Boris Johnson criticises Rishi Sunak decision not to give Ukraine fighter jets
Vladimir Putin has mobilised nearly 500,000 troops to attack Ukraine in a renewed offensive marking the one-year anniversary of the Ukraine war, Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said.
Mr Putin had asked for 300,000 Russian men to be enrolled in a general mobilisation in September, but Mr Reznikov told the French BFM network last night that the actual number of conscripts deployed to fight in Ukraine could be much more.
Volodymyr Zelensky further asserted this claim and said that Ukraine is seeing “a certain increase in the occupier’s offensive actions at the front — in the east of our country.”
The situation is becoming even more severe, he said in his nightly address yesterday.
Russian forces have now surrounded the embattled eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, a Moscow-backed leader in the Donetsk region has claimed.
Bakhmut and villages on its southern approaches in Donetsk are coming under renewed heavy Russian fire, Ukrainian army chiefs said late on Tuesday.
Nearly 500,000 troops likely in major new Russian offensive, says Ukrainian defence minister
Vladimir Putin is likely preparing a major new offensive and could strike Ukraine around the one-year anniversary of the war on 24 February, Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said in his latest remarks.
Russia has amassed nearly 500,000 troops for the attack, Ukrainian intelligence indicates.
Mr Reznikov said that Russia has many more new troops than just their officially announced count of 300,000 from the first wave of mobilisation in September.
“Officially they announced 300,000 but when we see the troops at the borders, according to our assessments it is much more,” he told the French BFM network.
Moscow could “try something” to mark the invasion’s first year on 24 February, the minister added, suggesting a grim new chapter in the continuing war.
However, he added that Ukrainian commanders and forces will move to “stabilise the front and prepare for a counter-offensive” ahead of the anticipated Russian advance.
Mr Reznikov said he has “faith that the year 2023 can be the year of military victory,” and that the Ukrainian forces “cannot lose the initiative” they have gained in recent months.
Arpan Rai2 February 2023 03:41
Zelenskiy says battle getting ‘severe’ in east
Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the situation on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine “has become tougher” in a sombre assessment in his nightly address.
“There is a certain increase in the occupiers’ offensive actions at the front – in the east of our country. The situation is becoming even more severe,” he said.
Mr Zelensky added: “We have steadfastly gone through all this time, from February to February. The enemy is trying to gain at least something now to show on the anniversary of the invasion that Russia allegedly has some chances.
“In such circumstances, we all need to be especially united, especially focused on the national interest, and, as a result, especially resilient. I am confident that we will stay like that,” he said.
Arpan Rai2 February 2023 04:48
Brexit allowed UK to ‘do things differently’ in supporting Ukraine, says Johnson
Brexit allowed the UK to “do things differently” when it came to providing weapons to Ukraine in its battle against invading Russian forces, former prime minister Boris Johnson has said.
Without Britain’s exit from the European Union, he argued that providing Ukrainian armed forces with anti-tank missiles would not have happened.
Mr Johnson made the comments following a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington today.
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Arpan Rai2 February 2023 04:35
UK: Fighter jets not an immediate solution
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said providing fighter planes was “not an immediate solution” for Ukraine in the war against Russia because of the time involved with training Kyiv pilots.
Oliver Dowden was asked what he made of former prime minister Boris Johnson urging the UK Government to commit to providing Ukraine with fighter jets.
The Cabinet minister told ITV’s Peston programme: “I certainly think that we need to be resolute in supporting our Ukrainian allies.
“Now, I think it is a bit premature to start talking about jets and everything else, but of course we don’t rule anything off the table.
“There’s training times and so on associated with that, so it is not an immediate solution, no.”
Katy Clifton2 February 2023 04:01
Johnson criticises Sunak decision not to give Ukraine fighter jets
Boris Johnson criticises Rishi Sunak decision not to give Ukraine fighter jets
Katy Clifton2 February 2023 03:01
Russia ‘may stop officials taking holidays abroad’
Russian legislators will discuss a request by one of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies to ban officials from taking foreign holidays during wartime, state media has cited a senior parliamentarian as saying.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the powerful Wagner Group private army, said it was unacceptable that officials and parliamentarians were vacationing in countries hostile to Russia.
Vasily Piskaryov, head of the committee on security and anti-corruption in the State Duma or lower chamber of parliament, said legislators would take a look at whether changes should be made.
“This initiative … certainly deserves attention,” Tass cited him as telling reporters. Prigozhin made the request in a letter to Piskaryov that the Wagner Group made public.
Katy Clifton2 February 2023 02:01
Brexit behind UK’s tank pledge, Johnson says
Without Brexit, the UK would not have delivered the next generation light anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, according to former prime minister Boris Johnson.
Mr Johnson, taking questions after a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington, US, said: “I seriously think that it was in part because of Brexit that we were able to take a decision and to have an approach that was very distinct from the old EU approach, which was by the way all governed by the fabled Normandy Format which was agreed in Normandy in 2014.
“For reasons that are now obscure to me, the British government decided they did not want to be involved in this. France and Germany led it, that was the EU framework.
“If we’d stuck with that, I don’t believe we would have delivered the NLaws and I think we would have taken a very different approach, to be perfectly frank.
“I think because of Brexit we’ve been able to do things differently and I hope in a way that has been useful to Ukraine.”
Mr Johnson used his speech to call for Kyiv to be admitted to both Nato and the European Union.
Katy Clifton2 February 2023 01:00
Zelensky: I’ll make as many personnel changes as necessary
Volodymyr Zelensky has said he will make as many personnel changes as necessary to fight corruption and stressed the need for the defence ministry to be honest.
“Unfortunately, in some areas, the only way to guarantee the rule of law is to change the leadership … there will be as many changes as is necessary,” he said in a video address.
Police earlier raided an influential billionaire’s home in what a Zelensky ally touted as a sweeping clamp down on corruption.
Katy Clifton2 February 2023 00:01
Johnson says taking back bridge would be ‘game over’ for Putin
Providing Ukraine with the weapons to take back the so-called “land bridge” invaded by Russian forces would be “game over” for Russian president Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson has said.
The former prime minister, asked after a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington, US, what land bridge he had been referring to, said: “This is the area, as it was, between Mariupol, between Donbas and the Crimea that Putin has taken, that long strip of land that basically prevents the Ukrainians from reaching the Azov Sea. That’s the area.
“If they take that back — which they can and they have a plan — if they can take back Melitopol and Berdyansk and Mariupol, get back those areas, it is game over for Putin. That’s what needs to happen.”
Katy Clifton1 February 2023 23:00
We need new tanks, says German defence minister
Germany needs to order new Leopard tanks quickly to replace those going to Ukraine, defence minister Boris Pistorius has said, adding he did not care where the money came from.
“For me, the crucial fact is that we have to order new tanks, not in a year, but swiftly, so that production can begin,” he told reporters on a visit to a tank battalion in the western town of Augustdorf, which has been chosen to supply 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.
“Where will the money come from? Let me casually put it like this: Frankly, I don’t care. It is essential that we can provide them (the tanks) quickly,” Mr Pistorius said.
He aims to accelerate arms procurement and ramp up ammunitions supplies in the long term after almost a year of arms donations to Ukraine has depleted German military stocks.
Jane Dalton1 February 2023 22:05