Ukraine prepares for war, Western partners plan for increased aid

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Ukraine prepares for war, Western partners plan for increased aid

Between January 2 and 8, the Joint Forces Operation reported 17 ceasefire violations on the part of Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine, down 45% from the week prior. Two Ukrainian soldiers were injured as a result of occupation aggression.

Russia continues its buildup of forces in and around Ukraine. On January 4, the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that “during the New Year holidays, the enemy strengthened the advanced positions of the 1st (Donetsk) and the 2nd (Luhansk) army corps with additional personnel and weapons.”

Ukrainian allies and partners have responded in turn to the mounting threat of a Russian invasion. Defense Express reported that on December 30, 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense ordered the construction of two more Mark VI high-speed patrol boats for Ukraine to be completed by March 2026. This new contract brings the total number of Mark VI boats that the US will be sending to Ukraine to ten. Additionally, both the Latvian and Estonian Defense Ministries have announced plans to send military aid to Ukraine.

Last week, head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov, met his Turkish counterpart, Lieutenant General Rafet Dalkiran, in the Republic of Turkey. The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation between Ukrainian and Turkish military intelligence. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, traveledto Ukraine on January 4-6 to reaffirm EU support for Ukraine. On January 5, Borrell and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba visited to the frontline city Stanytsia Luhanska—the first time an EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs has ever visited eastern Ukraine and the line of contact. Additionally, NATO Foreign Ministers held an extraordinary virtual meeting to discuss Russia’s continued military build-up ahead of a series of diplomatic engagements with Russia next week, including a NATO-Russia Council on January 12.

On January 1, the new law “On the Fundamentals of National Resistance” came into effect in Ukraine, enshrining civilian resistance as a key component of national defense against Russian incursion. With this law, the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces have become an official part of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, are eligible for full state funding, and have gained greater regional autonomy. The Territorial Defense Forces comprise civilian volunteers being trained and equipped for defense of their regions.