Ukraine Russia war latest: Russia decries ‘blatant provocation’ as US and Germany poised to deliver tanks

Boris Johnson visits Ukraine amid fresh sleaze allegations

Russia has condemned an expected announcement by the US and Germany to send tanks to Ukraine, calling it “another blatant provocation” against Moscow.

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, said early on Wednesday: “It is obvious that Washington is purposefully trying to inflict a strategic defeat on us.”

The US is poised to confirm the start of deliveries of dozens of M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, two US officials told Reuters.

It is also understood Germany has bowed to international pressure and agreed to send tanks to Ukraine to bolster the war effort against Vladimir Putin.

While there has been no official confirmation from Berlin yet, officials in Kyiv swiftly hailed what they said was a potential game-changer on the battlefield.

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

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Russia condemns US tank deliveries as ‘blatant provocation’

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

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 04:32

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 09:00

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 08:41

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Wagner making military gains in Bakhmut, Donetsk governor says

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 08:34

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 08:15

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

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 08:05

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

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

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 07:55

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Nato wants members to raise defence spending targets

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

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

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 07:50

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw

(Chris Parry/Instagram/The Spearhead Foundation/Reuters)

Andy Gregory25 January 2023 06:59

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Briton arrested in Spain for helping oligarch

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

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

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

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

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

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 06:56

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