Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine
A senior European Union official accused Russia on Friday of taking its war against Ukraine to a “different stage” by taking aim at civilians and non-military targets, prompting Germany and the US to supply military equipment to Ukraine in order for the country to better defend themselves.
Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, the secretary general of the European Union’s European External Action Service, Stefano Sannino, said Russia had “moved from a concept of special operation to a concept now of a war against NATO and the West.”
“I think that this latest development in terms of armed supply is just an evolution of the situation and of the way Russia started moving the war into a different stage,” Sannino, said, adding that Putin was launching “indiscriminate attacks against civilians and against cities.”
The EU’s latest actions are aimed at “just giving the possibility of saving lives and allowing the Ukrainians to defend (themselves) from these barbaric attacks,” he added.
Tanks promised: The leaders of the United States and Germany each announced Wednesday they will send contingents of tanks to Ukraine, reversing their longstanding trepidation at providing Kyiv with offensive armored vehicles and unleashing powerful new tools in Ukraine’s efforts to retake territory seized by Russia.
The announcement by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that he will send Leopard 2 tanks was coupled with an announcement from US President Joe Biden that he was providing 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing the administration’s longstanding resistance to requests from Kyiv for the highly sophisticated but maintenance-heavy vehicles.
The dual announcements made for a landmark moment that followed weeks of intense pressure on Berlin from some of its NATO allies. The decisions were the result of prolonged diplomacy between Germany, the United States and other European allies, and come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky prepares for a new Russian offensive this spring.