It’s a little music that the American base in Ramstein, Germany, hadn’t heard for a long time. Protocol receptions, NATO banners and the reception of some forty countries, gathered on Tuesday 26 April to “generate additional capabilities for the Ukrainian forces”according to Lloyd Austin, the United States Secretary of Defense. “They can win if they have the right equipment, the right support”said the head of the Pentagon, organizer of the event, which came after a trip to kyiv during which he promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky additional support in the war against Russia.
It is in this context that the United States announced on Monday new military aid for Ukraine of 700 million dollars (650 million euros), which brings their assistance to 3.4 billion dollars. Washington is now providing heavy weapons to counter Russian forces concentrating in eastern and southern Ukraine after failing to capture kyiv. Mr. Austin said he wanted “to see Russia weakened to such a degree that it can no longer be able to invade another country”.
According to British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, Russia has already lost so far “approximately 15,000 men”, a figure that cannot be verified by independent sources. Russia has not given a toll since March 25, when it claimed to have lost 1,351 troops.
President Zelensky himself believed that the Ukrainian victory was only a matter of time. “Thanks to the courage, to the wisdom of our defenders, thanks to the courage of all Ukrainians, of all Ukrainian women, our country is a symbol of the struggle for freedom”he announced in his address on Monday evening.
Sergei Lavrov: “The danger is serious”
While the war in Ukraine is generating unprecedented tensions between Russia and the West, the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, has raised the threat of an extension of the conflict that could degenerate into a world war. “The danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated”, he said. The Russian military said it struck around 100 targets in Ukraine on Monday, including railway installations in the center of the country.
For its part, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense indicated that the Russian army continued to strengthen its anti-aircraft defenses, to reconstitute the losses linked to the previous offensive and to bombard infrastructures. According to the same source, Moscow’s troops are regrouping in the south and are trying to advance towards Zaporijia, a town located on the Dnieper to the west of Donbass, suffering losses.
Moscow is displaying its objective of seizing all of Donbass, a large industrial basin in eastern Ukraine – which pro-Russian separatists have partially controlled since 2014 – and taking full control of the south of the country, where the fighting is also dailies, especially in the Mariupol area.