Kharkiv bombed again, Kyiv wants tanks


Russian shelling hit Kharkiv late on Tuesday, hours after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made a surprise visit to the northeastern Ukrainian city with her Ukrainian counterpart, who urged Germany to provide heavy armor. “The longer this decision is postponed, the more casualties there will be, the more civilians will die,” said Ukrainian Minister Dmytro Kouleba.

An AFP journalist later heard several explosions in the city, relatively spared in recent times by Russian attacks. “Stay in shelters. Occupiers are bombing again!” regional governor Oleg Synegoubov warned in Telegram messages. It was impossible to immediately determine whether these attacks caused damage and casualties.

The main information:

  • The bombing took place on Tuesday night in Kharkiv
  • Ukraine asks Germany and the West to hand over weapons
  • Canada to supply US anti-aircraft system to Ukraine

The previous Tuesday, Annalena Baerbock had arrived in this war-tested town close to the Russian border. Invited by her counterpart Dmytro Kouleba, she guaranteed that Ukraine can count on Germany’s “solidarity” and “support”.

The minister said she had provided “a new package” of aid, including 20 million euros for mine clearance and the same amount for the development of the Starlink Internet access network. She also announced new deliveries of generators for the Ukrainian power infrastructure systematically bombed by Russia. But Ukraine mainly requires the delivery of Western main battle tanks, and Berlin has not yet responded favorably to its request for the delivery of “Leopard 2” armored vehicles, heavy equipment with recognized technology.

Ukraine asks Germany to hand over weapons

Kharkiv was hit by several bombing raids early in the conflict, but Ukrainian forces managed to defend it. The combat front has already moved away and is currently about 130 km from the city. “Kharkiv is now a symbol of successful Ukrainian counter-offensives, which proves that Ukraine can win with enough help from its partners,” Dmytro Kouleba pointed out.

Mrs. Baerbock assured that the country will be able to count on the delivery of the weapons it needs “to liberate its fellow citizens who still suffer from the terror of the Russian occupation”. After long months of hesitation, Germany recently announced the deployment of 40 “Marder” armored infantry by spring. But within Olaf Scholz’s coalition, the Greens, Mrs. Baerbock and the Liberals are demanding the delivery of “Leopard” type heavy fighting tanks.

“I have no doubt that Ukraine will receive German ‘Leopard’ tanks, because the federal government knows deep down that it is necessary,” said Dmytro Kouleba.

A close friend of Putin lost his nationality

The head of German diplomacy also indicated that she would like to discuss the process of joining the European Union to which the country aspires. Ukraine, along with Moldova, received EU candidate status in June. But several member state representatives had already warned them not to “be under illusions” about quick accession. “It is important to me that we do not lose sight of Ukraine’s place in our European family, even in this warlike winter,” Baerbock said.

This is the third time that Annalena Baerbock has visited Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, after visiting Kiev and Boutcha, a city close to the Ukrainian capital where Russian troops are accused of having committed war crimes. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in the evening that he had revoked the Ukrainian citizenship of wealthy businessman Viktor Medvedchuk, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, accused by Kyiv of high treason in favor of Russia.

This 68-year-old former deputy, born in Siberia and considered the Russian president’s man in Ukraine, had been handed over to Russia in a prisoner exchange between Kyiv and Moscow at the end of September 2022, after having been imprisoned for more than five months in Ukraine. .

“If people’s deputies choose to serve not the Ukrainian people, but the murderers who came to Ukraine, then our actions will be appropriate,” defended Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday night in his daily speech. However, he did not mention in his message the alleged Russian citizenship of the people involved.

Canada to supply US anti-aircraft system to Ukraine

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday the purchase of an anti-aircraft defense system from the United States with a view to donating it to Ukraine. This is the first NASAMS anti-aircraft system that Canada has offered Ukraine, said Ottawa, who estimates the value of this donation at CAD 406 million (EUR 282 million). The announcement was made after a bilateral meeting between Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden in Mexico City.

This defense system is intended to counter massive Russian bombings targeting critical Ukrainian infrastructure. “That’s priority number one. That’s why Canada is buying an advanced surface-to-air missile system from the United States to donate to Ukraine,” said Anita Anand, Canada’s defense minister, after talking with her Ukrainian counterpart .

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the gesture matter-of-factly. “Thank you for helping us protect our skies. The NASAMS that Canada has acquired for us will be a strong shield for our cities and our citizens,” he said on Twitter.

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