Russia-Ukraine war live: Zelenskiy expecting ‘strong decisions’ as Kyiv’s allies meet in Germany | Ukraine

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next while.

Our top story this morning: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his government was expecting “strong decisions” from defence leaders of Nato and other countries meeting on Friday to discuss boosting Ukraine’s ability to confront Russian forces with modern battle tanks.

Here are the other key recent developments:

  • A group of 11 Nato countries have pledged a raft of new military aid for Ukraine, ahead of a crunch meeting on arms for Kyiv in Germany on Friday. The aid from countries including Britain, Estonia, Latvia and Poland will include tens of stinger air defence systems, S-60 anti-aircraft guns, machine guns and training, according to a statement.

  • The US has announced $2.5bn in new weaponry and munitions for Ukraine. The package includes 90 Stryker armoured personnel carriers, an additional 59 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Avenger air defence systems, and large and small munitions, according to a Pentagon statement.

  • CIA Director William Burns recently traveled in secret to Ukraine’s capital to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a US official told Reuters on Thursday. “Director Burns traveled to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian intelligence counterparts as well as President Zelenskiy and reinforced our continued support for Ukraine and its defense against Russian aggression,” the US official, who declined to be identified or say when the visit took place.

  • Britain plans to send 600 Brimstone missiles to Ukraine to support the country in its fight against Russia, defence minister Ben Wallace announced. Speaking at a meeting with other defence ministers at the Tapa army base in Estonia, Wallace outlined a previously announced package of military support for Ukraine, including sending Challenger tanks. “We’re in it for the long haul,” he said.

  • Sweden’s government announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine that will include armoured infantry fighting vehicles and the Archer artillery system. Poland said it was sending S-60 anti-aircraft guns with 70,000 rounds of ammunition and was ready to donate a company of German-made Leopard 2 tanks, “pending (a) wider coalition” of Leopard donors.

  • Lithuania’s defence minister, Arvydas Anušauskas, has said several countries will announce sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine at Friday’s meeting of defence ministers at the Ramstein airbase in Germany. The total number of armoured vehicles pledged at tomorrow’s meeting would go into hundreds, Anušauskas told Reuters.

  • Estonia’s defence minister, Hanno Pevkur, announced his country will send military equipment to Ukraine worth €113m in its latest package of support.

  • Denmark announced it will donate 19 French-made Caesar howitzer artillery systems to Kyiv.

  • The US and German defence ministers met on Thursday as Berlin faces pressure to allow the transfer of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The meeting between Lloyd Austin and Boris Pistorius came as a German government source told Reuters that Berlin would allow Leopard tanks to be sent to Ukraine to help its defence against Russia if the US agreed to send its own tanks.

  • A German government spokesperson has said it has yet to receive a request from any country for permission to re-export German-made tanks to Ukraine. Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has signalled that it could send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as part of a wider coalition even without Germany’s approval. “Consent is of secondary importance here, we will either obtain this consent quickly, or we will do what is needed ourselves,” Morawiecki said.

  • The Kremlin has said Russia will achieve its goals in Ukraine “one way or another” and the sooner Kyiv accepts its demands, the sooner the conflict will end. The Kremlin has repeatedly said Russia is ready to halt military operations if Ukraine meets its demands, but Moscow has not publicly outlined details of its negotiating position or what it is seeking from Kyiv in order to end hostilities.

  • The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, says he worries the world is becoming complacent about the dangers posed by the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Grossi, speaking to reporters in Kyiv, said a nuclear accident could happen any day and reiterated the situation at the plant was very precarious.

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