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Thursday 23 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
ABACA/PA Images Rescuers respond to a Russian missile attack on a residential building in the Donetsk region
# Ukraine
New long-range weapons will not target Russia, says Ukraine defence minister
The United States on Friday announced a new $2.2 billion package of arms and munitions for Ukraine.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 5th 2023, 2:34 PM

UKRAINIAN DEFENCE MINISTER Oleksiy Reznikov has said that Kyiv would not use new long-range weapons from the West to strike targets in Russia.

“On Friday our partners decided to provide us with weapons capable of firing at a distance of 150 kilometres,” Reznikov told a news conference.

“We always tell our partners that we take an obligation not to use the weapons of foreign partners against the territory of Russia, only against their units in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine for the purpose of de-occupying our land,” he said.

The United States on Friday announced a new $2.2 billion package of arms and munitions for Ukraine, which the Pentagon said included a new rocket-propelled precision bomb that could nearly double Kyiv’s strike range against Russian forces.

They potentially give Kyiv’s forces the ability to strike anywhere in the Russian-occupied Donbas, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, as well as the northern part of occupied Crimea.

studying-school-bomb-shelter-odesa ABACA / PA Images Students in Odesa continue their classes in a bomb shelter during an air raid alert ABACA / PA Images / PA Images

France and Italy for their part are expected to deliver mobile surface-to-air missile systems.

Reznikov also said that the reluctance of Kyiv’s Western allies to send jets to war-torn Ukraine would cost it “more lives.”

“I am sure that we will win this war, I am sure we will liberate all the occupied territories,” Reznikov told reporters in Kyiv. But without the delivery of Western jets, “it will cost us more lives”.

“We have to stop it right now,” he added.

In an interview with the weekly Bild am Sonntag published today, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy agreed that weapons supplied by the West would not be used to attack Russian territory.

Reznikov also told reporters that Kyiv expected a possible Russian offensive later this month. On 24 February, the Kremlin will mark one year since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

“Not all Western weapons” will arrive by the time of a possible Russian offensive this month, Reznikov said, though he added that Kyiv had the resources to respond.

“We are ready to fight back,” he said.

‘Breaking down our defence’

In his evening address yesterday, Zelenskyy acknowledged that the situation was getting tougher.

Russia, he said, was “throwing more and more of its forces at breaking down our defence”.

“It is very difficult now in Bakhmut, Vugledar, Lyman and other areas,” he added, referring to the frontline cities in the east of the country.

russian-missile-hit-residential-building-kramatorsk ABACA / PA Images ABACA / PA Images / PA Images

Canada has shipped the first of four promised Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Defence Minister Anita Anand said on Twitter.

Foreign casualties

Officials in Kyiv said yesterday that the bodies of the two Britons killed while trying to help people evacuate from the eastern warzone had been recovered in a prisoner swap.

Chris Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 47, were undertaking voluntary work in Soledar, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, when their vehicle was reportedly hit by a shell.

Their bodies were returned to Ukrainian authorities as part of a wider exchange, in which Kyiv got 116 prisoners and Russia 63.

“We managed to return the bodies of the dead foreign volunteers,” said Zelenskyy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak, naming them as the two British men.

Concern had grown about their fates after the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which helped capture Soledar from Ukrainian forces, said on 11 January that one of the missing men’s bodies had been found there.

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin had also published online photographs of passports that appeared to belong to Parry and Bagshaw, which he claimed were found with the corpses.

On Friday, news emerged of the death of an American medic killed in Bakhmut when his evacuation vehicle was hit by a missile.

Global Outreach Doctors, with whom he was working, said 33-year-old Pete Reed was a former US Marine Corps rifleman who also worked as a paramedic.

The Odesa power cut hit hundreds of thousands of people.

“As of today, almost 500,000 customers have no electricity supply,” said Maksym Marchenko, of the Odesa regional administration. Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said that came to “about a third of consumers” there.

“The situation is complex, the scale of the accident is significant,” Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on messaging app Telegram.

Ukrenergo, the country’s energy operator, reported an accident at a substation supplying both the city and the region of Odesa.

The power network there had been gradually degraded by repeated Russian bombardment in recent months, it added: “As a result, the reliability of power supply in the region has decreased.”

Fresh embargo

From today, Russia faces a fresh turn of the sanctions screw, with an embargo on ship deliveries of its refined oil products.

The European Union, the G7 and Australia will cap the price of Moscow’s refined oil products.

Already in December, the EU imposed an embargo on Russian crude oil coming into the bloc by sea and – with its G7 partners – imposed a $60-per-barrel cap on Russian crude exports to other parts of the world.

The new embargo and price caps starting today will target Russian refined oil products such as petrol, diesel and heating fuel arriving on ships.

The Kremlin has warned that the measures will destabilise world markets.

© AFP 2023

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