The White House says it is concerned Iran may provide ballistic missiles to Russia to use against Ukraine. “In return for that support, Russia has been offering Tehran unprecedented defence cooperation, including on missiles, electronics and air defence,” said John Kirby, US national security council spokesman.
President Joe Biden’s request for more than $61bn in emergency US funding to support Ukraine’s defence remains stalled in Congress. The US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, has announced the Pentagon will in any case be sending an additional $100m in weapons to Ukraine from existing US stockpiles, including another Himars mobile artillery system.
More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, with about half of recent deaths occurring far behind the frontlines, the UN human rights office said. Its mission in Ukraine, which has dozens of monitors, said it expected the real toll to be “significantly higher” since its work was continuing.
Germany will support Ukraine with another military aid package worth €1.3bn ($1.4bn) that will include an additional IRIS-T air defence unit, Germany’s defence minister, Boris Pistorius, has said.
Russia has not used its “premier air-launched cruise missiles” from its heavy bombers for nearly two months, likely allowing it to build up a substantial stock that could be used in a repeat of last year’s campaign to destroy Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure, the UK Ministry of Defence has said in an intelligence update.
Russian forces hit port infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa on Tuesday evening, the regional governor said, adding that no one was injured. The Ukrainian southern military command also reported strikes on the Belhorod-Dniester district south-west of Odesa, with missiles hitting open ground and administrative buildings. Ukraine is maintaining a humanitarian corridor into the Black Sea to circumvent Russia’s de facto port blockade.
A Slovakian border crossing with Ukraine was blocked on Tuesday, it was reported, although the Slovakian haulers’ union played it down as involving a single truck. Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from seeking border crossing permits since Russia’s invasion. Polish and Slovakian drivers say that has undercut business and they want restrictions.
The European Council’s president, Charles Michel, on a visit to Kyiv said he expected a “difficult” meeting next month about Ukraine joining the EU. The European Commission has recommended opening formal membership negotiations but talks cannot start unless all 27 member states agree.
“I will do everything in my power to convince my colleagues that we need a decision in December,” Michel told the Ukrainian president. Volodymyr Zelenskiy was quoted by AFP as saying: “We believe that the EU will be ready to do its part … so that by the end of the year in December, the result will be a political decision to start accession negotiations.”