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Ukraine war latest: Russia intensifies shelling of southern Ukraine amid Kyiv’s request for more weapon supplies

by Asami Terajima February 19, 2023 11:56 PM 2 min read
A Ukrainian serviceman of the State Border Guard Service holds a mortar shell as he waits for an order to fire a mortar toward the Russian position in the shelter in Bakhmut on Feb. 16, 2023. (Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Feb. 19:
  • Local authorities: 3 killed, 8 wounded in Russian shelling of Kherson Oblast
  • Blinken: US concerned China may provide Russia with weapons
  • Russia's Rostec says it is stepping up production of hypersonic missiles
  • Borrell: 'Ukrainians receive a lot of applause, but not enough ammunition.'

As world leaders gathered at the Munich Security Conference to discuss Moscow's ongoing war, Russian forces intensified shelling of the southern Kherson Oblast on Feb. 19.

Three civilians were killed, and eight – including three children – were wounded in Burhunka, according to the Kherson Oblast Military Administration.

The three victims killed were a mother, father, and an uncle of one family, and their 13-year-old child was wounded, the local authorities said.

According to the report, two other children wounded during the attack were aged eight and ten.

At the annual Munich Security Conference, European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell said on Feb. 19 that the bloc's members need to step up their military support for Ukraine.

Borrell, who recently visited Kyiv to attend the historic EU-Ukraine Summit, stressed that "a lot of applause" is not helpful without actions.

"(President Volodymyr) Zelensky and the Ukrainians get a lot of applause, but not enough ammunition," Borrell said. "It's a paradox. They need less applause and more weapons."

"Ukraine is fighting with the highest price in lives, but this war is taking place on European territory, affecting us and having a global effect on the whole world," Borrell added.

Ukraine has been actively asking for more air defense systems, fighter jets, and long-range missiles.

Russia's weapons

Despite rounds of Western sanctions that countries' leaders said were designed to cripple Russian military production, Moscow appears to be increasing its production of fatal weapons.

Russian state arms conglomerate Rostec said on Feb. 19 that it is scaling up the production of Kinzhal hypersonic aero-ballistic air-to-surface missiles.

Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov said that the amount of weapons the company is producing for the Russian army "has grown significantly, in some cases - 50 times," as quoted by Interfax Russia.

Multiple Western media reports have shown that Russia continues to produce weapons.

Russia-China relations

Washington said it is concerned that China is considering providing weapons to Russia.

At the Munich Security Conference, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that his country is concerned that Beijing is "considering providing lethal support to Russia in its efforts in Ukraine."

During his Feb. 18 meeting with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of the event, Blinken warned Beijing against providing "lethal support" for Russia to wage war against Ukraine.

When asked to elaborate further on "lethal support," Blinken said, "there's a whole gamut of things that fit in that category, everything from ammunition to the weapons themselves."

"And I was able to share with him, as President (Joe) Biden had shared with President Xi (Jinping), the serious consequences that would have for our relationship," Blinken said of the conversations with Wang.

"We've been watching this very closely," Blinken said, adding that Washington has already observed Chinese companies supplying non-lethal assistance to Russia.

Earlier on Feb. 18, CNN reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence, that Washington has observed "disturbing" trends of China's assistance to help the Russian army.

CNN elaborated further in the report that the officials said there are already signs that Beijing seeks to "creep up to the line" and supply lethal military assistance to Moscow discreetly.

Chinese state-owned companies provided Moscow with navigation equipment, jamming technology, and fighter-jet parts, the Wall Street Journals reported earlier in February, citing customs records.

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