Here’s the recap of the 63rd week of the russia-Ukraine war, and what happened lately.
UK promises to send armed drones and air defence missiles to Ukraine after a visit by Zelenskyy
After a surprise visit by President Zelenskyy on May 15th, the UK announced that it will send armed drones and air defence missiles to Ukraine. The UK also pledged to help Ukraine train their pilots on modern aircraft in the coming months. During his meetings with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, President Zelenskyy expressed his hopes that the UK will join a coalition of countries willing to give modern aircraft to Ukraine.
France promises heavy equipment and training for Ukrainian forces in the upcoming weeks
After a meeting between President Zelenskyy and French President Macron, it was announced that France would send armoured vehicles and light tanks to Ukraine though details of the exact material have not been released. It was also announced that France would help to provide training to Ukrainian military personnel and look into providing more air defence systems as well. However, there seems to have been no positive movement on the issue of fighter aircraft.
Ukraine joins NATO Cooperative Defence Centre of Excellence
Last week, Ukraine officially joined NATO’s Cooperative Defence Centre of Excellence. The organization, affiliated with NATO, focuses on cyber defence research, training, collaboration and information exchange. In addition to sharing its cyber experiences against Russia, Ukraine will also be able to gain information from member states that can help it to boost its cyber defence frameworks.
Ukraine Black Sea grain deal extended for another two months
The Black Sea grain deal that allows Ukraine to export its grain to other countries through the Black Sea corridor has been extended for another two months. The deal, mediated by Turkey and the United Nations, was set to expire on May 18th. Since the beginning of this deal, Ukraine has been able to export over 30 million tonnes of grain, much of this material being allocated for humanitarian use by the World Food Programme in countries like Yemen and Afghanistan.
The Netherlands and the UK pledge to create an international coalition to help Ukraine acquire F-16s
The United Kingdom and the Netherlands, two staunch allies of Ukraine, publicly vowed to create an international coalition of countries willing to provide Ukraine with F-16s. Both countries have been particularly vocal about helping Ukraine procure modern aircraft with the Netherlands being one of the first countries to announce that there were no ‘taboos’ surrounding the provision of modern planes to Ukraine. The planned international coalition will focus not only on the acquisition of planes but also on the training of pilots.