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UKRAINE UPDATE: 14 FEBRUARY 2023

Nato says Kyiv’s ammo use outstrips production; IMF weighs up $16bn aid package

Nato says Kyiv’s ammo use outstrips production; IMF weighs up $16bn aid package
A destroyed tank sits atop a hillside on 11 February 2023 in Kamyanka, Ukraine. (Image: John Moore / Getty Images)

Ukraine is going through ammunition ‘many times higher’ than allies’ current rate of production, straining industries, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of a defence ministers meeting on Tuesday.

The waiting time for large-calibre ammunition for Ukraine has increased from 12 to 28 months, which means that orders placed now won’t be delivered until two and a half years later, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission started talks on Monday with Ukrainian officials, as the fund weighs a multiyear aid package worth as much as $16-billion to provide a catalyst for more financial assistance.

The government in Kyiv is seeking a full loan package after securing a deal in December for a provisional four-month monitoring programme.

Key developments

On the ground

Russian troops continued to mount attacks mostly in eastern areas around Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiyivka and Novopavlivka, according to Ukraine’s General Staff.

Ukrainian troops repelled attacks near 11 settlements in the Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions, it said in a statement on Facebook.

Russia remains concerned about guarding the extremities of its extended frontline, despite the current operational focus on central Donbas, according to the latest intelligence update from the UK’s defence ministry.

JPMorgan to help Ukraine on debt capital markets

JPMorgan will provide consulting services to Ukraine in areas including its sovereign credit rating and managing the government’s liquidity.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and members of JPMorgan’s asset management division and investment bank signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the Wall Street bank advise Ukraine on reconstruction.

Nato’s Stoltenberg says spy balloons show need for vigilance

Stoltenberg said that incidents of spy balloons in Nato airspace are an indication that allies need to step up cooperation.

“It’s part of a pattern where China, but also Russia, are increasing their intelligence and surveillance of Nato allies,” Stoltenberg said.

“That highlights the importance of our vigilance, increased presence and also that we ramp up, and step up, how we share intelligence and how we monitor and protect our airspace.”

Read more: US shoots down fourth object as China flings new accusation

 

 

 

Russia’s new offensive has already started, says Nato chief 

Stoltenberg said that Russia’s expected increased offensive has already started and that Putin has shown no willingness to de-escalate the war.

“We’ve seen the start already,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

“What Russia does now is to send in thousands and thousands of more troops, taking big losses but putting pressure on Ukrainians.”

He said it was imperative for allies to supply Ukraine with more weapons.

Deputy Ukrainian PM warns on foot-dragging 

Any delay by western nations in taking decisions about helping Ukraine will lead to additional and unnecessary deaths of the country’s citizens and the destruction of its infrastructure, according to Olha Stefanishyna, a deputy prime minister in the government in Kyiv.

“The basic headline of the message that we Ukrainians are bringing to Europe and around the globe is that whatever action could be taken, it should be taken now and it’s urgent,” Stefanishyna said at an event in Berlin previewing this week’s Munich Security Conference.

Ukraine bonds at three-month low

Ukraine’s foreign-currency bonds and GDP warrants fell to the lowest since November after Moody’s cut the country’s credit rating to the second-lowest score, Ca, on a par with Argentina.

Read more: Ukraine credit rating cut by Moody’s on ‘likely’ restructuring

The agency cited “long-lasting challenges” to Ukraine’s economy and public finances in its announcement published Friday.

China’s Wang to attend Munich Security Conference

China’s top foreign policy official, Wang Yi, will attend this week’s Munich Security Conference with a large delegation, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has not been invited this time, according to organisers.

“We won’t offer Lavrov, who’s really only the loudspeaker of President Vladimir Putin, a forum for his propaganda,” MSC Chairman Christoph Heusgen told reporters in Berlin. Heusgen left it open whether Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky might attend as a last-minute “surprise guest”.

Moldova to tighten security checks

Moldovan President Maia Sandu urged the nation to be on high alert as intelligence officials in Chisinau have confirmed that Russia aims to trigger violent protests to try to effect regime change and derail the country’s EU accession.

Sandu said she has asked the parliament to fast-track the approval of laws that increase the power of prosecutors to stop those involved in attempts to destabilise the country.

“We managed to stop such plans in the past and we will do it again,” Sandu said. “The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to our country won’t prevail.”

EU to propose new Russia sanctions

The European Union is poised to propose a new package of sanctions to further restrict the Kremlin’s ability to support its war machine, according to people familiar with the plans.

Read more: EU is set to propose new sanctions on Russian tech and vehicles

The measures will include extensive export bans on several products, technologies and components that have been identified in Russian weapons deployed in Ukraine, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.

 

 

 

Ukraine thanks Denmark for howitzers 

Ukraine’s defence ministry thanked Denmark for delivering 19 Caesar howitzers, which it said represented the country’s entire stock of the self-propelled artillery systems.

“A true friend who knows that our fight is Europe’s fight,” the ministry said in a tweet. Denmark’s contribution to Ukraine’s defence has sparked a debate about whether it might excessively deplete its own military and compromise its commitments to Nato.

Italy sees end to Russian gas dependence

Italy can end its dependence on Russian gas by the end of this year, Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said in an interview with newspaper Il Messaggero.

Italy can start supplying other countries next year and soon become a European gas hub, also thanks to a doubling of flows via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline from Azerbaijan, Urso told the paper.

More work ahead to restore energy supply – Zelensky 

Zelensky praised those working to repair energy infrastructure damaged by Russian attacks, saying that a majority of Ukrainians spent the weekend “without many shutdowns.”

“Of course, with the start of the new week, consumption will increase, and therefore there will be outage schedules,” Zelensky said late on Sunday in his daily address, warning that Ukraine had yet to achieve “a decisive victory on the energy front”.

The power system was continuing to meet consumer demand on Monday morning, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said in a statement on his ministry’s website. DM

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