The essentials in brief:
- Ukraine to get $15.6 billion in IMF loans
- The United States plans to deliver Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine in the fall
- China is “not impartial” in the Ukraine war, says the US
- Selenskyj encourages his compatriots
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed a loan package of around 15.6 billion dollars (around 14.5 billion euros) with Ukraine. The agreement, which has a term of four years, still has to be ratified by the Board of Directors, the IMF said. Months of negotiations preceded the agreement.
The four-year plan is intended to “support the ongoing gradual economic recovery while promoting long-term growth in the context of post-war reconstruction,” according to an IMF statement. The IMF stressed that in addition to the humanitarian consequences, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued to have devastating effects on the economy. Economic output fell by 30 percent last year. A slow economic recovery is expected in the coming quarters. However, there is still a risk of the conflict escalating.
Abrams main battle tanks are scheduled for delivery in the fall
The United States wants to deliver the promised Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine in the fall, faster than expected. US Department of Defense spokesman Pat Ryder said that in consultation with Kiev, the US would send Ukraine model M1A1s rather than M1A2s as originally planned. That would allow the US to significantly accelerate delivery “and deliver this important capability to Ukraine by the fall of this year.”
The M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks have “very similar capabilities to the M1A2,” the Pentagon spokesman said, without going into differences between the various models. Delivery of the M1A2 would therefore have taken until next year. The United States promised Ukraine 31 Abrams main battle tanks at the end of January.
The delivery of the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine should also be accelerated. The training of Ukrainian soldiers on the defense system went “quicker than expected,” Ryder said.
US: China ‘not impartial’ in Ukraine war
The United States does not see China as an “impartial” mediator between Moscow and Kiev in the Ukraine war. That’s what the spokesman for the National Security Council in the White House, John Kirby, told the press, echoing a formulation from Moscow. According to Russian sources, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured during his visit to the Kremlin that he had an “impartial position” on the conflict in Ukraine. “I don’t think China can be considered impartial in any way,” Kirby said. Beijing has not condemned the Russian invasion and continues to buy Russian oil. He also accused Beijing of relaying Russian propaganda that the war in Ukraine was the result of Western aggression, which is untrue.
Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who during a visit to Moscow on Tuesday hailed Xi’s entry into a “new era” of their “special” relationship, Kirby said the two had no true alliance but were connected by a “marriage of convenience”. China and Russia “want to change the rules” that govern the international order, Kirby warned. However, the US would maintain communication channels with China and US President Joe Biden still plans to speak to Xi, Kirby added – without giving further details.
Xi and Putin signed a strategic partnership agreement in Moscow on Tuesday. It includes the expansion of bilateral relations, especially in the economic sphere. Putin assured Xi of permanent and reliable supplies of oil and gas to China.
Selenskyj encourages his compatriots
More than a year after the start of the Russian war of aggression, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recalled the first successes of his army. On March 21, 2022, the battle for the village of Moschchun, not far from the capital Kiev, was won, Zelensky said in his video speech every evening. “This was our state’s first major step toward victory in this war.” The Ukrainian flag will also fly again on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014, he stressed.
qu/bru (dpa, rtr, afp)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from war zones cannot be independently verified.