It happens to be Zelenskiy’s 45th birthday today. Germany is (reportedly) going to need a lot of wrapping paper.
With that, I’m handing over to my colleague Martin Belam in the UK.
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.
Norway, a Nato member that borders Russia, may contribute either four or eight of the country’s 36 Leopard 2 tanks, according to Dagens Naeringsliv.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday that Kyiv needed allies to decide on whether they would deliver modern tanks to strengthen the country’s defence against Russia and repeated Ukraine’s contention that Moscow is planning a new wave of aggression, with the first signs already visible in the broader Donbas region in Ukraine’s south-east.
Russia is preparing for a new wave of aggression with the forces it can mobilise. The occupiers are already increasing pressure in the Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other directions. 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.
“The occupiers are already increasing the pressure around Bakhmut and Vuhledar and elsewhere,” Zelenskiy said. “And they want to increase the pressure on a larger scale.”
Fighting around the eastern town of Bakhmut has intensified in recent weeks, with Russia claiming a number of successes in its campaign there.
The possible deliveries of battle tanks by Washington to Ukraine will be a “another blatant provocation” against Russia, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, said 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 and Germany are poised to provide a significant boost to Kyiv’s war effort with the delivery of heavy battle tanks to Ukraine, sources say, a move Moscow condemned as a “blatant provocation”.
Washington was expected to announce as soon as Wednesday that it will send M1 Abrams 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.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy again pressed western allies to provide their most modern battle tanks, saying in his nightly video address that “discussions must be concluded with decisions”.
Germany and the US have until now held back on providing heavy armour, wary of moves that could give the Kremlin reason to widen the conflict.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next while.
Our top story this morning: The United States and Germany are reportedly poised to provide a significant boost to Ukraine’s war effort with the delivery of heavy battle tanks. There has been no official confirmation, however.
Germany’s decision is expected to be made official on Wednesday and Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is due to be questioned in the Bundestag in the morning in a debate likely to be dominated by the tank decision.
Meanwhile late on Tuesday night Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned that “Russia is preparing for a new wave of aggression with the forces it can mobilise.”
We’ll have more on these stories shortly. In the meantime here are the other key recent developments:
In Ukraine, fifteen senior officials have left their posts since Saturday, six of whom have had corruption allegations levelled at them by journalists and Ukraine’s anti-corruption authorities. The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on Tuesday he had asked Zelenskiy on Monday to relieve him of his duties as part of the wave of government resignations and dismissals.
Deputy defence minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, responsible for supplying troops with food and equipment, also resigned, citing “media accusations” of corruption that he and the ministry say are baseless. Deputy prosecutor general Oleksiy Symonenko has been removed from his post, and two deputy ministers resigned from Ukraine’s ministry of communities and territories development.
Five regional governors are also being removed from power: Valentyn Reznichenko, of Dnipropetrovsk, Oleksandra Starukha of Zaporizhzhia, Oleksiy Kuleba of Kyiv, Dymtro Zhivytskyi, of Sumy and Yaroslav Yanushevich, of Kherson. Kherson and Zaporizhizhia are two of the regions of Ukraine which the Russian Federation has claimed to annex.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has reset its Doomsday Clock, intended to illustrate existential risks to the world, at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight the clock has ever been since it was first introduced in 1947. It is “largely” because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they said.
Ukraine has enough coal and gas reserves for the remaining months of winter despite repeated Russian attacks on its energy system, prime minister Denys Shmyhal has said.
Finland’s foreign minister Pekka Haavisto has signalled a possible pause in discussions with Turkey over Finnish ambitions to join Nato alongside Sweden, which he says is due to the pressure of Turkey’s forthcoming election.