Ukraine forces down Russian helicopter with two missiles
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Ukraine’s defence against the Russian invasion has depended largely on the supply of weapons coming from NATO countries. Recently, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged £300million in extra military aid for Ukraine. Last month, US President Joe Biden also announced Washington will provide $800million (£613million) in new arms supplies to Ukraine. But in the EU, many countries have been more reluctant to provide lethal aid to Ukraine, as explained by Dr Neil Melvin, Director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute.
He told Express.co.uk: “There has been quite a good supply of weapons from NATO states, but it has been quite uneven.
“Some countries like Estonia, the UK and the US have provided a lot of equipment, particularly proportionate to their size in the case of Estonia.
“Others such as Germany, France and Italy have provided rather low levels. In Germany they are struggling to find ways to send quite small amounts of equipment.
“I think there is a risk as the war carries on, the pressure in some European countries to move away from supplying weapons and shift more towards arguing that Ukraine should go for a peace deal will increase.
“We have seen this with Italy tabling a peace plan which called for Ukraine to make territorial concessions. Germany, Italy and France have called for a ceasefire which would effectively freeze the conflict with Russia occupying territory they’ve already gained.
“These are signs that commitments across Europe will begin to falter.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed the suggestion that he should cede ground in order to end the war.
He said: “No matter what the Russian state does, there is always someone who says: let’s take its interests into account.
“This year in Davos it was heard again. Despite thousands of Russian missiles hitting Ukraine. Despite tens of thousands of Ukrainians killed.
“Despite Bucha and Mariupol, etc. Despite the destroyed cities. And despite the ‘filtration camps’ built by the Russian state, in which they kill, torture, rape and humiliate like on a conveyor belt.
“Russia has done all this in Europe.”
Four weeks ago, Germany agreed to send dozens of anti-aircraft tanks to help defend Ukraine from Russia’s invasion.
The agreement for Germany to provide weapons represented a seismic shift in its foreign policy.
But, with Germany saying the first weapons can arrive in July, Ukrainians are unhappy.
MP in Kyiv, Anastasia Radina, told Reuters: “For us, July is like, ‘what?’
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“Let me put it like this: Let’s ask a mother who is forced to sit in a basement with her newborn child who has no baby formula. … How far from now is July for her?”
Kyiv’s pleas for heavy weapons have intensified since Moscow turned its firepower on Ukraine’s east and south. But one reason for Germany’s delay was a lack of ammunition, industry sources and Ukraine’s ambassador said – a fact that was well-known to Berlin when it first made the pledge.
The Telegraph also reported last month that France and Germany armed Russia with €273million (£230million) of military hardware now likely being used in Ukraine.
They sent equipment, which included bombs, rockets, missiles and guns, to Moscow despite an EU-wide embargo on arms shipments to Russia, introduced in the wake of its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
Both Paris and Berlin have also resisted an EU ban on buying gas from Russia, with the bloc currently paying Moscow €1billion (£840million) per day for energy supplies.
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