More than 4,000 US Army troops who were deployed to Europe on a temporary basis will now have their tour of duty extended — likely for several weeks — as part of the US effort to reassure eastern European allies during the current crisis in Ukraine.
The 1st Armored Brigade Combat team of the 1st Infantry Division had been scheduled to return to the US next month after a nine-month tour in Europe. But the team will now stay and continue training and deterrence missions with nations that could include Poland, Romania and the Baltics.
“I don’t want to speculate on a timeline, but be assured it will only be for as long as they are needed,” John Tomassi, a spokesman for the Army in Europe, told CNN in an email.
In addition to the brigade, there are additional support troops that will be extended. For several years, the army has regularly rotated combat brigades, along with the armored vehicles in and out of Europe, to help maintain a US military presence.
“The deployment of ready, combat-credible US forces to Europe in support US Army Europe and Africa is evidence of the strong and unremitting US commitment to NATO and Europe,” Tomassi said in a statement confirming the details.
“As we continually assess changes in the strategic and operational environment, select units have been extended to provide the forces needed to augment our NATO allies and partners. The units that have been extended provide unique skills and reinforce our role of supporting our NATO allies and partners capable, ready and resilient forces. While we understand the toll this extension takes on not only our soldiers, but also their families, we as a nation must remain committed to the security of Europe. Our presence reinforces our ironclad commitment to NATO, assures our allies and deters future aggression.”
The United Kingdom will provide an additional $53 million (£40 million) in humanitarian aid to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion of the country, according to the UK Prime Minister’s office.
The additional aid was granted following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s discussion with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and meetings with Ukrainian community leaders in London over the weekend.
The funding will help “aid agencies respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation, creating a lifeline for Ukrainians with access to basic necessities and medical supplies such as medicines, syringes, dressings and wound care packs,” according to the news release.
During their conversation on Saturday evening, Zelensky informed Johnson of “the critical need for humanitarian assistance as people are forced to flee their homes and seek safety,” the news release said.
As concerns mount amongst Ukrainians living in the UK, Johnson said Sunday “any person settled in the UK will be able to bring their Ukrainian immediate family members to join them here.”
Johnson stressed in the statement the UK “will not turn our backs in Ukraine’s hour of need,” adding this latest package “brings the total amount of UK Government aid pledged to Ukraine this year to £140 million,” which equals $186 million.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss added the funding would help Ukraine “tackle what is becoming a humanitarian crisis.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson “doubts” Russian President’s Vladimir Putin’s “sincerity” in entering talks with Ukraine.
Talks between Ukrainian and Russian representatives are set to begin at the Belarus border on Monday morning local time, according to Ukrainian officials.
Speaking to reporters in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London on Sunday, Johnson said Putin has “decided to wage a war of choice against the people of Ukraine.”
If he wants to stop, if he wants to withdraw, if he wants to negotiate, that’s very good news. I have my doubts, I’ve got to tell you. Nothing I’ve seen so far in his behavior that leads me to think that he could possibly be sincere,” Johnson said.
The prime minister continued if his Russian counterpart is sincere, he “needs to withdraw his war machine from Ukraine.”
Johnson said Putin’s decision to place his country’s deterrence forces, including nuclear arms, on high alert is “a distraction from the reality of what’s going on in Ukraine.”
He pointed toward “some of the logistical difficulties that the Russian forces are experiencing,” also referencing recent Russian concessions of casualties.
“This is a disastrous, misbegotten venture by President Putin. It can lead to no good whatever, for Russia, as we in the West have said continuously from the beginning. It needs to end. If he has a proposal to negotiate and withdraw, then all the better,” Johnson emphasized.
The world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya, was destroyed by a Russian attack on an airport near Kyiv, according to the Ukraine government official Twitter account.
Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya,'” said Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs. “But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free, and democratic European state.”
Mriya, which translates to “dream,” had been sitting in its hangar at a Ukrainian air base in Hostomel, which had been the site of intense clashes on Thursday when the Russian military took control of the airbase.
Satellite images from Maxar Technologies show significant damage to part of the hangar in which the AN-225 is stored.
NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System detected multiple fires at the airport, including at the hangar where the plane is stored. A fire took place at the hangar where the plane is kept and was detected at 11:13 a.m. on Sunday, according to the NASA data.
NASA obtained the fire data from a number of NOAA and NASA satellites.
It is not clear if the fires at the airport are the result of actual fires or explosions from military strikes.
As Ukrainians continue to repel Russian advances around Kyiv, new satellite images show a more than 3-mile-long Russian military convoy is on a roadway that heads toward the capital city.
According to Maxar, the convoy was seen on satellite images on Sunday around 10:56 a.m. local time on the P-02-02 road near Ivankiv, which is about 40 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of the Ukrainian capital. The P-02-02 road goes toward Kyiv.
Maxar identified fuel and logistical trucks, in addition to tanks, infantry vehicles and self-propelled artillery moving in the convoy.
See the images:
Ukraine has filed an application to institute proceedings against Russia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a “dispute … relating to the interpretation, application and fulfillment of the 1948 Convention and Prevention of Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide,” according to an ICJ news release on the filing.
In the application, Ukraine says Russia has “falsely claimed that acts of genocide have occurred” in the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, adding Russia then subsequently declared and implemented a “special military operation” against Ukraine, the news release says.
President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the news on Twitter, requesting an “urgent decision” from the ICJ.
Ukraine also accuses Russia of “planning acts of genocide” in the country and says Russia is “intentionally killing and inflicting serious injury on members of the Ukrainian nationality,” according to the news release.
The UN Security Council just voted to send the Ukraine issue to the UN General Assembly for a Special Emergency Session due to a permanent member deadlock in the council.
Russia vetoed a US resolution to condemn Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.
“We ask Russia to tone down its rhetoric,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, regarding an announcement of forces being put on nuclear alert.
The vote was procedural, thus not being threatened by another veto.
The results were similar to last week’s vote which blocked approval of a resolution because of the Russia veto.
France has also submitted a resolution regarding humanitarian issues for the council’s consideration.
This is the first UN Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly since 1982 when an UN Emergency Special Session was convened to address the situation in the occupied Arab territories area of Golan Heights.
The number of known people killed in Ukraine following the Russian invasion is 352 civilians, Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior said Sunday.
At least 14 of those killed are children, according to the ministry.
Another 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been injured.
A CNN team south of Belgorod, Russia, near the Ukrainian border has observed Russian vehicles that are broken down or inoperable, as US and Western officials say that a portion of the Russian forces amassed on the border with Ukraine were unusable.
The team has seen several broken-down armored personnel carriers, an armored vehicle being towed, a howitzer that was being repaired on the side of the road when its track had come off, and more.
On the eve of the invasion, US officials said approximately 80% of Russia’s military force amassed on Ukraine’s borders was in forward positions.
A US official said the US believes a portion of the remaining force was inoperable. At the same time, a European official told CNN Russia’s fictional pullback in the days before the invasion had included removing broken vehicles from the field.
A senior defense official said Sunday morning that Russia still has a significant capacity of forces that have not yet been deployed into Ukraine.