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Ukraine-Russia news live: Moscow issues grim warning over long range weapons


A day in the life of a frontline medic in Donbas | On The Ground

The Kremlin has warned the West against sending long-range missiles to Ukraine as several countries pledge more support for Kyiv.

“Potentially, this is extremely dangerous, it will mean bringing the conflict to a whole new level, which, of course, will not bode well from the point of view of global and pan-European security,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters earlier.

His comments came as Ukraine ramped up its calls for Western countries to send more aid as the war fast approaches its one-year anniversary.

Later in the afternoon, a group of 10 countries said in a statement they would send more support to Ukraine. The aid from countries including Estonia, Latvia and Poland will include tens of stinger air defence systems, s-60 anti-aircraft guns, machine guns and training, according to a statement.

Allies have mostly held off on sending the tanks requested by Ukraine. Britain was left as an outlier in pledging its Challenger 2 models after Germany blocked Poland and Lithuania from sending their own tanks.


Moldova requests air defence systems over Russia fears

Moldova has requested air defence systems from its allies as it looks to strengthen its capabilities as the war in neighbouring Ukraine continues, but Russian efforts to destabilise the country have so far failed, its president said.

“We have requested air surveillance and defence systems,” Maia Sandu said. “We understand that Ukraine is a priority and should receive that but we [also] hope to receive some.”

Several allies have sent air defence missiles to Ukraine over recent months to shield it from a brutal Russian bombing campaign which has knocked out power for millions across the country.

Moldova, which shares part of its power grid with Ukraine, has also suffered outages.

File photo: Sandu visits the town of Bucha, Ukraine last June


Liam James20 January 2023 02:00


Kremlin warns Ukraine against bombing Crimea

The Kremlin warned that Ukrainian strikes on Russian-annexed Crimea would be “extremely dangerous”, after The New York Times reported that US officials were warming to the idea of helping Kyiv attack the peninsula.

Crimea, which is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine, was seized by Moscow and declared annexed in 2014. President Vladimir Putin says the peninsula, like much of the Ukrainian land seized since February, is historically Russian.

Ukraine last summer fired a series of missile strikes on Russian airbases in Crimea. An attack on the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea in October, which Ukraine never claimed responsibility for, was met by Russia with a devastating bombing campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure.

In a briefing on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “The mere discussion of allowing Ukraine to be supplied with arms that would allow it to attack Russian territory … is extremely dangerous.

“It would mean taking the conflict to a new level, which would not bode well for global and pan-European security.”

File photo: People rest on a beach after explosions at a Russian military airbase in Crimea on 9 August


Liam James20 January 2023 01:00


Boris Johnson compares Putin to ‘the fat boy in Dickens’

Boris Johnson has compared Vladimir Putin to “the fat boy in Dickens” who wants to “make our flesh creep” with threats of using nuclear weapons (Maryam Zakir-Hussain writes).

Speaking about Ukraine at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the former prime minister insisted that the Russian president would not resort to using nuclear weapons, dismissing the idea as “nonsense”.

He said: “Putin wants to present it as a nuclear stand-off between Nato and Russia. Nonsense. He’s not going to use nuclear weapons, okay. He’s like the fat boy in Dickens, he wants to make our flesh creep. He wants us to think about it. He’s never going to do it.”

“He’s not going to do it. Don’t go down that rabbit hole, stop it,” Mr Johnson added.

Liam James20 January 2023 00:00


Don’t forget Zaporizhzhia, says nuclear inspector

The world is at risk of becoming complacement about the dangers posed by the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia atomic plant in Ukraine, the head of a UN nuclear watchdog said today.

Russian forces captured the plant, Europe’s largest, last March and it has repeatedly come under fire in recent months, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is working to set up a safe zone around the facility.

Grossi, speaking to reporters in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, said a nuclear accident could happen any day and reiterated the situation at the plant was very precarious.

“I worry that this is becoming routine, that people may believe that nothing has happened so far, so is the director general of the IAEA crying wolf?” he said when addressing reporters during a visit to Ukraine.

“It [an accident] can happen any time and my duty is to do everything I can to prevent that from happening.”

IAEA chief Grossi on a visit to Chernobyl on Wednesday


Liam James19 January 2023 23:00


US and Israel talk Ukraine in Tel Aviv

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed the war in Ukraine with Israeli leaders during a trip to Israel and the West Bank, the White House said today.

In meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other senior officials, Mr Sullivan discussed US support for Israel’s security and continued threats posed by Iran, according to National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

“They also discussed Ukraine, as well as the burgeoning defense partnership between Russia and Iran and its implications for security in the Middle East region,” she said in a statement.

While Israel has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has limited its assistance to Kyiv to humanitarian aid and protective gear.

Sullivan (left) and Netanyahu in Tel Aviv today

(Office of the Israeli Prime Minister)

Liam James19 January 2023 22:00


US probes ‘unconfirmed’ reports of Russian spy case against American

Washington is looking into the matter of “unconfirmed” reports that Russia has opened a criminal case against a United States citizen on suspicion of espionage, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said today.

Mr Patel said Russia does not generally abide by obligations to provide timely notification of the detention of US citizens in Russia, adding that Washington would continue to monitor the situation.

The FSB did not name the person or provide any other details, nor did it say whether the suspect had been arrested.

Liam James19 January 2023 21:00


Nato nations pledge ‘unprecedented’ military aid to Ukraine – but no German tanks yet

A group of 11 Nato countries, including Britain and Poland, have pledged an “unprecedented” raft of new military aid to support Ukraine‘s war with Russia ⁠– but the big question of whether to send heavy Leopard 2 tanks remains unanswered, with Germany yet to lift a veto.

Speaking during a visit to Estonia, the UK defence secretary, Ben Wallace said the UK will be supplying a further 600 Brimstone precision-guided missiles in addition to its latest support package, which includes 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

“In 2023, it is time to turn the momentum that the Ukrainians have achieved in pushing back Russia into gains and making sure Russia understands that the purpose now is to push them back out of Ukraine and to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty, which is their right under international law,” he said.

“We commit to collectively pursuing delivery of an unprecedented set of donations including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, air defence, ammunition, and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine’s defence,” a joint statement said.

Reuters19 January 2023 20:10


Unesco seeks loot blockade on Ukraine

The United Nations is working to prevent the trafficking of looted cultural objects from Ukraine amid Russia’s war against its neighbour.

Unesco has begun training law enforcement and judiciary officials from countries on Ukraine’s western borders to identify and prevent any artistic treasures looted in the war-torn nation from crossing their borders.

Krista Pikkat, Unesco’s director of culture and emergencies, said that more than 230 cultural sites have been damaged or destroyed in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country.

She said that Unesco is working to document lost cultural objects, among them treasures from museums and archaeological sites.

Liam James19 January 2023 19:35


EU ‘must spare no effort’ on Ukraine membership bid

The European Union “must spare no effort” in helping Ukraine join the 27-member bloc, European Council leader Charles Michel said on a visit to Kyiv today.

Mr Michel met President Volodymyr Zelensky and delivered an address to parliament hailing the country’s resilience amid Russia’s invasion and saying “Ukraine is the EU and the EU is Ukraine.”

Brussels granted Kyiv membership candidate status last June, just months after Russia invaded on 24 February. Mr Michel today said talks on Ukrainian membership should begin this year.

“We must spare no effort to turn this promise as fast as we can into reality,” Mr Michel said, according to a transcript of the address.

“I dream that one day, I hope soon, a Ukrainian will hold my job as President of the European Council, or as President of the European Parliament, or the Commission.”

An EU official told Reuters that Kyiv would need to improve its rule of law before joining the bloc. Last week Ukraine took a step towards reforming its judiciary by restoring an oversight body to function.

Ukraine‘s parliament has passed all the legislation sought by the EU before the start of accession talks, but implementing those laws is expected to be a long road.

Zelensky welcomes Michel to Kyiv


Liam James19 January 2023 19:00


Britain pushes for stronger support as Germany blocks tank move

Britain’s defence secretary said Nato members should be prepared to step up support for Ukraine, as allies remain at odds over sending tanks to fight the Russian invasion.

Speaking during a visit to Estonia, Ben Wallace said the UK will be supplying a further 600 Brimstone precision-guided missiles in addition to its latest support package, which includes 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks.

“In 2023, it is time to turn the momentum that the Ukrainians have achieved in pushing back Russia into gains and making sure Russia understands that the purpose now is to push them back out of Ukraine and to restore Ukraine‘s sovereignty, which is their right under international law,” he said.

Mr Wallace was meeting defence ministers from eastern Europe ahead of a further meeting on Friday of donor nations hosted by the United States in Ramstein, Germany.

Britain is the only country to have approved sending tanks so far. Poland and Lithuania wish to send German-made Leopard 2 tanks but have been blocked by Berlin, which says it will approve the move only if Washington agrees to send US-made Abrams tanks.

Liam James19 January 2023 18:20

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