“The priority, the urgency, is to deliver the weapons promised to the Ukrainians to maintain their defense capability,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday before a meeting of the “Ramstein Group,” which brings together around fifty allied countries of Ukraine.
Almost a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, “the situation on the front lines, particularly in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, remains extremely difficult,” said Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, February 14, during his evening’s video speech , which is broadcast on social networks. “It’s literally a fight for every meter of Ukrainian land,” he added.
Franceinfo looks back at the highlights of the day on the warfront in Ukraine.
NATO is trying to speed up arms deliveries
NATO member states on Tuesday began a logistical race to speed up shipments of arms and ammunition to Ukraine amid the threat of a new Russian offensive. “The priority, the urgency, is to deliver the weapons promised to the Ukrainians in order to maintain their defense capability,” emphasized NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before a meeting of the “Ramstein Group”, which brings together around 50 allied countries of Ukraine.
“We will provide the Ukrainians with the means to hold out and advance during the spring counter-offensive,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said. As reported by the Financial Times (subscriber edition, in English), the latter explained that the United States and its allies were trying to send as much anti-aircraft equipment to Ukraine as possible. “We know that Russia has important aircraft (…) and they still have many left,” said Lloyd Austin. Ukraine’s air defenses “were insufficient and we will keep pushing until we get more because this threat exists.”
The issue of sending combat aircraft is “not the most urgent issue, but it is being discussed,” assured Jens Stoltenberg.
Norway donates eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine
Norway will provide Ukraine with eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks, as well as ammunition, spare parts and up to four support vehicles, the Norwegian government said on Tuesday, quoting a previously announced contribution.
Norwegian Defense Minister Björn Arild Gram, who is currently in Brussels for a donors’ meeting, told the media that the delivery would be made shortly. Norway will also contribute 250 million kroner (23 million euros) to the European Peace Facility, a fund set up by the European Union to finance military aid to Ukraine. “The situation in Ukraine is approaching a critical phase and it is in need of extensive and rapid Western assistance,” the minister said in a statement.
According to Wagner, Bachmout is far from conquered
The key city of Bakhmout in eastern Ukraine, the scene of bitter fighting, is not ready to fall despite recent Russian advances, the head of the Wagner paramilitary organization, Yevgeny Prigoyine, said on Tuesday. “Bakhmut will not be taken tomorrow because there is strong resistance, shelling, the meat grinder is in action,” he said, according to his Telegram news service.
“The enemy is active and constantly sending in new reserves. Every day between 300 and 500 fighters arrive in Bakhmout from all over the world, the artillery fire is increasing every day,” he said.
Moldova temporarily closes its airspace
Moldova, a former Soviet republic bordering Ukraine, closed its airspace for just over three hours on Tuesday, citing “security reasons” by local media.
The announcement comes at a time when the country, sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, has decided to step up security amid alleged plans by Moscow to overthrow the pro-European power in Chisinau. According to Moldovan President Maia Sandu, the Kremlin is relying on “the involvement of internal forces” such as the party of the fugitive pro-Russian oligarch Ilan Sor, but also possible Russian, Belarusian, Serbian and Montenegrin nationals.
Moscow denied any “plan to destabilize Moldova” on Tuesday. The Moldovan leader’s claims are “absolutely unfounded and without evidence,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Briton dies in Ukraine
A British national has died in Ukraine, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, scores of Britons have traveled to Ukraine to fight alongside Ukrainian soldiers or to take part in humanitarian operations. Eight of them died, the BBC recalls (article in English).