US, allies promise heavy arms for Ukraine, shrug off Russian nuclear war warning

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, GERMANY (REUTERS) – The United States and its allies pledged new packages of ever heavier weapons for Ukraine throughout a gathering on Tuesday (April 26) at a German air base, brushing off a menace from Moscow that their help for Kyiv may result in nuclear war.

US officers have switched emphasis this week from talking primarily about serving to Ukraine defend itself to bolder discuss of a Ukrainian victory that will weaken Russia’s means to threaten its neighbours.

Meanwhile, the highly effective secretary of Russia’s Security Council mentioned Western and Ukrainian authorities coverage was resulting in the breakup of Ukraine, and he accused Washington of searching for to instil in Ukrainians hatred for all the pieces Russian.

NATO allies have currently accepted shipments of tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} in arms, together with artillery and drones they held again from sending in earlier phases of the war, and wish their allies to do the identical.

“Nations from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s imperial aggression,” Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned, welcoming officers from greater than 40 nations to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, headquarters of US air energy in Europe.

“Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here.”

In a notable shift, Germany, the place the federal government had come below strain after refusing Ukrainian pleas for heavy weapons, introduced it will now ship “Gepard” mild tanks with anti-aircraft weapons.

“The real significance of this decision lies not in the difference Gepards may make on the battlefield, but in the signal it sends,” mentioned Dr Marcel Dirsus, non-resident fellow at Kiel University’s Institute for Security Policy.

US officers, talking on situation of anonymity, assess that Russia will rely closely on artillery strikes to pound Ukrainian positions whereas transferring in floor forces from a number of instructions to attempt to envelop and wipe out a major chunk of Ukraine’s navy.

But Washington additionally estimates that many Russian models are depleted, with some working with personnel losses as excessive as 30 per cent – a degree thought-about by the US navy to be too excessive to maintain preventing indefinitely.

US officers cite anecdotes like Russian tanks with lone drivers and no crew, and substandard tools that’s both vulnerable to breakdowns or old-fashioned.

In a marked escalation of Russian rhetoric, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was requested on state TV late on Monday (April 25) concerning the prospect of World War Three and whether or not the present state of affairs might be in comparison with the 1962 Cuban missile disaster that almost precipitated nuclear war.

“The danger is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it,” Mr Lavrov mentioned, in keeping with the ministry’s transcript of the interview.

“NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby decried what he referred to as Mr Lavrov’s “escalatory rhetoric”.

“It’s obviously unhelpful, not constructive, and certainly is not indicative of what a responsible (world power) ought to be doing in the public sphere,” Mr Kirby mentioned.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and it shouldn’t be fought. There’s no reason for the current conflict in Ukraine to get to that level at all.”

Mr Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised reporters whereas flying to Tuesday’s assembly that the following a number of weeks in Ukraine could be “very, very critical”.

“They need continued support in order to be successful on the battlefield. And that’s really the purpose of this conference,” he mentioned, describing the goal as coordinating support that features heavy weapons similar to howitzer artillery.

The head of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, advised the federal government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta that Ukraine may break into “several states”.

His feedback advised the war may result in a carve-up of the nation for which Moscow would search to pin the blame on its opponents.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on a go to to Moscow, mentioned he was prepared to completely mobilise the organisation’s assets to save lots of lives and evacuate folks from the besieged japanese Ukrainian metropolis of Mariupol.

“We are extremely interested in finding ways in order to create the conditions for effective dialogue, create the conditions for a ceasefire as soon as possible, create the conditions for a peaceful solution,” Mr Guterres mentioned at a gathering with Mr Lavrov, forward of talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk mentioned no humanitarian corridors have been working on Tuesday as there had been no break within the preventing in Ukraine.

To the west of Ukraine, there have been fears unrest may unfold to Moldova, the place Russian troops have occupied a separatist area alongside the Ukrainian border, Transdniestria, for the reason that Nineties. Two radio masts have been destroyed by explosions early on Tuesday, following different blasts in Transdniestria on Monday.

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