The new aid packages include artillery, combat vehicles, missiles, drones and more — but, perhaps equally importantly, commitments for sustained aid over time, even as the conflict risks becoming a war of attrition. “It was important for [Zelensky] to come back with a message that the European support would be there and would continue to grow both in volume and in quality,” said Camille Grand, a distinguished policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Here is a guide to some of the latest pledges allies have made to Ukraine.
Zelensky arrived in Britain on Monday morning — the last stop on his European tour. He met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at his country estate, Chequers, and the government committed to sending Ukraine “hundreds of air defence missiles” and “hundreds of new long-range attack drones” with a range of over 124 miles, among other unmanned aerial systems. It said the new weapons would be delivered to Ukraine in the next few months, “as Ukraine prepares to intensify its resistance to the ongoing Russian invasion.”
We are sending more military support to Ukraine so they are in the strongest possible position to secure a lasting peace for their country.— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) May 15, 2023
This includes hundreds of air defence missiles and new long-range attack drones.
The government also said it planned to open a school to train Ukrainian pilots “to handle different types of aircraft.” Zelensky in his nightly address highlighted this pledge, thanking Britain “for agreeing to train our pilots” and stating his intention to create a coalition of countries willing to help train Ukrainian pilots to fly “modern Western aircraft.”
The latest aid announcement came after Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced the donation of Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine last week.
Russia said those missiles — which have a range of 155 miles, as well as infrared targeting and stealth capability — were used in recent days to strike the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, which Russia illegally claimed to have annexed. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov threatened Britain with “retaliatory actions” for its renewed support of Kyiv.
The decision to deliver Storm Shadows to Ukraine was “potentially a … game changer,” said Grand, the analyst. The missiles could enable Ukrainian forces to strike Russian logistics hubs deep behind the front line. And, since the missiles were jointly developed by the British and the French, Britain’s move “could pave the way” for France to also send the missile — known there as the SCALP-EG — to Ukraine in the future, he added.
Zelensky arrived in France on Sunday for his second trip to the country since the war began. He met with President Emmanuel Macron in Paris as the government announced new military commitments, with a focus on training troops and refurbishing existing weapons.
France said that in the next few weeks it would “train and equip several battalions with tens of armored vehicles and light tanks including AMX-10RC.” France also pledged to send “new ammunition” to Ukraine and to help repair armored vehicles and guns damaged in the war, Macron said in an interview with French public television station TF1.
Au 20h de TF1. https://t.co/VxH6XYrwpD— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 15, 2023
Macron said France would also train Ukrainian battalions fighting in the east ahead of the anticipated counteroffensive. And he said that France had “opened the door” to training Ukrainian pilots to use fighter jets — even though France and many other European countries have so far resisted Ukraine’s calls to send advanced aircraft. The agreement to train pilots to fly fighter jets “paves the way to the delivery of Western aircraft” at some point in the future, said Grand. Until now, only Poland and Slovakia had sent Ukraine fighter jets.
In the interview, Macron insisted the new pledges were consistent with existing French policy. “France still has the same position — to help Ukraine to resist — and now a lot is at stake, because the success of this counteroffensive will be decisive for the ability to build a lasting peace.” He said the training of Ukrainian pilots “can start now.”
Earlier Sunday, Zelensky visited Berlin — the Ukrainian leader’s first trip to Germany since the war — where he met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Ahead of his visit, the German government unveiled a new package for Ukraine totaling $2.95 billion, which almost doubles Berlin’s total commitment since Russia’s invasion.
The aid package includes more than 100 combat vehicles, 200 reconnaissance drones, 30 Leopard 1A5 tanks, 20 Marder armored personnel carriers, 18 self-propelled howitzers and, crucially, IRIS-T air defense systems.
The new German aid package is “very substantial,” Grand said. Because it includes air defense systems, it could prove “critically important” for Ukraine as the country faces a “protracted campaign of aerial bombing and missile strikes.” It is also a “signal that Germany, after being quite hesitant for many, many months, is now full-fledged engaged in the support to Ukraine.”
Zelensky kicked off his trip with a visit to Italy. He met with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome and later had a private discussion with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
There were no major new military aid announcements on this stop, however. In his nightly address, Zelensky said he had “good talks” with Meloni and thanked Italy “for its help in protecting the lives of our people — from protecting the sky to preparing for the full reconstruction of Ukraine after hostilities.”
While Meloni, a far-right politician who became prime minister in October, has been vocal in her support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion, members of her governing coalition are more divided. Domestic politics may have hindered her ability to announce new aid for Ukraine, while Italy’s armed forces are also limited by capacity and budget constraints, Grand said. And Meloni announced new military aid in late February during a visit to Kyiv.
Still, Grand said, “as the fourth-largest European power, one would expect Italy to be punching a little bit above their current share of all of this.”
Loveday Morris, Kate Brady, Adam Taylor and Serhiy Morgunov contributed to this report.
What to know about Ukraine’s counteroffensive
The latest: The Ukrainian military has launched a long-anticipated counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces, opening a crucial phase in the war aimed at restoring Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and preserving Western support in its fight against Moscow.
The fight: Ukrainian troops on Wednesday night intensified their attacks on the front line in the southeast region, according to multiple individuals in the country’s armed forces, in a significant push toward Russian-occupied territory.
The frontline: The Washington Post has mapped out the 600-mile front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
How you can help: Here are ways those in the United States can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.
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