Ukraine news – live: Russia decries ‘blatant provocation’ as US and Germany poised to deliver tanks

Boris Johnson visits Ukraine amid fresh sleaze allegations

Russia has condemned the possible deliveries of battle tanks by the US and Germany 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 announce the start of deliveries of dozens of M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, two US officials told Reuters.

Germany has also reportedly 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 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 warns of ‘new wave of Russian aggression’

Volodymyr Zelensky has repeated his warning that Russia is “preparing for a new wave of aggression with the forces it can mobilise”.

Moscow is already increasing pressure in Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other areas, the president warned in his nightly address.

“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,” he claimed.

“This means that all of us in the free world must step up our cooperation to not only respond to Russia’s regular crimes. Although this will happen, of course. There will be a response. But to prevent new Russian criminal actions as much as possible. Our forces must retain the initiative in the war.”

Andy Gregory25 January 2023 05:58

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Russia’s foreign ministry says US ‘waging hybrid war’

Reflections about the US crossing “red lines” are now a thing of the past since the US has opened declared its plan of defeating Russia strategically, the Russian foreign ministry told TASS.

“A hybrid war is being waged against our country,” the ministry said.

“Reflections about red lines are now in the past. The United States has unequivocally declared its intention to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia,” the ministry continued. “It is impossible not to notice this reality.”

He was referring to the comments of Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, that “not all red lines have yet been crossed” by the West.

He said Nato and Western countries have de-facto become embroiled in the conflict in Ukraine, but that not all red lines have yet been crossed.

Shweta Sharma25 January 2023 05:04

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

In case you missed it, here was one of yesterday’s big developments in Ukraine:

President Volodymyr Zelensky forced out a number of top officials in Ukraine’s government as he launched a renewed crackdown on corruption, reports my colleague Chris Stevenson.

Deputy head of the president’s office Kyrylo Tymoshenko, who has faced a scandal over the use of expensive cars, resigned on Tuesday morning. He had helped run President Zelensky’s 2019 election campaign and more recently had a role in overseeing regional policy. As did the deputy defence minister, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who cited what he called baseless “media accusations” of corruption. A statement on the defence ministry’s website said that Mr Shapovalov’s resignation was “a worthy deed” that would help retain trust in the ministry.

A deputy to the prosecutor general, Oleksiy Symonenko, was also removed from his post as part of the shakeup. The statement announcing his removal gave no reason for the decision but said it had been “according to his own wish”. Mr Symonenko had been under fire in Ukrainian media for taking a holiday in Spain.

Mr Zelensky’s cabinet secretary, Oleg Nemchinov, also said that the head of five areas have been dismissed. Two deputy ministers responsible for regional development were also among the others who left.

Andy Gregory25 January 2023 04:51

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Watch: Doomsday Clock stands at 90 seconds to midnight ‘largely’ due to war in Ukraine

Doomsday Clock stands at 90 seconds to midnight ‘largely’ due to war in Ukraine

Andy Gregory25 January 2023 03:45

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Zelensky addresses 11-month anniversary of Putin’s invasion

Today marks the start of the 12th month since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On the eve of the grim anniversary, president Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to pass the day “in the same way as the 334th, uniting all our forces for one thing – victory”.

“For the sake of the whole of Ukraine. For the sake of the victory of our entire country in the war for freedom and independence for all Ukrainians,” he added.

“It will happen. And all the steps necessary for this will be taken.”

Andy Gregory25 January 2023 02:39

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Zelensky urges ‘decisions’ on German battle tanks

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that that Kyiv needs “decisions” on real deliveries of modern tanks – after reports that Germany was poised to announce a move to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to the war-torn nation.

There has not yet been any official confirmation of the move, and such deliveries could take weeks or months to become reality.

“There is a lot of talk about tanks now,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “About the modern tanks we need. And about how to fill this deficit. A lot of effort, words, and promises.

“But it is important to see the reality: it is not about five, or ten, or fifteen tanks. The need is greater. Every day we are doing everything necessary to fill the deficit. And I am grateful to everyone who supports us in this.

“Discussions must be concluded with decisions. Decisions on real strengthening of our defense against terrorists. Allies have the required number of tanks. When the needed weighty decisions are made, we will be happy to thank you for each weighty decision.”

Andy Gregory25 January 2023 01:33

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Zelensky aide hails ‘punching fist of democracy’ following reports of German tanks

A senior aide to Voldymyr Zelensky has welcomed reports that Germany could be poised to announce plans to send a convoy of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Kyiv – and allow allies to do the same.

“A few hundred tanks for our tank crews – the best tank crews in the world,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration, wrote on Telegram.

“This is what is going to become a real punching fist of democracy against the autocracy from the bog.”

Andy Gregory25 January 2023 00:25

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Biden set to authorise shipment of Abrams tanks to Ukraine

President Joe Biden is set to announce that the US will provide dozens of M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

The official announcement could come as soon as Wednesday, according to multiple media outlets which cited US officials on the early news.

Our Washington DC correspondent John Bowden reports:

Andy Gregory24 January 2023 23:27

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Washington’s incoming Moscow ambassador holds meeting with Russian counterpart

The incoming US ambassador to Russia has held a meeting with Moscow’s top envoy in Washington, the State Department has said.

Lynne Tracy, who was confirmed by the US Senate in December, will depart for Russia in coming days and should be in place later this month, spokesperson Ned Price said.

He declined to detail what the two envoys have discussed but said they did not talk about “any form of negotiated settlements” over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“She’s currently in the process of having consultations with desks and individuals here in Washington and in this case, she had an opportunity to have a discussion with Ambassador [Anatoly] Antonov,” Mr Price said.

Andy Gregory24 January 2023 22:39

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