Ukraine-Russia war latest: Moscow warns West ‘directly involved’ in conflict after tank deal

Moment Zelensky told tanks would be delivered

The Kremlin has accused the West of being directly involved in Russia’s war in Ukraine by choosing to arm Kyiv.

Berlin caved to pressure from Nato allies this week as it announced that German-made Leopard 2 tanks could arrive in Ukraine before the end of March, while US president Joe Biden simultaneously pledged to send its Abrams battle tanks.

Moscow’s ambassador to Germany warned the move would take the war to a “new level of confrontation”, as Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said of Western arms supplies: “In Moscow, this is perceived as direct involvement in the conflict and we see that this is growing.”

Mr Peskov also dismissed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s jibe that Vladimir Putin is a “nobody” living in an “information bubble” who he has no interest in meeting for peace talks.

“I don’t think an answer is necessary,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in response to Mr Zelensky’s comments to skynews. “He himself has long ceased to be a possible opponent for President Putin. He was preparing for war.”


KEY POST: Moscow accuses West of ‘direct involvement’ over tank provision conflict

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has accused the West of “direct involvement” in the conflict over the provision of tanks to Ukraine.

“European capitals and Washington constantly give statements that sending various types of weapons, including tanks, in no way means their involvement in hostilities,” Mr Peskov told Sky News.

“We strongly disagree with this. In Moscow, this is perceived as direct involvement in the conflict and we see that this is growing.”

Eleanor Noyce26 Jan 2023 12:50 PM


Canada to send Ukraine four battle tanks

Canada has announced that it will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, after Germany said it would allow its allies to re-export the German-built tanks.

“This donation, combined with the contributions of allies and partners, will significantly help the armed forces of Ukraine” in their defense against the Russian invasion, defense minister Anita Anand told reporters.

Emily Atkinson26 January 2023 23:00


US expands travel blacklist for Russian military figures

The US State Department has placed 531 members of the Russian military on a travel blacklist for actions that threaten or violate the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.

“This action supports our goal to degrade Moscow’s capacity to wage war against Ukraine, to promote accountability for those responsible for Russia’s war of aggression and associated abuses, and to place further pressure on Russia’s defense sector,” US secretary of state Antony Blinken said.

It came as Joe Biden’s administration also expanded sanctions against Russia’s Wagner Group (see post below).

Emily Atkinson26 January 2023 22:00


US expands sanctions against Wagner Group

The United States has increased its sanctions against Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group and dozens of its affiliates, some in Africa and the Middle East.

The sanctions also hit the president of Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern, the original manufacturer of the AK-47 assault rifle, and a company known as Spacety China, which has supplied Wagner Group affiliates with satellite imagery of Ukraine that supports Wagner’s military operations there.

“Today’s expanded sanctions on Wagner, as well as new sanctions on their associates and other companies enabling the Russian military complex, will further impede Putin’s ability to arm and equip his war machine,” said US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen.

Andy Gregory26 January 2023 21:16


News site Meduza added to Russian list of ‘undesirable organisations’

jellyfishone of Russia’s most widely-read independent news sites, has been branded an “undesirable organisation” by Moscow – effectively outlawing it from operating in Russia.

Russia’s general prosecutor said the Latvia-based news outlet “poses a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system and the security of the Russian Federation”, as the site joined more than 50 other organizations on the “undesirable” list.

The news site said it would continue to work, despite the designation, publishing an article which said: “Undesirable organizations are banned from operating on Russian territory under threat of felony prosecution.

“Anyone who ‘participates or cooperates’ with such groups can face felony prosecution – an especially serious limitation for journalists who must speak to sources to report the news.”

Shortly after invading Ukraine, Russia’s parliament passed legislation outlining jail terms of up to five years for “discrediting” the armed forces and up to 15 years for spreading “deliberately false information” about them.

Upon passing the laws last March, Russian authorities moved swiftly to block access to dozens of websites, including Meduza’s, spurring dozens of Russian and international news outlets to leave the country.

Another independent news site, Mediazona, said on Thursday its publisher Pyotr Verzilov had been accused of spreading “fakes” about the army, motivated by political hated.

Andy Gregory26 January 2023 20:44


Ukrainian officers will be swiftly fired for shirking duties, Zelensky aide warns

Ukrainian officers who shirk their duties during wartime will be quickly removed, an aid to Volodymyr Zelensky has said, after a week in which more than a dozen people have been removed from their post, including a deputy defense minister and presidential aide.

“Everyone should understand their level of responsibility to the country and nation during the war. Whoever forgets about it receives a quick reaction,” said Andriy Yermak, the head of Mr Zelensky’s office.

“This will happen to everyone who allows themselves to forget [their duties]regardless of names and offices,” Yermak wrote on Twitter.

Andy Gregory26 January 2023 20:13


France and Italy close to finalizing deal on supply of advanced air defense systems

France and Italy are close to finalizing the technical details to supply a SAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine, two diplomatic sources have told Reuters.

Kyiv specifically requested the system – the only one in Europe capable of intercepting ballistic missiles – in November, and both nations’ defense ministers are set to meet in Italy on Friday.

“We are finalizing it with the Italians. It’s not very far off,” said a French diplomatic source.

“A political decision was made. It’s now just finalizing the technical details because it’s a complicated system,” said a second diplomat, adding that the expectation was that France’s Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni would make the decision official.

The system, known as Mamba, is capable of intercepting 10 targets at once.

Andy Gregory26 January 2023 19:42


Watch: Train carries dozens of tanks in Kansas day before Biden agrees to send M1 Abrams to Ukraine

Train carries dozens of tanks in Kansas day before Biden agrees to send M1 Abrams to Ukraine

Andy Gregory26 January 2023 19:01


Ukraine security officer arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia

A lieutenant colonel in Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, has been arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia, Kyiv has said.

The official allegedly sent data to his Russian handlers revealing the location of military checkpoints and other “secret information”, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) said.

A search found mobile phones, Russian SIM cards, cash and other evidence proving “longstanding ties” to Russian state and law enforcement structures, the bureau said.

“Today the service works as a single team and is doing the maximum for Ukraine’s victory,” said SBU chief Vasyl Malyuk. “And the self-cleansing of our ranks from traitors is an important part of this process.”

Volodymyr Zelensky fired the previous SBU director, a childhood friend of his, last July, citing collaboration with Russia by officials in the powerful agency.

Andy Gregory26 January 2023 18:03


Famous Russian comic referred to prosecutors over song satirising Ukraine war

A famous Russian comic has been referred to prosecutors over a new song satirising Moscow’s war in Ukraine – by a patriotic organization which believes it discredits the army, which now a criminal offence.

The song, by Semyon Slepakov, is called “Lullaby” and likes Russia, with dark irony, to a mother who glorifies the idea of ​​dying on the battlefields of Ukraine and believes it is her sons’ duty to lay down their lives for her own greatness.

Slepakov has more than 1.4 million followers on YouTube, where a video of him singing his song with a guitar has been viewed over 700,000 times since it was released on Tuesday and tens of thousands of times on other platforms.

Andy Gregory26 January 2023 17:31

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