Ukraine news - live: Abrams tanks pose ‘no offensive threat’ to Russia, insists Biden

The US will send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine and Germany will send its own Leopard 2s – after weeks of persistent calls from Kyiv for the weaponry to help it fight off Russia’s invasion.

President Joe Biden said that the battle tanks pose “no offensive threat”, as Russia denounced the decisions as an “extremely dangerous” step, while Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the move.

Urging allied to provide large quantities of tanks quickly, he said: “The key now is speed and volumes. Speed in training our forces, speed in supplying tanks to Ukraine. The numbers in tank support.”

Ukraine has been seeking hundreds of modern tanks to reclaim occupied territory in the south and east with the two warring countries have been relying primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said any Abrams shipments would be a waste of money as they “burn” like other tanks.

“It overestimates the potential it will add to the Ukrainian army. These tanks burn just like all the others,” Mr Peskov told reporters

Key points

  • Biden says Abrams tanks pose ‘no offensive threat’ to Russia

  • US sends fleet of Abrams tanks and tow vehicles to Kyiv

  • Leopard tanks won’t reach frontline for three months - German defence minister

  • Germany confirms it will send tanks to Ukraine

  • Russia condemns US tank deliveries as 'blatant provocation’

  • Germany ‘to send company of tanks to Ukraine’ after pressure from allies

  • Zelensky aide hails ‘punching fist of democracy’ following reports of German tanks

Russia ‘throwing soldiers into the meat grinder’, Zelensky says

08:18 , Eleanor Noyce

In an interview with Sky News, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky has discussed an anticipated Russian offensive.

“We see their attacks are stronger there may be a couple of surges,” he told Kay Burley.

“[It] depends on our strength and how we can repel their attacks.

“The east is losing a lot of people. They don’t care about that. We count their losses. 1,000s of soldiers - they just throw them into the meat grinder.”

Kremlin refuses to address Zelensky calling Putin a ‘nobody’

10:45 , Eleanor Noyce

A Kremlin spokesperson has dismissed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s comments that Vladimir Putin was a “nobody” who he had no interest in speaking with.

“I don’t think an answer is necessary,” Mr Peskov told Sky News.

“He himself has long ceased to be a possible opponent for President Putin.

“He was preparing for war.”

Ukraine is 'just first step' for Putin plans to wage 'big war', says Zelensky

10:25 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that Ukraine is “just the first step” for Putin’s plans to wage “a big war.”

“They don’t want any talks, and this was the case before the invasion”, Mr Zelensky told Sky News.

“President Putin decided so. I am convinced that Ukraine is just the first step for him. I am convinced that he is waging a big war.

“We hope that once Russian pulls its troops back to their territory, they will admit their big mistakes, and there will be a new government in the Russian Federation.

“We are neighbours. It will be only then that we will be resolving this situation. Then, probably, talks will be possible.”

Zelensky reveals whether he would support Boris Johnson for another premiership

10:05 , Eleanor Noyce

Volodymyr Zelensky declined to say whether Boris Johnson should get an official role representing the UK on Ukraine.

“He is good guy,” he told Sky News. “Who knows? With pleasure, with pleasure, really.”

Asked if he would support another bid by Mr Johnson to become PM, Mr Zelensky said: “I think that is not correct for me to support Johnson to be prime minister.

“We have good relations with Sunak. I think we had more long relations with Johnson, because it was more long-time.

“I saw Johnson in different situations, I saw him not in war and then in full-scale war, that’s why we have special relations.”

West need to recognise Putin as “most disruptive force in Europe”, says Tobias Ellwood MP

09:45 , Eleanor Noyce

Commons Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood has said that Western countries need to do more to back Ukraine.

Speaking to Sky News, the Tory MP said: “There is nothing the West has done to date that threatened Moscow’s agenda.

“We’re now starting to talk with the political will to actually give Ukraine the necessary hardware that it can start to fight back, but it’s taken a full year to muster this hardware.”

He said: “We must recognise that Putin is now the most disruptive force in Europe and the penny really hasn’t dropped.

“I think it is always worth underlining how the UK has tried to push the envelope of what could be done.”

Ukraine not interested in peace talks with ‘nobody’ Putin, Zelensky says

09:25 , Eleanor Noyce

Volodymyr Zelensky has branded Vladimir Putin a “nobody” and suggested it is too late for face-to-face peace talks with the Russian leader to make any difference.

In an interview with Sky News, Mr Zelensky described the Russian president as a “man who said one thing and then did another” as he said he was not interested in meeting him.

Speaking in English, he said: “It is not interesting for me. Not interesting to meet, not interesting to speak. Why? Because we had meeting with him in Normandy Format, it was before full-scale invasion.

“I saw the man who said one thing and then did another. So for me, I can’t understand – is it his decisions or somebody else? So to meet what – to shake hands? Not interesting. To speak? I really don’t understand who makes decisions in Russia.”

He also accused Russia’s president of having a disregard for his troops and throwing them “into the meat grinder”, ahead of an anticipated new Russian offensive.

Dominic McGrath reports:

Ukraine not interested in peace talks with ‘nobody’ Putin, Zelensky says

One dead and two wounded in Kyiv missile strikes

09:10 , Eleanor Noyce

Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko has reported casualties in this morning’s missile strike.

A Russian rocket hit a non-residential building in the Holosiiv district of Kyiv, with Mr Klitschko confirming that one person was killed and two were wounded.

Explosions were heard across the capital earlier on Thursday morning, with civilians urged to remain in shelters.

The head of Kyiv’s administration says 15 Russian cruise missiles have been shot down.

Targets in several Ukrainian regions hit by Russian missiles

08:59 , Eleanor Noyce

A Ukrainian official has confirmed that targets in several Ukrainian regions were hit by Russian missiles this morning.

Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesman of Ukraine’s Air Force, stated on national TV that Vinnytsia was one of the regions hit.

“As many as six Tu-95 (warplanes) have preliminarily taken off from Murmansk region and launched missiles,” Mr Ihnat said.

“We expect more than 30 missiles that have in principle already begun to appear in various regions. Air defences are working”, he added.

An air raid alert has been ongoing for more than two hours, with explosions recorded in several areas including Kyiv. Civilians have been ordered to take cover.

A reporter from Reuters heard the sound of a missile flying overhead at a low altitude, about 30km (18 miles) from Kyiv.

Sending tanks to Ukraine will make a “big difference”, says NATO Secretary General

08:55 , Eleanor Noyce

NATO’s Secretary General has said sending tanks to Ukraine will make a “big difference” to the country’s ability to win the war.

Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Battle tanks are going to make a big difference.

“This will help them repel Russian offensives, to help them to be able to retake territory, liberate more Ukrainian lands and to win this war to prevail as a sovereign independent nation. We will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

But he would not explicitly say he is pressing for NATO countries to give Ukraine the 300 tanks it says will help win the war.

Ukraine renews calls for fighter jets following US tank pledge

08:40 , Eleanor Noyce

Renewing calls for fighter jets, a senior official in Ukraine has said that US and German tank pledges are “only the beginning.”

Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration, made the comments after President Zelensky praised the decision by western allies.

“The key now is speed and volumes. Speed in training our forces, speed in supplying tanks to Ukraine. The numbers in tank support”, he said in his nightly video address on Wednesday.

After weeks of speculation, Biden approved sending 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Germany confirmed it would make 14 of its Leopard 2A6 tanks available to Ukraine, giving partner countries its permission to re-export other tanks.

Zelensky celebrated the “extremely good news”, labelling the US decision a “very powerful step.”

“There is a tank coalition. There is a decision to launch the supply of tanks for our defence. Modern tanks”, he added.

Expert reveals ‘chilling’ signs that Putin has become ‘reckless and emotional’

08:07 , Eleanor Noyce

Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has spoken out about the potentially worrying signs of Putin’s state of mind following comments he made yesterday.

“Putin’s remark about ‘Ukrainian nationalists’ shooting Ukrainian soldiers in the back in order to prevent them from defecting captures the challenge Kyiv and the West are facing: a reckless, emotional leader who has boxed himself into a terrible information bubble,” Gabuev stated in a series of Twitter posts.

“Why is this important? Because some crucial decisions the Kremlin makes about the war may be based on same quality ‘information’ like Putin has shared today. The fact that there is no dispassionate interagency process in Russia, but an emotional and misinformed leader is chilling”, he added.

“This reality must feature prominently in quiet discussions that Western supporters of Ukraine have with leaders in Kyiv.

“There is a risk of overestimating Putin’s rationality and neglecting his growing detachment from reality when trying to redraw Moscow’s red lines. So far the West managed to do it in a firm, but careful manner avoiding doomsday scenarios.”

Zelensky reveals when he believes peace talks will begin

07:57 , Eleanor Noyce

In an interview with Sky News, President Zelensky was asked about the prospect of peace talks with Putin.

He was not optimistic about talks with “nobody” Putin, but he did outline the conditions under which he believed that negotiations could begin.

“They don’t want talks and this was the case before the invasion,” he told Kay Burley.

“President Putin decided so. I am convinced that Ukraine is just the first step for him.

“I am convinced that he is waging a big war.

“We hope that once Russia pulls its troops back to their territory, they will admit their big mistakes and there will be a new government in the Russian Federation.

“We are neighbours. It will only be then that we will be resolving this situation.

“Then, probably, talks will be possible.”

Western countries have made “no clear indication” of number of tanks to be given to Ukraine, says Yuriy Sak

07:53 , Eleanor Noyce

Western countries have made “no clear indication” of how many tanks will be given to Ukraine, an advisor to the country’s defence minister has said.

Yuriy Sak told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We need 300 to 400 tanks for this to be a game changer.

“This tank coalition consisting of different countries, we have no clear indication of how many tanks each country will provide. We have communicated to our partners that this is the number that we need.

“If you want missile terror to stop you need to receive the weapons that will allow us to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.

“The sooner we defeat Russia on the battlefield using Western weapons the sooner we will be able to stop this missile terror and restore peace.”

Zelensky declines to say whether Johnson should get an official role representing Ukraine

07:44 , Eleanor Noyce

Volodymyr Zelensky has declined to say whether Boris Johnson should get an official role representing the UK on Ukraine.

He laughed at the suggestion in an interview with Sky News, appearing to indicate that Mr Johnson might not be ready for such a role.

“He is good guy,” he said. “Who knows? With pleasure, with pleasure, really.”

Asked if he would support another bid by Mr Johnson to become PM, Mr Zelensky said: “I think that is not correct for me to support Johnson to be prime minister.

“We have good relations with Sunak. I think we had more long relations with Johnson, because it was more long-time.

“I saw Johnson in different situations, I saw him not in war and then in full-scale war, that’s why we have special relations.”

Zelensky “not interested” in meeting Putin for peace talks, calling him a “nobody”

07:25 , Eleanor Noyce

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remarked that he “doesn’t understand who makes decisions in Russia.” Moscow asks for peace, but it attacks Ukraine with missiles,  he furthered.

Zelensky dismissed the idea of peace talks with Putin, telling Kay Burley: “It is not interesting for me. Not interesting to meet, not interesting to speak... I really don’t understand who makes decisions in Russia.”

He added that “After a full-scale invasion, for me [Mr Putin] is nobody.”

He also confirmed that the Ukrainian people are his priority, adding: “I don’t want to fight on Russian territory.

“I just want them to stop the war as quickly as possible, and leave our country as fast as possible.

“I can tell you for sure if they leave our territory, the war will stop. That’s all.”

Air raid alert issued across Ukraine as Russia launches ‘massive missile attack’

07:19 , Eleanor Noyce

Ukrainian officials have declared an air raid alert across the country, including in Kyiv, following the threat of a major missile attack by Russian forces.

Odesa Oblast Governor Maksym Marchenko remarked that Russian military was “preparing to launch a massive missile attack on Ukraine with the use of aircraft and ships.”

On the Telegram messaging app, Mykolaiv governor Vitaly Kim stated that two missiles were spotted over Ukraine. Officials ordered the public to take shelter.

“Missiles are flying inside the territory of Ukraine. At least two northwest through Mykolaiv region,” he said.

Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak has now confirmed that the first Russian missiles had been shot down.

The military said that its anti-aircraft defences had shot down all 24 drones sent by Russia overnight.

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest energy producer, also stated that it was conducting emergency power shutdowns in Kyiv, the surrounding region, and the regions of Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk as a result of the threat of a missile attack.

Meme depicts Ukraine’s newest tank brigades meeting for the first time

07:00 , Namita Singh

A Twitter meme video has made light of Western allies sending in new tanks to help Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

Created by user @SecretNofun, the clip shows three men who are labelled as Challenger 2, Abrams and Leopard 2 tanks dancing to “Be My Lover” by La Bouche.

The US is expected to send 30 M1 Abrams tanks, while Berlin will supply 14 Leopard 2 tanks from military stocks as a first step, alongside the UK’s 14 Challenger 2 tanks.

Report:

Meme depicts Ukraine's newest tank brigades meeting for the first time

Explainer: Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

06:30 , Namita Singh

For months, US officials balked at sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, insisting they were too complicated and too hard to maintain and repair.

Yesterday, that abruptly changed. Ukraine’s desperate pleas for tanks were answered with a sweeping, trans-Atlantic yes.

The dramatic reversal was the culmination of intense international pressure and diplomatic arm-twisting that played out over the last week. And it resulted in a quick succession of announcements: The US said it will send 31 of the 70-ton Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, and Germany announced it will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks and allow other countries to do the same.

A look at the massive battle weapon, why it is important to Ukraine’s war with Russia, and what drove the Biden administration’s tank turnabout:

EXPLAINER: Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

Update: Ukraine declares air raid alert

06:27 , Namita Singh

Ukraine has declared an air raid alert over most of the country this morning, and regional authorities warned of a possible missile attack.

The DTEK electricity company said it was performing emergency shutdowns of electro power in the capital Kyiv, the rest of the Kyiv region, and also the regions of Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk due to a danger of missile attack.

Breaking: Ukraine declares air raid alert

06:15 , Namita Singh

Ukraine has declared an air raid alert over most of country, with the authorities warning of a possible imminent missile attack.

More to follow

Editorial: Germany and America’s tank pledge to Ukraine fulfils their obligation to peace

06:00 , Emily Atkinson

Chancellor Scholz and his colleagues deserve the thanks of the whole world for their contribution to the security of independent nations everywhere.

Read our latest editorial here:

Editorial: Germany and America’s tank pledge fulfils their obligation to peace

Ukraine’s Odesa city put on Unesco heritage in danger list

05:30 , Namita Singh

The United Nations’ cultural agency decided yesterday to add the historic centre of Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odesa to its list of endangered World Heritage sites.

The decision was made at an extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee in Paris.

Unesco director general Audrey Azoulay praised the move, saying the “legendary port that left its mark in cinema, literature and arts” is “now placed under the reinforced protection of the international community.”

Read the details here:

Ukraine's Odesa city put on UNESCO heritage in danger list

Japan’s top finance diplomat calls Ukraine responses G7 top priority

05:15 , Namita Singh

Japan, as this year’s G7 chair, expects Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to dominate talks this year among the world’s major advanced economies, its top finance diplomat, Masato Kanda, told Reuters.

“Sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine will be a top priority at G7 finance track under Japan’s chair,” Mr Kanda, who will oversee deputy-level negotiations on economic policy among the Group of Seven (G7) nations this year, said in an interview.

Among other issues at the top of the G7 agenda would be global debt problems, he said.

While aggressive US interest rate increases last year weighed on emerging market dollar-denominated debt, middle-income countries have been left without an international arrangement to address the debt crisis.

“Japan is closely coordinating with international organs such as Paris club or IMF in order to ensure participating of non-Paris Club members such as China and India,” Mr Kanda said yesterday.

“It is desirable to work with these non-Paris Club countries in the same way with the Common Framework,” he said, referring to a Group of 20 mechanism designed to provide a swift and comprehensive debt overhaul to nations buckling under debt burdens after the Covid-19 shock.

“If this realised, it would pave the way for other middle-income countries to carry out with debt restructuring.”

Western tanks set for Ukraine as Sunak hails 'right decision'

05:00 , Namita Singh

Dozens of Nato’s modern battle tanks are to be sent to Ukraine to bolster the fight against Vladimir Putin’s invasion, ending weeks of diplomatic deadlock over the supply of armour to the country.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz approved the supply of the Leopard 2 to Kyiv, which would also allow other allies operating the tanks to re-export them.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said it was the “right decision”, and the move would bolster Ukraine’s “defensive firepower”.

The US confirmed it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to the warzone.

More in this report:

Western tanks set for Ukraine as UK questions battle-readiness of Russian rival

Zelensky urges UN action on deportations

04:30 , Namita Singh

President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged a senior UN official to help find a way to resolve what Ukrainian authorities decry as a serious consequence of 11 months of war - the deportation to Russia of thousands of adults and children.

Ukraine has for months denounced reports of mass deportations to Russia, often to remote regions thousands of kilometres from Ukraine. Russia denies any suggestion of mistreatment or criminal intent, describing the mass movements as evacuations.

President Volodymyr Zelensky gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart following their talks in Kyiv, on 24 January 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)
President Volodymyr Zelensky gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart following their talks in Kyiv, on 24 January 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)

“The discussion focused above all on our people that the occupiers have deported to Russia,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address, referring to talks with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi earlier yesterday.

These are adults, these are our children. A mechanism is needed to protect and bring back people and to bring to account all those who are guilty of deportations. I am certain the UN institutions can show leadership in resolving this issue.

Volodymyr Zelensky

Biden says tanks pose ‘no offensive threat’ to Russia

04:22 , Namita Singh

President Joe Biden said Abrams tanks pose “no offensive threat” to Russia as he announced plans to supply them to Ukraine.

He said that they were needed to help the Ukrainians “improve their ability to manoeuvre in open terrain”, a decision that Russia denounced as an “extremely dangerous” step.

President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the commitment and urged allies to provide large quantities of tanks quickly.

“The key now is speed and volumes. Speed in training our forces, speed in supplying tanks to Ukraine. The numbers in tank support,” he said in a nightly video address yesterday. “We have to form such a ‘tank fist’, such a ‘fist of freedom’.”

US president Joe Biden makes an announcement on additional military support for Ukraine as secretary of state Antony Blinken listens in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on 25 January 2023 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)
US president Joe Biden makes an announcement on additional military support for Ukraine as secretary of state Antony Blinken listens in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on 25 January 2023 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Ukraine has been seeking hundreds of modern tanks to give its troops the firepower to break Russian defensive lines and reclaim occupied territory in the south and east. Ukraine and Russia have been relying primarily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

The promise of tanks comes as both Ukraine and Russia are expected to launch new offensives in the war and as fighting has intensified in Bakhmut in Ukraine’s east, officials said.

Ukraine dismisses five top regional prosecutors in shakeup

04:00 , Emily Atkinson

Five top regional prosecutors were dismissed from their jobs on Wednesday, a day after president Volodymyr Zelensky launched Ukraine‘s largest political shakeup of the war.

The officials, who were the most senior prosecutors in their respective regions, were dismissed “voluntarily” by prosecutor general Andriy Kostin, his office said in a brief statement.

“Andriy Kostin signed orders on voluntary dismissal from administrative positions of the heads of the Zaporizhzhia, Kirovohrad, Poltava, Sumy and Chernihiv regional prosecutors’ offices,” it said on its website.

Over a dozen senior officials, including one of the prosecutor general’s deputies, were removed from their posts on Tuesday in what analysts said was a reaction to recent corruption and abuse of office scandals.

US vows ‘long term commitment’ to Ukraine as it sends in fleet of Abrams tanks and tow vehicles to Kyiv

03:22 , Namita Singh

The United States will provide 31 new M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine as part of America’s efforts to help bolster Ukraine’s defence against the nearly year-old war being waged by Russia, multiple Biden administration officials have said.

The 31 tanks will be accompanied by eight M88 recovery vehicles — heavily armoured tow trucks used to rescue tanks that have been disabled or damaged in battle — and will be enough to equip an entire Ukrainian tank battalion with the American-made beasts, which first gained worldwide recognition for their firepower and armour capability during engagements with Iraqi forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Read this report from my colleague Andrew Feinberg to find out more about President Joe Biden’s commitments to Ukraine:

US will send Abrams tanks and armoured tow vehicles for Ukrainian tank battalion

‘German-made tanks will face off against Russian tanks in Ukraine once more'

03:00 , Emily Atkinson

Ekkehard Brose, head of the German military’s Federal Academy for Security Policy, noted the deeper historical significance of Berlin’s decision to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv’s frontlines.

“German-made tanks will face off against Russian tanks in Ukraine once more,” he said, adding that this was “not an easy thought” for Germany, which takes seriously its responsibility for the horrors of World War II.

“And yet it is the right decision,” Brose said, arguing that it was up to Western democracies to help Ukraine stop Russia’s military campaign.

Russian warship simulates hypersonic missile strike in the Atlantic Ocean

02:00 , Emily Atkinson

A Russian warship has conducted a simulated hypersonic missile strike on a mock enemy ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate ran a “computer simulation” for the Zircon missile that Moscow said had “hit” a target around 500 miles away.

The Russian defence ministry said: “In accordance with the training situation, the frigate practised arranging [a] Tsirkon hypersonic missile strike against a maritime target at a distance over 900 kilometres away.

Read our report in full here:

Russian warship simulates hypersonic missile strike in the Atlantic Ocean

Watch: Meme depicts Ukraine's newest tank brigades meeting for the first time

01:00 , Emily Atkinson

Wagner group 'advances on Bakhmut’

00:00 , Emily Atkinson

The head of the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine‘s Donetsk region claims that units of the Wagner contract militia are advancing in the town of Bakhmut.

“The enemy is increasing pressure on the Bakhmut and Vuhledar areas,” Ukraine‘s Deputy Defence Minister, Hanna Maliar, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia, she said, was throwing a significant number of personnel and equipment into battle despite heavy losses.

“The intensity of the fighting is increasing.”

Speed and numbers now key for tank provision, says Zelensky

Wednesday 25 January 2023 23:00 , Emily Atkinson

The key to providing tanks for Ukraine‘s defence against Russia was speed and sufficient numbers, president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday.

In his nightly video address, Mr Zelensky also said he had spoken to Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg and called for supplies of long-range missiles and aircraft to add to the commitments by the United States and Germany to provide advanced battle tanks.

“The key now is speed and volumes. Speed in training our forces, speed in supplying tanks to Ukraine. The numbers in tank support,” Zelensky said.

“We must form such a tank force, such a freedom force that after it strikes, tyranny will never again rise up.”

US Abrams tanks won’t reach frontline for many months, says White House

Wednesday 25 January 2023 22:00 , Emily Atkinson

The White House says it may take many months for the powerful US tanks that president Joe Biden agreed to send to Ukraine to reach their destination.

Ukraine needs to be ready for when the weather improves and a Russian offensive picks up speed, said White House national security council spokesperson John Kirby.

He said that Washington has to be prepared to support Ukraine for as long as it takes and that there is no indication that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has designs on striking Nato territory.

ICYMI: Tributes to two Britons killed in Ukraine who ‘saved over 400 lives’

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:30 , Emily Atkinson

Two British nationals were killed in Ukraine attempting a humanitarian evacuation from the town of Soledar, one of their families has said.

Andrew Bagshaw, 48, and Christopher Parry, 28, went missing earlier this month while heading to the town of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region of the country, where heavy fighting was reported.

On Tuesday Mr Parry’s family confirmed the men were killed, in a statement released through the Foreign Office they said saved over 400 lives in Ukraine.

Sam Rkaina has more:

Tributes to two Britons killed in Ukraine who ‘saved over 400 lives’

Why are Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks important to Ukraine?

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:00 , Emily Atkinson

Germany has announced it is sending its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine – and allowing other nations to do so too.

Ukraine‘s President Volodymyr Zelensky says they are crucial to replenish his nation’s military hardaware ahead of what he believes will be increased Russian offences in the spring – with intense fighting having already been taking place in eastern Ukraine for weeks. Kyiv also wants them to try and recapture territory taken by Moscow’s forces.

Chris Stevenson reports:

Why are Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks important to Ukraine?

Ukraine seeks to purchase more Slovakian artillery

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:30 , Emily Atkinson

Slovakia last year delivered eight Zuzana howitzer artillery pieces to Ukraine and is working to produce an additional 16 of the guns which would be paid for by Denmark, Germany and Norway.

Defence minister Jaroslav Nad said the Ukrainian government had expressed an interest in buying an additional 11 of the howitzers and a contract had been negotiated.

Slovakia also helps Ukraine to train its soldiers. He said the country was helping to train about 200 Ukrainian soldiers for mechanised infrantry each month starting last October.

Putin says West using Ukraine war to ‘cancel’ Russian culture

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:00 , Emily Atkinson

President Vladimir Putin took a swipe at Western countries by suggesting some were using the Ukraine war as an excuse to “cancel” Russian culture.

Speaking during a visit to Moscow State University, he said that despite his unsubstantiated claim, Russians would continue to enjoy Beethoven and Bach.

“We are part of world culture,” he said.

 (AP)
(AP)

In his remarks, Putin made only an indirect allusion to current international tensions, commenting that Germany “strictly speaking” remained under US military occupation - a reference to allied troops stationed in the Nato country.

“Much of what is happening (now) has deep roots... Sovereignty will be returned to Europe, but it seems this will take time,” he added.

Russian hackers knock German websites offline

Wednesday 25 January 2023 19:30 , Emily Atkinson

Russian activist hackers knocked several German websites offline on Wednesday in response to Berlin’s decision to send tanks to Ukraine.

Hacking group Killnet said it was targeting government websites, banks and airports with a coordinated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) campaign, a relatively unsophisticated attack which works by directing high volumes of internet traffic towards targeted servers in order to knock them offline.

“Currently, some websites are not accessible. There are currently no indications of direct effects on the respective service and, according to the BSI’s assessment, these are not to be expected if the usual protective measures are taken,” the BSI said in a statement.

Some financial sector targets had also been affected, the statement added.

Criticising Wagner group backed to become criminal offence

Wednesday 25 January 2023 19:00 , Emily Atkinson

Russia’s top lawmaker has backed a proposal by the founder of the Wagner mercenary group fighting in Ukraine to make it a criminal offence to publicly criticise Wagner fighters or publish negative reports about them.

Yevgeny Prigozhin made the request in a letter to Vyacheslav Volodin, the hawkish chairman of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, saying he wanted jail terms of up to five years for anyone who discredited his men.

Volodin on Wednesday ordered subordinates to urgently explore the possibility of amending the criminal code.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Biden speaks with European allies on support for Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 18:30 , Emily Atkinson

Joe Biden spoke has spoken with French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni and British prime minister Rishi Sunak on the countries’ close cooperation on support for Ukraine, the White House said.

The conversation came after Germany said it would send an initial company of 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine from its own stocks, and approve shipments by other European countries. The United States is expected to follow suit by also providing Ukraine with battle tanks.

Zelensky thanks US for ‘powerful’ support

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:59 , Emily Atkinson

President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked the US for its “powerful” support in providing 31 new M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to Ukraine.

“Now the free world is united more than ever for a common goal - liberation from invaders. Let’s move forward!” he wrote on Twitter.

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Dozens of tanks to Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:56 , Chris Stevenson

Joe Biden has said European allies have agreed to send enough tanks to equip two Ukrainian tank battalions, or a total of 62 tanks.

"With spring approaching, Ukrainian forces are working to defend the territory they hold and preparing for additional counter offenses," the US president has said. "To liberate their land, they need to be able to counter Russia's evolving tactics and strategy on the battlefield in the very near term."

Kyiv hails ‘historic day’ as US to send Abrams tanks

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:54 , Emily Atkinson

The head of the Ukrainian presidential administration responded to Joe Biden’s Abrams tanks announcement by calling it a “historic day” that would help determine the outcome of the war.

“The main thing is that this is only the beginning. We need hundreds of tanks,” Andriy Yermak said in a post on Telegram labeled “The US will give us 31 Abrams.”

He added, “It’s a historic day. One of those days that will determine our future victory.”

Allies remain ‘united and determined’ as invasion enters eleventh month, Biden says

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:35 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin had expected Western support for Ukraine to “crumble with time”, but he was “wrong”, US president Joe Biden has said.

In an address given following the announcement the US would be sending 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, Mr Biden said the US was “standing shoulder to shoulder” with its allies and partners.

He promised the West would continue “to do all we can to support Ukraine.”

Mr Biden went on: “Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve. He expected our support for Ukraine to crumble with time.

“He was wrong. He was wrong from the beginning and he continues to be wrong.

“We are united. America is united,” he said, insisting that almost one year into the conflict the US remained “united and determined as ever in our conviction and our cause.”

‘Now clear Russia is on the back foot,’ Sunak says

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:29 , Emily Atkinson

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said there was a window of opportunity for international partners to speed up efforts to support Ukraine in its conflict against Russia.

“The prime minister said it was now clear Russia was on the back foot, and there was a window for international partners to accelerate efforts to secure lasting peace for Ukraine,” No 10 said in a statement after he spoke to the leaders of the United States, Germany, France and Italy.

“All the leaders welcomed the strong coordination of military supplies and reflected on the collective international action across the spectrum in support of Ukraine.”

Breaking: Norway says it will send tanks to Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:15 , Emily Atkinson

Norway will send German-made tanks to Ukraine as part of a group of Western nations supplying the arms, Norwegian Defence Minister Bjoern Arild Gram told public broadcaster NRK on Wednesday.

He declined to say how many tanks Norway would deliver.

Europe ‘fully united’ on Ukraine, says Biden

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:10 , Emily Atkinson

President Joe Biden lauded Europe for showing it is “fully united” in helping Ukraine defend its land from the Russian advance.

He also applauded Germany for “stepping up” its support for Kyiv after chancellor Scholz announced Berlin would be sending its Leopard 2 tanks to the frontline in Ukraine.

US vows ‘long term commitment’ to Ukraine as it sends in fleet of Abrams tanks and tow vehicles to Kyiv

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:04 , Emily Atkinson

The United States will provide 31 new M1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine as part of America’s efforts to help bolster Ukraine’s defence against the nearly year-old war being waged by Russia, multiple Biden administration officials have said.

The 31 tanks will be accompanied by eight M88 recovery vehicles — heavily armoured tow trucks used to rescue tanks that have been disabled or damaged in battle — and will be enough to equip an entire Ukrainian tank battalion with the American-made beasts, which first gained worldwide recognition for their firepower and armour capability during engagements with Iraqi forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

President Joe Biden is expected to speak about the provisioning of tanks and other assistance to Ukraine from the White House at 12.00 pm on Wednesday.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

US will send Abrams tanks and armoured tow vehicles for Ukrainian tank battalion

Watch: Zelensky ‘thankful’ for Leopard 2 tanks but warns number and delivery time ‘critical’

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:00 , Emily Atkinson

Slovakia says it is ready to send 30 T-72 tanks to Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 16:25 , Emily Atkinson

Slovakia is ready to send 30 T-72 tanks to Ukraine “immediately” provided it can receive Western tanks to replace them, defence minister Jaroslav Nad said.

Mr Nad told an online media briefing in Ukraine‘s Odesa that Slovakia had sent 30 Soviet-era BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine last year after agreeing that Germany would deliver 15 Leopard 2 tanks to Slovakia to take their place.

“We still have 30 T-72 tanks and would be ready to send them immediately to Ukraine, even tommorrow, if there would be an option to receive Western tanks - Leopards or any other in exchange,” Mr Nad said.

Boris Johnson wishes Zelensky a happy birthday

Wednesday 25 January 2023 16:05 , Emily Atkinson

Boris Johnson has wished Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky a happy birthday, saying his “heroic leadership is an example to the whole world.”

It comes after the former prime minister made a surprise visit to Kyiv despite warnings from senior military figures that he should stay away and stop “looking for publicity”.

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Kyiv promises ‘more good news’ after speaking with US

Wednesday 25 January 2023 15:45 , Emily Atkinson

Ukraine‘s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said he spoke with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin on Wednesday, promising “more good news to be announced soon.”

Reznikov said they discussed “further strengthening of (Ukraine‘s army), including tank supplies and maintenance of the new armament.”

“More good news to be announced soon,” the Ukrainian official wrote on Twitter, without providing further details.

UNESCO grants Odesa's historic centre World Heritage in Danger status

Wednesday 25 January 2023 15:35 , Emily Atkinson

The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO said on Wednesday that it had designated the historic centre of Odesa, a strategic port city on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, a World Heritage in Danger site.

It is hoped the status, awarded by a UNESCO panel meeting in Paris, will help protect Odesa’s cultural heritage which has been under threat since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and enable access to financial and technical international aid.

Odesa has been bombed several times by Russia since its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Putin ignores German tank decision, dispenses career advice on Moscow University visit

Wednesday 25 January 2023 15:20 , Matt Mathers

Russian President Vladimir Putin avoided commenting on Germany’s landmark decision on Wednesday to supply tanks to Ukraine during a visit to Moscow State University, instead dispensing career advice to students and fielding questions on other topics.

Germany’s announcement that it would send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine after weeks of pressure from its allies prompted a furious reaction from Russia’s foreign ministry and its embassy in Berlin, but the president steered clear of the issue.

Putin, a fluent German speaker who served in the former East Germany as a KGB officer, spent more than an hour responding to students’ questions on issues ranging from lost dogs to quantum technology, though the war in Ukraine also kept cropping up indirectly.

Breaking: US to provide Ukraine with 31 M1 Abrams tanks

Wednesday 25 January 2023 15:04 , Matt Mathers

The US will provide Ukraine with 31 M1 Abrams tanks, according to reports.

More on this breaking story when we have it.

European rights court rules Dutch, Ukraine cases against Russia are admissible

Wednesday 25 January 2023 14:39 , Matt Mathers

The European Court of Human Rights said cases brought by Ukraine and the Netherlands against Russia over human rights violations in the two breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and the shooting down of Flight MH-17, were admissible.

The decision is procedural and does not rule on the merits of the cases, but it does show the Strasbourg-based court considers Russia can be held liable for alleged human rights violations in the separatist regions.

"Among other things, the Court found that areas in eastern Ukraine in separatist hands were, from 11 May 2014 and up to at least 26 January 2022, under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation," the court said in a ruling on Wednesday.

The cases will now move on to the merits stage, expected take another one to two years before a final decision is issued.

Watch: Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks

Wednesday 25 January 2023 14:11 , Emily Atkinson

Moscow claims Germany’s tank pledge is evidence of ‘pre-planned war’ against Russia

Wednesday 25 January 2023 14:00 , Emily Atkinson

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Germany’s decision to supply tanks to Ukraine confirmed what she said was a “pre-planned war” against Moscow.

Kyiv has for months asked for Western tanks that it says it desperately needs to give its forces the firepower and mobility to break through Russian defensive lines and recapture occupied territory in the east and south.

Kyiv calls on allies to join ‘Leopard 2 tank coalition’

Wednesday 25 January 2023 13:50 , Emily Atkinson

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has appealed to all countries that operate the Leopard 2 battle tanks to “provide as many of them as possible” to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s advance.

“So the tank coalition is formed. Everyone who doubted this could ever happen sees now: for Ukraine and partners impossible is nothing,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I call on all new partners that have Leopard 2 tanks in service to join the coalition and provide as many of them as possible.”

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Kim Sengupta: Germany is sending tanks to Ukraine – now it is a matter of speed

Wednesday 25 January 2023 13:42 , Emily Atkinson

The pressure on Germany from Western allies to authorise the sending of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine has been intense in recent days – and in the end Olaf Schulz’s government have finally taken that crucial step.

Ukraine has repeatedly stressed that modern battlefield tanks are crucial for fighting off Russia‘s invasion, with a major offensive by the enemy expected as winter ends.

Now Berlin says it will provide 14 tanks as a first step, while also opening the door to other nations with Leopard 2 tanks to export them to Ukraine too.

Our world affairs editor Kim Sengupta has more:

Germany is sending tanks to Ukraine – now it is a matter of speed

Ukrainians pull out of Soledar

Wednesday 25 January 2023 13:30 , Chris Stevenson

Ukraine has confirmed its troops had withdrawn from Soledar in eastern Ukraine, almost two weeks after Russian troops said they had captured the salt-mining town.

"In order to preserve the lives of service personnel, the Defence Forces withdrew from Soledar," military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster Suspilne.

His remarks were the first Ukrainian confirmation that Russian forces have captured Soledar, which is in the Donetsk region that Moscow covets.

"(Our forces) fulfilled their main task: not allowing the enemy to systematically break through in the Donetsk direction," Mr Cherevatyi was quoted as saying.

He said Ukraine's defensive line at Soledar had prevented Russian forces breaking through to its rear lines.

Soledar, which had a pre-war population of 10,000, became the epicentre of Russia's assault for several weeks in the beginning of January, and fierce battles raged for control.

Berlin: No extra tank requests yet

Wednesday 25 January 2023 13:19 , Chris Stevenson

Germany has not received requests from partner states, with the exception of Poland, to re-export Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, a government spokesperson has said.

Partner states will likely make announcements about their plans in the "coming hours and days," the spokesperson added.

Spain open to sending tanks

Wednesday 25 January 2023 13:08 , Chris Stevenson

Spain's defence minister has said that Madrid is open to providing Ukraine with German-made Leopard 2 tanks, after Germany agreed to send the tanks and said Nato allies could do the same.

Margarita Robles has told EFE news agency that Madrid would act in coordination with its Western allies to help Ukraine fend off Russia's invasion.

"Spain is willing, within this coordination, to work with our allies to do whatever is necessary including the sending of Leopards, training in the use of these Leopards and also to help in their maintenance and upkeep," she said.

Tanks to ‘take three months’ to deploy

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:56 , Chris Stevenson

The German defence minister, Boris Pistorius, has said it will take about three months for the first tanks to be deployed in Ukraine. He described the Leopard 2 as "the best battle tank in the world".

"This is an important game change, possibly also for this war, at least in the current phase," he said.

Scholz praises Biden

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:53 , Chris Stevenson

Making the point about close ties to Washington, Mr Scholz has told the German parliament that President Joe Biden is a good partner for Berlin, adding that their recent talks had been friendly.

"This is a president who is really a good partner," Mr Scholz said.

Washington tied to Berlin

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:44 , Chris Stevenson

Germany has been keen to get the US to agree to send its own M1 Abram tanks to Ukraine, hoping to spread the risk of any backlash from Russia. Although it has painted its own decision as a separate choice.

Ekkehard Brose, head of the German military's Federal Academy for Security Policy, said tying the United States into the decision was crucial to avoid Europe facing a nuclear-armed Russia alone.

But he also noted the deeper historic significance of the decision.

"German-made tanks will face off against Russian tanks in Ukraine once more," he said, adding that this was "not an easy thought" for Germany, which takes its responsibility for the horrors of the Second World War seriously.

"And yet it is the right decision," Mr Brose said, arguing that it is up to Western democracies to help Ukraine stop Russia's military campaign.

Nato and Russia

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:36 , Chris Stevenson

Mr Scholz has made clear in his speech that Germany will “continute to ensure that Nato is not drawn into war with Russia”.Moscow has continually tried to paint Western support for Ukraine as a Nato ganging up on Russia.

An international effort

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:33 , Chris Stevenson

Mr Scholz – and the Berlin government at large – have been at pains to point out that sending weapons to Ukraine is an allied effort from across Western nations, with Germany wary of being the main focus of ire from Russia. The German chancellor has told parliament that his country is acting £in close coordination" with its international allies.

Scholz reassures Germany

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:29 , Chris Stevenson

Public feeling has been split in Germany about whether to send tanks to Ukraine. Mr Scholz has acknowledged this in his address to parliament, saying that while he knows “many civilians are worried” about the implications of the decsion he asks that they “trust him and the government”.

Olaf Scholz addresses German parliament

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:25 , Chris Stevenson

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has told his country’s parliament that Berlin “whad to break a rule” and change what used to be a practice by supporting Ukraine with weapons deliveries – a nod to Germany’s past reticence to be seen to be escalating the war in Ukraine and provoking Russia

“In Germany, we had to break and rule and now we supply the most weapons, together with Great Britain. If we sum up what we’ve decided to deliver so far, then we can say that Germany will always be pioneering support for Ukraine,” he said.

Wallace ‘delighted’ by Germany decision

Wednesday 25 January 2023 12:22 , Chris Stevenson

The UK’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has welcomed Germany's decision to send tanks to Ukraine, saying the international community was increasingly determined to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

"Delighted Germany joins the UK, France & Poland in sending tanks to Ukraine. It is time for Russia to realise that the International community is increasingly determined to help Ukraine resist their barbaric and illegal invasion," Mr Wallace said on Twitter.

Rishi Sunak welcomes ‘allies and friends’ sending tanks to Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 11:30 , Matt Mathers

Rishi Sunak has welcomed moves by “Nato allies and friends” to send battle tanks to Ukraine.

His comments came after Germany confirmed it would send Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.

“The right decision by NATO Allies and friends to send main battle tanks to Ukraine. Alongside Challenger 2s, they will strengthen Ukraine’s defensive firepower,” the UK prime minister said.

“Together, we are accelerating our efforts to ensure Ukraine wins this war and secures a lasting peace.”

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Germany confirms it will send tanks to Kyiv

Wednesday 25 January 2023 10:57 , Matt Mathers

Germany has finally announced it is sending tanks to Ukraine that Kyiv says it desperately needs to fight Russia’s invasion.

My colleague Chris Stevenson has the story:

Germany finally announces tanks for Ukraine after weeks of pressure

Norway may send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine - Norwegian newspapers

Wednesday 25 January 2023 10:36 , Matt Mathers

The Norwegian government is considering whether to send some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Oslo-based newspapers Aftenposten and Dagens Naeringsliv reported late on Tuesday.

No decision to send the heavy battle tanks has yet been made, according to each of the papers, quoting anonymous sources familiar with the deliberation.

NATO member Norway, which itself borders Russia, may contribute either four or eight of the country’s 36 Leopard 2 tanks, according to Dagens Naeringsliv.

The United States and Germany are poised to provide a significant boost to Kyiv’s war effort with the delivery of heavy battle tanks, sources have said, a move Moscow condemned as a "blatant provocation".

Washington was expected to announce as soon as Wednesday that it will send M1 Abrams battle tanks and Berlin has decided to dispatch Leopard 2 tanks, the sources said, a reversal in policy that Kyiv has said would help reshape the conflict.

ICYMI: Germany ‘to send company of tanks to Ukraine’ after pressure from allies

Wednesday 25 January 2023 09:45 , Matt Mathers

Germany has bowed to international pressure and agreed to send battle tanks to Ukraine, reports say.

While there has been no official confirmation from Berlin so far, officials in Kyiv swiftly hailed what they said was a potential gamechanger on the battlefield.

“A few hundred tanks for our tank crews - the best tank crews in the world,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration, wrote on Telegram. “This is what is going to become a real punching fist of democracy against the autocracy from the bog.”

My colleague Andy Gregory reports:

Germany 'to send company of tanks to Ukraine' after pressure from allies

Corruption cases among Ukrainian officials do not involve US aid, State Dept says

Wednesday 25 January 2023 09:15 , Shweta Sharma

Recent corruption scandals among Ukrainian officials do not appear to have involved US military and humanitarian assistance supplied to Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

Mr Price said the Biden administration nonetheless continues its “rigorous oversight” of American aid.

Zelensky removes top officials in shake-up of Ukraine’s government to fight corruption allegations

Wednesday 25 January 2023 09:00 , Shweta Sharma

President Volodymyr Zelensky has forced out a number of top officials in Ukraine’s government as he launches a renewed crackdown on corruption.

Mr Zelensky made fighting corruption a central pillar of his presidential election campaign, before Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine became the focus of his attention. As the war reaches its first anniversary, with Kyiv worried about fresh offensives from Moscow’s forces as we move out of the harshest part of winter, the Ukrainian president appears to be taking the opportunity for a reset of officials, either via dismissal or resignation.

Zelensky in shake-up of Ukraine’s government to fight corruption allegations

Germany’s Scholz to announce approval for Leopard tanks in parliament

Wednesday 25 January 2023 08:41 , Shweta Sharma

Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to announce his government will approve supplying German-made battle tanks to Ukraine in a speech to parliament early afternoon.

The long-awaited decision came after weeks of hesitation and mounting pressure on Berlin to allow the supply.

Members of Mr Scholz’s three-party coalition government welcomed the news ahead of the official announcement.

“The Leopard’s freed!” said German lawmaker Katrin Goering-Eckardt, a senior Green party lawmaker.

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, a member of the Free Democratic Party who chairs the parliamentary defence committee, said the news was “a relief for a mistreated and brave Ukraine.”“The decision to approve (other countries’ requests) and supply the Leopard 2 was arduous, but unavoidable,” she said.She had been one of the loudest voices calling for a swift decision on arms supplies to Ukraine.

Wagner making military gains in Bakhmut, Donetsk governor says

Wednesday 25 January 2023 08:34 , Shweta Sharma

The Russian-installed governor of Ukraine‘s Donetsk region said on Wednesday that units of the private military company Wagner were making progress in the town of Bakhmut.

He said fighting is going on in previously Ukrainian-held neighbourhoods.

Ukrainian army said: “Russian troops tried to attack the stronghold of our border guards near Bakhmut. The enemy several times sent reinforcements in this direction.

Russia could deploy faulty ‘next-gen’ T-14 tanks in Ukraine, UK intelligence says

Wednesday 25 January 2023 08:15 , Shweta Sharma

Russia is preparing a small number of T-14 Armata main battle tanks for the type’s first operational deployment in Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defence said in its intelligence update.

Previously, the Russian forces deployed in Ukraine were reluctant to accept the first tranche of T-14 allocated to them because the vehicles were in such poor condition.

In 2021, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu described the planned production run for 2022 as only an “experimental-industrial” batch.

“Therefore, it is unlikely that any deployed T-14 tanks will have met the usual standards for new equipment to be deemed operational,” it said.

It remains unclear exactly what aspects of the vehicles prompted the U-turn.

Russia accuses US of ‘theft’ over plans to transfer confiscated assets

Wednesday 25 January 2023 08:05 , Shweta Sharma

Russia has decried Washington’s plans to transfer confiscated Russian assets to the rebuilding of Ukraine as “theft”.

Russia deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov said: “It is theft. A country based on the rule of law is now engaged in denying itself, so people declaring these kinds of ideas have got a little carried away with geopolitics, they are hurting themselves.”

It came as the US Justice Department spokesman, Andrew Adams, said that he expected the US to send the assets seized from Russian elites to help war-torn Ukraine.

Brit arrested in Spain for ‘helping Putin’s oligarch hide 255-foot yacht Tango’ - by renaming it Fanta

Wednesday 25 January 2023 07:55 , Shweta Sharma

A British man has been arrested in Spain for extradition to the US for allegedly helping an oligarch with close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin evade sanctions.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement that Richard Masters, 52, was arrested by the Spanish Guardia Civil last Friday, though his Russian-Swiss co-accused Vladislav Osipov remains at large.

The pair are charged separately, in indictments unsealed in the US District Court in the District of Columbia, with facilitating a scheme for oligarch Viktor Vekselberg connected to his $90m (£73m), 255-foot yacht Tango.

Mr Masters is alleged to have devised a scheme that involved calling the yacht “the Fanta” to hide from banks the hundreds of thousands of pounds in payments in US currency that were ultimately to Mr Vekselberg’s benefit.

Nato wants members to raise defence spending targets

Wednesday 25 January 2023 07:50 , Shweta Sharma

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg expects the alliance’s member states to raise their current spending target on defence of 2 per cent of national output when they meet for a summit in Vilnius in July, he told German newspaper Die Welt.

“I assume that there will be a new target for defence spending when we meet for the Nato summit in Vilnius in July this year,” Mr Stoltenberg told Welt.

“The two per cent target was initially for a decade, so until 2024, so we have to update it now.”Mr Stoltenberg said he could not yet say what the member states would agree on.

“But I assume that it will be a more ambitious target than before, because everybody sees that we need to invest more,” he added.

Several Nato allies have inflated their spending since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Watch: Doomsday Clock stands at 90 seconds to midnight ‘largely’ due to war in Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 22:01 , Emily Atkinson

Family of Briton killed in Soledar praise his ‘selfless determination’ to help people

Wednesday 25 January 2023 06:59 , Andy Gregory

The family of one of two Britons said to have been killed while attempting a humanitarian evacuation in Soledar have praised “his selfless determination in helping the old, young and disadvantaged” in Ukraine.

Andrew Bagshaw, 48, and Christopher Parry, 28, went missing earlier this month while heading to the town of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region of the country, where heavy fighting was reported.

Mr Parry’s family confirmed the men were killed, in a statement released through the Foreign Office, adding that his actions in Ukraine had “made us and his larger family extremely proud”.

“We never imagined we would be saying goodbye to Chris when he had such a full life ahead of him. He was a caring son, fantastic brother, a best friend to so many and a loving partner to Olga,” the statement from Rob, Christine and Katy Parry said.

“Chris was a confident, outward-looking and adventurous young man who was loyal to everyone he knew,” the family statement continued, adding: “He found himself drawn to Ukraine in March in its darkest hour at the start of the Russian invasion and helped those most in need, saving over 400 lives plus many abandoned animals.

“It is impossible to put into words how much he will be missed but he will forever be in our hearts. We feel so privileged that he chose our family to be part of.”

Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw (Chris Parry/Instagram/The Spearhead Foundation/Reuters)
Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw (Chris Parry/Instagram/The Spearhead Foundation/Reuters)

Briton arrested in Spain for helping oligarch

Wednesday 25 January 2023 06:56 , Shweta Sharma

A British man has been arrested in Spain for extradition to the US for allegedly helping an oligarch with close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin evade sanctions.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said in a statement that Richard Masters, 52, was arrested by the Spanish Guardia Civil last Friday, though his Russian-Swiss co-accused Vladislav Osipov remains at large.

The pair are charged separately, in indictments unsealed in the US District Court in the District of Columbia, with facilitating a scheme for oligarch Viktor Vekselberg connected to his $90m (£73m), 255-foot yacht Tango.

The DoJ said the pair are charged with conspiracy to defraud the US and to commit offences against the US, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and money laundering.

The US imposed sanctions against Mr Vekselberg in April 2018 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, with Washington strengthening the measures in March 2022 following Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

New Zealand scientist killed in Ukraine helped hundreds, parents say

Wednesday 25 January 2023 06:51 , Shweta Sharma

A New Zealand and British citizen was killed along with a British colleague in Ukraine while attempting to rescue an elderly woman from the town of Soledar, his parents have said.

Andrew Bagshaw, 47, helped save hundreds of people while volunteering in the dangerous Donbas region, his parents Dame Sue and Phil Bagshaw said.

They said their son’s car was hit by an artillery shell sometime this month.

They said their son worked independently and wasn’t affiliated with an aid agency, adding that they helped evacuate people from dangerous areas and bring food, water and medicine to others in need.

They said he even fed abandoned pets.

Bagshaw’s parents said Ukrainian authorities were working with officials in New Zealand and Britain, but it could take some time to get their son’s body returned from where it was being held at a children’s hospital mortuary in the capital, Kyiv.

Norway may send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine -report

Wednesday 25 January 2023 06:40 , Shweta Sharma

Norway is considering whether to send some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Oslo-based newspapers Aftenposten and Dagens Naeringsliv reported late on Tuesday.

Nato member Norway, which itself borders Russia, may contribute either four or eight of the country’s 36 Leopard 2 tanks, according to Dagens Naeringsliv.

However, no decision to send the heavy battle tanks has yet been made, according to each of the papers, quoting anonymous sources familiar with the deliberation.

Russia tests hypersonic missile 'capabilities' in Atlantic

Wednesday 25 January 2023 06:40 , Shweta Sharma

he Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday that its frigate Admiral Gorshkov had tested its strike capabilities in the Atlantic Ocean.

In a statement, the ministry said the frigate had run a test on hypersonic Zircon missiles, which have a range of 900km (560 miles), using computer simulation.

The statement did not say whether the frigate had actually launched a missile.

Zelensky warns of ‘new wave of Russian aggression'

Wednesday 25 January 2023 05:58 , Andy Gregory

Volodymyr Zelensky has repeated his warning that Russia is “preparing for a new wave of aggression with the forces it can mobilise”.

Moscow is already increasing pressure in Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other areas, the president warned in his nightly address.

“And they want to increase pressure on a larger scale. In order not to recognise the mistake of aggression, the masters of Russia want to throw more of their people and equipment into the fighting,” he claimed.

“This means that all of us in the free world must step up our cooperation to not only respond to Russia’s regular crimes. Although this will happen, of course. There will be a response. But to prevent new Russian criminal actions as much as possible. Our forces must retain the initiative in the war.”

Russia's foreign ministry says US 'waging hybrid war'

Wednesday 25 January 2023 05:04 , Shweta Sharma

Reflections about the US crossing “red lines” are now a thing of the past since the US has opened declared its plan of defeating Russia strategically, the Russian foreign ministry told TASS.

“A hybrid war is being waged against our country,” the ministry said.

“Reflections about red lines are now in the past. The United States has unequivocally declared its intention to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia,” the ministry continued. “It is impossible not to notice this reality.”

He was referring to the comments of Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, that “not all red lines have yet been crossed” by the West.

He said Nato and Western countries have de-facto become embroiled in the conflict in Ukraine, but that not all red lines have yet been crossed.

Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:59 , Emily Atkinson

For months, U.S. officials balked at sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, insisting they were too complicated and too hard to maintain and repair.

On Wednesday, that abruptly changed. Ukraine’s desperate pleas for tanks were answered with a sweeping, trans-Atlantic yes.

Here is a look at the massive battle weapon, why it is important to Ukraine’s war with Russia, and what drove the Biden administration’s tank turnabout:

EXPLAINER: Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

Zelensky removes top officials in shake-up of Ukraine’s government to fight corruption allegations

Wednesday 25 January 2023 04:51 , Andy Gregory

In case you missed it, here was one of yesterday’s big developments in Ukraine:

President Volodymyr Zelensky forced out a number of top officials in Ukraine’s government as he launched a renewed crackdown on corruption, reports my colleague Chris Stevenson.

Deputy head of the president’s office Kyrylo Tymoshenko, who has faced a scandal over the use of expensive cars, resigned on Tuesday morning. He had helped run President Zelensky’s 2019 election campaign and more recently had a role in overseeing regional policy. As did the deputy defence minister, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who cited what he called baseless “media accusations” of corruption. A statement on the defence ministry’s website said that Mr Shapovalov’s resignation was “a worthy deed” that would help retain trust in the ministry.

A deputy to the prosecutor general, Oleksiy Symonenko, was also removed from his post as part of the shakeup. The statement announcing his removal gave no reason for the decision but said it had been “according to his own wish”. Mr Symonenko had been under fire in Ukrainian media for taking a holiday in Spain.

Mr Zelensky’s cabinet secretary, Oleg Nemchinov, also said that the head of five areas have been dismissed. Two deputy ministers responsible for regional development were also among the others who left.

Zelensky in shake-up of Ukraine’s government to fight corruption allegations

Russia condemns US tank deliveries as 'blatant provocation’

Wednesday 25 January 2023 04:32 , Shweta Sharma

Washington’s expected decision to supply battle tanks to Ukraine would be “another blatant provocation”, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, said early on Wednesday.

“It is obvious that Washington is purposefully trying to inflict a strategic defeat on us,” Antonov said in remarks published on the embassy’s Telegram messaging app.

“If the United States decides to supply tanks, then justifying such a step with arguments about ‘defensive weapons’ will definitely not work. This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation.”

The US is poised to announce the start of deliveries of dozens of M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine and could begin the process later on Wednesday, two US officials told Reuters.

Watch: Doomsday Clock stands at 90 seconds to midnight ‘largely’ due to war in Ukraine

Wednesday 25 January 2023 03:45 , Andy Gregory

Zelensky addresses 11-month anniversary of Putin’s invasion

Wednesday 25 January 2023 02:39 , Andy Gregory

Today marks the start of the 12th month since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On the eve of the grim anniversary, president Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to pass the day “in the same way as the 334th, uniting all our forces for one thing – victory”.

“For the sake of the whole of Ukraine. For the sake of the victory of our entire country in the war for freedom and independence for all Ukrainians,” he added.

“It will happen. And all the steps necessary for this will be taken.”

Zelensky urges ‘decisions’ on German battle tanks

Wednesday 25 January 2023 01:33 , Andy Gregory

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that that Kyiv needs “decisions” on real deliveries of modern tanks – after reports that Germany was poised to announce a move to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to the war-torn nation.

There has not yet been any official confirmation of the move, and such deliveries could take weeks or months to become reality.

“There is a lot of talk about tanks now,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “About the modern tanks we need. And about how to fill this deficit. A lot of effort, words, and promises.

“But it is important to see the reality: it is not about five, or ten, or fifteen tanks. The need is greater. Every day we are doing everything necessary to fill the deficit. And I am grateful to everyone who supports us in this.

“Discussions must be concluded with decisions. Decisions on real strengthening of our defense against terrorists. Allies have the required number of tanks. When the needed weighty decisions are made, we will be happy to thank you for each weighty decision.”

Zelensky aide hails ‘punching fist of democracy’ following reports of German tanks

Wednesday 25 January 2023 00:25 , Andy Gregory

A senior aide to Voldymyr Zelensky has welcomed reports that Germany could be poised to announce plans to send a convoy of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kyiv – and allow allies to do the same.

“A few hundred tanks for our tank crews – the best tank crews in the world,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration, wrote on Telegram.

“This is what is going to become a real punching fist of democracy against the autocracy from the bog.”

Biden set to authorise shipment of Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Tuesday 24 January 2023 23:27 , Andy Gregory

President Joe Biden is set to announce that the US will provide dozens of M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

The official announcement could come as soon as Wednesday, according to multiple media outlets which cited US officials on the early news.

Our Washington DC correspondent John Bowden reports:

Biden set to authorise shipment of Abrams tanks to Ukraine

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website