NATO’s chief says new Russian offensive has begun
NATO’s secretary-general stated a feared new major Russian offensive in Ukraine has already started.
“We see no sign whatsoever that [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin is preparing for peace … What we see is president Putin and Russia still wanting to control Ukraine,” Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at a news conference in Brussels.
“We see how they are sending more troops, more weapons, more capabilities,” he continued, adding, “The reality is that we are seeing the start [of a new offensive] already.”
Stoltenberg also noted he expected the issue of fighter jets to be discussed at the upcoming two-day meeting of NATO defence ministers, which starts on Tuesday.
He stressed that NATO countries supplying combat aircraft to Ukraine would not make the alliance part of the conflict.
Allies will “step up and sustain” support for Ukraine, Stoltenberg said.
“Almost one year of the invasion, President Putin is not preparing for peace. He is launching new offensives,” he added.
“We must continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to win and to achieve a just and sustainable peace,” he said, adding that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will join the NATO meeting on Tuesday, and together they will “address Ukraine’s urgent needs.”
NATO plans to increase targets for ammunition stockpiles: Chief
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military alliance plans to increase its targets for ammunition stockpiles, which are being depleted by the war in Ukraine
“The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of ammunition … This puts our defence industries under strain,” Stoltenberg told reporters at a news conference at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.
“So we need to ramp up production and invest in our production capacities,” he added.
Defence ministers from several NATO member states are due to meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss possible further military aid for Ukraine.
Ukrainian DM lays out agenda ahead of meeting with allies
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov laid out his agenda ahead of a meeting Tuesday with allied officials in Ramstein, Germany, where parties will discuss Ukraine-focused defense talks amid Russia’s invasion.
The main issues on the agenda are:
- Protection of Ukrainian skies, including through the involvement of an aviation platform,
- Building a ‘tank coalition’
- Building a safety margin in terms of ammunition
- Training programs for our soldiers
- Stability of support — logistics, maintenance, repair, and practical implementation of the ‘Military Schengen’
He stated the Ukrainian delegation would “work intensively with partners in the coming days. The pace is extremely high.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is nearing its one-year anniversary, as clashes intensify in a grinding battle of attrition for control of the eastern Donetsk region.
In recent weeks, the possibility of the West sending more weapons — especially fighter jets — to bolster Kyiv’s military might in the war has been high on the agenda in discussions between allies and Ukrainian officials.
Wagner claims capture of another town on Bakhmut outskirts
The Russian private military group Wagner claimed to have captured the small village of Krasna Hora, just north of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, as the battle for control of the Donetsk region intensifies.
It comes as Russian forces continue to attempt to encircle the city. Krasna Hora lies on the main north-south road leading to Bakhmut. It sits just below Soledar, the town that Russian forces captured last month.
Ukrainian troops have in recent weeks reported heavy fighting around Krasna Hora. Russian forces appeared to have originally bypassed the village, initially pushing further west toward the M-03 road that leads from Bakhmut to the strategically important city of Sloviansk.
A post on the Wagner Telegram channel showed fighters standing in front of a Krasna Hora sign.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed the capture of Krasna Hora in a statement on Telegram, and repeated his claim that Wagner was leading the charge in the battle for Bakhmut.
“Within a radius of 50 km (31 miles), give or take, there are only PMC Wagner fighters who will take Bakhmut,” he added.
A Ukrainian commander in Bakhmut, Denys Yaroslavskyi, told Ukrainian television last month that “super qualified” regular Russian military troops were now assisting Wagner private military contractors in assaulting the towns surrounding Bakhmut.
Chechnya’s Kadyrov says Russia can take Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Russian region of Chechnya, has said Moscow will achieve its goals in Ukraine by the end of the year.
Kadyrov’s forces have played a prominent role in the war in Ukraine since Russia invaded almost a year ago, and he has forged an informal alliance with the increasingly prominent Wagner militia chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and other nationalist hardliners who back the war.
In an interview broadcast on state television’s flagship Rossiya-1 channel, he stated Russia had the forces to take the capital Kyiv – from which it was driven back in the early weeks of the war – and that it needed to capture Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv and its main port, Odesa.
“I believe that, by the end of the year, we will 100 percent complete the task set for us today,” Kadyrov added.
Eastern Ukraine is facing record levels of shelling: Military official
Russia has “set records” for shelling, pounding Ukraine with artillery fire in the east, a military spokesperson stated during an interview on Ukrainian television on Monday.
“For many days in a row, the enemy sets records hitting Ukraine with artillery fire in the Lyman direction and in the Luhansk region,” said Serhii Cherevatyi with the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“In the past 24 hours there were 424 shellings by different types of artillery and 23 combats,” he added.
According to the Cherevatyi, the main direction of the enemy’s attack remains on the Bakhmut section of the front line.
“There, the enemy struck 167 times along the entire section of the front with various types of rocket-propelled artillery, and 41 clashes between forces took place. The enemy lost 212 servicemen and 315 servicemen were wounded as a result,” he continued.
“In the area of Bakhmut itself, there were 48 attacks and 19 clashes between forces,” he said.
He added “battles were also fought in the area of Torske, Fedorivka, Ivanivske and Chasiv Yar.”
When asked whether the Russians are trying to wear down the Ukrainian troops, Cherevatyi expressed his belief that, on the contrary, “the defense forces in the east of Ukraine are wearing out the enemy so that it cannot conduct large-scale offensive operations.”
“Right now, the defenders of eastern Ukraine are doing an incredible thing — they are exhausting the enemy and causing the enemy losses in manpower and equipment, which is definitely reflected both in the quality of the enemy’s conduct of hostilities and in his moral and psychological state,” Cherevatyi said.
He also reported that currently, “army reserves are being prepared to carry out a decisive blow to the enemy and push it away from Ukraine’s territory under the supervision of Ukraine’s commander-in-chief and the chief of the general staff.”
“Using, of course, the help of our partners from the free world,” Cherevatyi added.
Ukraine is keeping Russia from dominating Black Sea: DM
Kyiv’s defense minister said Ukrainian forces have kept Russia from dominating the Black Sea when asked about the potential risk to southern Ukraine in a possible large-scale Russian counteroffensive.
“I really don’t like to make predictions or evaluate opinions, but in order for there to be a risk of capturing Odesa and the region in general, Russia must have dominance over the Black Sea,” Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov stated, adding, “But we deprived them of this opportunity.”
Reznikov gave an example of the Ukrainians using the Neptune, an anti-ship weapon developed in Ukraine, to target the Russian cruiser Moskva in 2022.
“Plus, the Harpoon anti-ship complexes are at work, so I don’t see any chances for them approaching Odesa from the sea,” the minister added.
Talking about the left-bank territories of southern Ukraine, Reznikov said the enemy “has an opportunity to replenish their groupings with weapons, equipment and people; therefore, the situation there is more tense.”
Ukraine issues fresh round of sanctions
Ukraine has named 200 people in its latest round of sanctions.
The list includes 199 Russians and one Ukrainian – a former engineer at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which was seized by Russia last year. The senior engineer allegedly agreed to become the Russia-appointed director of the plant and is accused of collaboration.
Ukrainian sanctions typically include asset freezes and a ban on entering Ukrainian territory.
Russia has ‘damaged over 1,200 medical facilities’: Ukraine
Russia has damaged 1,218 Ukrainian medical facilities since its invasion began nearly a year ago, according to Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko.
The figure includes 540 hospitals, of which 173 were completely destroyed, Liashko said.
“Up to $1 billion is needed to restore medical facilities to the state they were in before February 24,” the minister added.