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Ukraine war briefing: Long-range Atacms missiles on the way, says Zelenskiy

Russian attack shears Kharkiv TV tower in half; EU ministers urge no complacency after US steps up with aid. What we know on day 790

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, said legislation passed by the US House of Representatives and awaiting Senate approval had clarified that Ukraine would be receiving the longer-range version of Atacms (Army Tactical Missile Systems) that it has long sought. Atacms is highly prized by the Ukrainian army for its firepower, speed of deployment and accuracy, but Ukraine has so far been restricted to a version that can only fire 165km (102 miles). Newer versions can fire about 300km. Atacms can be launched from the similarly prized Himars system already supplied by the US to Ukraine.

A White House statement confirmed that Biden told Zelenskiy “that his administration will quickly provide significant new security assistance packages to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield and air defence needs as soon as the Senate passes the national security supplemental and he signs it into law”. Zelenskiy said he thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden, for support and leadership in a phone conversation on Monday.

Rishi Sunak has promised the UK’s largest ever military support package for Ukraine as he warned that Vladimir Putin would “not stop at the Polish border” if Russia won the war. The UK plans to give vital equipment to Kyiv including 400 vehicles, 1,600 weapons and 4m rounds of ammunition, as well as an additional £500m in military funding, taking the total to £3bn this financial year.

European ministers said they were looking urgently at how to provide more air defence to Ukraine but stopped short of concrete pledges to supply the Patriot systems that Kyiv values most. Meeting in Luxembourg, foreign and defence ministers from the EU said the US House of Representatives’ vote to approve a Ukraine aid package at the weekend should not lead to any complacency on their part. Since Kyiv began a push for more Patriots in recent weeks, Germany has been the only EU country to pledge an extra battery. Officials have said it is hard for countries to part with Patriots as they are an integral part of national defences.

A Russian missile strike that broke in half a 240-metre high television tower in Kharkiv on Monday is part of a deliberate effort by Moscow to make Ukraine’s second largest city uninhabitable, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said. The north-eastern city of 1.3 million people lies 30km (18 miles) from the Russian border. Communications officials said they were working to restore the television signal, urging residents of the city and region without digital television signal to use cable or online television or the radio.

Ukraine’s military said it was still in control of the village of Novomykhailivka, 40km (25 miles) south-west of the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which Russian forces earlier claimed to have captured. Russia said on Sunday that its forces gained territory near the key battleground of Chasiv Yar in east Ukraine, taking control of Bogdanivka, a small village less than 3km north-east of the town.

Poland is ready to host nuclear arms if Nato decides to deploy them in the face of Russia reinforcing its armaments in Belarus and Kaliningrad, the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, said in an interview published on Monday. “If our allies decide to deploy nuclear arms on our territory as part of nuclear sharing, to reinforce Nato’s eastern flank, we are ready to do so,” Duda said in an interview published by the Fakt daily.

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