- BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, howitzer artillery pieces, and a dozen T-72 tanks were transferred to Ukraine
- Czech Republic is the first NATO country to deliver heavy military equipment since war began on February 24
- NATO leaders have only given Ukraine anti-tank and anti-craft missiles, small arms and protective equipment
- The delivery has once again raised concerns that NATO may get dragged into Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine
- It comes as Russian artillery continued to pound the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Kharkiv on Wednesday
The delivery is understood to be a gift agreed on by NATO allies, raising fears the trans-Atlantic bloc could be dragged into the Russian war in Ukraine despite remaining on the sidelines for more than a month.
NATO leaders have so far given Ukraine anti-tank and anti-craft missiles as well as small arms and protective equipment, but have not offered any heavy armour or fighter jets. Prague’s decision to supply tanks to Kyiv will pile pressure on NATO allies to follow suit.
It comes as Russian artillery continued to pound the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Kharkiv today as the West prepared more sanctions against Moscow in response to civilian killings that Kyiv and its allies have called war crimes.
Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova told parliament yesterday: ‘I will only assure you that the Czech Republic is helping Ukraine as much as it can and will continue to help by [supplying] military equipment, both light and heavy.’
She declined to provide further details on the transfer but it comes after Ukraine’s Vlodymyr Zelensky demanded NATO deliver armour, fighter jets and other military equipment during a summit in Brussels on March 24.
Ukraine burns through in a single day the same amount of weaponry it receives in a week, according to a senior Polish official, and Kyiv’s eastern neighbours are concerned with keeping up with demand, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Czech delivery has been funded by Prague as well as private donors who have contributed to a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to supply arms to Kyiv.
Prague, and neighbouring Slovakia which has no tanks to give, are also considering helping repair and refit damaged Ukrainian military equipment. Germany will send several dozen infantry fighting vehicles to Kyiv and the UK has approved the delivery of 20 ambulances.
The United States has agreed to provide an additional $100 million in assistance to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-armour systems, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. US chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O) said it had suspended business operations in Russia, joining a growing list of companies leaving the country.
NATO is set to discuss the delivery of more weapons to Ukraine at a meeting today and tomorrow, according to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
But western officials on Monday suggested the Biden administration in Washington would act as a throttle on plans to supply more equipment to Ukraine, over fears that the war machines could breach rules allowing only defensive weapons to be supplied.
One said that the US was ‘not minded’ to support the supply of T-72 tanks of the type used by Ukraine from sympathetic neighbours, adding: ‘They have this offensive dimension, they are not purely defensive. They would not be particularly relevant to the military activities the Ukrainians need to undertake.’
A proposal to transfer 28 MiG jets from Poland to Ukraine via the US last month was scrapped amid NATO concerns about getting drawn into conflict with Russia.
NATO has already supplied fuel, ammunition, helmets, protective gear and medical supplies to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said yesterday. The discussions come despite the bloc’s desperate efforts to avoid being dragged into Putin’s war in Ukraine.
President Joe Biden has in recent weeks ordered more US troops to NATO’s eastern flank to reassure edgy allies and pledged to protect the bloc’s territory if Russian forces stray over more borders.
A visibly angry Zelensky on March 26 demanded that Western nations hand over military hardware that was ‘gathering dust’ in stockpiles, saying Ukraine needed just one per cent of NATO’s aircraft and one per cent of its tanks.
Zelensky accused the West of holding back on supplies because of ‘intimidation’ from Moscow and suggested Russia is in charge of NATO.
And in a late night address on Saturday, Zelensky said: ‘We need more ammunition. We’ve already been waiting 31 days. What is NATO doing?
‘Who is in charge of the Euro-Atlantic community? Is it really still Moscow, because of intimidation? We are asking for one per cent of what NATO has, nothing more.’
‘If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had one per cent of their courage,’ Zelensky said as he praised his troops’ efforts.
Russia’s constant artillery barrages and aerial bombing are reducing Ukrainian cities to rubble, killing thousands of people and driving millions to flee their homes.
Russian artillery pounded the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Kharkiv today as the West prepared more sanctions against Moscow in response to civilian killings that Kyiv and its allies have called war crimes.
The besieged southern port of Mariupol has been under almost constant bombardment since the early days of the invasion that began on Feb. 24, trapping tens of thousands of residents without food, water or power.
‘The humanitarian situation in the city is worsening,’ British military intelligence said. ‘Most of the 160,000 remaining residents have no light, communication, medicine, heat or water. Russian forces have prevented humanitarian access, likely to pressure defenders to surrender.’
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said authorities would try to evacuate trapped civilians through 11 humanitarian corridors today, though people trying to leave the besieged city of Mariupol would have to use their own vehicles.
Russian forces last week pulled back from positions outside Kyiv and shifted the focus of their assault away from the capital, and Ukraine’s general staff said the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest, also remained under attack.
Authorities in the eastern region of Luhansk on Wednesday urged residents to get out ‘while it is safe’ from an area that Ukraine also expects to be the target of a new offensive.
Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, described as a ‘special military operation’ by Moscow and the biggest assault on a European nation since World War Two, gained new impetus this week when dead civilians shot at close range were found in the northern town of Bucha after it was retaken from Russian forces.
Moscow denied targeting civilians there and called the evidence presented a forgery staged by the West to discredit it.
Speaking a day after the European Union announced new sanctions, including a ban on Russian coal imports and denying Russian ships access to EU ports, the head of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, said there was more to come.
‘These sanctions will not be our last sanctions,’ she told European Parliament on Wednesday. ‘Now we have to look into oil and revenues Russia gets from fossil fuels.’
Europe gets about a third of its natural gas from Russia and has been wary of the economic impact of the total ban on Russian energy imports advocated by Ukraine, but Von der Leyen’s remarks signal the bloc’s strengthening resolve to take the step that Kyiv says is vital to securing a deal to end the war.
The White House said it would also unveil new sanctions today, in part in response to Bucha. The new sanctions, coordinated between Washington, the Group of Seven advanced economies and the EU, will target Russian banks and officials and ban new investment in Russia, the White House said.
After an impassioned address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Zelensky said new sanctions against Russia ‘must be commensurate with the gravity of the occupiers’ war crimes,’ calling it a ‘crucial moment’ for Western leaders.
Ukrainian officials say between 150 and 300 bodies might be in a mass grave by a church in Bucha, north of the capital Kyiv. Satellite images taken weeks ago show bodies of civilians on a street in the town, a private US company said.
Reuters reporters saw at least four victims shot through the head in Bucha, one with their hands tied behind their back. Residents have recounted cases of several others slain, some shot through their eyes and one apparently beaten to death and mutilated.
Since launching an invasion that has uprooted a quarter of Ukraine’s population, Russia has failed to capture a single major city.
the Daily Mail.com
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For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all )is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
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The Bible – New King James Version, NKJV