Ukraine’s priority for 2024 is to “throw Russia from the skies”, Kyiv’s top diplomat has said, after the Kremlin fired nearly two dozen drones and missiles over the border.

“In 2024, of course the priority is to throw Russia from the skies,” Dmytryo Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, told a conference in Davos, Switzerland. “Because the one who controls the skies will define when and how the war will end.”

His comments augur the arrival of the first batch of F-16 fighter jets in Ukraine later this year, which Kyiv has been requesting since the start of the war.

Kyiv views these fighter jets as the key to unlocking air superiority over the Russians, which in turn, they believe, could prove invaluable to their aims to remove Kremlin forces from Ukraine.

It comes as at least 20 civilians have been injured after Russia fired nearly two dozen drones and missiles across Ukraine, according to local officials.

Ukraine’s interior minister Ihor Klymenko reported that it had been “a difficult night for Odessa and Kharkiv”, cities in the south and north east of Ukraine respectively.

Key Points

  • At least 20 injured in Russian strikes on southern and northeastern Ukraine

  • Ukraine launches drone strike across the border, claims Kremlin

  • Kyiv claims to have shot down two Russian planes, including £250m spy aircraft

  • EU 27 states will provide further funds to Ukraine – Von der Leyen

Ukraine’s ally Poland looking into how to make more ammunition – foreign minister

15:52 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Poland’s new government is looking into how it can make more ammunition and military equipment as it works on a new aid package for Ukraine, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in Davos on Wednesday.

Warsaw has been a close ally of Kyiv during Russia‘s war in Ukraine, but relations were dealt a blow last year by a dispute over grain imports and a blockade of some border crossings by Polish truckers demanding that the European Union reinstate a permit system for Ukrainian hauliers.

Sikorski signalled his intention to put ties back on a stronger footing by visiting Ukraine last month, shortly after his appointment to the new Western-looking government, and the new government has announced a new aid package for Kyiv.

“We are looking at all issues to do with Ukraine with fresh eyes,” Sikorski told Reuters in an interview at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

“We’re examining what options we have of making more ammunition and equipment and also what we still have in our stores.”

“What we think and communicate to our allies is that the cost of deterring Mr Putin after he’d conquered Ukraine would be much bigger than the cost of supplying Ukraine to effectively defend itself against his act of aggression,” he said.

Cameron plays down need for presidential election in Ukraine as war continues

15:21 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Lord Cameron has played down any urgent need for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to hold an election in the country later this year.

The Foreign Secretary, who appeared alongside Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, also insisted that the best way to ensure peace was to continue supporting Ukraine.

The former prime minister downplayed the need for a presidential election this year, something hard-right Republicans in the US have pressed for amid wrangles in Congress over military funding for Ukraine.

Cameron plays down need for presidential election in Ukraine as war continues

14:52 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

A billionaire ally of Russian businessman Roman Abramovich renewed his bid to overturn British sanctions at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, saying he was targeted because of pressure put on then Foreign Secretary Liz Truss by a Cabinet colleague.

Oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler was sanctioned in March 2022 on the grounds of his association with former Chelsea Football Club owner Abramovich. His two private jets were also seized.

Britain also cited Shvidler’s position as a director of London-listed Russian steel producer Evraz and role at Russian oil company Sibneft, sold by Abramovich in 2005, as evidence he obtained a financial benefit from Abramovich.

But Shvidler, whose net worth is estimated by Forbes magazine at $1.5 billion, argues that Britain was wrong to impose sanctions just because of his relationship with Abramovich, whom he described as a close friend.

He lost his initial challenge to the sanctions in August and is asking the Court of Appeal in London to rule that the imposition of sanctions was unlawful.

The case is the first substantive appellate test of British sanctions imposed following Russia‘s Ukraine invasion. In response, Britain has sanctioned more than 1,600 people and frozen over 18 billion pounds ($22.8 billion) in assets.

 (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Western officials looking at confiscating Russian assets

14:32 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Western officials said in Davos on Wednesday they were open to the idea of confiscating $300 billion of Russian assets to help Ukraine, but cautioned that the devil was in the legal detail and that, even if it could be done, it would be no panacea for Kyiv.

After President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in 2022, the United States and its allies prohibited transactions with Russia‘s central bank and finance ministry, blocking around $300 billion of sovereign Russian assets in the West.

G7 countries are discussing possibly confiscating the frozen Russian assets, though some G7 members have concerns about the precedent, mechanism and potential impact of taking such a step against central bank assets.

“The first thing you know is a ton of lawyers need to get involved. No decisions been made,” Penny Pritzker, U.S. special representative for Ukraine‘s economic recovery, told a panel on Monday.

“If a decision gets made it’s going to end up being collective. It’s a misperception to think this is going to be a panacea effect. There’s real effort going on but we are far from a conclusion.”

Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron, left, and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba take part in a panel discussion at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos (AP)Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron, left, and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba take part in a panel discussion at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos (AP)

Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron, left, and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba take part in a panel discussion at the Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos (AP)

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (AP)Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (AP)

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (AP)

Russia got components worth $2.9 bln from West despite sanctions, Kyiv says

14:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Western companies supplied Russia with $2.9 billion worth of components that can be used for military production in the first 10 months of 2023 despite sanctions on Moscow, the Ukrainian president’s office said on Wednesday.

Kyiv has been pressing its allies to tighten sanctions on Russia and close export control loopholes, saying that Moscow is still able to import military goods for its war in Ukraine.

Russia‘s 2023 imports of military goods totalled 90 per cent of the levels that were registered before the full-scale invasion in February, 2022, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said.

It cited research by a working group run by Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, and Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow. The research focused on Russian attempts to circumvent export control sanctions on military goods.

“The products of more than 250 Western companies were found in samples of destroyed or captured Russian weapons,” Zelensky’s office said.

The Kyiv School of Economics, which participated in the research, said that almost 2,800 foreign components were found in Russian military equipment, including the “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles that Moscow uses for air strikes on Ukraine.

“In fact, 95 per cent of all parts found in Russian weapons on the battlefield were sourced from producers in coalition countries, with 72 per cent accounted for by U.S.-based companies alone,” the study said.

Ukrainian foreign minister says he felt urge to punch Russia’s Sergei Lavrov in the face

13:45 , Tom Watling

Ukraine’s foreign minister says he felt the urge to punch his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the face when the two met in the early stages of Moscow’s invasion.

Dmytro Kuleba made the remarks in an hour-long informal interview with a Ukrainian video blogger published on Monday.

“The most difficult talks are those in which you feel simply that you want to go and punch your opposite number in the nose, but you really can’t do that,” the minister said.

“And I can say that this occurred two or three times. One occasion was with Lavrov in (the Turkish resort of) Antalya in spring of 2022,” he said.

Ukrainian foreign minister says he felt urge to punch Russia’s Lavrov in the face

Russia’s intense attacks on Ukraine has sharply increased civilian casualties in December, UN says

13:15 , Tom Watling

Russia’s intense missile and drone attacks across Ukraine in recent weeks sharply increased civilian casualties in December with over 100 killed and nearly 500 injured, the United Nations said in a new report Tuesday.

The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said there was a 26.5% increase in civilian casualties last month – from 468 in November to 592 in December. With some reports still pending verification, it said, the increase was likely higher.

Russia’s intense attacks on Ukraine has sharply increased civilian casualties in December, UN says

Slovakia’s leader voices support for Hungary’s Orbán in EU negotiations on funding for Ukraine

12:45 , Tom Watling

The leaders of Hungary and Slovakia on Tuesday said they agree on the need to rework a European Union plan to provide financial assistance to Ukraine. It’s a potential boon to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who last month derailed EU efforts to approve the funding for the war-ravaged country.

Following bilateral talks in Budapest, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said he agrees with Orbán’s position that the EU should not finance a planned 50 billion euro ($54 billion) aid package to Kyiv from the bloc’s common budget, and echoed Orbán’s assertions that the war in Ukraine cannot be resolved through military means.

“We have listened very carefully to the proposals that Prime Minister (Orbán) … has already put forward in relation to the review of the budget and aid to Ukraine, and I will repeat that we consider them to be rational and sensible,” Fico said.

Slovakia’s leader voices support for Hungary’s Orbán in EU negotiations on funding for Ukraine

Ukraine needs money from the US and Europe to keep its economy running. Will the aid come?

12:15 , Tom Watling

Ukraine’s hard-won economic stability is under threat again as the government faces a large budget hole and its two biggest allies and sponsors — the United States and the European Union — have so far failed to decide on extending more aid.

Without pledges of support by the start of February — when EU leaders meet to decide on aid — and if no money arrives by March, that could risk the progress Ukraine has made against inflation. It has helped ordinary people keep paying rent, put food on the table and resist Russia‘s efforts to break their society’s spirit.

The issue was on the minds of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy when they met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.

Ukraine needs money from the US and Europe to keep its economy running. Will the aid come?

Clashes break out in Russian region over jailing of rights activist

11:45 , Tom Watling

Clashes have broken out between the police and a large crowd of people who had gathered in support of the activist, Fail Alsynov. At a trial that was closed to the media, a court found him guilty of inciting ethnic hatred, a charge he denied.

Videos published on social media showed people shouting “Gas!” and moving away. One clip showed a line of police lashing out with batons at the crowd. In another, a woman remonstrated with police to stop beating a person lying on the ground.

Large protests in Russia are extremely rare because of the risk of arrest over any gatherings which the authorities deem unauthorised. Thousands of people have been detained in the past two years for opposing the war in Ukraine.

The timing is sensitive for the authorities, at the start of an election campaign in which President Vladimir Putin is seeking a new six-year term. While Putin’s victory is not in doubt, analysts said there would be pressure on Bashkortostan’s regional head, Radiy Khabirov, to keep the situation in hand in order to avoid embarrassment for the Kremlin.

Alsynov was accused of insulting migrant workers in a speech he made in April 2023 at a protest over plans to mine for gold in Bashkortostan, which is located in Russia’s southern Ural mountains near the border between Europe and Asia.

His supporters said the case against him was delayed revenge for his role in protests several years earlier in which activists successfully blocked plans to mine for soda on a hill that local people consider a sacred place.

Earlier, we reported that the crowds had begun to swell.

Russia got components worth £2.3bn from West despite sanctions, Kyiv says

11:17 , Tom Watling

Western companies supplied Russia with critical components worth $2.9 bn (£2.3bn) in the first 10 months of 2023, despite sanctions on Moscow, the Ukrainian president’s office has said.

“The products of more than 250 Western companies were found in samples of destroyed or captured Russian weapons,” the office said, citing research by a working group run by the president’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak and by Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia.

The research focused on Russia’s attempts to circumvent export control sanctions on military goods, the president’s office said.

Belgium PM says a mechanism is needed for confiscation of 280 billion euros of Russian assets

10:45 , Tom Watling

Belgium does not oppose the confiscation of 280 billion euros (£240bn) worth of frozen Russian central bank assets, but there needs to be a clear mechanism such as using the assets as collateral for Ukraine, the country’s prime minister has said.

After President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in 2022, the United States and its allies prohibited transactions with Russia’s central bank and finance ministry, blocking around $300 billion of sovereign Russian assets in the West.

G7 countries are discussing possibly confiscating the frozen Russian assets, though some G7 members have concerns about the precedent, mechanism and potential impact of taking such a step against central bank assets.

Belgian leader Alexander De Croo told Reuters in Davos that Belgium was ready for a discussion about what to do with the interest on the frozen Russian assets and the actual assets themselves.

“We don’t say no to asset confiscation. But we need to work on a mechanism. For example, they can be used as collateral for raising funds for Ukraine,” he said.

“We are open to further discussion and are willing to participate in a solution of finding a legal basis for those transfers to Ukraine, without destabilising the global financial system,” he said.

Mr De Croo said the risk was that financial stability could be undermined as central banks often deposit assets with each other.

The lion’s share of the assets – essentially securities in which the Russian Central Bank had invested – are frozen in Euroclear, a depository based in Brussels.

Some securities mature and hence are being converted into cash – a transaction that is taxed at 25 percent, he said.

“If there is any taxable revenue, we will isolate it so it can go to Ukraine,” Mr De Croo told Reuters in Davos. He said tax on the frozen assets totalled about 1.3 billion euros in 2023 and in 2024 would total about 1.7 billion euros.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last year had expressed concerns about significant legal obstacles to confiscating frozen Russian assets, but more recently has embraced exploring the idea in a tighter funding environment.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) meets with Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (L) at the World Economic Forum in Davos (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) meets with Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (L) at the World Economic Forum in Davos (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) meets with Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (L) at the World Economic Forum in Davos (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER)

Russia ally Belarus to permit use of nuclear weapons for first time in new military rulebook

10:00 , Tom Watling

Russia ally Belarus has amended its military doctrine to permit the use of nuclear weapons for the first time, months after its decision to host Vladimir Putin’s nukes sent alarm bells ringing across Europe.

Belarus borders Poland, Latvia and Lithuania to its north and west, and the prospect of Russian tactical nuclear weapons being housed so close to Nato allies sparked an international furore late last year.

Defence minister Viktor Khrenin said at a national security council meeting on Tuesday that the change in military doctrine represented a “new chapter” for Belarus, which does not have its own nuclear weapons.

Russia ally Belarus to ‘use nuclear weapons for first time’ in new military doctrine

EU 27 states will provide further funds to Ukraine – Von der Leyen

09:34 , Tom Watling

The chief of the European Union’s executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said she is “confident” all 27 member states will find a solution to provide funds to Ukraine, an issue currently in gridlock over Hungary’s resistance.

Ms Von der Leyen spoke to lawmakers in the EU parliament after EU leaders last month had agreed to start accession talks with Ukraine but failed to green-light a financial package worth 50 billion euros (£43bn) to Kyiv over Hungary’s veto.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, left, and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy react during a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, (AP)President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, left, and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy react during a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, (AP)

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, left, and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy react during a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, (AP)

Crowd protests jailing of activist in Russian region of Bashkortostan

09:03 , Tom Watling

A rights activist in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan has been sentenced to four years in a penal colony on Wednesday after a court found him guilty of inciting ethnic hatred, prompting clashes between his supporters and police.

Independent Russian-language news outlets said police fired tear gas and made arrests after scuffles broke out with a large crowd of people who had gathered in support of activist Fail Alsynov. It was not clear how many people had been detained.

Alsynov was accused of insulting migrant workers in a speech he made in April 2023 at a protest over plans to mine for gold in Bashkortostan, which is located in Russia’s southern Ural mountains near the border between Europe and Asia.

His supporters said the case against him was delayed revenge for his role in protests several years earlier in which activists successfully blocked plans to mine for soda on a hill that local people consider a sacred place.

“Huge thanks to everyone who came to support me. I will never forget this. I don’t admit my guilt. I always fought for justice, for my people, for my republic,” Alsynov told a reporter from online media outlet RusNews after the verdict.

Videos published on social media showed hundreds of people gathered near the court in the small town of Baymak, 1,380 km (860 miles) east of Moscow. Some reports said there were several thousand.

Large protests in Russia are extremely rare because of the risk of arrest over any gatherings which the authorities deem unauthorised. Thousands of people have been detained in the past two years for opposing the war in Ukraine.

Bashkortostan, an oil-producing region of 4.1 million people, is one of more than 80 entities that make up the Russian Federation.

Alsynov was a leader of Bashkort, a grassroots movement to preserve the culture, language and ethnic identity of the region’s people, which was banned as an extremist organisation in 2020.

Here is some footage of Kharkiv after the Russian missile attack last night

08:38 , Tom Watling

Below is some footage from Kharkiv, northeast Ukraine, this morning after a Russian missile attack injured at least 17 people overnight.

Local officials said Russia fired two S-300 anti-aircraft missiles at the city, which sits by the border with Russia.

Russia’s intense attacks on Ukraine has sharply increased civilian casualties in December, UN says

08:28 , Tom Watling

Russia’s intense missile and drone attacks across Ukraine in recent weeks sharply increased civilian casualties in December with over 100 killed and nearly 500 injured, the United Nations said in a new report Tuesday.

The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said there was a 26.5 percent increase in civilian casualties last month – from 468 in November to 592 in December. With some reports still pending verification, it said, the increase was likely higher.

Danielle Bell who heads the UN’s monitoring mission. said: “Civilian casualties had been steadily decreasing in 2023 but the wave of attacks i n late December and early January violently interrupted that trend.”

You can read the full story below.

Russia’s intense attacks on Ukraine has sharply increased civilian casualties in December, UN says

Nato needs ‘warfighting transformation’, top military official says, after speaking with Ukraine chief

08:08 , Tom Watling

A top Nato military official has called on public and private actors in the West to change their mindsets from a focus on efficiency to a focus on effectiveness to live up to an era in which anything can happen at any time – hours after he spoke with Ukraine’s top soldier.

“We need a warfighting transformation of NATO,” the chief of the alliance’s Military Committee, Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer, said as he addressed a meeting of national defence chiefs in Brussels.

In the past, public and private actors had lived in an era in which everything was plentiful, foreseeable, controllable, and focused on efficiency, he noted.

Now they would have to change their mindsets to “an era in which anything can happen at any time, an era in which we need to expect the unexpected, an era in which we need to focus on effectiveness in order to be fully effective”.

His comments came hours after he held a phonecall with the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s military, General Valery Zaluzhny. The pair will both be present for a Ukraine-Nato council later today, though Gen Zaluzhny will be present via videocall.

A statement from Gen Zaluzhny’s office said he “exchanged views on the tactics and strategy of Ukraine and the Alliance” and “emphasised that in a war of such intensity, technologies play an important role”.

Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhny spoke with Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer on Tuesday night (AP)Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhny spoke with Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer on Tuesday night (AP)

Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhny spoke with Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer on Tuesday night (AP)

Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s Kharkiv, 17 injured

07:45 , Tom Watling

Two Russian missiles have struck a residential area in the centre of Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, injuring 17 people, two of them seriously, and badly damaging homes, local officials have said.

Rescue teams were sifting through piles of rubble to establish whether others were hurt. The city’s mayor described two “powerful explosions” and said at least 10 dwellings had been damaged.

Ukraine’s Emergency Services said one of the missiles had hit a three-storey building that had previously housed a medical centre. Fires were extinguished in two buildings and residential and other buildings sustained damage. Regional Police Chief Volodymyr Tymoshko told public broadcaster Suspilne that one of the missiles had hit a roadway.

Emergency services posted online photos showing rescue teams poring over piles of smashed building materials, tackling fires, scrambling up ladders to damaged upper storeys and helping evacuees board minibuses.

Kharkiv Regional Governor Oleh Synehubov, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said 17 people had been injured. Fourteen were in hospital, including two women who were seriously hurt.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov, also writing on Telegram, said the missiles struck “precisely where there is no military infrastructure and precisely where there are in fact residences.”

“There are at least 10 damaged buildings. Rescue teams are continuing to go through the rubble. And there is plenty of rubble.”

Kharkiv, in Ukraine’s northeast, has been a frequent target of attacks, but in the space of the nearly two-year-old conflict, the city has not fallen into Russian hands. Russian missiles hit a hotel in the city last week, injuring 11 people.

A general view this morning shows the damage sustained by a building hit last night by a Russian missile strike (REUTERS)A general view this morning shows the damage sustained by a building hit last night by a Russian missile strike (REUTERS)

A general view this morning shows the damage sustained by a building hit last night by a Russian missile strike (REUTERS)

Municipal workers remove debris this morning at the site of a second Russian missile strike in Kharkiv (REUTERS)Municipal workers remove debris this morning at the site of a second Russian missile strike in Kharkiv (REUTERS)

Municipal workers remove debris this morning at the site of a second Russian missile strike in Kharkiv (REUTERS)

Ukrainian war crimes investigators inspect one of the two sites last night, hours after the attack (Telegram / Kharkiv Regional Military Administration)Ukrainian war crimes investigators inspect one of the two sites last night, hours after the attack (Telegram / Kharkiv Regional Military Administration)

Ukrainian war crimes investigators inspect one of the two sites last night, hours after the attack (Telegram / Kharkiv Regional Military Administration)

Russia drones hit southern Ukraine port, injuring three

07:34 , Tom Watling

At least three civilians have been injured after Russia fired nearly two dozen Iranian-made drones in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s air force said they successfully intercepted 19 out of the 20 Iranian-made Shahed drones fired by the Kremlin across Ukraine during this latest overnight long-range assault – but the main thrust of the attack appears to have been the port city of Odessa in the south.

The Ukrainian military said Russian targeted Odessa and other southern regions for at least three hours while the southern military command specified that Russia had fired at least 11 drones at Odessa.

Oleh Kiper, governor of Odessa Oblast, said three people, including two women and one 62-year-old man, had been injured by strikes on the region’s namesake city after drone debris caused a fire.

The intercepted drones hit residential buildings, and damaged a gas pipe and a dozen cars in one of the port’s districts, the Interior Ministry said. About 130 were evacuated, it added.

Moscow has repeatedly tried to hit infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern Black Sea ports since it pulled out of a United Nations-brokered deal that allowed safe passage of Ukrainian grain shipments via the sea.

A fire broke out in an Odessa apartment block after drone debris fell in the area, Ukrainian officials said (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)A fire broke out in an Odessa apartment block after drone debris fell in the area, Ukrainian officials said (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)

A fire broke out in an Odessa apartment block after drone debris fell in the area, Ukrainian officials said (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)

An elderly woman is seen being rescued from the fire; about 130 people were evacuated from the apartment (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)An elderly woman is seen being rescued from the fire; about 130 people were evacuated from the apartment (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)

An elderly woman is seen being rescued from the fire; about 130 people were evacuated from the apartment (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)

A Ukrainian firefighter tackles a fire in an Odessa apartment block after the drone debris hit (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)A Ukrainian firefighter tackles a fire in an Odessa apartment block after the drone debris hit (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)

A Ukrainian firefighter tackles a fire in an Odessa apartment block after the drone debris hit (Telegram / Ukraine’s State Emergency Service)

Biden invites congressional leaders to discuss national security spending as Ukraine-immigration negotiations continue

07:12 , Maira Butt

Eric Garcia reports:

President Joe Biden has invited Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to the White House to discuss a proposed supplemental spending bill for national security.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the meeting during a press conference on Tuesday.

“As it relates to the meeting that the President is having tomorrow here at the White House with congressional ranking members and leaders to talk about the very important supplemental requests that this President made a couple months ago at this point,” she told reporters.

Biden invites congressional leaders to discuss national security spending

Another lawyer for Kremlin foe Navalny faces extremism charges

06:05 , Maira Butt

A lawyer for imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Tuesday that Russian authorities charged her in absentia with participating in an extremist group.

The same charges were brought against three other lawyers who represented Navalny and were jailed in October in a move his allies had decried as designed to put additional pressure on the politician.

Olga Mikhailova, who defended Navalny for over a decade and has left Russia, revealed on social media that the charges were brought against her.

“For 16 years, you defend a person” who was accused of embezzlement, fraud, defamation and “and recently (became) an ‘extremist,’ so it means you yourself are an extremist,” she wrote in a Facebook post, rejecting the charges against her.

Read the full article here.

France’s Macron to travel to Ukraine in February to finalise bilateral security deal

05:26 , Maira Butt

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he would travel to Ukraine in February to finalise a bilateral security guarantee deal and Paris would deliver more sophisticated weaponry in the coming weeks.

He said Russia could not be allowed to defeat Ukraine otherwise the security of Europe would be put at risk.

 (AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

French president announces missiles and bombs for Ukraine, saying: ‘We cannot let Russia win’

05:03 , Maira Butt

France’s president Emmanuel Macron announced fresh aid for Ukraine on Tuesday evening.

The support package will include dozens of missiles and hundreds of bombs with Macron adding: “We cannot let Russia win, and we must not do that.”

Macron made the announcement at a wide-ranging news conference Tuesday evening.

He said he will travel to Ukraine next month and that a Russian victory in Ukraine would undermine the international order.

 (AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

(AFP via Getty Images)

In case you missed it: Ukrainian foreign minister says he felt urge to punch Russia’s Sergei Lavrov in the face

04:02 , Maira Butt

Arpun Rai reports:

Ukraine’s foreign minister says he felt the urge to punch his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the face when the two met in the early stages of Moscow’s invasion.

Dmytro Kuleba made the remarks in an hour-long informal interview with a Ukrainian video blogger published on Monday.

“The most difficult talks are those in which you feel simply that you want to go and punch your opposite number in the nose, but you really can’t do that,” the minister said.

Ukrainian foreign minister says he felt urge to punch Russia’s Lavrov in the face

Video: Zelensky addresses World Economic Forum as he tries to rally support for Ukraine

03:04 , Maira Butt

More than 60 heads of state and government and hundreds of business leaders are gathering in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the biggest global challenges during the annual event.

Mr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, will aim to keep his country’s long and largely stalemated defence against Russia on the minds of political leaders, as Israel’s war with Hamas has garnered much of the world’s attention.

Watch: Zelensky addresses World Economic Forum as he tries to rally support

Zelensky meets Poland’s President Andrzej Duda ahead of Nato summit

02:05 , Maira Butt

President Zelensky met with Polish president Andrzej Duda on Tuesday. He hinted that the meeting had been productive as the pair “coordinated” their positions ahead of the Nato summit in Washington.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Ukrainian leader said:

“I met with @AndrzejDuda to discuss our bilateral relations, including our cooperation on Ukraine’s path to EU membership.

“We discussed the battlefield situation and further defense assistance for Ukraine. We also coordinated our positions ahead of the NATO summit in Washington.”

 (EPA) (EPA)

(EPA)

Slovakia’s leader voices support for Hungary’s Orbán in EU negotiations on funding for Ukraine

01:01 , Maira Butt

The leaders of Hungary and Slovakia on Tuesday said they agree on the need to rework a European Union plan to provide financial assistance to Ukraine.

It’s a potential boon to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who last month derailed EU efforts to approve the funding for the war-ravaged country.

Following bilateral talks in Budapest, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said he agrees with Orbán’s position that the EU should not finance a planned 50 billion euro ($54 billion) aid package to Kyiv from the bloc’s common budget, and echoed Orbán’s assertions that the war in Ukraine cannot be resolved through military means.

Slovakia’s leader voices support for Hungary’s Orbán in EU negotiations on funding for Ukraine

Ukraine says Polish protesters have lifted border blockade

00:03 , Maira Butt

Ukraine‘s border authorities said Polish truck drivers who had been blocking three crossings on the Polish-Ukrainian border lifted all blockades, allowing traffic to pass freely.

Poland’s infrastructure minister said earlier on Tuesday that truckers who have blockaded Ukraine crossings since November would suspend their protest until March 1 after signing an agreement with the government.

Polish hauliers had been protesting over what they said was unfair competition from their Ukrainian counterparts.

“Today, Polish strikers unblocked the Korczowa-Krakowiets checkpoint. As of this hour, about 300 trucks are queuing to enter Ukraine from the Polish side,” the customs service said on the Telegram messaging app.

 (REUTERS) (REUTERS)

(REUTERS)

Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s Kharkiv, wounding 16, officials say

Tuesday 16 January 2024 23:01 , Maira Butt

Russian missiles hit the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine‘s second city, on Tuesday, injuring 16 people and damaging residences, local officials said.

Kharkiv Regional Governor Oleh Synehubov, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said two Russian missiles had hit the city centre and four people had suffered light injuries.

Synehubov said residences had been damaged in the attack. Emergency crews were at the scene.

“These strikes were in the city centre,” Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote on Telegram. “Precisely where there is no military infastrcture and precisely where there are in fact residences.”

United Nations seeks $4.2 billion to help people in Ukraine and refugees this year

Tuesday 16 January 2024 22:00 , Tom Watling

The United Nations appealed on Monday for $4.2 billion (£3.3bn) to help people in Ukraine and displaced outside the country this year, saying that people on the front lines have “exhausted their meager resources” and many refugees also are vulnerable.

About three-quarters of the total, $3.1 billion, is meant to support some 8.5 million people inside Ukraine. The remaining $1.1 billion is sought for refugees and host communities outside Ukraine.

A recent wave of attacks “underscores the devastating civilian cost of the war” and a bitter winter is increasing the need for humanitarian aid, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN refugee agency said in a statement from Geneva.

United Nations seeks $4.2 billion to help people in Ukraine and refugees this year

North Korea’s top diplomat in Moscow for talks on ties amid concerns over alleged arms deal

Tuesday 16 January 2024 21:00 , Tom Watling

Russia‘s top diplomat on Tuesday hosted his North Korean counterpart for talks on expanding ties between the two countries amid international concerns over an alleged arms cooperation deal between Pyongyang and Moscow.

At the start of the meeting, Sergei Lavrov said he and North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui would discuss “active work” on implementing the agreements reached by the countries’ leaders.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to Russia in September to meet President Vladimir Putin and visit several military sites, sparking international concerns about an arms alliance that would help Moscow replenish its arsenals amid the fighting in Ukraine.

North Korea’s top diplomat in Moscow for talks on ties amid concerns over alleged arms deal

Putin says it’s impossible to take away Russia’s gains in Ukraine

Tuesday 16 January 2024 20:00 , Tom Watling

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it was “impossible” to take away from Russia the military gains it had made in Ukraine.

Talking about possible peace talks, Putin also said in televised comments that ideas put forward by Ukraine were “prohibitive formulas for the peace process”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the heads of municipalities during the all-Russian municipal forum in the town of Odintsovo in Moscow region (via REUTERS)Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the heads of municipalities during the all-Russian municipal forum in the town of Odintsovo in Moscow region (via REUTERS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the heads of municipalities during the all-Russian municipal forum in the town of Odintsovo in Moscow region (via REUTERS)

Ukraine says it has shot down £250m Russian spy plane in costly blow to Putin

Tuesday 16 January 2024 19:00 , Tom Watling

Ukraine has said it has shot down two prized Russian warplanes in what would amount to the most successful attack on Kremlin aircraft since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

General Valerii Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said on Monday morning that a Russian A-50 spy plane, worth more than £250m, had been destroyed in overnight strikes in the southern occupied territories, while an IL-22 command aircraft had been hit off the Crimean coast.

“Ukraine’s Air Force destroyed an enemy A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft and an enemy IL-22 air control centre,” Gen Zaluzhny wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“I am grateful to the Air Force for the perfectly planned and executed operation in the Azov Sea region!”

Ukraine says it has shot down £250m Russian spy plane in costly blow to Putin

Watch as Zelensky addresses World Economic Forum in Davos

Tuesday 16 January 2024 18:00 , Tom Watling

Watch live as Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the World Economic Forum on Tuesday 16 January.

More than 60 heads of state and government and hundreds of business leaders are gathering in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the biggest global challenges during the annual event.

Mr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, will aim to keep his country’s long and largely stalemated defence against Russia on the minds of political leaders, as Israel’s war with Hamas has garnered much of the world’s attention.

Watch: Zelensky addresses World Economic Forum as he tries to rally support

Ukrainian foreign minister says he felt urge to punch Russia’s Sergei Lavrov in the face

Tuesday 16 January 2024 17:00 , Tom Watling

Ukraine’s foreign minister says he felt the urge to punch his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the face when the two met in the early stages of Moscow’s invasion.

Dmytro Kuleba made the remarks in an hour-long informal interview with a Ukrainian video blogger published on Monday.

“The most difficult talks are those in which you feel simply that you want to go and punch your opposite number in the nose, but you really can’t do that,” the minister said.

Ukrainian foreign minister says he felt urge to punch Russia’s Lavrov in the face

Russia jails officer for buying wrong hardware to protect Crimean bridge from Ukrainian attack – TASS

Tuesday 16 January 2024 16:00 , Tom Watling

A Russian court has sentenced a former senior officer in the National Guard to six years in a prison colony after convicting him of buying equipment unable to protect the bridge which links southern Russia to Crimea, the TASS state news agency has reported.

TASS said that Colonel Sergei Volkov had purchased two radar-based air defence systems for 395 million roubles ($4.5 million) which were meant to be able to bring down Ukrainian attack drones by suppressing their signal.

A military court in Moscow had determined that the equipment – which was also meant to protect a gas pipeline running from southern Russia to Crimea – needed modernising and upgrading to be effective and had found Volkov guilty of abusing his position, it said.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a move that Kyiv and the West do not recognise and say was illegal.

Volkov was reported to deny his guilt, saying he had acted within the law, and that the equipment was in fact intended to protect National Guard troops in various locations.

The Kommersant newspaper reported that Volkov’s oversight had left the bridge being “within range of (Ukrainian) fire.”

The road and rail bridge was a flagship project for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who opened it to road traffic to much fanfare by driving a truck across it in 2018.

After Putin sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, the bridge became a prime target for the Ukrainian military and special services.

It was severely damaged in October 2022 by a massive explosion.

Russian officials said the blast was caused by a lorry that exploded while driving over the bridge, killing three people. A few months later, in July 2023, Ukrainian security services claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Black smoke billows from a fire on the Kerch bridge that links Crimea to Russia, after a truck exploded, near Kerch, on October 8, 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)Black smoke billows from a fire on the Kerch bridge that links Crimea to Russia, after a truck exploded, near Kerch, on October 8, 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

Black smoke billows from a fire on the Kerch bridge that links Crimea to Russia, after a truck exploded, near Kerch, on October 8, 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

Putin makes first comment on ‘almost naked’ Moscow party

Tuesday 16 January 2024 15:19 , Tom Watling

Vladimir Putin has made his first public comments about the “almost naked” party that took place in Moscow at the end of last year.

The Russian autocrat, who has overseen the swift punishment of several of the celebrities involved in the party, mockingly juxtaposed the soldiers returning from the war in Ukraine to those “jumping around without any pants”.

“Of course, we must pay attention to the guys who are returning from the zone of a special military operation. You know, people decide to do this, when they go through this crucible, they come back,” Putin said in a televised meeting. “Yes, many of life’s priorities are lined up differently, here you won’t be jumping around without pants at any events.”

During the “almost naked” party, held at the Mutabor nightclub in Moscow, Russian celebrities turned up in their underwear – one rapper, Vacio, wore just a sock – as per the theme.

The event and the subsequent pictures caused outrage among the Russian community. Vacio was jailed for at least 20 days and Mutabor had its licence temporarily cancelled for 90 days.

You can read more about that story here.

Vladimir Putin speaks about the ‘almost naked’ party in Moscow during a televised meeting (Shot / Telegram)Vladimir Putin speaks about the ‘almost naked’ party in Moscow during a televised meeting (Shot / Telegram)

Vladimir Putin speaks about the ‘almost naked’ party in Moscow during a televised meeting (Shot / Telegram)

Here are some of the latest photos of Volodymyr Zelensky’s trip to Davos

Tuesday 16 January 2024 14:55 , Tom Watling

Below are some of the latest photos of Volodymyr Zelensky’s trip to Davos for the World Economic Forum.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a plenary session in the Congress Hall at the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (EPA)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a plenary session in the Congress Hall at the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (EPA)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a plenary session in the Congress Hall at the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (EPA)

Mr Zelensky jokes with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an outspoken supporter for Ukraine, on the sidelines of Davos (AP)Mr Zelensky jokes with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an outspoken supporter for Ukraine, on the sidelines of Davos (AP)

Mr Zelensky jokes with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, an outspoken supporter for Ukraine, on the sidelines of Davos (AP)

Zelensky stands next to Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab (AP)Zelensky stands next to Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab (AP)

Zelensky stands next to Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab (AP)

‘Putin embodies war’: Zelensky accuses Russia of mass deportation

Tuesday 16 January 2024 14:05 , Tom Watling

Watch live: Zelensky addresses World Economic Forum as he tries to rally support for Ukraine

Tuesday 16 January 2024 13:51 , Tom Watling

Watch live as Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the World Economic Forum on Tuesday 16 January.

More than 60 heads of state and government and hundreds of business leaders are gathering in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the biggest global challenges during the annual event.

Mr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, will aim to keep his country’s long and largely stalemated defence against Russia on the minds of political leaders, as Israel’s war with Hamas has garnered much of the world’s attention.

Live: Zelensky addresses World Economic Forum as he tries to rally support

Zelensky and top US diplomat discuss defence cooperation in Davos

Tuesday 16 January 2024 13:39 , Tom Watling

Ukraine‘s President Volodymyr Zelensky has discussed defence cooperation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Davos.

Particular emphasis was made on air defence and long-range capabilities, Mr Zelensksy said in a statement on X.

He informed Mr Blinken and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan of the battlefield situation, plans for 2024, and the means needed to fulfil them.

Kyiv is increasing efforts to ramp up domestic military production to ensure stable supplies and become less dependent on foreign partners, which face their own shortages and cannot meet Ukraine‘s battlefield needs.

“We … emphasised that greater defence cooperation and co-production will increase Ukraine‘s self-reliance while decreasing its reliance on foreign military and financial aid,” Mr Zelensky said.

What we can expect from the war in Ukraine in 2024

Tuesday 16 January 2024 13:00 , Tom Watling

Kyiv’s forces are likely to remain on the defensive for much of next year, writes Keir Giles. That is unless the West finally gets fully behind the idea that Putin’s war aims will only change if his hand is forced.

What we can expect from the war in Ukraine in 2024

Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in Nato, says Rishi Sunak

Tuesday 16 January 2024 12:30 , Tom Watling

Rishi Sunak said that “Ukraine’s rightful place is in Nato,” while speaking to MPs on Monday, 15 January.

The Prime Minister said that the UK will have provided almost £12 billion in aid to Ukraine, and have become the first to provide new bilateral security commitments, originally outlined at the 2023 Nato Summit.

He also confirmed an extra £2.5 billion in military funding to Ukraine after visiting Kyiv on Friday.

“Ukraine’s rightful place is in Nato, and Nato will be stronger with Ukraine in it. But these committments will help bridge the gap until this day comes,” Mr Sunak said.

Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in Nato, says Rishi Sunak

Zelensky meets JP Morgan executives, other major investors in Davos

Tuesday 16 January 2024 12:00 , Tom Watling

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has met with executives of JPMorgan, the largest US lender, and other major international investors in Davos.

In a statement on Telegram, he said of the meetings: “It is important for us to attract private capital to the reconstruction of Ukraine. We hope that JP Morgan will help attract a large number of global investors and corporations to the Ukrainian economy.”

EU’s von der Leyen warns West against slackening support for Ukraine

Tuesday 16 January 2024 11:30 , Tom Watling

The West must not let up supplying Ukraine with weapons and money if it wants Kyiv to succeed in its war against Russia, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned.

“Ukraine can prevail in this war but we must continue to empower their resistance,” she told business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, urging Kyiv’s western allies to continue their arms deliveries and financial support of Ukraine.

“Ukrainians need predictable financing throughout 2024 and beyond. They need a sufficient and sustained supply of weapons to defend Ukraine and regain its rightful territory.”

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, speaks during a plenary session in the Congress Hall at the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (EPA)Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, speaks during a plenary session in the Congress Hall at the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (EPA)

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, speaks during a plenary session in the Congress Hall at the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (EPA)

Zelensky takes center stage in Davos as he tries to rally support for Ukraine’s fight

Tuesday 16 January 2024 11:00 , Tom Watling

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is headlining a frenzied first full day of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, where top officials from the United States, the European Union, China, the Middle East and beyond will also take center stage Tuesday.

Mr Zelensky will endeavor to keep his country’s long and largely stalemated defense against Russia on the minds of political leaders, just as Israel’s war with Hamas, which passed the 100-day mark, has siphoned off much of the world’s attention and sparked concerns about a wider conflict in the Middle East.

Zelenskyy takes center stage in Davos as he tries to rally support for Ukraine’s fight

UPDATE: Two children injured in Voronezh strikes, claims local

Tuesday 16 January 2024 10:30 , Tom Watling

Two children have been injured in what the Kremlin is claiming was a Ukrainian drone strike on a Russian city overnight, according to the latest update.

Yelena Fedyainova, a resident of Voronezh City, has said her six-year-old boy was injured after a drone blew out the window of her apartment. She said the first drone hit at 2.30am local time (11.30pm GMT).

“There was a blow and a flash,” Ms Fedyainova told reporters. “I grabbed the child – there were shards everywhere and smoke.”

The mayor of Voronezh City, Vadim Kstenin, announced earlier that an 11-year-old girl had also been injured in the attack. He declared a state of emergency in the city this morning.

A view shows a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)A view shows a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

A view shows a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

Ukrainian strikes on Russian spy plane killed 11, claims military blogger

Tuesday 16 January 2024 10:06 , Tom Watling

The alleged Ukrainian destruction of a Russian spy plane on Monday killed at least 11 Kremlin pilots, a Russian military blogger has claimed.

Fighterbomber, believed to be a pilot in the Russian air force, posted the update on Telegram detailing the consequences of yesterday’s attacks. The blogger has been vocal about the importance of not hiding information about the attacks; the Kremlin has refused to speak about it.

While information is still scant – no photo has yet emerged of the destroyed A-50 spy plane – Fighterbomber provided the only image of the second plane attacked on Monday, an Ilyushin-22 command aircraft.

A Russian Beriev A-50 airborne early warning and control plain flies over Moscow (AP)A Russian Beriev A-50 airborne early warning and control plain flies over Moscow (AP)

A Russian Beriev A-50 airborne early warning and control plain flies over Moscow (AP)

Polish truckers to suspend protest on Wednesday, says organiser

Tuesday 16 January 2024 09:35 , Tom Watling

Polish truckers who have been blockading some border crossings with Ukraine will suspend their protest tomorrow and an agreement with the government is due to be signed on Tuesday, an organiser said.

“It won’t be the end but there will be a suspension of the protest,” said Tomasz Borkowski, from the Committee to Protect Transporters and Transport Employers. “We agreed certain conditions, we will give the government time to work as it is a new government.”

The protest is due to end at 11am GMT.

This aerial view shows Ukrainian trucks on the parking lot next to Korczowa Polish-Ukrainian border crossing, (AFP via Getty Images)This aerial view shows Ukrainian trucks on the parking lot next to Korczowa Polish-Ukrainian border crossing, (AFP via Getty Images)

This aerial view shows Ukrainian trucks on the parking lot next to Korczowa Polish-Ukrainian border crossing, (AFP via Getty Images)

Zelensky sits down with Nato chief

Tuesday 16 January 2024 09:07 , Tom Watling

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sat down with Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg to discuss the war in Ukraine.

The pair met in the Swiss town of Davos ahead of the World Economic Forum.

In a statement on X, Mr Zelensky wrote: “We discussed the situation on the front lines. I informed the Secretary General of Russia’s recent mass air strikes and emphasized the need to further strengthen Ukraine’s air defense. We also talked about other defense needs.”

Zelensky arrives for first day of Davos

Tuesday 16 January 2024 08:45 , Tom Watling

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived this morning in Davos, Switzerland, to attend a session with CEOs as part of the World Economic Forum.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives to attend a session with CEOs during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (AFP via Getty Images)Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives to attend a session with CEOs during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (AFP via Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives to attend a session with CEOs during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (AFP via Getty Images)

Here are some pictures from the Voronezh attack overnight

Tuesday 16 January 2024 08:26 , Tom Watling

Below are some pictures appearing to show the aftermath of a drone attack on Voronezh City in Russia overnight. The city is roughly 170 miles from the Ukrainian border and sits next to an air base where Kremlin fighter jets are located.

A woman removes broken glass next to a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)A woman removes broken glass next to a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

A woman removes broken glass next to a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

Elena Fedianinova checks her apartment damaged in a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)Elena Fedianinova checks her apartment damaged in a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

Elena Fedianinova checks her apartment damaged in a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

A woman walks past a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)A woman walks past a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

A woman walks past a damaged multi-storey apartment block following a reported drone attack in Voronezh (REUTERS)

Ukraine foreign minister muses about ‘punching’ Russia’s Lavrov

Tuesday 16 January 2024 07:47 , Tom Watling

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in an interview made public on Monday, has said there have been times when he felt the urge to “punch in the face” his Russian opposite number Sergei Lavrov in talks during the early stage of Moscow’s invasion.

Mr Kuleba’s brief remarks were part of an hour-long informal interview with a Ukrainian video blogger focusing on topics ranging from cooking to hobbies and Ukrainian soccer.

When asked, as part of a series of rapid-fire questions, about his most difficult set of negotiations, Mr Kuleba said: “The most difficult talks are those in which you feel simply that you want to go and punch your opposite number in the nose, but you really can’t do that.

“And I can say that this occurred two or three times. One occasion was with Lavrov in (the Turkish resort of) Antalya in spring of 2022.”

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators met for several rounds of talks in the early weeks after the February 2022 invasion — first near Ukraine‘s border with Belarus and later in Turkey.

Mr Kuleba said at the time that the talks in Turkey had been difficult and dealt with a ceasefire and arranging humanitarian corridors. No agreement was clinched in those talks and there have been no negotiations since.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejects talks with Moscow until Russian troops are withdrawn from the slightly less than 20 percent of Ukraine they now hold. Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready for talks but has vowed to pursue what Moscow calls its “special military operation”.

In Moscow, Russia Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Mr Kuleba’s latest remarks underscored the incompetence of Ukraine‘s leadership.

“And that is the problem: uneducated, aggressive people were recruited under the guise of serving as ministers to ruin Ukraine for American money,” Zakharova told the daily Izvestia.

“Perhaps he belongs in a no-holds-barred bout rather than the foreign ministry?”

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media after a trilateral meeting with Dmytro Kuleba and Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, March 10, 2022 (AP)Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media after a trilateral meeting with Dmytro Kuleba and Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, March 10, 2022 (AP)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to the media after a trilateral meeting with Dmytro Kuleba and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Antalya, Turkey, Thursday, March 10, 2022 (AP)

Ukraine launches drone attack on Russia’s Voronezh, says Kremlin

Tuesday 16 January 2024 07:17 , Tom Watling

Russia’s air defence systems destroyed three Ukraine-launched drones over the southwestern region of Voronezh that borders Ukraine, the Russian defence ministry said on Tuesday on its Telegram messaging channel.

The governor of the region, Alexander Gusev, said on his Telegram channel that according to preliminary checks there were no casualties or wounded, but windows were broken in several apartment buildings and residential houses in the city of Voronezh, which is the administrative centre of the region.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine. Kyiv has intensified its air attacks in recent months on what it says are strikes targeting Russian military infrastructure to undermine Moscow’s war efforts.

Russia has an air base near Voronezh city, where some Sukhoi Su-34s bombers are based, according to Russian media. Russia often deploys the fighter-bomber aircraft during its air strikes on Ukraine.

Russian news outlet Shot reported on the Telegram that at least 15 blasts were heard near the air base and some drone debris fell nearby onto an apartment building.

The footage seen below was originally posted to Telegam by the local outlet Voronezh No. 1.

In case you missed it: Ukraine says it has shot down £250m Russian spy plane in costly blow to Putin

Tuesday 16 January 2024 06:57 , Maira Butt

Tom Watling reports:

Ukraine has said it has shot down two prized Russian warplanes in what would amount to the most successful attack on Kremlin aircraft since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

General Valerii Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said on Monday morning that a Russian A-50 spy plane, worth more than £250m, had been destroyed in overnight strikes in the southern occupied territories, while an IL-22 command aircraft had been hit off the Crimean coast.

“Ukraine’s Air Force destroyed an enemy A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft and an enemy IL-22 air control centre,” Gen Zaluzhny wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Read the full article below.

Ukraine says it has shot down £250m Russian spy plane in costly blow to Putin

Romanian truck drivers and farmers protest as talks with the government fail to reach an agreement

Tuesday 16 January 2024 06:10 , Maira Butt

Long convoys of trucks and tractors disrupted traffic on the outskirts of the capital, Bucharest, and other cities throughout the European Union nation as Romanian truck drivers and farmers protested following the failure of talks with government in the sixth straight day of demonstrations.

Farmers are demanding faster subsidy payments, compensation for losses caused by imports from neighboring Ukraine, and more state aid for fuel costs, among other demands. Truck drivers are calling for lower tax and insurance rates, and have complained about lengthy waiting times at the borders.

Meetings between the protesters and the agriculture and transport ministries were held over the weekend, but no agreements were reached. The demonstrators on Saturday also caused brief blockades at the border with Ukraine in the northeast, Ukrainian border authorities said on Telegram.

 (AP) (AP)

(AP)

New images show Ukrainian drones dropping bombs on Russian military positions

Tuesday 16 January 2024 05:07 , Maira Butt

Images obtained by Newsflash from the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine on Monday show Ukrainian drones attacking Russian military positions.

They were accompanied with a statement saying: “Two occupants killed, four wounded.

“The attack UAV of the border guards of the Steel Frontier Brigade of the Offensive Guard returned from a night hunt in Kharkiv region.”

Ukrainians are being encouraged to contribute to the “People’s Drone” project by assembling military drones at home.

The initiative offers a free engineering course, enabling participants to learn how to construct a 7-inch FPV (first-person-view) drone for military use.

 (@DPSUkr/Newsflash) (@DPSUkr/Newsflash)

(@DPSUkr/Newsflash)

Ukrainian drones drop bombs on Russian military positions in Kharkiv in Ukraine in undated footage (@DPSUkr/Newsflash)Ukrainian drones drop bombs on Russian military positions in Kharkiv in Ukraine in undated footage (@DPSUkr/Newsflash)

Ukrainian drones drop bombs on Russian military positions in Kharkiv in Ukraine in undated footage (@DPSUkr/Newsflash)

Ukrainian soldier who lost eyesight in battle creates foundation for blind veterans

Tuesday 16 January 2024 04:03 , Maira Butt

A Ukrainian solider who lost his eyesight due to a mine blast injury following military action in Bakhmut has created a foundation for blind veterans.

In a post on social media he said: “Now – treatment, support, accompaniment, rehabilitation, socialization and a future for military personnel who have completely or partially lost the ability to see the light is reborn and will work systematically!

“The goal is to create the only working rehabilitation program that will help everyone feel that the light is in each of us!”

Zelensky releases statement following meeting with Swiss president Viola Amherd

Tuesday 16 January 2024 03:02 , Maira Butt

President Zelensky took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to express his gratitude to Switzerland its president Viola Amherd.

He said: Switzerland provides Ukraine with not only humanitarian aid but also long-term financial assistance, political support, and sanctions. Today, we discussed a new long-term support program.

“I am grateful to President @Violapamherd for agreeing that our teams will begin joint work tomorrow on preparations for the Global Peace Summit at the level of leaders in Switzerland. This summit should provide the momentum for what we’ve already accomplished.

“It should also state that the conclusion of the war can only be just, and that the restoration of international law’s force must be truly comprehensive. Switzerland is our partner in these endavors.”

In pictures: Zelensky meets Swiss president and local Ukrainians look at a crater near a residential building

Tuesday 16 January 2024 02:05 , Maira Butt

Ukraine’s president Zelensky with Swiss president Viola Amherd (EPA)Ukraine’s president Zelensky with Swiss president Viola Amherd (EPA)

Ukraine’s president Zelensky with Swiss president Viola Amherd (EPA)

Local residents look at a crater near their residential building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Shostka, Sumy region Ukraine (REUTERS)Local residents look at a crater near their residential building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Shostka, Sumy region Ukraine (REUTERS)

Local residents look at a crater near their residential building damaged during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Shostka, Sumy region Ukraine (REUTERS)

A woman waits at a bus stop protected with concrete blocks following recent alleged Ukrainian shelling attacks in Belgorod, the main city of Russia’s southwestern Belgorod region bordering Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)A woman waits at a bus stop protected with concrete blocks following recent alleged Ukrainian shelling attacks in Belgorod, the main city of Russia’s southwestern Belgorod region bordering Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

A woman waits at a bus stop protected with concrete blocks following recent alleged Ukrainian shelling attacks in Belgorod, the main city of Russia’s southwestern Belgorod region bordering Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

Second person dies weeks after grenade attack in crowded council chamber

Tuesday 16 January 2024 00:56 , Maira Butt

A second person has died following the deadly detonation of a grenade inside a crowded Ukrainian council meeting in December. One person was reported killed and 26 were injured.

Myroslav Nytka, a member of a Zakarpattia Oblast’s village council was injured in a grenade attack in December and has since died in the hospital, raising the total death toll to two according to the Kyiv Independent.

Ukrainian authorities are said to be investigating the incident as an act of terrorism. The suspect is yet to be identified.

Video: Ukraine’s ‘rightful place’ is in Nato, says Rishi Sunak

Tuesday 16 January 2024 00:02 , Maira Butt

Rishi Sunak said that “Ukraine’s rightful place is in Nato,” while speaking to MPs on Monday, 15 January.

The Prime Minister said that the UK will have provided almost £12 billion in aid to Ukraine, and have become the first to provide new bilateral security commitments, originally outlined at the 2023 Nato Summit.

He also confirmed an extra £2.5 billion in military funding to Ukraine after visiting Kyiv on Friday.

“Ukraine’s rightful place is in Nato, and Nato will be stronger with Ukraine in it. But these committments will help bridge the gap until this day comes,” Mr Sunak said.

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