European Union foreign and defense ministers are meeting Monday in Brussels as they work to finalize a multi-prong plan to supply Ukraine with ammunition and replenish their own ammunition stocks.
The $2 billion proposal also includes working to increase the EU’s production of ammunition in order to better secure long-term supplies.
Ukrainian officials have stressed the need for more ammunition aid from Western partners as Ukraine battles against a full-scale Russian invasion that began more than a year ago.
EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell has encouraged members to approve the plan, saying Ukraine needs deliveries of more artillery ammunition to happen faster.
Putin in Ukraine
The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Russian-occupied Ukrainian port city of Mariupol late Saturday after a stopover in the Crimean Peninsula to mark the ninth anniversary of Moscow’s illegal annexation of the territory in 2014.
Video showed Putin chatting with residents after earlier visiting an art school and a children’s center in Crimea.
The visits came after the International Criminal Court Friday issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest on war crimes charges for Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian children during its 13-month invasion. Putin has not commented on the charges and the Kremlin has called the allegations “legally null and void.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has demanded Russia’s withdrawal from Crimea and all areas it has occupied in the eastern regions of Ukraine, but the ground war in Ukraine’s eastern regions has to a large degree stalemated, with neither side gaining much territory.
Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Sunday that the warrant represented a turning point in the conflict, and that Russia would be held responsible “for every strike on Ukraine, for every destroyed life, for every deported Ukrainian child… And, of course, for every manifestation of destabilization of the world caused by Russian aggression.”
Putin’s visit to war-torn Ukraine was his first since the February 2022 invasion. Numerous Western leaders supporting Ukraine, including U.S. President Joe Biden, have visited Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital that Putin tried — and failed — to capture in the earliest weeks of the war.
Mariupol was one of the centers of fighting in the first months of the war, although when Russia took full control last May, only about 100,000 residents remained of the city’s prewar population of 450,000.
Some material in this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.