Kyiv a step closer to getting Western tanks

The West's big holdout Germany says this will be the first item on its new defence minister's agenda

Reuters
Published : 17 Jan 2023, 01:42 PM
Updated : 17 Jan 2023, 01:42 PM

Ukraine came a step closer on Tuesday to winning the fleet of modern battle tanks it hopes could turn the course of the war against Russia, after the West's big holdout Germany said this would be the first item on its new defence minister's agenda.

CONFLICT

* 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.

* A former commander of Russia's Wagner mercenary group who fought in Ukraine said he has fled to Norway and is seeking asylum in fear for his life after witnessing the killing and mistreatment of Russian prisoners brought to the frontline.

* 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.

* 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.

* Russian-installed authorities in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region said on Tuesday they were in control of Soledar, repeating their earlier claim about the salt-mining town where intense fighting has taken place.

* NATO surveillance planes were due to arrive in Romania on Tuesday to bolster the military alliance's eastern flank and help monitor Russian military activity.

* More than 9,000 civilians, including 453 children, have been killed in Ukraine since Russia's invasion last February, a senior Ukrainian presidential aide said on Tuesday.

DIPLOMACY

* Ukraine received the first 3 billion euro tranche of an 18 billion euro financial support package from the European Union on Tuesday, Finance Minister Sergiy Marchenko said.

* Germany named Boris Pistorius as the new defence minister on Tuesday as pressure mounts on Berlin from Western allies to allow Ukraine to use German-made tanks in the war with Russia.

* The Kremlin said on Tuesday that another meeting between President Vladimir Putin's foreign spy chief and US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns would be useful but gave no indication when it might happen.

* The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said he hoped to make progress on a safe zone deal around the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia plant in Ukraine, but stressed it was a tough negotiation.

* Russia should halt its efforts to recruit Serbs to fight alongside its Wagner paramilitary group in Ukraine, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said.

SPORT

* Russian and Belarusian flags have been banned from the Melbourne Park precinct during the Australian Open tennis tournament after a complaint from the Ukraine ambassador to the country, a move that the Russian embassy described as "regrettable".

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher