Ukraine Latest: US, EU Under Pressure to Expand Weapons Support

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(Bloomberg) -- Decisions on training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets and joint EU purchases of ammunition are expected to follow the Munich Security Conference, where Ukraine and its allies grappled with the likelihood of a prolonged war.

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US President Joe Biden’s administration is planning to impose new export controls and a fresh round of sanctions on Russia, targeting key industries a year after Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pressed for faster weapon and ammunition deliveries and new sanctions in more than a dozen meetings in Munich, including with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Ukraine’s Allies Work Through Consequences of the Long War Ahead

  • US Plans New Russia Export Controls, Sanctions on Key Industries

  • Joint Ammo Purchases for Ukraine Gain Traction Among EU Members

  • Blinken Rebukes China Over Balloon, Warns Against Arming Russia

  • G-7 and EU Looking at Ways to Track and Trace Russian Diamonds

On the Ground

Russia delivered nine missile strikes, 11 aviation strikes and more than 20 strikes from rocket launchers in the past 24 hours, killing and injuring civilians, the Ukrainian General Staff said on Facebook. Russian forces continued an offensive in the direction of Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Shakhtarske, according to the report. Ukrainian aviation attacked Russian force concentrations and anti-aircraft missile systems, and downed a Russian Su-25 warplane and two drones.

(All times CET)

Macron Backs Zelenskiy’s Peace Plan (11:30 p.m.)

French President Emmanuel Macron renewed his backing for Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s 10-point peace plan during a conversation with the Ukrainian leader, according to an Elysee statement.

The plan includes a Russian troop withdrawal, cessation of hostilities and the full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty and territory.

AMX-10 armored fighting vehicles pledged by Macron will arrive in Ukraine in the coming days, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said earlier Sunday.

Biden’s Poland Trip to Reaffirm Ukraine Support (4:31 p.m.)

President Joe Biden will make the case for Ukraine’s partners and allies to stay committed to military support when he visits Poland this week, said John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House.

“It’s important for the solidarity to move forward and we fully expect that it will,” Kirby said on “Fox News Sunday.”

He said “we’re in lockstep with the Ukrainians, talking to them almost every day about what they need.”

Graham Sees US Decision on F-16 Pilot Training (4:03 p.m.)

US Senator Lindsey Graham said he’s confident the Biden administration will decide to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. Support for the measure was “virtually unanimous” among US lawmakers who attended the Munich Security Conference, he said.

“I believe a decision will be imminent here when we get back to Washington, that the administration will start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in an interview from Munich on ABC’s “This Week.”

President Joe Biden’s administration has declined to supply Ukraine with F-16s or provide training, though it hasn’t ruled out the possibility.

Defense Companies Discuss Cooperation (4 p.m.)

Ukrainian and German Defense Ministers Dmytro Kuleba and Annalena Baerbock co-chaired a meeting of both countries’ top defense companies, Kuleba said on Twitter. The meeting was organized “to directly link our manufacturers,” Kuleba said.

Macron Says He Wants to Defeat Russia, Not Crush It (12:30 p.m.)

Emmanuel Macron reiterated the need to defeat Russia, yet cautioned that the country shouldn’t be “crushed.”

“I don’t think, as some do, that Russia must be totally defeated, that it must be attacked on its own soil. This has never been France’s position and it never will be,” Macron told the Sunday newspaper JDD in an interview on the way back from Munich. He repeated that he didn’t think the conflict could be solved by military means.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister on Diplomatic Sprint in Munich (12 p.m.)

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba held 15 meetings at the Munich Security Conference including with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and foreign ministers of Pakistan, Iraq, Brazil and Japan, according to the foreign ministry’s Facebook page. The sides agreed on faster weapon and ammunition deliveries, new sanctions against Russia, support for important votes by the UN and promotion of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s peace formula.

EU Edges Toward Joint Ammunition Purchases (11:40 a.m.)

European Union members may agree to pool ammunition purchases for Ukraine as early as next month.

Estonia has proposed investing around €4 billion ($4.3 billion) to jointly procure a million rounds of ammunition. The Netherlands and Romania are among countries supporting the idea, which EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss when they meet in Brussels on Monday.

Kyiv Mayor Steps Up Call for Fighters (9:30 a.m.)

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko called on NATO allies to supply Ukraine with fighter jets, citing an urgent need for more weapons and ammunition to fend off invading Russian forces.

“I don’t understand why there are always new red lines,” Klitschko was quoted as saying by Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “One thing is clear: we have to take back our country, and for that we need everything that is necessary.” NATO members including the US and Britain have said it’s not feasible to send fighters to Ukraine for the time being but haven’t ruled out doing so down the road.

Ukraine Needs Palantir Technologies to Analyze War Crimes (9 a.m.)

Ukraine will benefit from expanding access to Palantir Technologies Inc. products to collect and analyze evidence of war crimes, the prosecutor’s office said on Telegram. Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin discussed expert support and training with Palantir CEO Alex Karp in Munich. Ukrainian military and law enforcement have been using the company’s technologies and Karp visited Ukraine in the summer and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Blinken Says China Weighing Lethal Support (11:30 p.m.)

“The concern that we have now is based on information we have that they’re considering providing lethal support,” Blinken said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” shortly after meeting with Wang. “And we’ve made very clear to them that that could cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship.”

Dutch Order Russian Diplomats to Leave (7:30 p.m.)

The Dutch government ordered about 10 Russian diplomats to leave the country, saying Moscow has been using diplomatic cover for espionage.

The cabinet will also temporarily shut the consulate-general in St. Petersburg, Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in a statement. The government has ruled that there may not be more Russian diplomats in the Netherlands than Dutch diplomats in Russia, Hoekstra said.

Orban Says Europe Indirectly at War With Russia (4:14 p.m.)

“Europe is getting immersed in war, in reality they’re already indirectly at war with Russia,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in his annual state of the nation speech.

Orban, the EU leader with the closest ties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, reiterated that Hungary won’t supply weapons to Ukraine and doesn’t view Russia as a security threat.

Estonia to Prod EU on Protecting Moldova (3:53 p.m.)

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said oligarchs accused of helping to destabilize Moldova and potentially overthrow its pro-European government should be targeted with EU sanctions.

Reinsalu said he’ll put the request to the bloc next week in Brussels. Any such measure could, however, face “legalistic” barriers, he said in an interview during the Munich Security Conference.

Sunak Sees Conflict at Inflection Point (1:35 p.m.)

Sunak said the war in Ukraine has reached an “inflection point” and it’s critical for allies to provide more advanced weaponry.

Ukraine “has the ability to gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield,” Sunak said during a conversation with Bloomberg TV’s Maria Tadeo. “It can’t just be about defending.” Talks on a new security guarantee for Ukraine should start now so they can be wrapped up by NATO’s July summit in Vilnius, he said.

--With assistance from Kateryna Choursina and Nate Lanxon.

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