By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
(CNN) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pleaded with Western allies to provide military aid to his country as Russia continues its unprovoked invasion.
“We need you now,” Zelensky told members of the US Congress in one of his last pleas for help before a friendly government.
The United States and other NATO member countries have responded to a number of Zelensky’s demands, while stopping short of some steps they say could risk an escalation of war.
Military assistance provided to Ukraine so far includes weapons ranging from man-portable drones to complex long-range missile systems.
Switchblade Drones. Small portable drones called kamikazes that carry warheads and explode on impact. The smallest model can hit a target up to six miles away, according to the company that produces the drones, AeroVironment. It is not known what size model the United States will send to Ukraine.
Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. These heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles have a range of approximately five miles and 11,000 feet. Importantly, Stinger missiles can distinguish between enemy and friendly aircraft.
Javelin anti-tank weapons. This guided missile system can be shoulder-fired by a single soldier and has a range of up to 8,200 feet.
AT-4 anti-armour systems. These Swedish anti-armour weapons are “lightweight, single-shot and completely disposable”, according to the company that produces them, Saab Bofors Dynamics.
Patriot air defense missile system. The United States also delivered two missile defense systems to Poland this month intended to deter Russia and bolster Poland’s security amid fears in the West that the Ukraine conflict could spill over into the countries aligned with the EU. NATO.
The Patriot air defense missile system – Patriot stands for “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept of Target” – is designed to counter and destroy incoming short-range ballistic missiles, advanced aircraft and cruise missiles.
The battery includes missiles and launch stations, a radar array that detects and tracks targets, and an engagement control station, according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.
Beyond military aid to Ukraine, the United States and its NATO allies have issued a series of sanctions against Russia.
Putin. The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada have announced that they will introduce sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
QUICK. The US, EU, UK and Canada have banned some Russian banks from SWIFT, the highly secure network that facilitates payments between 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries.
Most favored nation status. The House of Representatives passed a bill to suspend normal trade relations with Russia. The final vote was 424 to 8 with strong bipartisan support for the bill, which will then head to the Senate.
energy and oil. EU officials said the bloc would cut imports of Russian natural gas by two-thirds this year, and the EU announced a plan to achieve energy independence from Moscow “well before 2030”. This would separate Europe from its main energy supplier.
Separately, President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian imports of oil, natural gas and coal into the United States. And the UK government said on Tuesday it would phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022 and also explore ways to end natural gas imports.
Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Germany has suspended certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline following Moscow’s actions.
Unmet Ukrainian demands
As Russia’s murderous invasion continues, Zelensky has called for certain actions that Western allies fear will bring them into direct conflict with the Kremlin and escalate the war.
No-fly zone. Zelensky has repeatedly called on Ukraine’s allies to establish a no-fly zone over the country. A no-fly zone is an area where certain aircraft cannot fly for a number of reasons. In a conflict like the one in Ukraine, that would probably mean an area where Russian planes were not allowed to fly, to prevent them from carrying out airstrikes against Ukraine.
The problem with military no-fly zones is that they must be enforced by a military power. If a Russian plane flew into a NATO no-fly zone, NATO forces would have to take action against that plane. These measures could include firing the plane from the sky. This would be, in Russia’s eyes, an act of war by NATO and would likely escalate the conflict.
S-300 missile defense systems. This surface-to-air missile system can strike targets that are both higher and further away than those Stinger missiles are designed for.
Slovakia initially agreed to supply Ukraine with a key Soviet-era air defense system to help defend against Russian airstrikes, according to three sources familiar with the matter. But the United States and NATO are still wondering how to strengthen the defensive capabilities of this country, and the transfer is not yet assured.
MiG fighter aircraft. Earlier this month, the United States rejected a Polish proposal to transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets to the United States for delivery to Ukraine.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement that the United States did not believe Poland’s proposal was “sustainable” and that it was too risky.
“The prospect of fighter jets ‘at the disposal of the government of the United States of America’ leaving a US/NATO base in Germany to fly into disputed airspace with Russia over Ukraine is sparking serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” he added. said Kirby.
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