• Friday, 01 December 2023

Ukraine updates: Russia fumes after Zelenskyy's US visit

Gulan Media December 22, 2022 News
Ukraine updates: Russia fumes after Zelenskyy's US visit

Moscow condemned "provocative actions" after the US pledged a Patriot air defense system to Kyiv. Meanwhile, an intelligence report said Belarus was training newly mobilized Russian reservists.

Moscow on Thursday denounced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to Washington, claiming that it showed Kyiv was "not ready for peace."

Zelenskyy met with US President Joe Biden on Wednesday and addressed Congress in his first official trip outside of Ukraine since Russia launched the war in February. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Moscow regretted that neither Biden nor Zelenskyy said "even a few words that could be perceived as potential readiness to listen to Russia's concerns."    

Biden announced on Wednesday that the US would provide Kyiv with an additional security aid of $1.85 billion (€1.737 billion), including the Patriot air defense system.

Peskov said that this signaled that the US was "continuing its line of de facto fighting an indirect war with Russia to the last Ukrainian," adding that the Patriot missile would not deter Russia from achieving its goals in Ukraine.

In a statement issued by the Russian Embassy in the US on Thursday, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov's described Zelenskyy's visit as a "Hollywood-style trip."

"What was essentially announced [...] was the need to continue the 'proxy war' against our country," Antonov said. 

The Russian envoy said the US supplying weapons to Ukraine was "deeply disturbing."He added that Moscow stressed that "the provocative actions by the US are steadily leading to an escalation, the consequences of which cannot even be imagined."

UK intelligence: Belarus 'likely' training Russian reservists
Britain's Defense Ministry said in its regular intelligence update that Belarus has recently taken on a significant role and was "likely" secretly training newly mobilized Russian soldiers. 

"Although Russia and Belarus have an extensive background of military co-operation, the training of mobilized Russian personnel by Belarusians represents a role reversal," the update said. 

It noted that Moscow had traditionally seen Minsk's forces as "inferior" and that "their employment as trainers is an indication of overstretch within the Russian military system."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday dismissed what he said were "conspiracy theories" about Minsk deploying its forces at the border with Ukraine. 

Ukrainian officials have raised concerns about Minsk's readiness checks, and a fresh deployment of Russian troops to Belarus was signaling a possibly new attack on Ukraine via Belarusian territory.

Lukashenko said recent military drills were not aimed at Ukraine and claimed that he could not rule out "aggression" against Belarus on the part of unspecified "neighbors."

Ukraine says Russia lost more than 100,000 soldiers
The general staff of Ukraine's military said it "eliminated" 100,400 Russian soldiers. It said the figure included forces who were either killed or were forced to quit military service due to serious injuries. 

The figure could not be independently verified. In September, Russia's Defense Ministry said 5,937 soldiers had died. 

Meanwhile, Kyiv recently said more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed.  

Macron maintains position on 'security guarantees' to Russia
French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters he still saw "security guarantees" to Moscow and Kyiv, as well as to neighboring countries, as necessary,

"When I speak of guarantees, I'm talking about all of these countries, for us but also for Russia," Macron said.

The French leader has already sparked a backlash from Ukraine over his talk of offering Moscow security guarantees to end the conflict. 

In his remarks, Macron also said Europe should reduce its security dependence on the US and seek a stronger role within NATO. 

"An alliance isn't something I should depend on. It's something that I should choose, something I work with," Macron said. "We must rethink our strategic autonomy."

German opposition wants Berlin to send Patriot system to Ukraine
Thomas Silberhorn, the transatlantic spokesperson for the German parliament's biggest opposition group CDU/CSU, told DW that Germany and Europe must "step up" their efforts in backing Ukraine. 

Zelenskyy's decision to go to the US as his first foreign trip since the war started was a "mighty demonstration of US leadership. It's not only a strong message for Ukraine, but for the entire free world," Silberhorn said. 

"And we as Europeans and Germans should join in now and even step up our own efforts to support Ukraine."

Berlin recently offered to deploy Patriot missiles to Poland, and Warsaw requested they be sent to Ukraine instead — an offer that Germany rejected. 

"Germany so far decided to send Patriot systems to Poland. But, indeed, this new announcement of President Biden to send [the] Patriot system directly to the Ukraine should be taken for reconsideration. Generally, I am in favor of sending Patriot systems from Germany directly to Ukraine," Silberhorn said. 

"The message from the US Congress is that there is bipartisan support in the United States. This strong determination and unity that the United States Congress shows here also has to be achieved in Europe and in Germany." 

fb/wd (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)