War Update #5 – Germany Supplying Lethal Weapons to Ukraine

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There are several developments this afternoon (Eastern Standard Time). Germany will be supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine. The German Government has announced a decision to supply 500 anti-tank weapons, and 1000 stinger missiles to the Ukraine.

The United States is continuing to supply weapons to the Ukraine as well.

Canada has also supplied weapons to Ukraine.

Resistance Greater than Expected by Russia

Ukrainian resistance to invading forces is stiffer than Russia expected, as the U.S. and NATO continue to supply security assistance to Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official said.

“Altogether, Russia has more than 150,000 troops arrayed against Ukraine, with more than 50% inside the country — up from one-third over the last 24 hours — and the rest are still along the border,” according to the Pentagon. “There are also some Russian reconnaissance forces inside Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city”.

“We continue to believe, based on what we’ve observed, that this resistance is greater than what the Russians expected. And we have indications that the Russians are increasingly frustrated by their lack of momentum over the last 24 hours, particularly in the north parts of Ukraine,” that official continued. Ukrainian air defences, including aircraft, continue to be operable and continue to engage and deny access to Russian aircraft in places over the country”.

“As of this morning, we have no indication that the Russian military has taken control over any cities, and we still believe that Russia has yet to achieve air superiority,” the official added.

Widespread Damage to Civilian Areas and Strikes on Hospitals Documented

There are reports of fairly widespread damage to civilian targets in Ukraine. Russian officials are denying these independent reports.

•         Amnesty International research verifies violations in international humanitarian law 

•         Russian attacks could constitute war crimes 

•         Russian claims to use precision guided weapons are patently false 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been marked by indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and strikes on protected objects such as hospitals, Amnesty International said today, after documenting three incidents that it believes to have killed at least six civilians and injured at least 12 more. Indiscriminate attacks violate international humanitarian law (the laws of war) and can constitute war crimes.

“The Russian military has shown a blatant disregard for civilian lives by using ballistic missiles and other explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas. Some of these attacks may be war crimes. The Russian government, which falsely claims to use only precision-guided weapons, should take responsibility for these acts,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

“The Russian troops should immediately stop carrying out indiscriminate attacks in violation of the laws of war. The continuation of the use of ballistic missiles and other inaccurate explosive weapons causing civilian deaths and injuries is inexcusable.”

Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab analyzed digital evidence—including photos, videos and satellite imagery— of three such attacks carried out in the early hours of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. The attacks occurred in Vuhledar, Kharkiv and Uman.

In the deadliest strike documented by Amnesty International, at approximately 10.30 am local time, a ballistic missile struck near a hospital building in Vuhledar, in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, killing four civilians and wounding ten more. According to a local source who spoke to Amnesty International researchers, two women and two men were killed, and six healthcare workers were among the injured. Analyzing photos of the weapon scrap linked to the incident, Amnesty International’s weapons investigator determined that a 9M79 Tochka ballistic missile was used in the attack. These weapons are extremely inaccurate, regularly missing their targets by half a kilometre or more and should never be used in populated areas.

Another of the attacks was carried out at approximately 8 am local time, in the Kharkiv region, northeastern Ukraine. The likely target was the nearby Chuhuiv Air Base, but instead Russian weapon struck a residential block, causing extensive fire damage and apparently killing at least one civilian man and injuring at least two civilian women. A single large crater in the ground between apartment buildings indicates the weapon was most likely a single large missile or rocket.

In another attack occurring at 7 am on the 24 February in Uman, Cherkasy region, a civilian man appears to have been killed by a strike that also damaged a nearby restaurant.

Russian Invasion

The Russian invasion of Ukraine over the last 24 hours has been observed to occur over three main axes: from the south — including an amphibious assault from the Sea of Azov; from the north central; and from the northeast, a senior defense official said.

Over the last 24 hours or so, the U.S. has continued to observe more than 250 Russian missile launches, mostly short-range ballistic missiles, the official said.

“We continue to see civilian infrastructure and residential areas impacted and damaged by these missile strikes,” the official said, adding that it’s not clear if those strikes were intentional.

There are an increasing number of Ukrainians leaving the country

“The lines are stacking up on the Ukrainian side of the of the border with Poland.”

Yesterday, US President Joe Biden authorized an additional $350 million of military assistance from Defense Department inventories — including anti-armor, small arms, various munitions, body armor and related equipment — to support Ukraine’s frontline defenders, who are facing down Russia’s unprovoked attack, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said Saturday.

That brings the total U.S. security assistance approved for Ukraine to $1 billion over the past year. It’s the third time Biden has expedited emergency security assistance for Ukraine’s defense in recent months using his presidential authority, Kirby said.

“We, along with our allies and partners, are standing together to continue to expedite security assistance to Ukraine and are employing all available security cooperation tools in support of the Ukrainian people as they defend themselves against this aggression,” Kirby said.

“Our commitment and deliveries continue as a sign of our unwavering support for Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.

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