Ukraine hopes for progress on path to EU at Kyiv summit

KYIV: Ukraine will maintain a summit with the European Union in Kyiv this week, the federal government introduced Tuesday, because it expressed hope the convention would deliver the war-battered nation nearer to membership within the bloc nearly a yr after Russia launched its invasion.

Kyiv additionally introduced it anticipated to obtain as much as 140 fashionable battle tanks from its Western allies, whereas the prospect of extra superior weapons for Ukraine got here from the US.

In his night tackle to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned he hoped the Friday summit would mirror a excessive “degree of cooperation and progress” with the 27-member bloc, which Kyiv has lengthy sought to affix.

“We’re ready for information for Ukraine,” Zelensky mentioned.

The very fact the summit is being held within the Ukrainian capital sends “a robust sign to each companions and enemies”, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal mentioned.

“It’s a message that Europe believes in Ukraine’s victory and helps our speedy motion in direction of EU membership,” he mentioned.

Ukraine gained EU candidate standing in June final yr, a number of months after Vladimir Putin despatched Russian troops rolling throughout the border.

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No particulars have been offered on who would attend the summit from the European Union aspect.

Weapons ‘breakthrough’

Ukrainian Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba mentioned a dozen nations had promised greater than 100 tanks after Germany and the US signed off on the deliveries final week.

“These are Leopard 2, Challenger 2, M1 Abrams,” he added, with out specifying a timeline for the deliveries.

The choice to provide the weapons got here after weeks of diplomatic wrangling and was seen as a breakthrough within the West’s backing for Ukraine in its combat to win again territory from Russian forces.

French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu additionally introduced his nation would ship 12 extra Caesar truck-mounted howitzers to Ukraine.

Now Zelensky is urging the West to provide fighter jets and long-range missiles.

US President Joe Biden mentioned Tuesday he would talk about the brand new requests for superior weaponry with Zelensky.

“We’re going to speak,” Biden advised reporters, talking the morning after he answered with an emphatic “no” when requested on the White Home whether or not he favoured sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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And The Wall Avenue Journal reported Tuesday {that a} US defence firm, Normal Atomics, had provided to promote Kyiv two Reaper MQ-9 drones for a greenback because it prepares for an anticipated Russian offensive.

Below the deal, Kyiv must spend about $10 million to ship the plane to Ukraine, and about $8 million every year for upkeep, the Journal mentioned, citing a Normal Atomics letter to a Ukrainian diplomat.

There was no quick touch upon the report from Washington.

‘Razing Bakhmut’

Russia has not too long ago claimed beneficial properties within the japanese Donetsk area of Ukraine, with its defence ministry asserting it had “liberated” the village of Blagodatne, north of Bakhmut.

Blagodatne lies on a freeway main in direction of Bakhmut, and its introduced seize comes not lengthy after Ukraine conceded it had given up the close by salt-mining city of Soledar.

AFP journalists about 150 kilometres (93 miles) south of Bakhmut heard sporadic shelling coming from Vugledar, which each Moscow and Kyiv have mentioned is seeing an uptick in combating.

“It’s very tense, the extra time passes the more serious, worse and worse it will get,” mentioned Oleksandr, a 45-year-old Ukrainian serviceman working a mortar close to Vugledar.

On Tuesday, Kyiv mentioned a 12-year-old boy and 70-year-old man have been killed throughout Russia’s newest barrage in Bakhmut, which Moscow has been in search of to grab for months in among the heaviest combating of the conflict.

“The Russians are razing Bakhmut to the bottom, killing everybody they’ll get their arms on,” mentioned Pavlo Kyrylenko, the area’s governor.

Olympic Video games

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused Ukraine of utilizing banned anti-personnel landmines towards invading Russian forces, saying nearly 50 civilians – together with 5 kids – had been wounded.

Ukraine’s defence ministry insisted the military upholds its treaty obligations towards mines, however is not going to touch upon the varieties of weaponry used till the conflict ends.

Worldwide tensions remained excessive, with the US State Division on Tuesday accusing Russia of not complying with New START, the final remaining arms management treaty.

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It urged Moscow to return to compliance by permitting inspection actions on its territory, which Moscow suspended in August, citing what it mentioned was American obstruction of Russian checks.

A row can be brewing over Russia and ally Belarus’ participation within the 2024 Olympic Video games in Paris.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee on Tuesday rebuffed Moscow’s demand that its athletes be handled the identical as these of different nations, saying that the sanctions towards each nations have been “not negotiable”.