Ukraine-Russia news – live: Putin to make major changes to armed forces after months of setbacks

Vladimir Putin is preparing a major overhaul of Russia’s army following a series of setbacks in his war in Ukraine, it has been announced.

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement on Tuesday the changes will be implemented over the next three years.

"Only by strengthening the key structural components of the armed forces is it possible to guarantee the military security of the state and protect new entities and critical facilities of the Russian Federation,” he said.

Earlier, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said Russia is suffering from “profound” problems with its “dysfunctional” long-range missiles.

Officials said there is “evidence” from Ukraine that the Kremlin’s missile systems are highly likely to be “struggling” to identify targets.

The update comes after a Russian missile hit an apartment building in Dnipro, killing at least 40 people and injuring multiple others.

Key Points

  • Putin preparing ‘major’ overhaul of army following series of setbacks

  • Putin suffering 'profound' problems with 'dysfunctional' long-range missiles

  • James Cleverly says he has been sanctioned by Russia

  • Russia questions 'dear' James Cleverly on his support for 'neo-Nazism'

  • Expanded US training for Ukraine forces begins in Germany

  • British Challenger tanks sent to war ‘will burn’ - Kremlin

  • More than 7,000 civilians killed and over 11,000 injured in Ukraine war - UN

Russia to make 'major changes' to armed forces from 2023 to 2026

10:22 , Matt Mathers

Russia said on Tuesday that it would make "major changes" to its armed forces from 2023 to 2026, promising to shake up its military structure after months of setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine.

In addition to administrative reforms, the Defence Ministry said it would strengthen the combat capabilities of its naval, aerospace and strategic missile forces.

"Only by strengthening the key structural components of the Armed Forces is it possible to guarantee the military security of the state and protect new entities and critical facilities of the Russian Federation," defence minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Sergei Shoigu (right) with Putin (Sputnik)
Sergei Shoigu (right) with Putin (Sputnik)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the changes had been made necessary by the "proxy war" being conducted in Ukraine by the West, which has been sending increasingly heavy weaponry to Ukraine to help it resist Russian forces.

The defence ministry, which has faced sharp domestic criticism for the ineffectiveness of its drive to take control of large tracts of Ukraine, vowed in December to boost its military personnel to 1.5 million.

Ukraine’s first lady pleads for global help to stop Russia

11:46 , Matt Mathers

Ukraine’s first lady has called for international action to end Russian aggression during a rare international address at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in the Swiss town of Davos.

As the anniversary of the war in Ukraine nears, Olena Zelenska said parents are in tears watching doctors trying to save their children, farmers are afraid to go back to their fields filled with explosive mines, and that "we cannot allow a new Chernobyl to happen".

She criticised government leaders and corporate executives in a speech on Tuesday for not always using their influence enough.

With the war raising inflation and expanding food insecurity in developing nations, she called it "an insult to mankind and human nature to have mass starvation".

She said the war could expand beyond Ukraine’s borders and worsen the crises but "unity is what brings peace back".

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, left, and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Davos (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, left, and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Davos (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Pistorius confirmed as German defence minister

11:33 , Matt Mathers

Boris Pistorius has been confirmed as Germany’s new defence minister.

Christine Lambrecht resigned from the position on Monday, ahead of a conference on Friday at the US military base in Ramstein on Western plans to provide Kyiv with more arms.

Earlier, German economy minister Robert Habeck said the issue of sending tanks to Ukraine would be at the top of the agenda for whoever took over the defence brief.

Russian mercenary group chief says French soldier killed in Ukraine

10:58 , Matt Mathers

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group said on Tuesday that a French Foreign Legion soldier had been found dead in eastern Ukraine, and posted an image of what appeared to be his identity documents.

"Colleagues from the French Foreign Legion asked us to find Yevhenii Koulyk," Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a post on Telegram. "We regret to inform you that a French Foreign Legion soldier has been found dead on DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) territory."

Russia says it has annexed Ukraine’s Donetsk province, proclaimed as the Donetsk People’s Republic in 2014 by separatists supported by Moscow, although Kyiv still controls a large part of the province.

The claim could not be independently verified.

Russia Ukraine
Russia Ukraine

Boris Pistorius to take over as next German defence minister - sources

09:50 , Matt Mathers

Social Democrat (SPD) interior minister of the state of Lower Saxony Boris Pistorius is to serve as Germany’s next defence minister, two sources told Reuters on Tuesday, at a time when Berlin is under pressure to boost military support for Ukraine.

Christine Lambrecht resigned as defence minister on Monday as allies increase calls to send Ukraine heavy tanks, at the start of what is likely to be a pivotal week for Western plans to further arm Kyiv.

The appointment, if confirmed, could result in a wider reshuffling of the German cabinet as chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised to staff his cabinet with equal numbers of men and women.

Mr Pistorius has been interior minister in Lower Saxony since 2013 and has long been seen as a candidate to assume a national position. He ran for the leadership of the Social Democrat party in 2019.

Germany Defense Minister ((c) Copyright 2022, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten)
Germany Defense Minister ((c) Copyright 2022, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten)

Ukrainian presidential adviser tenders resignation over Dnipro missile remarks

09:37 , Matt Mathers

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych tendered his resignation on Tuesday after a public outcry over comments he made suggesting a Russian missile that killed at least 41 people in the city of Dnipro had been shot down by Ukraine.

Mr Arestovych announced his resignation on Facebook after publicly apologising and rowing back on his comments in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

The Ukrainian Air Force says the apartment complex was hit by a Russian Kh-22 missile, which Kyiv does not have the equipment to shoot down.

"I offer my sincere apologies to the victims and their relatives, the residents of Dnipro and everyone who was deeply hurt by my prematurely erroneous version of the reason for the Russian missile striking a residential building," he wrote.

A photograph shows a residential building destroyed after a missile strike, in Dnipro on January 16 (AFP via Getty Images)
A photograph shows a residential building destroyed after a missile strike, in Dnipro on January 16 (AFP via Getty Images)

Russia's spy chief says meeting with CIA's Burns is possible - state media

09:15 , Matt Mathers

Russia’s spy chief Sergei Naryshkin said on Tuesday that another meeting with US Central Intelligence Agency director William Burns was possible, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

Mr Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s SVR Foreign Intelligence Service, met with his US counterpart in November.

The pair are said to have discussed “managing risk”.

“We have been very open about the fact that we have channels to communicate with Russia on managing risk, especially nuclear risk and risks to strategic stability,” a National Security Council spokesperson said at the time.

“As part of this effort, Bill Burns is in Ankara today to meet with his Russian intelligence counterpart.”

ICYMI: Former Wagner commander seeks asylum in Norway after fleeing Russia

08:45 , Matt Mathers

A former commander of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who had fought in Ukraine said he has fled to Norway and is seeking asylum after deserting in fear for his life.

Andrei Medvedev, who joined the group on July 6 2022 with a four-month contract, said in a video posted by the Gulagu.net rights group that he had crossed the border with Norway before being detained by Norwegian police.

Medvedev, an orphan who joined the Russian army and served time in prison before joining Wagner, said he had slipped away from the group after witnessing the killing of captured deserters from Wagner.

"I am afraid of dying in agony," Medvedev told Vladimir Osechkin, founder of the Gulagu.net rights group, which said it had helped Medvedev to leave Russia after he approached the group in fear for his life.

Medvedev said he was speaking from Oslo.

Polish president hopes allies including Germany will provide Ukraine with tanks

08:26 , Matt Mathers

Polish president Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday he hoped some of Ukraine’s allies including Germany would provide Kyiv tanks.

"We hope and are trying to organise bigger support for Ukraine. We hope a few partners, allies, will give tanks to Ukraine," Mr Duda said at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėdaa said he "strongly believes" Germany will provide Ukraine, which is fighting a Russian invasion, with Leopard tanks.

Tanks will be at the top of new defence minister’s agenda - Germany

07:50 , Matt Mathers

The first item on the agenda of Germany’s next defence minister will be whether to deliver main battle tanks to Ukraine, German economy minister Robert Habeck told Deutschlandfunk radio broadcaster on Tuesday.

"When the person, when the minister of defence, is declared, this is the first question to be decided concretely," he said on the sides of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

German defence minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday as her government came under rising pressure to let allies send Ukraine heavy tanks, at the start of what is likely to be a pivotal week for Western plans to further arm Kyiv.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday that he would act fast to replace Lambrecht. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, citing government sources, said a successor would be announced on Tuesday.

Putin suffering 'profound' problems with 'dysfunctional' long-range missiles

07:24 , Matt Mathers

Russia is suffering from “profound” problems with its “dysfunctional” long-range missiles, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said.

Officials said there is “evidence” from Ukraine that the Kremlin’s missile systems are highly likely “struggles” to identify targets.

The update comes after a Russian missile hit an apartment building in Dnipro, killing at least 40 people and injuring multiple others.

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Russian missile strips down apartment and reveals yellow kitchen in Dnipro attack

07:07 , Matt Mathers

Photo of a cheerful family kitchen yellow in colour visible from the ramshackled apartment which came under Russian missile attack has left people on social media shocked.

The house, belonging to Ukraine’s famous boxing coach Mykhailo Korenovsky who was killed in the attack over the weekend, was seen after the missile ripped apart the apartment’s external wall.

Another video on social media showed that the family had celebrated a child’s birthday inside the bright yellow kitchen of the flat.

Saturday’s attack on Dnipro’s building has claimed 40 civilian lives despite Russia’s claims that its attack on Ukraine did not target civilians.

The victims included three children, officials said.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Higher energy bills are here to stay, oil company boss warns

06:59 , Emily Atkinson

An energy boss has warned that sky-high energy prices are not going to fall anytime soon and may never return to pre-Covid levels.

The cost of wholesale energy began to rise after the easing of pandemic restrictions, before shooting up as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions lodged against Moscow aimed at deterring further escalation.

But as countries seek to ditch fossil fuels in favour of alternative energy supplies – both to shed their dependence on Russian oil and pursue more environmentally-friendly futures – experts warn this could mean energy costs remain high.

Gas prices have returned to where they were before the Ukrainian invasion in recent weeks, in part due to warmer weather across Europe. Despite this, the boss of Norwegian energy giant Equinor has said he does not expect energy bills to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Higher energy bills are here to stay, oil company boss warns

Wagner Group member seeks asylum in Norway

06:40 , Arpan Rai

Russian man and Wagner operative Andrei Medvedev who reportedly is a former high-ranking member of the Russian private military contractor Wagner Group, has sought asylum in Norway, officials said yesterday.

The Norwegian directorate of immigration, also known by its Norwegian acronym UDI, confirmed to The Associated Press that the mercenary member has sought shelter in Norway.

“For reasons of security and privacy, the UDI cannot comment further on this matter,” UDI said in an email.

Read the full story here:

Wagner mercenary claims to dodge gunfire and tracker dogs in escape to Norway

Zelensky calls for more weapons and tanks after UK sends tanks: ‘Thank you, Rishi’

06:30 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked the British administration for helping Ukraine by sending military aid, latest in the slew of ammunition and military vehicles being poured into the war-hit country by the west.

Today, there is a good example from the UK. A new package of defence assistance has been announced - exactly what we need. Tanks, other armoured vehicles, artillery.

What we discussed with Prime Minister Sunak. I thank you, Rishi, I thank every Briton for the tangible and timely support!” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address yesterday.

He added: “What happened in Dnipro, the fact that Russia is preparing a new attempt to seize the initiative in the war, the fact that the nature of hostilities at the front requires new decisions in the defense supply - all this only emphasizes how important it is to coordinate our efforts - efforts of all members of the coalition to defend Ukraine and freedom. And to speed up decision-making.

Explosions heard in Russia’s Belgorod

06:14 , Arpan Rai

Explosions have been heard in the Russian city of Belgorod and Belgorod district early this morning, regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported via Telegram.

Authorities have activated air defence systems, the regional governor said.

Just 24 hours earlier, an explosion in Belgorod claimed three lives and wounded 16 others, officials said after an ammunition detonated at a Russian base at the Tonenkoye farm, in the Korochansky district. Another eight people have been reported missing.

Wagner mercenary claims to have dodged rifle fire and tracker dogs in high-stakes escape into Norway

05:54 , Andy Gregory

A Wagner Group commander who claims to have deserted the Russian mercenaries is willing to testify against its leaders has described a harrowing escape across a desolate Arctic frontier to seek political asylum in Norway.

Andrei Medvedev told human rights activists of a night spent dodging bullets, evading sniffer dogs and running across a frozen river in a night gown at the northernmost reaches of mainland Europe – in favour of the brutal retribution he claims to fear at the hands of his last employer.

You can read more details here:

Wagner mercenary claims to dodge gunfire and tracker dogs in escape to Norway

Russia defence minister visits Russian troops involved in Ukraine - official

05:46 , Arpan Rai

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu visited Russian troops fighting in the war Ukraine, the ministry said today.

“Sergei Shoigu thanked the servicemen who courageously perform tasks in the special military operation zone, and presented state awards to the servicemen for their dedication and heroism,” the ministry said in a statement on its Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine to take Russia to International Criminal Court for Dnipro missile strike

05:33 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Ukrainian authorities in the security service have already started gathering information about Russian military involved in preparing and and carrying out this strike on an apartment building in Dnipro.

“This strike at Dnipro, as well as other similar strikes, falls, in particular, under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. And we will use all available opportunities - both national and international - to ensure that all Russian murderers, everyone who gives and executes orders on missile terror against our people, face legal sentences. And to ensure that they serve their punishment,” Mr Zelensky said.

He added: “There is no doubt: every person guilty of this war crime will be identified and brought to justice.”

More than 7,000 civilians killed and over 11,000 injured in Ukraine war - UN

05:21 , Arpan Rai

The UN’s office of the high commissioner for human rights has totalled the civilian casualties in the Ukraine war to more than 18,000 since the first day of Russian invasion in its latest update.

As of Sunday, the top UN office has recorded 18,358 civilian casualties in the country, out of which 7,031 people have been killed and 11,327 injured.

“A total of 7,031 killed (2,784 men, 1,875 women, 177 girls, and 221 boys, as well as 35 children and 1,939 adults whose sex is yet unknown),” the UNHCR said yesterday.

It added: “A total of 11,327 injured (2,472 men, 1,764 women, 240 girls, and 325 boys, as well as 262 children and 6,264 adults whose sex is yet unknown)”

In Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the UN authorities have recorded 9,853 casualties (4,102 killed and 5,751 injured).

Germany’s defence minister quits after string of gaffes

05:10 , Arpan Rai

German defence minister minister Christine Lambrecht announced her resignation as her department steers the massive project of modernising the country’s military and oversees expanding weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

The minister said that she had submitted her resignation request to chancellor Olaf Scholz, adding that “months of media focus on my person” had stood in the way of a factual debate about the military and Germany’s security policy.

“The valuable work of the soldiers and many people in my department must stand in the foreground,” she said.

Read the full story here:

Germany's defense minister resigns amid Ukraine criticism

Russia questions 'dear' James Cleverly on his support for 'neo-Nazism'

04:47 , Arpan Rai

Russia has asked British foreign secretary James Cleverly why he has supported “neo-Nazism” and the Kyiv administration just hours after sanctioning him.

“Dear James, you don’t understand. This is for the anti-Russian course and personal sanctions. But you still have to answer for the support of the Kyiv regime and neo-Nazism,” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said yesterday.

Russia terms its invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation” aimed at fighting “Nazism” but has targeted the former Soviet territory’s civilian infrastructure and citizens by indiscriminately shelling and bombing the country with missiles.

Mikhailo Mudryk: Shakhtar to donate £20m of Chelsea transfer fee to Ukrainian soldiers

04:47 , Andy Gregory

Shakhtar Donetsk will donate more than £20million of the transfer fee received for Mikhailo Mudryk to Ukrainian soldiers, my colleague Ben Burrows reports.

The 22-year-old forward joined Chelsea for £88m on Sunday after the Blues moved late to hijack a move to Premier League rivals Arsenal.

Shakhtar held out in negotiations for the biggest possible fee with a portion now set to go to “soldiers, defenders and their families” in the ongoing defence against the Russian invasion.

Shakhtar to donate £20m of Mikhailo Mudryk transfer fee to Ukrainian soldiers

James Cleverly says he has been sanctioned by Russia

04:39 , Arpan Rai

British foreign secretary James Cleverly said he is the latest minister to have be sanctioned by Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

“I’ve been sanctioned by the Russian government. Good. If this is the price for supporting Ukrainian freedom, then I’m happy to be sanctioned #SlavaUkraini,” he said on Twitter.

Doubling down on British government’s support for Ukraine, Mr Cleverly said that he spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart after the UK promised military aid t Ukraine.

“I spoke to my friend @DmytroKuleba following the announcement that the UK will provide Challenger 2 tanks and further military support to Ukraine. Ukraine will win. We will support you for as long as it takes,” he said in another tweet.

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Cleverly to urge US to step up support for Ukraine

03:38 , Arpan Rai

Foreign secretary James Cleverly is holding talks in Washington as he seeks to bolster support for Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s invasion.

Mr Cleverly will meet US secretary of state Antony Blinken today before travelling to Toronto for talks tomorrow with his Canadian counterpart, Melanie Joly.

He is expected to use his visit to urge the allies to go “further and faster” in their support for the government in Kyiv, arguing that, with the right equipment, the Ukrainians can prevail against Moscow.

Cleverly to urge US to step up support for Ukraine

Expanded US training for Ukraine forces begins in Germany

03:34 , Andy Gregory

Washington’s new and expanded training scheme for Ukrainian forces began in Germany on Sunday – with a goal of getting a battalion of some 500 troops back on the battlefield in the next five to eight weeks, General Mark Milley has said.

Expanded US training for Ukraine forces begins in Germany

CIA director warned Zelensky of assassination threat at secret meeting before Russia invasion, book claims

02:31 , Andy Gregory

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency travelled to Kyiv before the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine in order to inform Volodymyr Zelensky of a Russian plan to assassinate him, reports my colleague Andrew Feinberg.

In a forthcoming book, author Chris Whipple reports that at the same time Mr Zelensky was publicly dismissive of warnings from US officials that Moscow would soon launch its land invasion, he was getting a clandestine briefing from CIA Director Bill Burns about the threat on his life.

CIA warned Zelensky of assassination threat before Russia invasion, book claims

Residents mourn 40 dead in ‘awful’ attack in Dnipro

01:19 , Andy Gregory

Dnipro was in mourning today after the Russian attack alleged to have killed 40 civilians and left 75 wounded, including 14 children.

A serviceman in uniform laid flowers and sobbed, clutching his head in grief next to an impromptu shrine to the dead at a bus stop across the street from a gaping hole where the nine-storey apartment block had stood, Reuters reported.

“We all live in buildings like this one and we all imagine what if it happened to us. It is awful,” Polina, a 28-year-old resident of the neighbourhood told the news agency.

Russia claimed it was not to blame for the destruction in Dnipro as it was caused by Ukrainian air defences. Kyiv says the apartment building was hit by a Russian ship-to-ship missile, a type that Ukraine does not have the capability to shoot down.

Dnipro attack underscores need for quicker arms supplies, says Zelensky

00:11 , Andy Gregory

The death toll from a Russian missile strike in city of Dnipro rose to 40 today, with dozens more missing, making it the deadliest civilian incident of Moscow’s three-month campaign of firing missiles at cities far from the frontline.

Officials expressed meagre hope of finding anyone else alive in the rubble, but president Volodymyr Zelensky said the rescue operation would go on “as long as there is even the slightest chance to save lives”.

“Dozens of people were rescued from the rubble, including six children. We are fighting for every person,” Mr Zelensky said in a televised address.

Speaking later in his nightly video address, Mr Zelensky said the Dnipro attack underscored the need to speed up decisions on arms supplies and “coordinate all the efforts of the coalition defending Ukraine and freedom”.

Cleverly to help persuade allies to provide Kyiv with tanks, says Kuleba

Monday 16 January 2023 23:21 , Andy Gregory

British foreign secretary James Cleverly has spoken to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and “confirmed his readiness to work together on persuading other nations to provide Ukraine with western-type tanks”, the latter has said.

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Mr Cleverly and Mr Wallace will meet allies to discuss further military support for Kyiv.

No 10 backs Ukraine’s effectiveness with British tanks, despite Kremlin’s threat

Monday 16 January 2023 22:36 , Andy Gregory

Downing Street has expressed confidence that Ukraine will use British tanks effectively after Russia claimed the Challenger 2s “will burn” on the battlefield, reports Sam Blewett.

No 10 said there is a “plethora of evidence” showing Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops have used UK-supplied weapons successfully and minsters fully expected them to continue.

You can read more on today’s developments here:

No 10 backs Ukraine’s effectiveness with British tanks, despite Kremlin’s threat

How George Orwell’s Animal Farm is helping Ukraine 76 years on

Monday 16 January 2023 21:48 , Andy Gregory

A first edition Ukrainian language copy of George Orwell’s Animal Farm is set to go on sale to raise money for a charity supporting refugees who fled the Russian invasion, reports my colleague Liam James.

The Ukrainian translation of the seminal satire of the Russian revolution was the only one to feature a foreword from Orwell – written at the behest of his publisher, who felt the author should introduce himself to the edition’s intended audience of Ukrainians displaced by the Second World War.

The 1947 copy of the book, also dubbed the “refugee camp edition”, is now set to be sold by London antique bookshop Jarndyce for £1,850 on 20 January on a first come, first serve basis.

How George Orwell’s Animal Farm is helping Ukraine 76 years on

Germany and Netherlands condemn Russia’s forced deportation of children

Monday 16 January 2023 21:04 , Andy Gregory

Germany and the Netherlands have condemned the deportation by Russians of thousands of Ukrainian children, calling it a deliberate policy of cruel and inhumane abductions that is tearing families apart.

“Russia must account for the whereabouts of these children,” German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said at a joint press conference with her Dutch colleague Wopke Hoekstra in The Hague, according to the Associated Press.

“Their parents, families, caregivers must no longer be in uncertainty and fear. These children have their homes with their families in Ukraine. These children did not leave their homes voluntarily. These children have been abducted.”

Ms Baerbock said that German and Dutch ministers would work together with organisations including the United Nations and International Criminal Court on the issue.

“This deliberate Russian policy is tearing families apart and traumatising children,” said Mr Hoekstra. “It is cruel and it is inhumane. And let me be clear that children abducted by Russia must be returned to their own country as soon as possible.”

Ukraine’s infrastructure could collapse ‘at any second’, warns Kyiv mayor

Monday 16 January 2023 20:29 , Reuters

Ukraine’s infrastructure could collapse at any second as Russia’s sporadic missile attacks along with freezing winter temperatures put local authorities under increasing strain, Kyiv’s mayor has warned.

Vitali Klitschko and his brother Vladimir told Reuters that Ukraine’s Western allies had to speed up deliveries of air defence systems capable of downing Russian missiles.

“We don’t talk about the collapse, but it can happen ... at any second [because] Russian rockets can destroy our critical infrastructure in Kyiv,” Vitali said, adding that there was currently a 30 per cent deficit in energy in the capital.

“It’s pretty cold in Ukraine right now so living without electricity and heating is almost impossible. The situation is critical. We are fighting to survive,” he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos.

Russia will not launch land offensive from Belarus, says Tsikhanouskaya

Monday 16 January 2023 20:01 , Andy Gregory

Belarus’s exiled opposition leader has said she does not think Russia will launch an offensive on Ukraine from her country after the two nations began military drills – but warned Moscow could launch more missiles strikes from its ally’s territory.

Moscow and Minsk started joint military exercises on Monday, triggering fears in Kyiv and the West that Moscow could use its ally to launch a new ground offensive in Ukraine.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos that she believed the drills aimed to scare the Belarus people about the possibility of war and make president Alexander Lukashenko appear to be doing everything to avoid conflict.

“The other purpose is to threaten the Ukrainians, distract them and turn the attention of their troops from the eastern part of the country to the northern borders,” said Ms Tsikhanouskaya, who fled Belarus after a presidential election in 2020.

UK’s surgeon general to visit Ukraine, says Ben Wallace

Monday 16 January 2023 19:32 , Andy Gregory

The UK’s surgeon general will visit Ukraine, defence secretary Ben Wallace has said, after a call from former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith to provide Ukrainian troops with mental health support to help counter a large rise in suicides.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Wallace replied that the most senior uniformed medical officer in the British armed forces would visit Ukraine soon “to see what more we can do to help those individuals especially suffering from the acute mental health challenges they have”.

He added: “It is easy to forget that there are lots of Ukrainians suffering either post-conflict through the suicide or indeed just ordinary individuals.

“The tragedy is 10 months in – people get slightly immune to what they see on the telly and social media from what is really violence and destruction of a staggering scale.”

Kyiv’s forces need more mental health support amid huge rise in troop suicides, MPs told

Monday 16 January 2023 19:01 , Andy Gregory

Ukraine’s armed forces need more mental health support, ministers have been told after hearing claims that an “astonishing” number of soldiers have died by suicide after their experiences on the battlefield.

Former Tory party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the Commons that the UK and US should provide mental health support for Ukraine’s armed forces due to the two countries’ experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sir Iain told the Commons that he had recently visited Ukraine while working with a charity, and heard calls for donations of more armoured ambulances and paramedics.

He also told the Commons: “The third area they were keen on – and this is something that is shocking – is that the number of Ukrainian military committing suicide now as a result of battlefield stress is astonishing, they desperately need help.

“They did ask that the US and the UK – who have experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc – could help by sending some people over to help train in those mental health practices.”

UK to reevaluate size of its tank fleet, says Wallace

Monday 16 January 2023 18:33 , Andy Gregory

The UK could re-evaluate whether it needs a “larger tank fleet” based on “the lessons of Ukraine”, Ben Wallace has said, promising to “build on the army’s modernisation programme at pace”.

The defence secretary told MPs: “Even as we gift Challenger 2 tanks [to Kyiv], I shall at the same time be reviewing the number of Challenger 3 conversions to consider whether the lessons of Ukraine suggest that we need a larger tank fleet.

“We will also build on the army’s modernisation programme at pace, specifically on artillery. I’m accelerating the Mobile Fires programme, so instead of delivering in the 2030s it will do this earlier this decade.”

 (screengrab/Parliament TV)
(screengrab/Parliament TV)

UK to ‘double down’ on training Ukrainian troops on British soil, says Wallace

Monday 16 January 2023 18:04 , Andy Gregory

The UK is “doubling down” its training of Ukrainian soldiers on British soil, the defence secretary has said.

Ben Wallace told the Commons: “Doubling down on the success of our basic training of Ukrainian military in 2022 in the United Kingdom, we are also now increasing this number this year to a further 20,000”.

He added: “Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, New Zealand and the Netherlands have already joined this effort, and I’m pleased to say we are now going to be joined by a subgroup of Australian military to train in this country as well.”

Britain to send Kyiv hundreds of armoured vehicles in ‘most significant combat package to date’

Monday 16 January 2023 17:39 , Andy Gregory

Britain will send hundreds more armoured vehicles to Ukraine, including Bulldog vehicles and Challenger 2 tanks, the defence secretary has told MPs.

Speaking in the Commons, Ben Wallace claimed that Britain “will be the first country to donate Western main battle tanks”, saying that Russia has “managed to lose significant numbers of generals and commanding officers” while failing to “break the will” of the Ukrainian people.

Announcing what he described as “the most significant package of combat to date to accelerate Ukrainian success”, Mr Wallace said that Kyiv’s allies must “accelerate our collective efforts to dramatically, economically and militarily to keep the pressure” on Vladimir Putin.

“After discussion with the United States and our European allies, it is hoped that the example set by the French and us will allow those countries holding Leopard tanks to donate as well. I know there are a number of countries who want to do the same,” he told MPs.

“It is worth reiterating why we are doing this. In 2023, the international community will not let Russia wait it out while inflicting terrible suffering on Ukrainian civilians.”

Russia makes first set of Poseidon nuclear-capable torpedoes

Monday 16 January 2023 16:40 , Liam James

Russia has produced the first set of Poseidon nuclear capable super torpedoes that are being developed for deployment on the Belgorod nuclear submarine, Tass reported, citing an unidentified defence source.

US and Russian officials have both described Poseidon as a new category of retaliatory weapon, capable of triggering radioactive ocean swells to render coastal cities uninhabitable.

“The first set of Poseidons have been manufactured, and the Belgorod submarine will receive them in the near future,” Tass, a state news agency, quoted the source as saying.

Tass said the main components of Poseidon, including a nuclear reactor to give the torpedo its own power source, had been successfully completed. The crew of the Belgorod nuclear submarine has also completed tests with models of the torpedo, Tass said.

Apartment building blast death toll rises to 40

Monday 16 January 2023 16:00 , Matt Mathers

The death toll from a Russian missile strike in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 40 on Monday with dozens more missing, making it the deadliest civilian incident of Moscow’s three-month campaign of hurling missiles at cities far from the front.

Kyiv says the mass civilian deaths, which it describes as terrorism, demonstrate why it needs more weapons to defeat Russian forces 11 months after they invaded. Russia denies intentionally targetting civilians.

Germany’s Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday, while her government came under mounting pressure to let allies send Ukraine heavy tanks, at the start of what is expected to be a pivotal week for Western plans to arm Kyiv.

Taiwan ‘could be next Ukraine’, Japan’s prime minister warns G7 leaders

Monday 16 January 2023 15:50 , Matt Mathers

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida told Western nations that east Asia could become the next Ukraine given a rise in China’s aggression against Taiwan and North Korea’s military activity.

During his first trip to Washington since his election in October 2021, Mr Kishida visited leaders of all members of the Group of 7 nations (G7), except Germany.

The Japanese president stressed the importance of standing up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, arguing that if a unilateral change to the status quo went unchallenged, the same would happen elsewhere.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports:

Taiwan ‘could be next Ukraine’, Japan’s prime minister warns G7 leaders

Turkey renews offer to mediate in Russia-Ukraine war - Erdogan’s office

Monday 16 January 2023 15:10 , Matt Mathers

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan renewed his offer to help mediate an end to the conflict in Ukraine during a phone call on Monday with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan’s office said.

"During the call, President Erdogan reiterated that Turkey is ready to undertake the task of facilitating and mediating for the establishment of a lasting peace between Russia and Ukraine," it said in a statement.

The two leaders also discussed Russian grain and ammonia exports via the Black Sea, it added.

Putin and Erdogan discuss Ukraine by phone - Kremlin

Monday 16 January 2023 14:50 , Matt Mathers

President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone call where they discussed Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The two sides discussed a potential prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, as well as normalisation of Turkish-Syrian relations, the Kremlin said.

"The exchange of views on the situation around Ukraine continued," the Kremlin said.

File: Russian president Vladimir Putin meets with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the Sixth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Astana on 13 October 2022 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
File: Russian president Vladimir Putin meets with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the Sixth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Astana on 13 October 2022 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 7,000 civilians killed in war so far - UN

Monday 16 January 2023 14:21 , Matt Mathers

More than 7,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded its neighbour last February, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Monday.

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and air strikes," an OHCHR statement said.

The UN rights office said it had confirmed 7,031 civilian deaths but believes actual casualty tolls are "considerably higher" given the pending corroboration of many reports and the inaccessibility of areas where intense fighting is taking place.

Most of the recorded civilian deaths occurred in government-held areas of Ukraine - 6,536 compared with 495 recorded in Russian-held areas. OHCHR did not attribute responsibility for the deaths.

Ukraine says the numbers of civilians killed could run into the tens of thousands. Both countries deny targeting civilians.

Buildings destroyed in Dnipro

Monday 16 January 2023 13:50 , Matt Mathers

A photograph shows a residential building destroyed after a Russian missile strike, in Dnipro on January 16, 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)
A photograph shows a residential building destroyed after a Russian missile strike, in Dnipro on January 16, 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)
Local residents look at rescuers working on the building (AFP via Getty Images)
Local residents look at rescuers working on the building (AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)