Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 363 of the invasion
Russian Preisdent Vladimir Putin has given a long televised national address to the joint houses of the Russian parliament, in which he blamed the west for starting the war in Ukraine, announced Russia would suspend the New Start nuclear treaty with the US, and promised a new fund to help those who had lost loved ones in what he referred to as Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Putin claimed the Ukrainian people had become “hostages of their western masters” who occupied the country in political, economic and military terms. He said “the regime is not serving their national interest. They are serving the interests of foreign powers”. He claimed the west is trying to turn a local conflict into a global conflict and “we will react in an appropriate way. We are talking about the existence of our country.”
Referring to the sham referendums held late last year, Putin praised the citizens of occupied Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, saying “You yourself determined your future. You made your choice despite the threats of terror of the Nazis. Next to you there were military actions taking place, and you made the choice to be together with Russia. To be together with your motherland.”
Putin said the west had begun “not just a military, but an economic aggression” against Russia. “They have not achieved success in either of these areas,” he said, boasting that Russia’s economy had restructured and that “the initiators of the sanctions are punishing themselves.”
Ukrainian responses to the speech were scathing. “He is in a completely different reality, where there is no opportunity to conduct a dialogue about justice and international law,” political adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said. Another adviser, Anton Gerashchenko, said “The insolent thief said that Russian farmers harvested a “record harvest” last year. And he shyly kept silent about the fact that it was stolen Ukrainian grain, which was transported to the Russian Federation by freight trains”. Ukraine’s ambassador to Austria called Putin a liar.
Russian state media websites broadcasting Putin’s address suffered an outage during his speech. The state-run RIA Novosti news agency said the outage was the result of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday Russia’s decision to suspend participation in the New Start bilateral nuclear arms control treaty made the world a more dangerous place, and he urged Moscow to reconsider.
The impact of Russia’s statement that it is suspending nuclear arms control talks is unclear and the US nuclear posture remains unchanged, state department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday.
Russians forces shelled civilian areas of the southern city of Kherson, killing six people and injuring 12 more, at the same time that the Russian president was speaking.
Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it had summoned US ambassador Lynne Tracy over what it called Washington’s increasingly “aggressive course”, accusing it of widening its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
Joe Biden had visited Kyiv on Monday to announce a new package of additional US aid to Ukraine worth $500m (£415m) including artillery ammunition, anti-armour systems, and air surveillance radars. The timing of his visit – before Putin’s address – was seen as a deliberate rebuke of the Russian president.
The US president then arrived in Warsaw late on Monday evening where he is set to meet with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, along with other leaders of countries on Nato’s eastern flank. The US president will make a speech later today outside Warsaw’s royal castle.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he and Biden spoke about “long-range weapons and the weapons that may still be supplied to Ukraine, even though it wasn’t supplied before”. But no new commitments were detailed.
There have been at least 18,955 civilian casualties since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The OHCHR released the report citing the number of casualties as being 7,199 killed and 11,756 injured, but believes the actual figures are considerably higher.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, said on Tuesday that the country’s defence minister and chief of general staff were depriving his fighters of munitions, accusing them of trying to destroy Wagner. “There is simply direct opposition going on,” Prigozhin said in a voice message posted on his Telegram channel. He said it was “an attempt to destroy Wagner” and equated it to treason.
Eighteen Russian MPs are expected to attend a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on Friday, the first anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine has already said it will boycott the winter session of the OSCE’s parliamentary assembly at the organisation’s headquarters on 23 and 24 February, saying Russia would use the event to “justify its aggression” and “whitewash war crimes”.
Belarus said on Tuesday that there was a significant grouping of Ukrainian troops massed near its border and warned that this posed a threat to its security. “At present, a significant grouping of the Ukrainian army is concentrated in the immediate vicinity of the Belarusian-Ukrainian section of the state border,” the defence ministry said in a post on Telegram. “The probability of armed provocations, which can escalate into border incidents, has been high for a long time,” it said, adding that it would take “measures to adequately respond.”
Japan is to provide $5.5 billion in financial aid to Ukraine, the prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has said, ahead of a G7 video conference on Friday that will include the Ukrainian president.
The Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, is in Kyiv to meet with Zelenskiy, and reiterate Italy’s support for the war-torn country. Tuesday’s trip is seen as one of the most significant made by Meloni since she came to power in October and comes a week after her coalition partner Silvio Berlusconi, the Forza Italia leader, blamed Zelenskiy for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
EU foreign ministers on Monday discussed jointly procuring ammunition to provide to Ukraine during a meeting in Brussels. “It is the most urgent issue. If we fail on that, the result of the war is in danger,” the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said before the meeting. Borrell said the EU needs to ensure that Ukraine has enough ammunition to continue its fight against the Russian invasion, regarding the advance payments scheme as a vital medium-term solution, but wants ammunition delivered from national stocks now.
China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, is expected to visit Moscow with proposals for a political settlement to the war. Over the weekend, US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, warned against Beijing providing material support to Moscow’s invasion, prompting China to tell the US to keep out of its relationship with Russia. “We would like a political solution to provide a peaceful and sustainable framework to Europe,” Wang Yi said ahead of his visit during a stop in Hungary.
Former UK prime minister’s Boris Johnson and Liz Truss urged Rishi Sunak to send fighter jets to Ukraine during a debate on Monday in the House of Commons. Truss said she “could not wait to see fighter jets over Ukraine” while Johnson urged the government to “cut to the chase” and “give them the planes”.