EA on Monocle 24 and Ireland’s RTE: Fighter Jets for Ukraine?
Monday’s Coverage: F-16 Jets — A Positive Signal from Poland; Kyiv’s Defense Minister in Paris; Biden’s “No” For Now
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1500 GMT:
Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says Kyiv expects 120 to 140 battle tanks in a first wave of deliveries.
Kuleba said these would include German Leopard 2, British Challenger 2 and US M1 Abrams tanks. Ukraine is also “really counting” on confirmation of French Leclerc tanks — a topic of conversation for Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov’s meetings with his French counterpart and President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday.
Kuleba said, “We continue to work on both expanding the membership of the tank coalition and increasing the contributions of those already pledged.”
Dan Sabbagh of The Guardian summarizes the pledges so far:
🇵🇱 14 Leopard 2, plus 60 'modernised' tanks
🇺🇸 31 M1A1 Abrams
🇳🇱 up to 18 Leopard 2
🇩🇪 14 Leopard 2
🇬🇧 14 Challenger 2
🇳🇴 up to 8 Leopard 2
plus 🇫🇮 🇪🇸 and 🇩🇰
looks well short of 300 though
— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) January 31, 2023
UPDATE 1242 GMT:
State TV commentator Dmitry Kiselyov informs Russians that Europeans are being reduced to a diet of bugs and worms.
It’s been a while since Dmitry Kiselyov gave us a classic, but this is surely up there with his finest pic.twitter.com/wmyhWFPC6n
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) January 31, 2023
UPDATE 0901 GMT:
A Russian court has imposed a 4-million rouble ($57,000) fine on Amazon’s streaming service Twitch, claiming it shows “fakes” about Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
UPDATE 0836 GMT:
Officials of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party have advised members to compare the invasion of Ukraine with the Soviet defense of Stalingrad against Nazi Germany in World War II.
After a 200-day assault, the Germans were finally defeated on February 2, 1943. The fighting claimed up to 2 million lives.
United Russia’s leaders instruct members to circulate social media posts.
Like the Battle of Stalingrad 80 years ago, [the Ukraine invasion] is the frontier we can’t back down from….Today’s events on the scale of consequences will mean the same for Russia as during the Great Patriotic War: the enemy will run and we’ll launch our way to Victory.
Party members are also advised to assist Stalingrad veterans with household issues and to hold “lessons of courage” in schools. Road signs at the entrance to Volgograd — the city’s name was changed in 1961 amid “de-Stalinization” — have been replaced with “Stalingrad” before a visit by Vladimir Putin on the 80th anniversary.
In #Volgograd the road signs were temporary changed to "#Stalingrad". #Putin is expected to arrive there on February 2. pic.twitter.com/jFsOKyFNeP
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 31, 2023
UPDATE 0700 GMT:
AFP summarizes the failure of Vladimir Putin’s “energy war” against Ukraine’s supporters in Europe this winter.
The season has been relatively mild. Gas imports have been arranged from other regions. Storage facilities are at the same capacity as last autumn.
Germany has sharply reduced its dependence on Russia from the 55% of gas imports in 2021. The Government says it expects to avoid recession in 2023 despite a slight contraction between October and December.
European gas stocks are currently at 72% of capacity, twice the level of January 2022.
See also EA on Voice of Islam: Ukraine War — Sanctions and Putin’s Energy Threat
Exports from Russia’s Gazprom through Ukraine to the European Union dropped to a record low of 951.4 million cubic meters from January 1 to January 30.
Daily volumes have decreased from between 41 and 43 million cubic meters, during the second half of 2022, to 24.4 million cubic meters on January 19.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine Presidential advisor Andriy Yermak says Poland has given “positive signals” about delivery of US-made F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will meet his French counterpart and President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday to request the warplanes.
And US President Joe Biden has issued a one-word rejection, “No” — but it is not clear if he was vetoing F-16s from any country or just direct supply by Washington.
See also EA on Ireland’s RTE: Fighter Jets for Ukraine?
Ukraine War, Day 340: Pentagon Considering US F-16 Fighter Jets To Kyiv
Headlines on Monday turned from the provision of heavy battle tanks, confirmed by Ukraine’s partners last week after months of discussions and maneuvers, to the F-16s. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for the international coalition to “speed up the supply and opening of new necessary weaponry options”.
Following the pattern set in the negotiations over German-made Leopard tanks, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Warsaw is willing to lead in delivery of F-16s — if this “in full coordination” with others in a coalition.
“We coordinate all actions aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s defence forces with our NATO partners,” Morawiecki told a press conference.
Macron said after talks with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, “Nothing is excluded in principle.” However, he said any deliberation had to consider the need to avoid escalation and assurances that the aircraft would not “touch Russian soil”.
Last week the Netherlands was the first country to say that supply of F-16s to Kyiv is possible.
Biden’s “No” was in response to a reporter’s question at the White House. There was no follow-up to establish the scope of the rejection.
Correspondents at the Pentagon suggested that discussions within the Administration are ongoing.
EARLIER: When asked if the U.S. will be sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, President Biden gave a one-world answer: “No.”
Could the White House reverse itself on this request for military aid?@ckubeNBC: “In just another one-word answer: Yes.” pic.twitter.com/sl3qG9OzXU
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 31, 2023
Pentagon officials said last week that the US was considering the provision of the F-16s. “I don’t think we are opposed,” said a senior official.
However, the official implied that confirmation of any supply will still take months. He said the Pentagon is focused on sending Kyiv the capabilities it needs immediately — perhaps referring to the US tanks that will require months for delivery, logisitics, and training before they can appear on the Ukrainian battlefield.
Here is a video where #Biden, when asked by journalists whether he supports the idea of giving #Ukraine F-16 aircraft, answered: "No."
Maybe he didn’t hear the question 🤷 pic.twitter.com/yoIOeFxXuC
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 30, 2023