France to send light armoured combat vehicles and US considering supplying Bradley Fighting Vehicles; Zelenskiy repeats plea for heavier tanks
Western allies are poised to supply Ukraine with armoured battle vehicles but not the heavier tanks it has requested to fight Russia, Reuters reports.
French President Emmanuel Macron told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy his government would send light AMX-10 RC armoured combat vehicles to help its war effort, a French official said on Wednesday after a phone call between them.
The US is looking at ways to target Iranian drone production through sanctions and export controls, the White House said. Washington previously imposed sanctions on companies and people it accused of producing or transferring Iranian drones that Russia has used against Ukraine.
Heavy fighting around the largely ruined, Ukrainian-held city of Bakhmut is likely to persist for the foreseeable future, with the outcome uncertain as Russians have made incremental progress, according to a senior US administration official.
The Ukrainian deputy defence minister said significant Russian losses meant Moscow would probably have to announce a second partial mobilisation in the first quarter of the year.
Further strikes deep in Russian territory should be expected, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, has told the US TV network ABC. He added that the attacks would come “deeper and deeper” inside Russia, without specifically saying whether Ukraine would be behind them.
Ukraine’s military general staff said Russia had launched seven missile strikes, 18 airstrikes and more than 85 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems in the past 24 hours on civilian infrastructure in three cities – Kramatorsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. “There are casualties among the civilian population,” it said. The reports have not been independently verified.
Ukraine’s efforts to increase exports under the Black Sea grain deal with Russia are focused on securing faster inspections of ships rather than including more ports in the initiative, a senior Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s navy has claimed Russia has three combat-ready ships in action in the Black Sea and that it continues to “violate the international convention for the protection of human life at sea 1974 (Solas), disabling auto identification systems on civilian vessels in the Azov Sea”, it said in a post on Facebook.
Vladimir Putin took part in a ceremony by video link while the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov went into combat service equipped with the Zircon hypersonic missile systems. The Russian president said: “I am sure that such powerful weapons will reliably protect Russia from potential external threats and will help ensure the national interests of our country”. The defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said the Gorshkov would sail to the Atlantic and Indian oceans and to the Mediterranean Sea.