Ukraine Russia war latest news: Kyiv fighting ‘for every metre’ as France says it’s open to sending fighter jets

Homes and hospital damaged in Kherson shelling

Russia is making gains in Ukraine’s Donetsk but facing fierce resistance for “literally every metre”, according to a Moscow-backed local official.

Administrator Denis Pushilin said that the Russian forces were making advances in Bakhmut, Maryinka and Vuhledar in eastern Ukraine, running north to south to the west of Donetsk city.

Moscow’s gains were “not clear-cut, that is, here there is a battle for literally every metre”, he said, according to Russia’s state news agency TASS.

Military analysts have said that Ukraine still controls Maryinka and Vuhledar – which are now on Russia’s radar after capturing the small mining town of Soledar – and that these areas were witnessing less intense Russian attacks on Monday.

This comes as French president Emmanuel Macron said he has not ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine, in a positive sign for Kyiv which has been seeking top notch military aid from allies.

Mr Macron said certain conditions would have to be met by Ukraine before France sent jets.


France open to sending fighter jets to Ukraine

President Emmanuel Macron said France was open to sending fighter jets to Ukraine, but laid out multiple conditions before such a significant step might be taken.

France has sent Ukraine air defence systems, rocket launcher units, cannons and other military equipment and has pledged to send armoured surveillance and combat vehicles, but has stopped short of sending battle tanks or heavier weaponry.

Asked at a news conference in The Hague on Monday if France is considering sending warplanes, Mr Macron said “nothing is excluded” as long as certain conditions are met.

Among those conditions: that providing such equipment would not lead to an escalation of tensions or be used “to touch Russian soil”, and that it would not “weaken the capacities of the French army”, Mr Macron said.

He also said Ukraine would have to formally request the planes.

Allies have held back from pledging war planes over fears of a Russian response but after several states took the previously unthinkable step of sending tanks, the terms of support for Ukraine have changed.

Liam James30 January 2023 20:59


Russia faced with battle for ‘every metre’ in eastern Ukraine

A Russian-backed official has made fresh claims of capturing Ukraine’s territory in the eastern region, but added that its troops were facing fierce resistance from Ukrainian soldiers who are fighting for “every metre”.

Denis Pushilin, head of the occupied eastern Donetsk province and installed by Russia, claimed that the Ukrainian fighters were countering the Russian offensive with reinforcements in Bakhmut, Maryinka and Vuhledar — three towns placed in eastern Ukraine’s north to south strip.

Russian forces were making advances there, but “not clear-cut, that is, here there is a battle for literally every metre”, he said, reported Russia’s state news agency TASS.

Arpan Rai31 January 2023 04:20


Russia is having its ‘big revenge’, warns Zelensky

Russia has begun its “big revenge” for Ukraine’s resistance to its invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday, as Russian forces claimed a series of incremental gains in his country’s east.

Mr Zelensky has been warning for weeks that Moscow aims to step up its assault on Ukraine after about two months of virtual stalemate along the front line that stretches across the south and east.

He said Russian attacks in the east were relentless despite heavy casualties on the Russian side, casting them as payback for Ukraine‘s success in pushing Russian forces back from the capital, northeast and south earlier in the conflict.

“I think that Russia really wants its big revenge. I think they have [already] started it,” Zelenskiy said.

“Every day they either bring in more of their regular troops, or we see an increase in the number of Wagnerites,” he told reporters in the southern port city of Odesa.

Zelensky at a news briefing in Odesa on Monday


Liam James31 January 2023 04:00


Biden says US won’t provide F-16 jets to Ukraine

Mr Biden was addressing reporters upon his return to the White House when he was asked if the US would offer the single-engine multirole fighters to Kyiv.

The president’s statement comes amid a renewed push by Pentagon officials to provide the jets, which are manufactured by Lockheed Martin and used by a variety of US allies, in the wake of his decision to allow Kyiv to acquire American-made M1 Abrams tanks.

Read the full story here:

Arpan Rai31 January 2023 03:22


Slovenian authorities ‘hold 2 alleged Russian spies’

Slovenian authorities have apprehended two alleged Russian spies suspected of using an agency dealing in real estate and antiques as a front for their activities in the Nato member, media reported Monday.

Slovenia’s respected Delo newspaper and the Siol news portal cited the public prosecutor’s office as confirming the arrests.

Slovenian police confirmed that two individuals had been arrested in December for suspected espionage but did not disclose which country they were accused of working for.

“They are suspected of being members of a foreign intelligence service,” police spokesman Drago Menegalija said.


Boris Johnson told ‘a lie’ over Putin missile attack claims, says Kremlin

The Kremlin has suggested Boris Johnson told “a lie” when the former prime minister said that Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to threaten him with a missile strike.

The former Downing Street incumbent made the claim in a new three-part series for BBC Two looking at how the West grappled with Mr Putin in the years leading up to the war in Ukraine.

Mr Johnson, talking about a phone call between the two leaders ahead of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, said: “He sort of threatened me at one point and said: ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute,’ or something like that.”

But the Kremlin disputed the claim, saying there were “no threats with missiles” during the bilateral conversation held in February 2022.


Five civilians killed as fighting remains deadlocked, say Ukrainian officials

Fighting has remained largely deadlocked in eastern Ukraine, where Russian shelling killed five civilians over the past day, according to Ukrainian officials.

The casualties included a woman who was killed and three others who were wounded by the Russian shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city in the country’s north-east, regional governor Oleh Syniyehubov said.

An emergency worker walks in front of a residential building which was hit by a Russian rocket in the city centre of Kharkiv


Liam James31 January 2023 01:00


Ukraine war a ‘massive wakeup call’ for British Army, say veterans and experts

The Ukraine war should provide a “massive wakeup call” for how the government looks to fund the British Army, former soldiers and military historians have warned amid criticism over its ability to defend the UK and its allies (William Mata writes).

Rishi Sunak has come under fire from veterans and members of his own party after a US general said the army could no longer defend the UK. The army is currently 76,000 strong but would shrink to 73,000 if downsizing plans go ahead. It is already half the size it was in 1990 and the smallest it has been since Napoleonic times.

Former soldier Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a British Army officer from 1988 to 2012, told The Independent: “We thought the artillery was in good shape but that was before the Ukraine conflict, a lot of money was spent. But having been playing Star Wars [with focus on cyber and space security] the Ukraine war has shown that to be successful on the battlefield you need to focus on that.”

Liam James31 January 2023 00:00


UK still a top-tier military power, says No 10

London has insisted the UK remains a top-tier military power following claims a senior US general told defence secretary Ben Wallace the British Army is no longer regarded as a “top-level” fighting force.

Asked if Rishi Sunak still believes the UK is a top-level fighting force, his spokesman said: “Yes”, adding that the PM believes the British military personnel have “the equipment and capability to meet the threats they face”.

Defence sources told Sky News that cost-cutting measures have seen the status of the British Armed Forces decline in the eyes of world leaders. “You haven’t got a tier one, it’s barely tier two,” the US general reportedly told Mr Wallace.

Liam James30 January 2023 23:00


France and Australia in joint arms pledge, moving on from Aukus snub

France and Australia have unveiled plans to jointly manufacture ammunition for Ukraine as the two countries seek to shore up defence cooperation and move past a row over Canberra’s decision to ditch plans to buy French submarines.

The relationship hit historic lows in the autumn of 2021 with Paris accusing its allies of stabbing it in the back when Australia opted for nuclear-powered submarines built with US and British technology instead in what became known as the Aukus pact.

French defence minister Sebastien Lecornu said France and Australia had agreed to cooperate to make “several thousands” of 155-mm shells to help Ukraine, which he hoped could start being delivered in the first quarter of this year.

Mr Lecornu was speaking after meeting his Australian counterpart Richard Marles, the first joint high-level talks since the submarine row erupted.

Liam James30 January 2023 22:00

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