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Live blog: Ukraine seeks warplanes at NATO talks as war anniversary nears

Tuesday, February 14, 2034

Ukraine has maintained its appeal for Western countries to provide it with fighter jets, but the United States and its NATO allies and partners voiced more concern about Kiev’s needs for large amounts of ammunition as the war with Russia approached its one-year anniversary.

Ahead of the meeting of the Ukraine contact group at NATO headquarters, Ukraine made its requirements clear.

Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, when asked what military aid his country is seeking now, showed reporters an image of a fighter jet.

Questioned about where he hoped they might come from, Reznikov said only: “From the sky.”

However, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that finding ammunition and air defences is “much more important at the moment than the discussion about fighter jets.”

Here are the other developments:

0949 GMT – Kremlin: NATO becoming more involved in Ukraine conflict

The Kremlin has said on that the US-led NATO military alliance demonstrated its hostility towards Russia every day, and was becoming more and more involved in the conflict in Ukraine.

“NATO is an organisation which is hostile to us and which proves this hostility every day,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“It is trying its best to make its involvement in the conflict around Ukraine as clear as possible,” Peskov added.

0948 GMT – One killed, many hurt restoring power in Ukraine

One Ukrainian worker has been killed and many have been hurt in recent days trying to repair the power network following Russian air strikes, Energy Minister German Galushchenko said.

Russia struck energy facilities across Ukraine in the latest wave of air strikes on Friday, but Galushchenko and national grid operator Ukrenergo said the country was producing enough energy to meet consumers’ needs.

“With the incredible efforts of energy workers, it’s possible to keep the generation, delivery and distribution of electricity at the required level to meet the needs of consumers,” Galushchenko said in a statement.

But he said “mines blew up the cars of repairmen of Mykolaivbolenergo and Kharkivbolenergo. There is a dead person, many wounded”, without indicating how badly the surviving workers had been hurt.

0923 GMT – Ukraine has urgent requirements: US’s Austin

Ukraine has urgent requirements in terms of more military aid, said United States Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, as he also reaffirmed that the United States and NATO allies in general were there to support Ukraine over the long haul.

“That shared resolve will sustain Ukraine’s momentum in the weeks ahead,” said Austin at a NATO meeting in Brussels. “The Kremlin is still betting that it can wait us out.”

0908 GMT – NATO should deliver urgently what is promised to Ukraine: Alliance chief

The already promised military support should be quickly delivered to Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said.

On his way to attend the two-day meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, Stoltenberg said there is an “urgent need now to deliver what has always been promised to” Ukraine, including ammunition, military equipment, armoured vehicles and battle tanks.

He acknowledged that the nature of NATO support to Ukraine has evolved over time, but said “the issue of aircraft is not the most urgent issue now.”

0005 GMT – New Russian offensive under way in Ukraine, says NATO

The eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has been facing heavy artillery fire as NATO chief backed reports from local officials that a major new Russian offensive had begun, days before the first anniversary of Moscow’s attack.

Ukrainian defenders, who have already held out for months, were braced for new ground attacks, Ukrainian military officials said.

Positions in Bakhmut have been fortified and only people with a military role were being allowed in, while any civilians who still wanted to leave the city would have to brave the incoming fire, a deputy battalion commander said on Monday.

2345 GMT – Ukraine talks further aid with US as training on modern tanks starts

Ukraine’s top general and the top US Army commander in Europe discussed further military aid for Kiev on Monday as allies began training Ukrainian troops on the Leopard 2 and other modern battle tanks that are to boost the country’s defence.

Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces talked to commander in chief of Europe’s combined NATO forces, US General Christopher Cavoli ahead of the US-led meeting of defence heads from several NATO countries on Tuesday.

“We discussed the issue of supplying international military aid to Ukraine and training our units on the territory of partner countries,” Ukraine’s defence ministry quoted Zaluzhnyi as saying.

Tuesday’s meeting follows a January 20 conference at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany that was key to decisions to send Kyiv scores of modern battle tanks, including the US M1 Abrams, German Leopard 2 and British Challenger 2.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have since been urging allies to send fighter aircraft and long-range missiles to counter the offensive and recapture lost territory, pressuring NATO to demonstrate support for Kiev.

For live updates from Monday (February 13), click here

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