NATO allies send 1,500 combat vehicles, 230 tanks to Ukraine as counteroffensive looms

Ukrainian soldier holding onto his helmet
A Ukrainian soldier holds onto his helmet as he rides an armored vehicle in Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, on Wednesday.

NATO countries have delivered more than 98% of the combat vehicles promised to Ukraine amid its war with Russia, the military alliance’s chief said Thursday, giving Kyiv a bigger punch as it contemplates launching a counteroffensive.

Along with more than 1,550 armored vehicles, 230 tanks and other equipment, Ukraine’s allies have sent “vast amounts of ammunition” and also trained and equipped more than nine new Ukrainian brigades, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

More than 30,000 troops are estimated to make up the new brigades. Some NATO partner countries, such as Sweden and Australia, have also provided armored vehicles.

“This will put Ukraine in a strong position to continue to retake occupied territory,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.


His comments came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had a “long and meaningful” phone call in their first known contact since Russia’s full-scale invasion more than a year ago.

Though Zelensky said he was encouraged by Wednesday’s call and Western officials welcomed Xi’s move, the development didn’t appear to bring about any immediate shift in peace prospects.

Russian private military contractor Wagner is busy boosting its brand as its fighters try to subdue Ukraine, trading secrecy for war propaganda movies.

April 25, 2023

Russia and Ukraine are far apart in their terms for peace, and Beijing — while looking to position itself as a global diplomatic power — has refused to criticize Moscow’s invasion. The Chinese government sees Russia as a diplomatic ally in opposing U.S. influence in global affairs, and Xi visited Moscow last month.

Stoltenberg said the 31 NATO allies were committed to shoring up Ukraine’s military, adding that taking back land occupied by the Kremlin’s forces would give Kyiv a stronger negotiating position if peace talks occur.

Ukrainian officials said China’s overture was encouraging. Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal on Thursday described the call between Xi and Zelensky as “very productive.”

“I’m convinced it is a good beginning for our relations in the future,″ Shmyhal said after visiting Pope Francis at the Vatican.


Belarus’ president has welcomed thousands of Russian troops to his country but has avoided having it take part directly in the fighting in Ukraine.

April 26, 2023

But the Kremlin’s response was lukewarm. Asked if the call could help end the fighting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “We are ready to welcome anything that could lead to the termination of the conflict in Ukraine and the achievement of all the goals set by Russia.”

Peskov said the conversation between the Chinese and Ukrainian leaders was “the sovereign business of those countries and the issue of their bilateral dialogue.”

With battlefield positions in Ukraine largely static as a war of attrition took hold in recent months, Russian forces have kept up their bombardment of Ukrainian areas, often hitting apartment buildings and other civilian infrastructure.

At least seven civilians were killed and 33 were injured between Wednesday and Thursday, Zelensky’s office said Thursday.

If war is hell, there’s a credible case Bakhmut is its ninth circle, as Russia besieges the Ukrainian city that has symbolic, if not strategic, value for both sides.

April 11, 2023

They included one person killed and 23 wounded, including a child, when four Kalibr cruise missiles hit the southern city of Mykolaiv, officials said.

The governor of Mykolaiv province, Vitaliy Kim, said 22 multistory buildings, 12 private houses and other residential buildings were damaged in the attack.


Kalibr missiles are launched from ships or submarines. The ones that hit Mykolaiv were fired from somewhere in the Black Sea, according to Ukraine’s Operational Command South.