Modern air defense systems are the number one thing that Ukraine lacks, Zelenskyi says. The EU has promised Ukraine it will provide funding by March at the latest, according to reports. The Ukrainian Parliament will hold the first reading of a mobilization bill on Thursday.
Modern air defense systems are number one thing that Ukraine lacks, Zelenskyi says
Ukraine lacks modern air defense systems amid renewed aerial attacks from Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi told a joint news conference with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda in Vilnius on Wednesday.
“What we are unable to produce short-term together with our partners is modern air defense systems. This is sorely lacking,” Zelenskyi said.
“In the last days of December and in the first days of January, Russia attacked Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and people with a total of 500 missiles and drones. We were able to repel an average of 70 per cent of these strikes. Unfortunately, there were casualties.”
“We should fight this enemy with technology until we drive them out of our land and the war is over. That is why air defense systems are (the) number one (thing) that we lack,” he said.
Much of Ukraine’s efforts go toward spurring counter-drone technologies and domestic drone production, Zelenskyi added.
Ukraine’s Parliament to hold first reading of mobilization bill Thursday
The Ukrainian Parliament will hold the first reading of a bill on mobilization on Thursday, January 11, MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak said, citing the head of the Servant of the People faction, Davyd Arakhamia.
The lawmakers will consider the bill with recommended changes from the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence, he added. “The bill will not be passed tomorrow. It only means that it will be sent for amendments before the second reading,” MP Oleksiy Honcharenko said on Telegram.
The parliamentary committee began to consider the government bill on January 4. It recommends changes to all 73 pages of the draft law, the secretary of the committee, Roman Kostenko said.
The government submitted a mobilization bill to the Parliament on December 25. Among the bill’s provisions are ones to lower the draft age from 27 to 25 years, end conscription, introduce electronic military draft notices and personnel’s demobilization.
EU has promised Ukraine to provide funding by March at latest, reports say
Regardless of the final modalities, the EU has promised Ukraine it will provide funding by March at the latest, according to the EU insiders quoted by Euractiv.
European countries are also bilaterally trying to narrow the funding gap. Germany aims to double Berlin’s military aid for Kyiv this year to more than USD eight billion, making it Ukraine’s second-largest military supporter behind the U.S.
Other member states such as France (equipment), the Netherlands (ammunition), Estonia and Belgium (proceeds from frozen assets) have also pledged fresh commitments.
In recent months, Europe and the U.S. have been increasingly worried that Ukraine’s growing shortage of financial means and ammunition could offer Russia an opportunity to push ahead. A lack of additional funding from both Brussels and Washington, aside from hardware military capabilities, would mean that Kyiv would face difficulties in paying its civil servants to ensure its government can continue to function amid continued Russian missile attacks.
Should Budapest again raise obstacles to a EUR 50 billion financial aid package to Ukraine, intended to fund Ukraine’s government over the next four years, EU officials have been preparing a back-up plan worth up to EUR 20 billion, using a debt structure that sidesteps the objections of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about funding the war-torn country.
While the preference is still to agree on the unaltered aid package, several backup options are on the table, according to people briefed on the discussions, including participating member states issuing guarantees to the EU budget, enabling the European Commission to borrow up to EUR 20 billion on capital markets for Ukraine over this year.