© Reuters. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, meet to discuss how to help Ukraine defend itself
(Reuters) – A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged Kyiv’s allies to “think faster” about stepping up their military support, a day after they failed to agree on sending battle tanks coveted by Kyiv.
* Western allies on Friday dampened Ukraine’s hopes for a rapid shipment of battle tanks to boost its firepower for a spring offensive against Russian forces.
* Senior U.S. officials are advising Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of U.S. weaponry is in place and training has been provided, a senior Biden administration official said on Friday.
* Although NATO defence leaders and allies reached no decision on authorising export of Leopard-2 tanks at a meeting at the Ramstein military base, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Friday Berlin was ready to “move quickly” if there was an agreement.
* Ukraine will still have to fight to ensure a supply of modern heavy armor, Zelenskiy said in his evening video address on Friday.
* Ukrainian forces will train on Leopard-2 battle tanks in Poland, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov was quoted as saying on Friday, despite the lack of an agreement.
* NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday countries backing Ukraine needed to focus not only on sending new weapons to Kyiv, but looking at ammunition for older systems and helping maintain them.
* The United States will impose additional sanctions next week against Russian private military company the Wagner Group, which U.S. officials say has been helping Russia’s military in the Ukraine war, the White House said on Friday.
* The head of Wagner published on Saturday a short letter to the White House asking what crime his company was accused of, after Washington announced the new sanctions.
* The U.S. government said on Friday it charged two businessmen, one Russian and one British, with allegedly facilitating a sanctions evasion and money laundering scheme in relation to a $90 million yacht of billionaire Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
* Ukraine’s Western allies might bridge delays in implementing a 10-point peace plan that the country has put forward if each country takes responsibility for one part, Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, said in an interview published on Saturday.
* Group of Seven officials have agreed to review the level of the price cap on exports of Russian oil in March, later than originally planned in order to give time to assess the market after more caps are placed on oil products from Russia, the U.S. Treasury said on Friday.