By The Associated Press
BERLIN — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has renewed a pledge to keep up weapons deliveries and other support for Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”
Scholz’s comments in a video message Thursday to the Progressive Governance Summit i Berlin echoed a statement earlier this week by leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers, which Germany currently chairs.
Scholz said Germany will “continue our support for as long as it takes, for as long as that support is needed to fend off Russia’s abhorrent aggression” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear “this war is not only about Ukraine.”
The German leader said they consider the war to be part of “a crusade against liberal democracy, a crusade against a rules-based international order, a crusade against freedom and progress, a crusade against our way of life and a crusade against what Putin calls the collective West — he means all of us.”
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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The prime minister of NATO member Estonia says her country will be sending winter gear, equipment and ammunition to Ukraine.
Kaja Kallas posted on her Twitter account Thursday that Estonia will deliver the aid quickly and urged that Ukrainians receive assistance faster because “This is the way to peace.”
European Union member Estonia which shares a nearly 300-kilometer (180-mile) border with Russia, Estonia has been a staunch critic of Moscow and has donated military hardware to Ukraine.
BRUSSELS — Germany’s defense minister says 15 countries have agreed to move ahead with plans for an improved European air defense system.
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO defense ministers that a letter of intent was signed Thursday to organize joint procurement for the so-called European Sky Shield, under German coordination.
She didn’t list the other countries involved. German news agency dpa reported that representatives of the U.K., Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia attended the signing ceremony.
Lambrecht said that “we are open to everyone who wants to participate inside NATO,” and there is interest on the part of more countries. There has been no decision yet on what system will be used.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in late August that Germany plans to invest heavily in its air defense in the coming years and the system would be designed so that European neighbors can join.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s presidential office says 13 people have been killed and 37 others wounded in the past 24 hours as the result of Russian attacks throughout the country.
Rescuers going through the rubble following Russia’s attack on the southern city of Mykolaiv have found a man who died under the rubble.
Local authorities say a Russian missile hit a river boat station, killing a worker there.
Numerous villages in the region were also shelled, leaving many houses damaged but no apparent casualties.
Also Thursday, the local administrator in the Zaporizhzhia region says Russian attacks killed one person there and wounded over a dozen, while also damaging civilian infrastructure and buildings.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine says it has shot down six Iranian-made drones in the south of the country which were also used for attacks in the Kyiv region on Thursday morning.
Ukrainian forces downed overnight the Shahed-136 drones above Odesa and Mykolaiv, the Air Force Command of Ukrainian Armed Forces said.
In Kyiv, the drones hit an infrastructure object for three times early on Thursday, officials said. The attack caused a fire but no casualties, regional Gov. Oleksii Kuleba said.
Ukraine’s Center for National Resistance says Russian forces have invited instructors from Iran to help them operate the Shahed-136. The center, created by the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, says the Iranian instructors are based in occupied regions of Kherson and Crimea where they conduct training of the Russian troops.
BRUSSELS — Britain says that it will provide missiles for advanced NASAM anti-aircraft systems that the Pentagon plans to send to Ukraine in coming weeks.
Britain is also sending hundreds of additional aerial drones for information gathering and logistics support, plus 18 more howitzer artillery guns, the U.K. defense secretary said Thursday.
Ben Wallace says “these weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense alongside the U.S. NASAMS.”
The systems, which Kyiv has long wanted, will provide medium- to long-range defense against missile attacks.
The offer comes as NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels, aiming to help bolster Ukraine’s aerial defenses after a widespread Russian assault across the country early this week.
Germany is sending four IRIS-T air defense systems, while France has promised more artillery, anti-aircraft systems and missiles. The Netherlands will send missiles, and Canada said it would give about $50 million more in military aid, including winter equipment, drone cameras and satellite communications.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian officials say Russia has shelled the southern city of Mykolaiv with S-300 missiles, destroying a five-story apartment building.
Mykolaiv regional governor Vitali Kim said an 11-year-old boy was pulled out alive Thursday after six hours under the rubble, while rescuers are searching for seven more people.
Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Sienkovych said the building’s top two floors were completely destroyed in a single strike and the rest of the building was left in rubble.
ANKARA, Turkey — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country aims to keep up its effort to help reach peace between Russia and Ukraine despite ongoing fighting.
Erdogan made the comments Thursday in Astana, Kazakhstan – where he is attending a regional summit — before a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Our goal is to continue the momentum that has been achieved and bring an end to the bloodshed as soon as possible,” Erdogan said in his address to the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.
He was referring to agreements that Turkey helped broker, which allowed Ukrainian to resume grain exports and led to a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia.
“We are all closely experiencing the effects of the crisis in Ukraine on a regional and global scale,” Erdogan said. “I always say that a just peace can be established with diplomacy, that there are no winners in war and no losers in equitable peace.”
Turkey has retained close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv and has repeatedly offered to organize peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s capital region was struck by Iranian-made kamikaze drones early Thursday, officials said, sending rescue workers rushing to the scene as residents awoke to air raid sirens for the fourth morning in a row following Russia’s massive, deadly assault across the country earlier this week.
Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said the strike occurred around Ukraine’s capital city. It wasn’t yet clear if there were any casualties.
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