The Pentagon has been drawing on its stockpiles of artillery shells in Israel to supply Ukrainian forces engaged in heavy fighting with Russia in the Donbass region, a US official confirmed to USA TODAY on Wednesday.
The two sides fire thousands of shells at each other a day, a rate that has forced the United States and its allies to scour the world for ammunition to fuel Ukrainian guns. The news of Israel’s transfer was first reported by the New York Times.
The official was not publicly authorized to speak about the transfer of US stock from Israel. Israeli officials have been reluctant to provide aid to Ukraine over fears of its relationship with Russia. Russian military forces operate in neighboring Syria, and Israel also conducts missions there. The Pentagon has prepositioned stockpiles of equipment in strategic locations around the world.
Earlier this month, a senior military official described the artillery duel in eastern Ukraine as savage. The latest $3 billion U.S. military aid package for Ukraine, announced earlier this month, included 18 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 36 truck-towed 105mm howitzers and thousands of rounds of bullets. artillery shell.
Russian President Vladimir Putin tell the workers at a manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg on Wednesday that Russia builds as many missiles in a year as the rest of the world combined. He praised “the work of the military-industrial complex”.
MISSILE ATTACK:Footage captures the devastation of a Ukrainian apartment complex
FOLLOWING:The Netherlands will join the United States and Germany in providing Patriot aid to Ukraine
►Ihor Klymenko, head of the national police, has been appointed interim interior minister.
►Continuous power cuts are ongoing in eight regions – including Kharkiv, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia – as Russian missile attacks cripple Ukraine’s power generation, which only covers around 75% of demand , according to the operator of the electrical system Ukrenergo.
►Moldova President Maia Sandu, speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, urged all nations to help Ukraine win – or “every one of us will be in danger”. Moldova is on the southwestern border of Ukraine.
Top Ukrainian official among 17 dead in helicopter crash
A helicopter crashed into a kindergarten on the outskirts of Kyiv on Wednesday, killing at least 17 people, including three children and the Ukrainian interior minister, Ukrainian authorities said.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi, who oversaw Ukraine’s police and emergency services, appears to be the most senior Ukrainian official killed since the start of the war. Two of his top aides, their assistants and the helicopter crew were among the dead, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Telegram.
Nine of those killed were on board the helicopter when it crashed in Brovary, an eastern suburb of the Ukrainian capital. The other victims were apparently on the ground. Twenty-five people were injured, including 10 children, Zelenskyy said.
“Indescribable pain,” he said. “Beautiful memory to all those whose life was taken by this dark morning.”
Zelenskyy said national police and security services were working to determine the cause of the crash. There was no initial information indicating that the helicopter had been shot down. Footage posted on social media near the scene appears to suggest it crashed near an apartment building after hitting the kindergarten.
At the World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland, Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska held back tears and Forum President Borge Brende of Norway called for 15 seconds of silence after the session opened to honor the victims of the accident.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 11 months ago did not start a war, it was meant to stop one that has been raging for eight years, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
Putin, speaking to veterans in St. Petersburg, said he had no choice but to launch his “special military operation” because Ukrainian authorities have refused to negotiate in good faith since the Russian-backed separatists have started fighting in Ukraine’s Donbass region. Putin has for years accused Ukraine of mistreating ethnic Russians in the region.
“Large-scale combat operations involving heavy weapons, artillery, tanks and aircraft have not stopped in the Donbass since 2014,” Putin said. “Everything we are doing today as part of the special military operation is an attempt to stop this war. This is the purpose of our operation: to protect the people who live in these territories.
Russia will achieve its goals in Ukraine despite a Western-led “hybrid war” against Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
Speaking at an annual press conference, Lavrov rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s demands for a full Russian withdrawal from Ukraine, payment of war damages or prosecution of Russians as war criminals .
Lavrov accused the United States and other Western countries of making “every decision in Ukraine” in an effort to wear down and weaken Russia.
“There must be no military infrastructure in Ukraine that poses a direct threat to our country,” Lavrov added.
Contributor: Associated Press