Ukraine’s Counter Offensive: Zelenskyy For Military Packages – OpEd
By Patial RC
Ihor Zhovkva the deputy head of President Zelenskyy’s office has told Sky News that “Ukraine does not have enough military equipment to launch a counteroffensive against Russia.” To start a counteroffensive, with the result being the liberation of Ukrainian territories, you need enough artillery systems and ammunition. You need armoured vehicles and tanks. “We want this counteroffensive to be as successful”. He added that the “Primary Object” of President Zelenskyy’s visits to European neighbours was to request “Additional Military Packages”. Zelenskyy had told the BBC “His country needed more weaponry before it could launch the Attack”.
President Zelenskyy’s visit was started with the German city of Aachen, his first trip to Germany since Russia’s invasion to receive the Charlemagne Prize award for service towards European unity to President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people. Earlier he had met Italian leaders and Pope Francis in Rome.
“Ukraine incarnates everything the European idea is living for: the courage of convictions, the fight for values and freedom, the commitment to peace and unity,” said EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, at the Charlemagne Prize ceremony, in the western German city of Aachen. Ukraine is fighting for Europe’s freedom and values, European Union leaders said as they handed this year’s Charlemagne Prize award for service towards European unity.
Germany a “True Friend and Reliable Ally”
Zelenskyy called Germany a “True Friend and Reliable Ally” to Ukraine, as it battles to repel Russian invaders. Berlin unveiled a new military package for Kyiv worth $3 billion, its biggest yet for Ukraine, and hailed by Zelenskyy as a “Powerful Support.” “Now is the time for us to determine the end of this war this year. This year, we can make the aggressor’s defeat irreversible,” said the Ukrainian leader. On the eve of Zelenskyy’s visit, Berlin said it would send Ukraine more firing units and launchers for the Iris-T anti-missile system, 30 additional Leopard 1 tanks, more than 100 armored combat vehicles, and over 200 surveillance drones.
Germany earlier accused of reluctance to supply military gear to Ukraine has now become the second-biggest contributor of tanks, rockets, and anti-missile systems to the country, after the US. Early on in the conflict, Kyiv had accused Germany of being too accommodating to Russian President Vladimir Putin, while Berlin’s reliance on Russian energy.
Scholz reiterated Berlin’s firm backing, telling Zelenskyy directly: “We will support you for as long as it is necessary.”
France promises more tanks for Ukraine
The visit to Paris was part of Zelenskyy’s whirlwind weekend tour of his key European allies to drum up military support ahead of an expected major Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces. The Ukrainian President Zelenskyy flew into France having visited Germany and securing a new military package worth $3 billion.
- France has promised to send dozens more light tanks and armoured vehicles to Ukraine. “In the coming weeks, France will train and equip several battalions with tens of armoured vehicles and light tanks including AMX-10RC,” the two leaders said in a joint statement.
- Paris would also focus its efforts “in supporting Ukraine’s air defence capacities in order to defend its population against Russian strikes”.
- “Ukraine and France agree on the need to increase collective pressure on Russia through further sanctions to weaken.
- The French AMX-10RCs vehicles have high speed and manoeuvrability, allowing them to move quickly on the battlefield and change positions. Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov called them a “sniper rifle on … fast wheels.”
- Macron reaffirmed that France will continue to provide political, financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine for as long as necessary, the statement said.
UK Aid to Ukraine
Since the war started, the UK has been an staunch supporter of Ukraine’s military effort and it has committed billions in aid to the country including a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks, AS90 self-propelled guns, multiple launch rocket systems and most recently it has promised to send hundreds of attack drones. The drones would only be used for the defence of Ukraine on Ukrainian sovereign territory.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he will be discussing ‘Long-Term Security’ arrangements for Ukraine at a meeting of the Council of Europe. He said the priority was to “make sure we continue to support Ukraine – give them the support they need to defend themselves against Russian aggression”.
The UK will send hundreds of air defence missiles and armed drones to Ukraine on top of the Storm Shadow cruise missiles announced last week. The Storm Shadow cruise missiles can be used to destroy Russia’s positions on occupied Ukrainian territory.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “This is a crucial moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression they did not choose or provoke. “They need the sustained support of the international community to defend against the barrage of unrelenting and indiscriminate attacks that have been their daily reality for over a year.”
The challenges of giving fighter jets to Ukraine
President Zelenskyy’s has repeatedly asked NATO and other neighbours to send F-16 jets. The Ukrainian air force has trained its pilots on F-16s. NATO will not like to get directly drawn into this conflict for fear of escalation as it is struggling to balance giving Kyiv the maximum support it can. If NATO does end up sending F-16 warplanes, however old they may be, then Moscow will constitute it as a major provocation by the West. At the moment no country has plans to send fighter jets to Ukraine.
Powerful Support Extended
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen: “Ukraine incarnates everything the European idea is living for: the courage of convictions, the fight for values and freedom, the commitment to peace and unity.”
Scholz reiterated Berlin’s firm backing, telling Zelensky directly: “We will support you for as long as it is necessary.”
Macron reaffirmed that France will continue to provide political, financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine for as long as necessary.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “They need the sustained support of the international community to defend against the barrage of unrelenting and indiscriminate attacks that have been their daily reality for over a year.”
Is Peace Anywhere?
Where is the UN to talk of Peace? Do the above statements talk of Peace? No peace till Ukraine recaptures its territories under Russian occupation by the year end as understood from President Zelenskyy’s statements while drumming up military support from its European allies. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister has told the Chinese envoy that “Kyiv would not accept any proposals to end the war with Russia that involved it losing any territory” Zelensky; “Country needed more weaponry before it could launch the attack. Now is the time for us to determine the end of this war this year. This year, we can make the aggressor’s defeat irreversible.”
Leaders of the Group of Seven world’s rich democracies now sit down in Hiroshima, a city whose name evokes the tragedy of war, to tackle a host of challenges including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The attention on the war in Europe comes just days after Ukrainian President Zelenskyy completed a whirlwind trip to meet many of the Group of Seven leaders now heading to Japan for the summit starting on May 19.
US, NATO and Ukraine has driven this sense of common purpose of Ukraine towards European unity for the G7 which was lacking during the early stages of the war in 2022.The new commitments Zelenskyy received just ahead of the summit could push members of the bloc to step up their support for Ukraine even further with the background of US led Western interests to counter China-Russia influence.
Zelenskyy’s whirlwind weekend tour of his key European allies has been successful at adding to his country’s weapons stockpile and building political support ahead of a widely anticipated counteroffensive to reclaim lands occupied by Russian forces.