Western allies pledge precision rockets, missile systems to Ukraine

Himalaya Times
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Western allies pledged precision rockets and missile systems to Ukraine on Friday, after President Volodymyr Zelensky called for sophisticated weapons to help retain control of the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut.

The European Union agreed to introduce price caps on Russian petroleum products to try to further limit Russian President Vladimir Putin's war chest by targeting his key exports.

At the Kyiv summit, the EU praised Ukraine's "considerable efforts" to start the reforms needed for joining the bloc, but urged it to go further. Corruption is a key European concern. Ukraine has widened efforts to tackle it, with raids this week on an oligarch with political connections and a former interior minister.

In Brussels, the EU, the Group of Seven industrialised countries and Australia agreed to cap the price of Russian refined oil products to accompany an embargo on ship deliveries of the products that comes into force on Sunday.

The new embargo and price caps starting Sunday will target Russian refined oil products such as petrol, diesel and heating fuel arriving on ships.

Zelensky, who is pressing for speedy EU accession, suggested Friday that talks could begin this year.

"What exactly did we agree upon today?" Zelensky said in his regular evening address. "There is an understanding that it is possible to start negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the European Union this year."

But the path to join the EU could take years. Von der Leyen cautioned that the process was merit-based and there could be "no rigid timelines" on either negotiations or membership.

For now, the EU says it will do more to divert Russia's frozen assets for use compensating Ukraine for damage inflicted since the invasion. Brussels also plans to roll out a new package of sanctions on the first anniversary of the invasion, February 24.


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