Above Photo: A view of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where Ukrainian forces and the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion have gathered. Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev.
Germany, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, and Romania are among the countries that have pledged the supply of more weapons to Ukraine.
The US has already announced a billion dollars worth of arms supplies in a week.
With German chancellor Olaf Scholz proclaiming on Tuesday, April 19 that the European Union and NATO are united to make sure that Russia never wins the war in Ukraine, the possibility of it continuing looms large. He also pledged more weapons to Ukraine, including anti-tank and air defense weapons.
Scholz’s announcement came after his meeting with several NATO leaders. “Our common goal is to continue to arm the Ukrainian military so that it can continue to defend itself against attacks,” Scholz said at a press conference following the meeting.
Several other countries, including Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and Romania, also pledged the supply of more weapons to Ukraine.
Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky has been giving contradictory statements for some time, vacillating between the need for talks with Russia and more weapons supplies from the west. In an address to the nation on Tuesday, he claimed that if the west provides all the weapons Ukraine needs, it will be able to end the war soon. He said it is the “moral duty” of the west to supply weapons to Ukraine and “help protect freedom.”
The Netherlands’ prime minister Mark Rutte claimed in a tweet on Tuesday that his country, along with other allies, will be supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine.
The US had announced a USD 800 million package of weapons for Kiev including armored personnel carriers and helicopters a few days ago. According to various media reports, the planes carrying some of these weapons are already on their way to Ukraine. White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that the US will provide more military assistance to Ukraine in the future.
In order to supply weapons to Ukraine, Romania has also announced the initiation of an amendment in its law which prohibits sending weapons to a non-NATO member.
Concerns About Escalation
Raising concerns about the renewed Russian offensive in the Donbas region, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday that NATO allies are providing spare parts to Ukraine so that its airpower becomes operational. However, there is a growing concern that strengthening Ukrainian air power may lead to further escalation of war.
Russia has already warned the west against supplying more weapons to Ukraine, saying it can bring “unpredictable consequences”.
In a report in CNN on Tuesday, a senior US official claimed that the US government is not sure about how and where the weapons it supplies to Ukraine are used. He noted that the Biden administration is taking a “conscious risk” while supplying those weapons to Ukraine.
Several anti-war groups and individuals have raised serious concerns about one-sided emphasis of the west on supplying weapons to Ukraine and imposing more sanctions on Russia instead of focusing their efforts to resolve the conflict through more talks and meditation.
In the US, anti-war movement CODEPINK opposed the Biden administration’s spending over a billion dollars on supplying weapons to Ukraine when that money can be used for the betterment of people in the country.
Politics Over Humanitarian Truce
Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said on Tuesday during a meeting of the security council that, “western colleagues’ concerns for Ukraine and Ukrainians is quite selfish and self-serving.” He accused the west of using Ukrainians as “cannon fodder in their proxy war against Russia.” He also accused the Ukrainians of deliberately not using the humanitarian corridors provided by Russians on a daily basis.
He was responding to the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres’ suggestion of a four-day humanitarian truce in Ukraine on Tuesday. A four-day truce on the occasion of the Easter holidays would “provide necessary conditions” to evacuate people and supply of humanitarian aid to those who are stuck inside war zones, Guterres had said.
Reacting to Guterres’ proposal, head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin called it “potentially dangerous”. He claimed that Ukraine will use the period to regroup and reinforce its position. Pushilin argued that, “Ukraine has been willing to kill civilians, destroy our homes, hospitals, schools, deprive us of our rights and freedoms as much as it wants, but in no way does it care about ‘saving lives,” Tass reported.
Meanwhile, Russia extended the offer of surrender to Ukrainian troops remaining in the city of Mariupol on Tuesday. The Ukrainian troops refused to leave through the humanitarian corridor opened by the Russians earlier. Russia claimed that by not ordering them to surrender the Ukrainian government is betraying their own troops, RT reported.