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As Ukrainian forces sustained intensified Russian assaults within the east of the nation, the highest U.S. and Ukrainian navy officers met for the primary time at a secret location in southeastern Poland as Kyiv pressed the necessity for elevated provides of Western arms in its protection in opposition to Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

A U.S. navy spokesman mentioned Military Common Mark Milley, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Workers, met with Common Valeriy Zaluzhniy, Ukraine’s navy chief, at a base close to Poland’s border with Ukraine on January 17.

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The Washington Put up and different information retailers reported that the U.S. contingent included 5 different navy officers, together with an interpreter and safety personnel. Due to security precautions, information of the gathering was not disclosed till it concluded.

“They each thought it was essential,” U.S. navy spokesman Colonel David Butler mentioned.

“It is essential that two crucial navy officers take a look at one another within the eye once they speak about crucial subjects. It makes a distinction,” he added.

The 2 have spoken typically since Russia’s February 24, 2022, invasion, however this was the primary face-to-face assembly of the generals.

Zaluzhniy confirmed the assembly, writing on Twitter: “My first private assembly with #GenMilley, Chairman of @thejointstaff occurred in Poland.”

He mentioned he “prolonged my gratitude for the unwavering help & help” offered by the US and different allies. He added that he “outlined the pressing wants” of the Ukrainian navy that “will speed up our victory.”

The assembly got here as Ukrainian cities and troops confronted relentless Russian assaults, primarily within the east of the nation, over the previous 24 hours and as Western allies ready to satisfy in Germany to debate giving Ukraine offensive armaments reminiscent of tanks, a serious want of leaders in Kyiv.

The Common Workers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces mentioned in its day by day report on January 17 that Russians launched greater than 70 assaults the day before today, shelling 15 settlements close to the disputed metropolis of Bakhmut in Donetsk, together with the strategic city of Soledar, which has been all however razed to the bottom by Russian shelling.

A Russian victory in Soledar would enable Moscow’s forces to inch nearer to Bakhmut, the place pitched battles have been raging for months.

“The enemy doesn’t abandon its intentions to grab your complete Donetsk area. It’s conducting offensive actions within the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka instructions,” the Common Workers mentioned, including that Russian forces additionally continued to press within the course of Zaporizhzhya and Kherson.

WATCH: Lots of got here to bid farewell to a well-liked boxing coach on January 17 within the central Ukrainian metropolis of Dnipro. Korenovskiy was a sufferer of a January 14 Russian missile strike on a nine-story residence constructing that killed no less than 40 folks.

The most recent assaults got here after a Russian missile strike on an residence constructing that homes round 1,700 folks within the central Ukrainian metropolis of Dnipro killed no less than 45 folks.

Ukrainian officers mentioned on January 17 that rescuers had referred to as off the seek for victims of the assault, with little or no hope of discovering alive any of the 20 individuals who stay lacking.

Russia has denied accountability for the assault on the large residence complicated.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy mentioned in his common video handle on January 16 that the assault on Dnipro and Russia’s push to realize the higher hand within the east highlighted the necessity for the West “to hurry up decision-making” in supplying weapons.

Kyiv has lengthy been pushing for tanks and armored autos that may assist it punch holes in Russia’s entrance traces.

Britain confirmed on January 16 that it was going to ship 14 Challenger 2 tanks and different navy tools, together with a whole bunch of armored autos and superior air-defense techniques.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki ratcheted up strain on Germany on January 16 to observe swimsuit and supply extra weapons to Ukraine, together with Leopard 2 battle tanks, however Berlin says these tanks ought to be provided provided that there’s settlement amongst Kyiv’s essential allies, notably the US.

Poland and Finland have already pledged to ship a few of their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Analysts say the Leopard 2 is superior to the tanks Russia has deployed and would give Kyiv a decisive benefit.

The Netherlands will ship a Patriot missile-defense system to Ukraine, Dutch information company ANP reported on January 17. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who’s presently in Washington, D.C. to satisfy with U.S. President Joe Biden, introduced a joint U.S.-German initiative to ship the protection techniques to Ukraine.

Oleskiy Danylov, secretary of Ukraine’s Safety Council, mentioned on January 16 that Ukraine urgently wants extra and higher weapons it expects Russia “to try to make a so-called ultimate push” that might happen on the invasion’s anniversary or in March.

U.S. Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin is getting ready to go to Berlin on January 19 after which host a gathering of the Ukraine Protection Contact Group the next day on the U.S. navy base in Ramstein to debate additional help — together with navy help — for Ukraine with allies.

Zelenskiy mentioned on January 16 that he expects a “key resolution on arms provides from our companions” on the Ramstein assembly.

In the meantime, Russia’s Protection Ministry mentioned in a press release on January 17 that Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu had visited Russian troops concerned in Ukraine. The knowledge couldn’t be independently confirmed.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and The Washington Put up

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