters besieged a village of Blahodatne in the north of Bakhmut, although Kyiv said that it repelled the attack on Blahodatne.
Reuters could not independently confirm reports from the battlefield. But the locations of the reported skirmishes show that Russian victories have been achieved, albeit gradually.
The General Staff of Ukraine said that in the central region of Zaporozhye and in the south of Kherson, Russian forces shelled more than 40 settlements. Targets included the city of Kherson, where it suffered casualties.
On the day of Zelensky’s meeting with the Danish Prime Minister in the city of Mykolaiv, in the north-east, the Russian army also carried out four missile attacks on Ochakiv in the south of Mykolaiv.
Zelenskyy is calling on the West to rush the delivery of promised weapons to Ukraine before it goes on the offensive, but most of the hundreds of tanks promised by Western countries are months away from arriving.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said 14 British-donated Challenger tanks would be on the line in April or May, without giving an exact timetable.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Western countries, which supply weapons to NATO countries, are “more and more directly involved in the conflict – but it cannot and will not change the course of events”.
The US-based War Institute think tank said “the failure of the West last year to provide the necessary supplies” was the main reason for the halt in Kyiv’s advances since November.
The researchers said in their report that Ukraine could retake the territory after the promised weapons arrive.
The Ministry of Defense of Belarus said on Tuesday that Russia and Belarus began a week of staff training in September in preparation for joint exercises in Russia.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow considers necessary to protect itself from its neighbor’s relations with the West, has killed tens of thousands of people and driven millions from their homes.
Report by Reuters bureaus; Written by Doina Chiaku and Stephen Coates; Edited by Cynthia Osterman and Simon Cameron-Moore
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