Ukraine-Russia war latest: Ukraine moves US tanks away from frontlines after 'hunter-killer drone' attacks (2024)

Key points
  • Russia would struggle in Ukraine without China's help, US says
  • Ukraine sidelines US Abrams tanks after drone attacks
  • US expected to announce $6bn of long-term military aid to Ukraine
  • Russia would target NATO nuclear weapons if deployed in Poland
  • Explained:Why has Ukraine aid bill passed now, after months of delay?
  • Your questions answered:How long will it take for any aid to turn the tide militarily?
  • Listen to the Sky News Daily above andtap hereto follow wherever you get your podcasts
  • Live reporting by Andy Hayes


Russia has used 9,000 guided aerial bombs against Ukraine this year, Zelenskyy says

Russian jets have already used more than9,000guided aerial bombs against Ukraine this year, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

The recent pause in US funding helped Moscow to seize the initiative, the Ukrainian president added.

He is asking for additional Patriot air defence systems to be supplied, saying at least seven are required.

"We urgently need Patriot systems and missiles for them," he said.

"This is what can and should save lives right now."

He added: "We need the ability toshoot down the air combat aircraft so that they do not approachour positions and borders," Mr Zelenskyy said at the start of avirtual meeting led by the United States.

Lloyd Austin, theUS defence secretary, said the meeting of theUkraine Defence Contact Group -a coalition of about 50 countries - would focus onUkraine's air defence capabilities.

As we have been reporting, the US has finally passed a new $61bn (£49bn) programme of funding for Kyiv into law.


Your questions answered: Will Ukraine launch another spring offensive?

Over the past couple of weeks we've been asking for your questions on the war for our military analysts and international correspondents.

Every week we're picking one or two to answer - here is this week's...

Will the Ukrainians have another spring offensive or wait again until the summer?

Military analyst Sean Bell answers this one...

Thank you for this interesting question, Declan.

For the past few months, the tide of the war in Ukraine has been in Russia's favour as shortages of weapons have limited Ukraine's strategic options.

Russia has been attacking Ukrainian energy infrastructure and major cities with barrages of missile and drones, leaving Ukraine with critical shortages of aid defence missiles.

The Russian air force has also been more active in support of its frontline forces, capitalising on Ukraine's growing shortage of defensive missile capability.

Despite the broad spectrum of military action from both sides, the primary metric of success in this conflict is territory gained/liberated, and Russia has been focusing its ground forces on the Donbas region.

Putin's long game

Despite suffering huge casualties, Russian forces have clearly been capitalising on Ukraine's dwindling stocks of artillery shells and bullets to gain momentum on the front line.

Vladimir Putin is evidently playing the long game here, as he always anticipated that the West's enthusiasm to support Ukraine would wane, leaving Russia to achieve its invasion objectives.

Although the recent announcement of a new package of $60bn military aid from the US will be welcome news for Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the immediate challenge will be to translate the commitment of cash into weapons and ammunition in the hands of the Ukrainian fighters - and swiftly.

Momentum is invaluable in military operations, and reversing Russian progress across the frontline will be one of Ukraine's main priorities this spring/summer.

Having stabilised the frontline, Ukraine's attention can then turn to the wider strategy of "what next".

Last year's much anticipated "spring offensive" failed to make significant territorial gains, so Ukraine will need to reconsider its wider strategy to focus its limited resources most effectively.

Feast-famine approach won't work

Longer-term, the West needs to agree its strategic approach to the conflict.

Large-scale conflicts consume munitions and weapons at a rate well beyond the capacity of peacetime stockpiles, and require an industrialisation of national defence industries to produce the huge volumes required.

Russia has grown its defence industrial base to three times its pre-war levels, and is also using oil revenues to fund munitions imports from North Korea and Iran.

The West has yet to match this capacity.

If Ukraine is to prevail in the war with Russia, it will need a predictable and sustainable supply of weapons - not the feast/famine approach that has characterised the past two years.

The West has the defence industrial capability to over-match Russia, but has yet to demonstrate the political resolve to fulfil that potential.

West's political will is key

In the meantime, Russia knows that a more direct engagement by the West in support of Ukraine would be decisive - Russia could not achieve its war aims.

That is why President Putin and Russian foreign minister Lavrov use threatening rhetoric whenever the West considers increasing support for Ukraine, with regular threats that such support would increase the risk of nuclear war.

However, it is Russia that invaded Ukraine, and it is Russia's military action that is causing such devastation to Ukrainian communities across the frontline.

Ultimately, the West can halt Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine - by providing weapons, boots on the ground and/or establishing a no-fly-zone - if it has the political resolve to do so.

If not, this latest round of military aid to Ukraine risks being seen as a short-term palliative, without a long-term strategy.


US sending weapons to Ukraine 'this week' after funding boost, Biden says

The United States is sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine "this week", Joe Biden has said.

Referring to a $61bn (£49bn) programme of funding for Kyiv that has finally been passed byCongress following a long delay, the president said he had signed it quickly into law.

It arrived on his desk early on Wednesday, he said, and he approved it before midday.

The new items will help to defend Ukraine from "Russian bombardment", he said.

Earlier (06.54) we reported that the US is expected to announce about $6bn (£4.8bn) in military aid to Ukraine today.


British man charged with conducting hostile activity in UK to benefit Russia

A British man has been charged with conducting hostile state activity to benefit Russia, prosecutors have said.

Dylan Earl, 20, is alleged to have targeted businesses linked to Ukraine to benefit the Russian state.

Nick Price, head of the CPS's special crime and counterterrorism division, said: "Included in the alleged activity was involvement in the planning of an arson attack on a Ukrainian-linked commercial property in March 2024."

Four others have also been charged in connection with the investigation, the CPS said, after reporting restrictions were lifted today.

Read more on this breaking story here.


China assisting Russia as much as it can 'without invoking sanctions'

China is "frightened" of evoking US sanctions but is still getting "right up to the line" in assisting the Russian war effort, Professor Michael Clarke has said.

Analysing remarks by the US secretary of state (see previous post) that Washington has serious concerns about China providing weapons components to Russia, our military analyst said China is carefully calibrating its actions.

Those components - while not particularly sophisticated - are needed for missiles and high-tech weapons, Prof Clarke said.

He explained: "It's been known for a long time that the Chinese are supplying these.

"They're not supplying Russia with weapons because they're frightened of American sanctions.

"They're certainly frightened of secondary sanctions, whereby the Americans can sanction a company dealing with a company that supplies to Russia."

Despite that fear, however, Prof Clarke said the Chinese have "gone right up to the line in assisting Russia without obviously sending them weapons".

In addition, they are facilitating the supply of weapons from North Korea to Russia, he added.


Russia would struggle in Ukraine without China's help, Blinken says

Russia would struggle to sustain its invasion of Ukraine without China's help, the US secretary of state has said.

Antony Blinken - speaking in Beijing following talks withChina's top diplomat, Wang Yi - said he had "reiterated" serious concerns about China providing components that are "powering Russia's brutal war of aggression against Ukraine".

He added: "China is the top supplier of machine tools, microelectronics and nitrocellulose, which is critical to making munitions and rocket propellants and other dual-use items that Moscow is using to ramp its defence industrial base," he said during a news conference.

That industrial base is "churning out rockets, drones, tanks and other weapons that President Putin is using to invade a sovereign country", he added.

Those weapons are being used to "demolish a power grid and other civilian infrastructure and to kill innocent children, women and men", Mr Blinken said.

He went on: "Russia would struggle to sustain its assault on Ukraine without China's support.

"In my meetings with NATO's allies earlier this month and with our G7 partners just last week, I heard that same message: fuelling Russia's defence industrial base not only threatens Ukrainian security, it threatens European security.

"Beijing cannot achieve better relations with Europe while supporting the greatest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War.

"As we've told China for some time, ensuring transatlantic security is a core US interest.

"In our discussions today, I made it clear that if China does not address this problem, we will."


At least four people wounded after reported Russian bomb attack

At least four people were injured after Russia bombed an industrial site and a residential building in northeastern Ukraine, local officials have said.

Three children and a woman were hurt when munitions hit acentral part of the town of Derhachi in the Kharkiv region,governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram.

In the Sumy region, two bombs struck an industrial facility, regional authorities said.

The neighbouring regions, which border Russia, have undergone frequent aerial attacks.

In recent weeks, more intensive strikes have hitcivilian and energy infrastructure.


Detained journalist accused of spreading 'fake news' about Russian army

A journalist working for the Russian edition of Forbes magazine hasbeendetained on suspicion of spreading "fake news" about the Russianarmy, the magazine has said on its website.

Sergei Mingazov is being held in adetention centre in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, according to his lawyer,Konstantin Bubon.

There has been no contact with the journalist, Forbes reported.

Forbes is an American business magazine.


Is Russia evading sanctions? The luxury car market suggests it might be....

By Ed Conway, economics and data editor

The extraordinary, unprecedented and largely unexplained flows of millions of pounds of British luxury cars into states neighbouring Russia continued in February, according to new official data.

Some £26m worth of British cars were exported to Azerbaijan, according to HM Revenue & Customs.

In the latest quarter this former Soviet state - which has developing economy status - was the 17th largest destination for UK cars, and bigger than long-established export markets such as Ireland, Portugal and Qatar, the numbers show.

Read more below...


Russia able to 'continuously target Ukrainian positions' north of Donetsk

Russian forces have accelerated their advance west ofAvdiivka, the UK defence ministry has said.

Russia took control of the city, which is north of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, in mid-February.

It has now entered the town of Ocheretyne, about 15km north of central Avdiivka, the MoD added in its latest intelligence update.

The area is one of the "primary areas of Russian operations", it said.

"Despite sustaining continued high losses, it is highly likely that Russian ground forces are able to continuously target Ukrainian positions in the area and have taken control of several small settlements."

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Ukraine moves US tanks away from frontlines after 'hunter-killer drone' attacks (2024)


Ukraine-Russia war latest: Ukraine moves US tanks away from frontlines after 'hunter-killer drone' attacks? ›

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukraine has sidelined U.S.-provided Abrams

The M1 Abrams is a modern main battle tank used by the United States. It is also exported to many countries. It is a well armed, well protected, and fast tank designed for modern armored ground warfare. Notable features of the M1 Abrams include the use of a powerful engine, layered armor, and a low profile. › wiki › M1_Abrams
M1A1 battle tanks for now in its fight against Russia, in part because Russian drone warfare has made it too difficult for them to operate without detection or coming under attack, two U.S. military officials told The Associated Press.

How many Abrams tanks have been lost in Ukraine? ›

The US agreed to send 31 Abrams to Ukraine in January 2023. Five have been lost to Russian attacks. The proliferation of drones means “there isn't open ground that you can just drive across without fear of detection”, a senior defence official said on Thursday.

How many tanks does Russia have left now? ›

The IISS Military Balance 2024 report says Russia has around 1,750 tanks of various types—including more than 200 of the T-90 variety—remaining, with up to 4,000 tanks in storage.

How many Leopard 2 tanks does Ukraine have? ›

Main battle tanks
Leopard 1West Germany Germany Norway Denmark Netherlands>270
Leopard 2West Germany Germany Poland Sweden Finland Portugal Spain Norway Canada Netherlands Denmark>130
Challenger 2United Kingdom14
M1 AbramsUnited States31
8 more rows

How many Challenger tanks has Ukraine lost? ›

The Challenger 2 is perfect for Ukraine, it is an upgrade of the Challenger 1 designed specifically for fighting Soviet/Russian forces, and is one of the most survivable tanks in the world – only one of the 14 sent to Ukraine has been lost, whereas 27 of the c.

How many Abrams tanks were lost? ›

The tanks were destroyed by U.S. forces in order to prevent any trophy-claim by the Iraqi Army. A total of 23 M1A1s were damaged or destroyed during the war. Of the nine Abrams tanks destroyed, seven were destroyed by friendly fire and two intentionally destroyed to prevent capture by the Iraqi Army.

How many captured tanks does Ukraine have? ›

Subtracting 700 losses from a pre-war strength of 1,000 then adding 500 tanks the Ukrainians captured from the Russians, several hundred ex-Soviet tanks Ukrainian technicians recovered from long-term storage and another 600 tanks Ukraine so far has received from its allies results in a current inventory of maybe 2,000 ...

How many planes has Russia lost in Ukraine? ›

In total, the Russian Air Force (VVS) has so far lost 105 aircraft, according to specialized open-source intelligence site Oryx (which only counts losses verified by visual documentation). On the Ukrainian side, losses since the start of the invasion amount to 75 combat aircraft.

How many soldiers does Ukraine have left? ›

Armed Forces of Ukraine
Ukrainian Armed Forces
Active personnel1,000,000+ (2024)
Reserve personnel2,000,000 (2024)
Budget$66 billion (2024) foreign military aid
22 more rows

Why is Leopard 2 better than Russian tanks? ›

The Leopard 2 is more advanced than many of the Soviet-era tanks fielded by both Russian and Ukrainian forces. Even older versions of the tank have modern optics, including thermal imaging, that allow it to operate day and night, as well as magnification and a laser range finder to track targets.

How many Bradleys has Ukraine lost? ›

Out of 186 Bradleys provided to Ukraine, 68 have been reported as destroyed, damaged, or abandoned, highlighting the intense battlefield attrition. Summary: Russia has captured a U.S.-made M2A2-ODS-SA Bradley Fighting Vehicle from Ukraine, showcasing it as a war trophy in a propaganda tour across Russia.

Are there any Challenger 1 tanks left? ›

Withdrawals of the Challenger 1 from the British Army began in 1998 and it had been completely replaced by the Challenger 2 by 2001. The bulk of these vehicles were exported to Jordan with around 20 vehicles retained for testing, development, and museum display.

Is the Challenger 2 better than Russian tanks? ›

However, on paper, the Challenger II is generally considered to be a superior tank. It has better armor protection, including advanced composite and reactive armor, and superior optics and targeting systems. The Challenger II's L30A1 120mm rifled gun is also highly effective.

Was Abrams knocked out Ukraine? ›

The second Abrams got knocked out on or before March 3—this time reportedly by a Kornet laser-guided anti-tank missile that hit the relatively thinly-protected side of the tank's hull and passed right through the attached M-19 explosive reactive armor.

How many M1 Abrams have been destroyed? ›

One of them was hit by enemy fire, the two other embedded in mud. The tanks were destroyed by U.S. forces to prevent any trophy-claim by the Iraqi Army. A total of 23 M1A1s were damaged or destroyed during the war.

Are M1 Abrams tanks being destroyed in Ukraine by Russia? ›

In under a week, Ukraine witnessed the destruction of three U.S.-made M1 Abrams tanks, reportedly by Russian anti-tank guided missiles. These losses, particularly highlighted on social media, have served as a propaganda boost for Russia.

Was the first Abrams tank destroyed in Ukraine? ›

The Ukrainian army has lost, for the first time, an American-made M-1 Abrams tank. A video from a Russian drone that circulated online on Monday depicts the drone hunting one of the 69-ton, four-person tanks—31 of of which equipped the Ukrainian army's 47th Mechanized Brigade—west of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine.


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