Feb 9, 2023
Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy Tours Europe With Calls for More Aid
(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has asked European leaders to deliver the Leopard 2 tanks, which will be needed to send two battalions to Ukraine by the end of March.
An aide to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy criticized SpaceX, founded by billionaire Elon Musk, after the company’s president said Ukraine has improperly “weaponized” its Starlink internet-from-space terminals for military use.
At a European Union summit in Brussels, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he’ll ask the union’s leaders to provide Ukraine with fighter jets to beat back Russia’s invasion. So far there’s been no commitment to jets, an EU official said. Ukraine’s leader also urged expanded sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime, including on missile and drone production.
The head of the European Parliament pledged support for Ukraine’s membership of the bloc. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU fully backs Ukraine’s “peace formula” and that the bloc would propose a 10th sanctions package against Russia in the coming days.
(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)
- Russia’s Biggest Wartime Dealmaker Feasts on Foreign Firm Exits
- Russia Blames US for Nord Stream Blasts, Threatens Consequences
- Russian Rate Intrigue Builds Before Friday
- Rheinmetall in Talks to Supply Ukraine With Panther Battle Tanks
- Ukraine’s Naftogaz Proposes New $835 Million Restructuring Plan
- EU Urged to Make Banks Report Size of Frozen Russian Assets
On the Ground
Russia launched drone attacks on Ukrainian central-southern regions of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro and Mykolayiv. According to the Mykolayiv regional governor, Vitaliy Kim, no casualties and no strikes have been reported, and several of the unmanned aircraft were shot down. Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro authorities reported nothing initially. Sirens were sounding over central and eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have begun “their next major offensive” in the Luhansk region, the Institute for the Study of War said. The pace of Russian operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line in western Luhansk has increased markedly over the past week with the army “making marginal advances” along the Kharkiv-Luhansk region border.
(All times CET)
Macron Says It’s Impossible to Deliver Jets in Near Term (3:50 a.m.)
French President Emmanuel Macron said he doesn’t rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine, but stressed that logistics would in any case make it impossible to deliver them in the short term.
“Under any circunstance can fighter jets be delivered in the coming weeks,” he said at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, citing training and shipment challenges. He also said jets don’t correspond to Ukraine needs at this point.
Macron urged allies to prioritize prioritize equipment that are the more useful and the fastest for Ukrainian forces and said artillery shipments will likely be intensified.
Scholz Asks European Leaders to Deliver Tanks (3:15 a.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has asked European leaders to deliver the Leopard 2 tanks, which will be needed to send two battalions to Ukraine by the end of March.
“I’ve used the opportunity to ask them for active assistance,” said Scholz early Friday morning after the EU Council meeting in Brussels. “My impression is: This will work. But it won’t be easy,” he added.
Germany will deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks. For the creation of two full battalions, 80 battle tanks will be needed altogether.
EU to Discuss Joint Ammo Approach Next Month (3:10 a.m.)
EU nations will discuss plans to coordinate purchases of ammunition from defense companies when leaders gather for their next summit in March, European Council President Charles Michel told reporters in Brussels early Friday.
Some countries had been pushing for a more urgent effort to rebuild the bloc’s stocks and supply Ukraine, but other nations weren’t prepared to approve a specific plan without more details.
Michel said there was “broad support” to act in a more coordinated way to speed up the production of ammunition, but some countries wanted to wait until there was a more concrete proposal on the table.
Russia Must Provide Nuclear Security Guarantees, Zelenskiy Aide Says (10:25 p.m.)
Eastern Europe and the rest of the world would need comprehensive guarantees to protect against any kind of nuclear threat after Ukraine wins the war, Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff Ihor Zhovkva said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Brussels. “We should not allow any nuclear state to dictate,” he said, adding that the guarantees can’t be empty.
Zhovkva said that Ukraine needs more weapons, including long-range missiles and jets, to reclaim captured towns and intercept Russian missiles, and that it wouldn’t “hit any inch of Russian territory.”
Ukraine Aide Hits Back at SpaceX Chief’s Criticism (8:12 p.m.)
An aide to Zelenskiy hit back at Musk’s SpaceX after its president said Ukraine has improperly “weaponized” its Starlink internet-from-space terminals for military use.
At an industry conference on Wednesday in Washington, Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s president and chief operating officer, also said, “There are things that we can do and have done” to block certain uses of the Starlink terminals that SpaceX and Musk provided to the Ukrainian government after Russia’s invasion of the country.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskiy, said in a tweet Thursday that Space X and “Mrs. #Shotwell should choose” whether they back Ukraine’s “right to freedom” or Russia’s “right to kill and seize territories,” as must other companies.
EU Urged to Make Banks Report Size of Frozen Russian Assets (4:56 p.m.)
The EU should consider requiring banks to report details on the value of frozen Russian central bank assets if it wants to use sanctioned funds to help pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction, according to the bloc’s lawyers.
The EU’s legal service said the bloc’s laws would permit it to invest the frozen assets and use the proceeds to help Kyiv, but officials must first get a handle on the scale of assets that have been immobilized, according to a document shared this week with member states.
Russia Ready to Implement IAEA Safety Plan for Zaporizhzhia Plant (4:30 p.m.)
Russia is ready to continue work on implementing the International Atomic Energy Agency’s initiative to create a safety zone at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the nuclear energy company Rosatom said on its Telegram channel.
Rosatom chief Alexey Likhachev met with IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi in Moscow on Thursday to discuss safety at the facility, which has been occupied by Russian forces for almost a year.
Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has come under sporadic shelling that Russia and Ukraine have blamed on each other, resulting in a series of urgent warnings from the UN atomic agency about the dangers of a catastrophe.
Ukraine CPI in Surprise Decline (4 p.m.)
Ukraine’s annual inflation rate unexpectedly slowed last month to 26% year-on-year despite fears that Russia’s air-strikes would drive up the cost of energy production. Inflation ebbed slightly from 26.6% in the year to December, data released by State Statistics Office on Thursday show. Prices for eggs, fruits and fuel were among main drivers.
Zelenskiy Got No Commitment on Fighter Jets, EC Spokesman Says (3 p.m.)
European leaders made clear to Volodymyr Zelenskiy that they’re willing to do more military to aid Ukraine, but no-one has so far committed to providing fighter jets, an EU official said.
Ukraine’s president was expected to have meetings with small groupings of European leaders Thursday afternoon of as long as 30 minutes each before departing.
Medvedev Says Russia Should Turn Out ‘Thousands of Tanks’ (2:30 p.m.)
Russia should upgrade and produce “thousands of tanks” in response to countries providing armor to Ukraine, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of President Vladimir Putin’s security council, said in a video posted on his Telegram channel.
“Our adversary begged for planes, missiles, tanks abroad. What should we do in response? It’s clear that it’s natural for us to increase the production of arms and military equipment, including modern tanks,” Medvedev, a former Russian president, said during a visit to a tank factory in Omsk.
Zelenskiy Will Ask EU Leaders for Fighter Jets (2:15 p.m.)
At a European Union summit in Brussels, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he’ll ask EU leaders to provide Ukraine with fighter jets to beat back Russia’s invasion. Ukraine’s leader urged expanded sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime, including against missile and drone production.
“We are close to a decision on long-range weapons and the training of our pilots,” Zelenskiy said. “I do not want to go into details and prepare the Russian Federation, which threatens aggression and revengeful attitudes on the battlefield.”
Zelenskiy Calls for Russian Drone, Missile Sanctions (2 p.m.)
Ukraine’s president urged the EU to speed up the delivery of weapons to Kyiv and said Ukraine needs EU membership this year. Ursula von der Leyen praised Ukraine’s efforts on advancing toward the EU — typically a years-long process — as “impressive.”
Zelenskiy called for Western sanctions “against the Russian missile and drone industry - against the industry that provides Russian terror.”
EC President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU would propose in the coming days its 10th sanctions package against Russia since the invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago. European Council President Charles Michel commended Ukraine’s impressive reform progress,
Ukraine PM Meets With JPMorgan on ‘Investment Environment’ (1 p.m.)
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal tweeted that he’d met with representatives of JPMorgan about the “favorable investment environment” that Ukraine is creating, including in the areas of energy, natural resources and digital technologies.
Rheinmetall in Talks to Supply Ukraine With Panther, Lynx Vehicles (12:47 p.m.)
Germany’s Rheinmetall is in talks to supply Ukraine with its most sophisticated battle tanks and fighting vehicles, said chief executive officer Armin Papperger.
“Ukraine is interested in the Lynx and the Panther, which are currently the most modern infantry fighting vehicle and battle tank,” Papperger was quoted as saying Thursday by the Handelsblatt newspaper.
Read more: Rheinmetall in Talks to Supply Ukraine With Panther Battle Tanks
Ukraine’s Future Is in the EU, Metsola Says (11:29 a.m.)
Ukraine needs to be granted the fastest possible accession process to join the EU, the president of the European Parliament said during a visit made by Zelenskiy to Brussels.
“Ukraine is Europe and your nation’s future is in the European Union,” Roberta Metsola told lawmakers, pledging the parliament’s support for Ukraine’s membership.
“We know the sacrifice your people has endured and we must honor it not only with words but with actions,” she said, adding that Ukraine needed funds and help for the reconstruction effort, as well as military training and equipment such as fighter jets.
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