President Zelenskyi speaks of the tenth meeting of Ukraine Defense Contact Group. Ukraine’s Air Force says grateful to Poland for MiG-29s, but still needs F-16 fighters. Politico hypothesizes about Ukraine’s spring offensive.
Result of tenth meeting of Ukraine Defense Contact Group
The Ukraine Defense Contact Group met for the tenth time on Wednesday, March 15. Participants, representing more than 50 countries discussed the possibility of sending ammunition, artillery, tanks and air defenses to Ukraine. Commenting on the meeting, President Zelenskyi said: “Some decisions have been made. This is especially important now, when we feel that the Russian aggression is nearing a moment when it can break.”
Sweden has announced that it will provide Ukraine with 10 Leopard tanks and key air defense components, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a news conference following the meeting of the group. Norway is partnering with the United States to donate two NASAM systems to Ukraine, he added. Denmark’s government said on Wednesday it will establish a fund of 7 billion Danish crowns (USD 1.01 billion) for military, civilian and business aid to Ukraine this year. Canada has already announced it is donating eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks, which are expected to be in Ukraine in the coming weeks.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg updated the group on NATO and Allies’ efforts to swiftly provide Ukraine with key capabilities, including more air defense systems, armor, and ammunition.
Ukraine had received French AMX-10 RC light tanks, Defense Minister of France Sébastien Lecornu said. On February 14, Forces Operations said France was sending the first 14 AMX-10 RC tanks. Ukrainian crews were trained on the tanks, the media added.
Ukraine needs multi-role fighters like F-16 to gain superiority over enemy, Ukraine’s Air Force says
Addition of MiG-29 Soviet war planes will boost the combat capabilities of Ukraine’s Air Force. But Ukraine needs Western fourth-generation fighter jets to prevail over Russia, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force Command Colonel Yuriy Ihnat said on television.
Ihnat said Ukraine is grateful to the allies, particularly to Poland, for standing ready to hand over MiG Soviet war planes to Ukraine.
At the same time in order to gain air superiority over the enemy and conduct major strikes against its ground targets, Ukraine urgently needs multi-role modern Western fighters, like F-16, the spokesperson said.
“[MiG-29s] will increase our combat capabilities. This is a type of aircraft that fly daily missions, causing them to wear out. Let’s not forget that these are Soviet, not modern Western fighter jets. It is unlikely that they will cause a dramatic change on the front.”
“Those MiGs were most likely modernized to have interoperability with other NATO member states. Even if their on-board systems, communication and identification friend or foe systems had been probably modified, they still remain Soviet. We need modern multipurpose Western fighters to have an superiority over the enemy,” Ihnat said.
U.S. trains Ukrainian troops at rapid pace. When to expect Ukraine’s offensive to retake territory?
U.S. officials are focused on getting Ukraine ready for a major spring offensive to retake territory, which they expect to begin by May, Politico said. The U.S. military is rushing equipment to the battlefield and training Ukrainian forces at a rapid pace.
U.S. aid packages “going back four or five months have been geared toward what Ukraine needs for this counteroffensive,” said one U.S. official, who was granted anonymity due to the administration’s ground rules. Pentagon leaders said Wednesday that the equipment and training being provided will enable Ukraine to win the war — where and when it chooses to do so.
Kyiv has not yet settled on a strategy, U.S. officials said, but it has essentially two options: push south through Kherson into Crimea, or move east from its northern position and then south, cutting off the Russian land bridge. The first option is not realistic, officials said, as Russia has dug in its defenses on the east side of the Dnipro River, and Ukraine does not have the manpower for a successful amphibious operation against that kind of force. The second is more likely, officials say.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin projected a sense of urgency on Wednesday after a virtual meeting of the multinational Ukraine Defense Contact Group, saying that “Ukraine doesn’t have any time to waste.”
How agricultural sector overcomes the challenges of war? Ukraine in Flames #371
Agricultural sector plays an important role in the Ukrainian economy – in 2021 the share of agriculture in the country’s GDP was the highest among all industries. The russian invasion caused enormous damage to Ukrainian farmers, but did not stop the agro-industrial complex.
Watch Ukraine in flames #371 to find out what problems agricultural business faced during the war and how modern solutions can make it easier to face the current challenges.
- Denys Marchuk, Deputy Chair of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council
- Gennadiy Chyzhykov, President of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Serhiy Tymoshenko, General Director of MAS Seeds Ukraine