Intensified Russia-Ukraine Conflict and Increasing Western Military Aid to Ukraine

[Voice of Hope, May 16, 2023](comprehensive report by our reporter Tang Jie)

The war between Russia and Ukraine has intensified. After Russia and Ukraine claimed to have shot down each other’s fighter jets, the Russian Ministry of Defense said today that two Russian commanders were killed in battles near Bakhmut, Ukraine. Zelensky tweeted today (15th) that he would go to the UK to meet Sunak and push Western countries to increase military aid to Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced today that two Russian army commanders were killed in fighting near Bakhmut, Ukraine. This is a rare military report since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Colonel Makarov, commander of Russia’s 4th motorized infantry brigade, and Brovko, deputy commander of a regiment responsible for political work, were killed in fighting near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, Agence France-Presse reported. In a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Ukrainian army launched several large-scale attacks in the past day. ) was seriously wounded and died while being evacuated from the battlefield.”

The Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization, said its “commando units” fought in the western region of Bakhmut with the support of Russian airborne troops. Still, Wagner’s leader, businessman Yevgeny Prigozin, has often accused military top brass of not giving his men enough ammunition. Last week, he even accused some Russian soldiers of deserting and said the defenses were collapsing.

On Friday, the Ukrainian army declared victory in advancing to the flank of the Russian defense line on the Bakhmut battlefield, and has regained positions within two kilometers of Bakhmut. Agence France-Presse said it was the first time Ukraine had declared victory in the attack around Bakhmut. However, the Russian Ministry of Defense reiterated on Sunday that the Russian army had repelled all Ukrainian attacks on the north and south of Bakhmut and regained more than 10 Russian positions.

Zelensky, who only visited Rome on Sunday (14th) and held talks with French and German leaders, announced on Twitter on the 15th that he would go to the UK to meet with Sunak to promote more military assistance to Ukraine. According to the “Financial Times” report, Sunak will promise to give Ukraine more military assistance to facilitate Ukraine’s counterattack against Russia.

According to reports, the place where the two met on Monday (15th) was at the prime minister’s country residence in the outskirts of London. Downing Street said that Sunak will further confirm the supply including hundreds of anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial systems, and new types of long-range drones with an attack range of more than 200 kilometers. These weapons will be provided to the Ukrainian army in the next few months to help it fight against Russia.

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Zelensky believes that the recent slowdown of the Ukrainian army’s offensive is due to the fierce firepower of the Russian army on some fronts, and the Ukrainian side needs more Western military aid.

In an interview with Western media such as the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC, he said that if Ukraine has not obtained the planned weapon system when the offensive begins, the casualties of the Ukrainian army will be too high.

Ukraine has long said they need long-range rockets to hit Russian targets behind the front lines. For example, the Army Tactical Missile (ATACMS) can be launched from the Seahorse, but the United States refuses to provide Ukraine. Britain appears to have fulfilled the request by supplying Ukraine with the Storm Shadow cruise missile, which has a range of more than 270 kilometers.

However, it was reported on the 13th that four fighter planes and helicopters of the Russian Air Force were shot down at the same time. Shadow” cruise missile.

According to a Reuters report, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that the Ukrainian army dispatched Su-24 fighter jets and MiG-29 fighter jets to attack the Lugansk polymer products company and the meat industry in the “shadow of the storm”. The processing plant implemented a crackdown.

Rheinmetall, Germany’s largest arms manufacturer, confirmed on the 13th that it will set up a joint venture factory in Ukraine to produce tanks, which will be responsible for maintenance in the short term, and will set up a factory in Ukraine for production in the medium and long term, “carrying out comprehensive technology transfer.” This move means that Germany will help Ukraine reduce its dependence on Western arms in the next few years and establish an army and independent defense industry that meet NATO specifications.

The Leopard tank manufactured by Rheinmetall is the most popular main tank in Europe. It is relatively easy to supply and repair, and it is suitable for use in the Ukrainian battlefield. The allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have promised to deliver hundreds of Leopard 1 and dozens of Leopard 2 tanks to the Ukrainian army to help Ukraine regain lost ground in the east and south.

Rheinmetall has not yet decided which weapons to produce in Ukraine in the future. The new generation of Panther main battle tank (KF51 Panther) and Lynx infantry fighting vehicle (Lynx KF41) are all possible options. Chief executive Armin Papperger expects to produce 400 tanks a year “to give Ukraine the ability to defend itself in the medium to long term”.

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Before Zelensky’s visit to Berlin, Germany announced that it would provide Ukraine with arms worth 2.7 billion euros (approximately NT$91 billion), including Leopard tanks, IRIS-T air defense systems, and Marder infantry fighting vehicles. This is the largest German military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz today, Zelensky said that Germany’s military aid is currently second only to the United States.

Ukraine, backed by Western arms and cash, is expected to launch a massive counteroffensive in the coming weeks to retake large swathes of lost ground in the east and south.

Zelensky spent days in Europe meeting Pope Francis and the leaders of France, Italy and Germany. Officials said he was expected to address Group of Seven leaders virtually or in person on the sidelines of their Hiroshima summit.

According to Reuters, the leaders of the world’s Group of Seven industrialized countries have adopted new sanctions against Russia’s energy and trade. The new measures are aimed at hitting Russia on energy and exports. The new measures, announced by the leaders at their May 19-21 meeting, will target sanctions evasion involving third countries and seek to disrupt Russia’s future energy production and curb trade that supports Russia’s military, the people said.

Separately, U.S. officials also expect G7 members to agree to tweak their sanctions to impose an automatic ban on all exports of at least some categories of goods unless they are on a list of approved exemptions.

Belarusian President Lukashenko (Alexander Lukashenko), Russia’s staunchest supporter, has not been seen in public since the 9th. Shenko is indeed sick.

Konstantin Zatulin, first deputy chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament), said Lukashenko was sick but not infected with the new crown virus.

The 68-year-old Lukashenko did not attend the important ceremony celebrating the Belarusian flag, national emblem and national anthem on the 14th. Instead, Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko read a speech on his behalf.

According to sources quoted by Russia’s “Cheka OGPU” Telegram channel, Lukashenko recently suffered from severe endocrine disorders and heart disease symptoms, and had to seek help from famous Russian medical experts for his diagnosis and treatment.

Li Hui, the special representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian affairs, set off on Monday (May 15) to visit Ukraine, Russia and other European cities. According to two informed sources, Li Hui’s first stop on this trip was Ukraine.

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Li Hui is the highest-level CCP official to visit Ukraine since the Russo-Ukraine war last February. This trip is expected to visit Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke for the first time since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war in late April. Xi Jinping said that China’s core position is to promote peace and talks, so it will send a special representative on Eurasian affairs to visit Ukraine and other countries.

Voice of America reported that Beijing released the “China’s Position on the Political Solution to the Ukraine Crisis” on the anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine War. Russia has so far neither condemned nor called Russia’s actions “invasions.”

Beijing’s proposal to end the conflict has been questioned in the West given China’s close relationship with Russia, Reuters reported. No matter what information Li Hui released during this visit, it will definitely be carefully scrutinized.

US media CNBC quoted analysts as reporting that China is eager to build on its recent success in global diplomacy, and its attempt to conduct a new round of global diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine has also taken its own interests into consideration.

Ryan Hass, an expert on China issues at the Brookings Institution and senior director of Asia for the National Security Council of the Obama administration, said: “China (the CCP) is more concerned about winning peace than who wins the war between Russia and Ukraine.” In his opinion, Beijing also wants to play a major role in the reconstruction of Ukraine and Europe’s recovery, and to have a say in the framework of future European security.

Chen Cheng, a professor of political science at the State University of New York at Albany, told CNBC that as China positions itself as a superpower, “China wants to establish itself as an ambassador of peace.”

Ukrainian military analyst Alexander Musiyenko (Oleksandr Musiyenko) warned that China’s (CCP) peace agreement will be more in line with Russia’s requirements, which is not good for Ukraine. Ukraine will only accept respect for the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence China will not accept a ceasefire or peace agreement proposed by China on Russia’s terms.

Editor in charge: Lin Li

This article or program was edited and produced by Voice of Hope. Please indicate Voice of Hope and include the original title and link when reprinting.

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2023-05-16 08:49:07

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