Ukraine Latest: UK Mulls Sending Battle Tanks In Boost For Kyiv
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine is sending reinforcements to defend two front-line towns in the Donetsk region that he said have seen among the bloodiest fighting since Russia’s invasion.
(Bloomberg) -- The UK government is considering sending Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, a move that would mark the first time a Western country would provide Ukraine with NATO-standard main battle tanks to fight Russian forces.
A key member of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party said his government will continue to send heavy weapons to Ukraine to help it fight back against Russia’s invasion after already pledging Marder armored fighting vehicles.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine is sending reinforcements to two front-line towns in the Donetsk region that he said have seen some of the bloodiest fighting since Russia’s invasion.
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On the Ground
Russian troops began a powerful assault on Soledar in Donetsk after suffering heavy losses in a previously unsuccessful attempt to capture the city, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said on Telegram, citing Minister Hanna Malyar. Moscow’s forces shelled a market and residential areas in the Sumy, Kharkiv and Kherson regions, killing at least two people, injuring others and damaging at least 100 buildings, Ukrainian authorities said. Moscow’s forces also carried out seven missile and 31 air strikes, as well as 73 multiple rocket launcher attacks over the past day, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook.
(All times CET)
US’s Sullivan Says Ukraine Aid ‘Rock Solid’ Despite McCarthy Deal (5:50 p.m.)
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the $47 billion in new aid for Ukraine approved in the $1.7 trillion government funding bill last month would not be at risk. His comments followed a deal struck by new House Leader Kevin McCarthy with GOP hardliners to cap 2024 spending in a move that could potentially include efforts to cut defense spending.
“That is money that has been appropriated,” Sullivan said. “I do not see that money getting taken away from us and therefore our ability to have the resources to support Ukraine, with both the security assistance it needs, as well as the economic humanitarian and energy assistance its needs.”
Estonia to Move Ahead of EU With Plans to Seize Russian Assets (5:58 p.m.)
Estonia plans to introduce a legal blueprint for seizing Russian assets this month as the Baltic nation moves ahead with a bid to deliver funds frozen under European Union sanctions to Ukraine.
The legal framework will come by the end of January as the European Commission develops a bloc-wide arrangement to deal with €300 billion ($322 billion) in Russian central-bank reserves and billions more in frozen assets of sanctioned Russian individuals.
UK Mulls Sending Battle Tanks to Ukraine (2:50 p.m.)
If it goes ahead, the move would be the first time a Western country has provided Ukraine with modern battle tanks to fight Russian forces. No final decision has been taken, the people said. Neither wished to not be identified because of the sensitivity of the discussions.
The Challenger 2 is a main battle tank designed to destroy other tanks, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence website.
Scholz Ally Sees No Limits on Arming Ukraine (1:57 p.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government will continue to send heavy weapons to Ukraine to help it fight back against Russia’s invasion.
Lars Klingbeil, the co-leader of Scholz’s ruling Social Democrats, told reporters in Berlin that his party is backing the chancellor’s course without limit, including Scholz’s latest decision — in tandem with the US — to supply Ukraine with armored infantry fighting vehicles and an additional Patriot air-defense system.
Scholz has won praise from his domestic allies for pledging to send 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, but some of his coalition partners have called on him to go further by giving Kyiv NATO-grade Leopard 2 battle tanks.
Vessel That Ran Aground in Suez Canal Was Loaded With Ukrainian Grain (11:29 a.m.)
The ship that briefly ran aground in the Suez Canal earlier Monday was among the latest crop-export vessels that had departed Ukraine under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The Glory had left Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port in late December, loaded with 65,970 tons of corn bound for China, according to the initiative’s shipping data. The ship has since been refloated and was being pulled by tugboats as of 10 a.m. local time.
Sweden Plans to Bring Back Civil Conscription (10:01 a.m.)
Sweden’s government plans to bring back civil conscription to shore up its defense capabilities, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters.
The government will ask the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency to prepare education for people who would be asked to serve with municipal emergency services in the event of a military conflict. The plan aims at bolstering civil defenses while also providing an option for conscripts who are unwilling to undergo military training.
Power Demand Rises in Ukraine on Cold Weather (10 a.m.)
Power consumption in Ukraine is rising amid cold weather and increased demand from industry and businesses, forcing an expansion of limits on electricity consumption in all regions of the country, national grid operator Ukrnergo said on Telegram.
The energy supply situation in areas near the front line remains difficult after Russian forces shelled a power-generating facility in the country’s east overnight. The nation’s energy system remains unable to cover all electricity needs in full, according to the statement.
Zelenskiy Announces More Troops for Bakhmut, Soledar (9:30 p.m.)
Ukraine’s army is transferring additional units to defend Bakhmut and Soledar in the Donetsk region against Russian forces, Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.
The situation on the front line hasn’t significantly changed in the first week of the year and remains difficult, he said. Near Bakhmut, a front-line city that has been largely destroyed during months of fighting, Ukrainian forces are repelling Russian attacks, he said.
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