July 15, 2024

Key developments on Sept. 22:

  • Ukrainian military strikes Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters

  • Media: US to send small number of ATACMS to Ukraine

  • Zelensky addresses Canada’s parliament as Trudeau pledges more aid

  • Biden: ‘Next week, the first Abrams tanks will be delivered to Ukraine.’

The Russian Defense Ministry reported on Sept. 22 that a Ukrainian missile strike on Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea damaged the building of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters.

According to the ministry, one Russian serviceman went missing following the strike. Russian air defenses shot down five missiles over Sevastopol, it added.

Several hours later, the Ukrainian military’s Strategic Communications Directorate confirmed the missile strike without providing further details.

According to Sky News’ report citing information provided by the Ukrainian Air Force, Ukraine used Storm Shadow long-range missiles in the strike.

Ukraine’s Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk published a video showing the aftermath of the missile strike, thanking Ukrainian pilots.

“Sevastopol is the city of the Naval Forces of Ukraine’s Armed Forces! Together – to victory!,” Oleshchuk said on Telegram.

Sevastopol is located on the peninsula’s southwestern shore.

Read also: Ukrainian military strikes Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters

ATACMS for Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden had told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington would provide Ukraine with a small number of long-range ATACMS missiles, NBC News reported on Sept. 22, citing three U.S. officials and a Congressional official familiar with the matter.

According to NBC News, the officials did not reveal the date of the delivery or when a public announcement would be made.

Zelensky met Biden in the White House as part of his official visit to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 21. During the stay of Ukraine’s president in the U.S. capital, State Secretary Antony Blinken announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $325 million.

The latest tranche included additional cluster munitions and air defenses, among other equipment, but excluded the much-desired ATACMS missiles.

Until now, the White House was long reluctant to provide the missiles with a range of roughly 300 kilometers to bolster Ukraine’s army, despite requests from Kyiv and U.S. lawmakers.

Ukraine has already managed to secure Storm Shadow and SCALP longe-range missiles from the U.K. and France and hopes to acquire ATACMS and Germany’s Taurus missiles as well.

Read also: Ukraine comes close to getting ATACMS. How will it change the war?

Zelensky in Canada

President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Canadian Parliament on Sept. 22 after his talks with the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In his welcoming words at the House of Commons, Trudeau announced further aid for Ukraine, including 650 million Canadian dollars ($480 million) for 50 armored vehicles and training on F-16 fighter jets.

The funds will be used over the period of three years, and the vehicles, including medical evacuation vehicles, will be built in Canada.

Trudeau praised Zelensky and Ukraine for their “fierce” resistance against Russian aggression, adding that the Ukrainian people are “holding the rule-based order in the balance.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrive at a signing ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on September 22, 2023. (Photo by Patrick Doyle/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrive at a signing ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on September 22, 2023. (Photo by Patrick Doyle/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrive at a signing ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on September 22, 2023. (Photo by Patrick Doyle/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

When addressing the parliament, Zelensky said Russia is committing genocide against the Ukrainian people.

“When we call on the world to help us, it is not just an ordinary conflict, it is about saving the lives of millions of people,” Zelensky said, reminding the human loss and destruction in Mariupol, Bakhmut, Volnovakha, and other Ukrainian cities.

The president said that throughout history, Canada has always stood on the “side of freedom and justice.”

“Justice is not an empty word in Canada… you are always on the right side of history.”

Zelensky stressed that Ottawa’s support, including air defense, armored vehicles, artillery shells, and demining equipment, is saving thousands of Ukrainian lives.

He also thanked Canada for helping Ukraine to reduce its dependency on Russian nuclear fuel.

Zelensky said that during their earlier meeting today, he and Trudeau discussed a Canadian initiative in the Group of Seven (G7) to confiscate Russian assets and use them for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Western countries have frozen around $300 billion of Russia’s Central Bank assets since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv and its partners have been seeking ways to use them to fund Ukraine’s recovery.

Zelensky arrived in Ottawa late on Sept. 21 for his first official visit to Canada since Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The trip followed his earlier visit to New York where Zelensky addressed the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council. The president then headed to Washington, D.C., where he held talks with members of the U.S. Congress, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Biden.

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Biden says Abrams to arrive in Ukraine next week

Biden announced at a press conference on Sept. 21 that the first tranche of U.S. Abrams tanks will be delivered to Ukraine next week.

The shipment of tanks will be part of a larger package that includes ammunition, anti-tank weapons, and artillery. Biden also added that the U.S. is focused on “strengthening Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.”

His comments occurred during a bilateral meeting with President Volodomyr Zelensky, who was traveling to the U.S., his second visit there since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

The decision to deliver 31 Abrams tanks was first announced in January 2022, and the first batch of 10 was approved on Aug. 7.

The tanks, which offer greater mobility and firepower than Soviet battle tanks, are expected to support Ukraine’s defensive and offensive efforts.

The U.S.-made Abrams tanks will join the ranks of other modern battle tanks sent by Ukraine’s allies, including the Challenger from the U.K. and the German-made Leopard tanks.

Read also: Russia’s southern mistake — Surovikin lines, Gerasimov tactics

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