Washington announced it would send more arms and ammunition to help Ukraine push back the russian invasion.
The package worth a total of $725 million (745 million euros) will include HIMARS mobile rocket launch systems – the long-range artillery weapons that played a key role in the Ukrainian counter-offensive in September.
It will also include more munitions, armored vehicles and medical supplies, the White House said. The purpose of the package is to replenish Ukrainian supplies rather than providing new types of weapons.
“We will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and independence with extraordinary courage and boundless determination,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
“The capabilities we provide are carefully calibrated to make the most difference on the battlefield for Ukraine.”
This new package comes after an agreement between NATO members to increase acquisition of air defense systems following the Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities in response to the destruction of the Kerch bridge linking occupied Crimea with mainland Russia.
US military aid to Ukraine under President Joe Biden has reached $18.3 billion.
Here are the other headlines from the October 15 war in Ukraine.
Russian strike hits key infrastructure in Kyiv
A missile strike hit a major energy facility near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on Saturday, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said.
He said no one was killed or injured, but repair crews were sent in to restore power.
Electricity company Ukrenergo has warned of possible blackouts while Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, has asked residents of the Kyiv region to limit power consumption during peak hours from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The strike comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said there was no further need for massive strikes on Ukraine after a week of missiles targeting infrastructure as well as civilian centers.
A fuel depot in Russia near the border with Ukraine catches fire
Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region that borders Ukraine, sought to blame Ukraine for a fire at a fuel depot.
The fire, near the town of Belgorod, was the result of a shelling, the governor said. This is a key bottleneck for Russian forces sent to Ukraine.
On Telegram, Gladkov wrote: “Emergency services are already fighting the fire.” He added that there was “no danger” the fire could spread and posted an image of flames and clouds of black smoke rising from the site.
Russian state-run Tass news agency reported that local emergency services said one of ten tanks containing residual diesel fuel had caught fire.
Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk leaves Berlin
The long service Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk leaves Berlin Saturday to return to Kyiv. His replacement, Oleksii Makeiev, should take over on Monday.
Melnyk was appointed to Berlin in 2015 and has become something of a public figure since the Russian invasion. He was outspoken in his criticism of Germany’s response, but he himself also came under fire for some of his comments, including telling Chancellor Olaf Scholz not to act like an ‘offended liverwurst’ in Reason to to a diplomatic incident between Kyiv and Berlin.
First Russian troops arrive in Belarus for joint forces
The first Russian soldiers who are to form a joint regional military group with their Belarusian counterparts arrived in Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed Saturday.
Lukashenko, who declared victory in a 2020 election declared fraudulent by many Western leaders, agreed to form a joint military grouping with Russia after claiming heightened tensions with neighboring Ukraine.
While Russian troops used Belarus as a launch pad for the invasion in February, Belarusian troops have so far not joined the conflict.
The current or final number of Russian troops expected to join Belarus has not been made official, but opposition figures have suggested the number could be as high as 120,000. Belarus in turn could mobilize between 45,000 and 100,000 , believes the opposition.
German Cardinal Condemns Russian Patriarch Kyrill’s ‘Holy War’
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich criticized the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kyrill I for supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Marx said Kyrill represented the concept of ‘holy war’, something he thought was ‘behind us’, in comments made in an interview with the German newspaper world sunday and reported by the Catholic news agency KNA.
Marx also spoke of differing opinions on German arms deliveries to Ukraine.
“I find it a shame that pacifists are denigrated as idiots,” he said, referring to people who opposed the shipment of arms.
“Arms deliveries are perhaps currently the lesser evil to which one must accept – I personally am not a pacifist and I see no better way,” the cardinal said.
Russian reservists likely to buy their own body armor, UK says
Logistical problems continue to plague Russian forces, according to the British Ministry of Defense’s daily intelligence update.
“Many reservists are likely required to purchase their own body armor,” the update said, saying those who were called up were “almost certainly” less well equipped than the troops originally deployed to Ukraine.
The “modern 6B45 vest” sold online for 40,000 rubles (€657, $638) and has more than tripled in price since April, according to the ministry.
“Endemic corruption and poor logistics remain one of the underlying causes of Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine,” the intelligence update concluded.
Iran denies sending weapons to Russia
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that Iran is do not send arms on both sides of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
“We have defense cooperation with Russia, but our policy on the war in Ukraine is against sending arms to warring parties and supports ending the war and displacing the people,” he said. he said in a phone call with Borrell, according to a statement the department released Saturday.
Kyiv downgraded Tehran’s diplomatic presence in Ukraine after saying Iranian-made Shahid drones had been used by Russian forces.
German Foreign Minister Warns Migration Could Be Used in Russia’s Hybrid War
Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, told the Greens party conference in Bonn that Russia could weaponize migration as part of its hybrid war against Europe.
Baerbock told his fellow party members: “This war is not only fought with arms, it is also fought with energy and for this we have found an answer. But it will also be fought in fear and division. , and that is precisely what we must prevent.”
“In this situation, it is clear what will be next – refugees and not refugees from Ukraine,” she said, adding, “because this war is hybrid, other countries are also participating in it.”
Baerbock said Serbia let in planes full of visa-free migrants because of its position outside the EU’s free-movement Schengen area. Serbia has a relatively relaxed visa policy towards other parts of the world, especially countries once considered part of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The route through Serbia has been used by migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa heading for Western Europe. Although fewer migrants are crossing the Balkans than in 2015, when Germany took in more than a million people, thousands still cross the route each year.
Catch up on DW’s coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Germany made a “mistake” by standing with NATO while claiming Russia was “doing everything right” in its war of aggression against Ukraine.
DW reports on Putin’s full speech from Kazakhstan.
There have been several diverse claims about the cause of the explosion that destroyed the Kerch Bridge that connects Russia to the illegally occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
DW checks the facts behind the claims.
air, ab/dj (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP, KNA)