Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, in two days Zelensky goes around Europe and comments: with each visit our defensive and offensive capacity increases, but for our counterattack we still need a little time. And in fact the Ukrainian president has achieved a great deal, even from the British premier Sunak, who has pledged to send over 200 attack drones with a range of 200 kilometres, plus hundreds of missiles for anti-aircraft defense in addition to the Storm Shadow missiles supplied in the days ago, with a range of 250 kilometers. It is these missiles that are probably hitting logistic hubs in the Russian rear, such as Luhansk, which has been bombed several times in recent days (ONE YEAR OF WAR IN UKRAINE, THE SKY TG24 SPECIAL – LIVE UPDATES).
But mostly with Sunak Zelensky he talked about the coalition to have F16 fighter jets. Britain will train Ukrainian pilots from the summer, although Downing Street has dampened Ukrainian hopes by saying it has no plans for jet supplies at the moment. But many weapons, anti-aircraft defense systems, armored vehicles, light and heavy tanks have also arrived from visits to France by Macron and to Germany by Scholz, which with the latest 2.7 billion euro package has become the second country for military contributions to the ‘Ukraine after the United States. Italy is further behind, with 450 million supplied so far, but in any case we are sending large and small howitzers, tracks, lynxes, machine guns, ammunition and Samp T anti-aircraft defenses together with France. This is what Zelensky gathered in two days, before flying to Reykjavik for the European Council summit which he will attend tomorrow together with the 46 heads of state and government who are part of it. Further evidence of the increasingly European position that Kiev is assuming.
In the field, the clashes continue in Bakhmut where the Wagners are advancing in the centre, by now controlling 97% of the city, but the Ukrainians are counterattacking on the flanks, to the north and south, in the last few hours they have reconquered at least 10 Russian positions and tens of square kilometers in the ‘last week. The Kremlin and Prigozhin himself deny as a lie the indiscretion of the Washington Post according to which the head of the Wagner group offered his unspecified interlocutors in Ukrainian intelligence, in exchange for Kiev’s withdrawal from Bakhmut, to indicate the positions of the he regular Russian army, with whose leaders, defense minister Shoigu and army chief Gerasimov, Prigozhin is now in daily disputes, with videos of insults or criticisms, depending on the mood.
As far as attacks from the air are concerned, the tactics of both sides now seem the same: strike in the rear to damage the enemy’s logistical capacity, destroying arms and ammunition depots, barracks and supply centres. The Russians are trying to do it in Ukraine, to weaken Kiev’s ability to organize the counter-offensive, the Ukrainians are doing it in the territories occupied by the Russians, and now thanks to British weapons they are able to reach much deeper, such as Luhansk or Crimea.
What happened two days ago in the skies of Bryansk deserves a separate chapter, in just one day Russia could have lost two combat helicopters and two planes. It could be a big blow for the Ukrainian anti-aircraft which however denies its involvement and simply says that those aircraft have encountered problems.
Finally, on the diplomatic front, the mission of the Chinese government’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, begins tomorrow. He will be in Kiev for two days, then he will go to Poland, France, Germany and finally to Russia. It will bring with it the Chinese mediation attempt for the peace talks. A very ambitious plan, that of Beijing, given that Zelensky in these two days of European meetings has substantially refused the mediation of the Vatican, saying that he does not need intermediaries to negotiate with Moscow, but only a just peace, which respects the territorial integrity of Ukraine. An integrity that will also be remembered by the Chinese envoy traveling to Kiev.