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    Russia-Ukraine updates: Pressure grows on Germany to supply tanks


    This blog is now closed, thanks for joining us. These were the updates on the Russia-Ukraine war on Tuesday, January 17.

    Kissinger says Russia’s war validates Ukraine’s NATO membership bid

    Henry Kissinger has said Russia’s invasion shows there is no longer a point in keeping Ukraine out of NATO, Kyiv’s long-held aspiration he had previously opposed.

    The 99-year-old former US secretary of state has for months advocated a ceasefire in the Ukraine war that would in effect accept some military gains by Russia.

    But speaking virtually to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Kissinger said that NATO membership for Ukraine would be an “appropriate outcome”.

    “Before this war, I was opposed to membership of Ukraine in NATO because I feared that it would start exactly the process that we have seen now,” Kissinger said.

    “Now that this process has reached this level,” he said, “the idea of a neutral Ukraine under these conditions is no longer meaningful.”

    • On second anniversary of his incarceration, Alexey Navalny promises to keep up opposition

      Jailed Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny has used the second anniversary of his incarceration to reinforce his promise to keep up his opposition, as his family and allies started a campaign to free him.

      Navalny, 46, was arrested exactly two years ago as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had been treated for poisoning with a deadly Soviet-era nerve agent in what he and some Western nations said was a Russian state assassination attempt. The Kremlin denied involvement.

      “I’m not going to surrender my country to them, and I believe that the darkness will eventually fade away,” Navalny wrote on Twitter via his lawyers.

      Navalny is the highest-profile of the few remaining opposition voices in Russia.

      The lawyer-turned-activist has been sentenced to a combined 11-1/2 years in jail in two separate fraud cases, which he said had been trumped up to silence him, and his anti-corruption organisation has been banned as “extremist”.

      Dasha Navalnaya, his daughter, appeared in a video clip on Tuesday to launch a campaign to free her father, who she said was being repeatedly and unjustly put in solitary confinement in prison for his fierce opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

      Ukraine blames Russia for bulk of cyberattacks

      A senior Ukrainian official has blamed Russia for carrying out the bulk of more than 2,000 cyberattacks on Ukraine in 2022, speaking at a news conference that he said was itself delayed because of a cyberattack.

      The official, Yuriy Schygol, told reporters that his livestreamed conference was forced to start 15 minutes late because of a Russian hack, though he did not elaborate or present evidence for his assertion.

      During the news briefing, Schygol, head of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection, said Ukraine had been hit by 2,194 cyberattacks in 2022, with 1,655 of those coming after Moscow’s February 24 invasion.

      “Essentially all hackers who work with Russia, most of them don’t even hide their affiliation … they are all funded by the FSB [Russia’s Federal Security Service], are on military service, or are in the employ of those agencies,” he said.

      There was no immediate comment on his allegations from Moscow.

      Dnipro death toll rises to 45 as another child’s body is found

      The death toll from Saturday’s Russian missile attack on a residential building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro has risen to 45, according to the Dnipropetrovsk regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko.

      Another child was found among the dead, Reznichenko wrote on Facebook and on Telegram, bringing the number of children killed by the attack to six.

      The head of the police, Igor Klimenko, said 20 people remain missing, including four children, according to the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

      UK refutes Russian claims on deadly Dnipro strike

      An intelligence update by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence has refuted Russian claims that a Ukrainian air defence missile was responsible for the destruction of an apartment block in the city of Dnipro, which resulted in the death of more than 40 people.

      “An AS-4 KITCHEN large anti-ship missile, launched from a Tu-22M3 BACKFIRE medium bomber, highly likely struck a block of flats in Dnipro city which resulted in the death of at least 40 people,” the Ministry of Defence assessment found.

      “KITCHEN is notoriously inaccurate when used against ground targets as its radar guidance system is poor at differentiating targets in urban areas,” it added.



      UK foreign minister shores up Ukraine support on US trip

      The UK’s foreign minister James Cleverly has said NATO allies are boosting arms supplies to Kyiv to demonstrate their determination to see Ukraine prevail against Russia, which should end the war now and open negotiations “in good faith”.

      “The message we’re sending to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and frankly to anyone else that cares to be watching is that we made a commitment to support Ukrainians until they are victorious,” Cleverly told a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

      Cleverly spoke to the US think-tank ahead of meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top US officials on increasing support for Ukraine.

      Cheverly’s trip follows the UK’s announcement during the weekend that it will supply Ukraine with 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks – the first modern Western tanks to be promised to Kyiv – and other heavy weaponry.

    • Netherlands to send Patriot system to Ukraine

      The Netherlands will send a Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine, Dutch news agency ANP has reported, citing Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

      Rutte is in Washington, DC to meet US President Joe Biden.

      ANP quoted Rutte as saying, during a fireside chat between the two leaders, that the Netherlands would participate in a US-German initiative to send the defence systems to Ukraine.

      Rutte said he had earlier spoken by telephone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss the decision.


      Ukraine’s first lady delivers letter from Zelenskyy to world leaders at Davos

      Ukraine’s first lady has told the World Economic Forum some states are failing to use their influence to end Russia’s war against her country.

      “What can life be in a world where tanks are allowed to strike at nuclear power stations? What will happen to inflation when state borders start to collapse and the integrity of countries is trampled?” Olena Zelenska asked.

      “This war can go further and make crises wider if the aggressor does not lose,” she added.

      Urging her audience to make greater use of their influence to end the fighting, she said global cooperation was needed to prevent the collapse of the lives to which people across the world have become accustomed.

      “You all know that Russian aggression was never intended to stop at Ukrainian borders. This war can move forward and ignite wider crises if Ukraine loses.”

      Zelenska delivered a letter to China’s delegation setting out her husband’s proposals for ending Russia’s war against his country.

      China, like Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is an important partner for Moscow and has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

      Zelenska said she also had letters for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Swiss President Alain Berset.

      US, Ukraine top military chiefs hold face-to-face talks

      Top US General Mark Milley has held face-to-face talks with his Ukrainian counterpart for the first time as Russia’s offensive nears the one-year mark.

      Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, travelled to an undisclosed site near the Ukraine-Poland border for the meeting with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

      The two leaders have talked frequently about Ukraine’s military needs and the state of the war over the past year but had never met.

      Their meeting came as Kyiv’s Western allies prepare to hold key talks on military aid for Ukraine on Friday at a US airbase in Germany.

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