April 1, 2023

Ukraine is planning to stage a nuclear incident on its territory to pin the blame on Moscow forward of a key United Nations assembly, Russia has alleged with out offering proof.

Radioactive substances have been transported to Ukraine from an unnamed European nation and Kyiv was getting ready a large-scale “provocation”, Russia’s protection ministry mentioned in a press release on Sunday.

“The intention of the provocation is to accuse Russia’s military of allegedly finishing up indiscriminate strikes on hazardous radioactive services in Ukraine, resulting in the leakage of radioactive substances and contamination of the realm,” it mentioned.

Russia has repeatedly accused Kyiv of planning “false flag” operations with non-conventional weapons utilizing organic or radioactive supplies. No such assault has materialised.

Ukraine and its allies have dismissed such accusations as cynical makes an attempt to unfold disinformation, and have accused Moscow of planning incidents itself in a bid guilty Ukraine.


‘Discussions will proceed’

Moscow’s allegations got here as Ukrainian officers urged United States politicians to press US President Joe Biden’s administration to ship F-16 fighter jets, saying the plane would enhance Ukraine’s potential to hit Russian missile models.

The lobbying came visiting the weekend on the sidelines of the Munich Safety Convention in talks between Ukrainian officers, together with International Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Democrats and Republicans from the US Senate and Home of Representatives.

“They advised us that they need [F-16s] to suppress enemy air defenses so they may get their drones” past Russian entrance traces, mentioned Senator Mark Kelly, a former astronaut who flew US Navy fighters in fight.

Biden final month mentioned “no” when requested if he would approve Ukraine’s request for F-16s,

Biden administration officers, talking on Sunday, mentioned the US ought to deal with offering weapons that can be utilized instantly on the battlefield, moderately than fighter jets that require in depth coaching.

However they didn’t categorically rule out offering F-16s.

“Discussions will proceed over the course of the following few weeks and months,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield mentioned on CNN.

The convention – primarily targeted on Ukraine – got here days earlier than the February 24 anniversary of Russia’s invasion, The edges have been locked in grinding battles, largely within the jap Donbas area, following a string of Russian defeats.

Kelly mentioned that whereas it requires not less than a 12 months of coaching to grasp the entire F-16’s capabilities, Ukrainian pilots might be taught to do “a restricted variety of issues … in a couple of months”.

‘Don’t fret about frightening Putin’

Assist is constructing on each side of the Atlantic for offering Ukraine with superior NATO-standard jet fighters. The UK says it could present coaching.

Either side, nonetheless, have been reluctant to make use of their airpower in a big means because the warfare started.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham mentioned US lawmakers broadly assist coaching Ukrainian pilots on F-16s and mentioned he believed the Biden administration would quickly agree to take action.

He mentioned he didn’t fear that the F-16s would escalate the battle. “Don’t fret about frightening Putin; fear about beating him,” he mentioned on broadcaster ABC Information.

Calls to provide Ukraine with superior jets observe agreements final month by France, the UK, the US and Germany to provide Kyiv with trendy battle tanks.

Washington has supplied some $30bn in army support to Ukraine because the starting of what Moscow calls its “particular army operation”.

Some Western officers have mentioned that Ukraine’s allies ought to focus much less on superior fighter plane and extra on primary logistics similar to artillery shells.

European Union international coverage chief Josep Borrell issued a stark warning about Ukraine’s dwindling provides of bullets and related munitions because it fights again towards Russia’s invasion.

“Ukraine is in a important state of affairs from the standpoint with ammunition obtainable,” he mentioned. “This scarcity of ammunition has to resolve shortly – it is a matter of weeks.”

In the meantime, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken alleged China is contemplating offering weapons to Russia, warning Beijing that any provides would “trigger a major problem”.

Blinken advised CBS Information that China was “contemplating offering deadly assist” ranging “from ammunition to the weapons themselves”.


As the controversy over arms provides intensifies, Russian assaults proceed.

Ukrainian troops close to the small city of Siversk, within the nation’s east, mentioned they had been getting ready to defend one of many attainable targets of a brand new Russian offensive.

Siversk, which had a prewar inhabitants of 10,000, is 35km (21 miles) north of Bakhmut – the scene of fierce combating in latest weeks – and on a direct street to a different of the important thing cities within the Donetsk area, Sloviansk.

“In the event that they occupied Bakhmut, then we’d be semi-encircled, as a result of on the left aspect we’ve the Siverskyi Donets River, and the enemy will advance from the proper, and it’s attainable to chop us off in the event that they attain the Bakhmut freeway, mentioned the deputy Siversk battalion commander, who used the nom de guerre “Han”.

One soldier defending Siversk mentioned Ukraine’s largely Soviet-era artillery was outgunned by the enemy.

“We have now one artillery assault from our aspect and the Russians can do it 5 occasions extra,” mentioned 30-year-old Stefan. “It’s extremely troublesome for the fellows who’re standing, particularly on the first line [of defence], They really feel it an excessive amount of.

Capturing Bakhmut would give Russian forces a stepping stone to advance on two larger cities additional west, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

However Ukraine and its Western allies say success there could be a largely symbolic victory for Moscow, given the time taken and losses sustained.

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