THE Kremlin has sent a thinly veiled warning to the West, branding US plans to supply tanks to Ukraine as "a blatant provocation" against Russia.

America is expected to announce as soon as today that it will send heavy tanks to back the defenders in the Ukraine war – although this was unconfirmed during a news conference yesterday.

And now, Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov claims it is "obvious" Washington is trying to inflict a "strategic defeat on us".

Vladimir Putin mouthpiece Antonov wrote on Telegram: "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."

It comes as Ukraine's Armed Forces claimed to have "shot down three Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters" within the space of 30 minutes.

Read our Ukraine war blog below for the latest news…

  • Jimmy Grant

    Scholz: 'There will not be any direct participation of NATO troops in this war'

    An opposition politician from the German AFD party asked Olaf Scholz why he has "thrown overboard the principles that we've had after the Second World War" and gone against the wishes of the majority of citizens in the country.

    Scholz responded: "We will not send ground troops. There will not be any direct participation of NATO troops in this war.

    "It has not been the case so far, it will not be the case in the future.

    "There will be no fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine, this was made clear very early, including from the US president."

  • Jimmy Grant

    Ukraine confirms Russia has captured Soledar

    Military spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyy confirmed that Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the salt-mining town of Soledar, marking the first confirmation by Ukraine that it had been captured by Russia.

    Cherevatyy told Sky News: "Ukrainian forces left Soledar and took better strategic positions.

    "Withdrawal of our forces was well-controlled, planned, disciplined, and calm.

    "In Soledar, we inflicted more losses to the enemy than it suffered during both Chechen wars."

    However, speaking with a Ukrainian state broadcaster he said the Ukrainian military had achieved its primary objective by "not allowing the enemy to systematically break through in the Donetsk direction".

  • Jimmy Grant

    Ben Wallace 'delighted' at Germany's tank decision

    UK defence secretary Ben Wallace said he was "delighted" that Germany has decided to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

    Wallace tweeted: "Delighted Germany joins the UK, France & Poland in sending tanks to Ukraine.

    "It is time for Russia to realise that the International community is increasingly determined to help Ukraine resist their barbaric and illegal invasion."

  • Jimmy Grant

    Scholz says Germany will 'always be pioneering in support for Ukraine'

    German chancellor Olaf Scholz said the country had to "break a rule" when deciding to support Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks.

    Scholz said: "In Germany, we had to break and rule and now we supply the most weapons, together with Great Britain.

    "If we sum up what we’ve decided to deliver so far, then we can say that Germany will always be pioneering support for Ukraine."

    This is the first time German battle tanks will fight on a European battlefield since the Second World War.

  • Jimmy Grant

    Olaf Scholz addresses parliament after Leopard 2 tank announcement

    Olaf Scholz has addressed parliament to answer questions about sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

    The German chancellor said he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky before he arrived to make his speech.

    Scholz said: "The reason for the challenges we are facing is the terrible war of aggression against Ukraine. 

    "A terrible war where the principles we have agreed upon in Europe have been called into question."

    He continued: "We have war in Europe not very far from here. 

    "One thing has to be clear, we will do what is necessary, what is possible to support Ukraine but at the same time we want to make sure there is no escalation of the war between Russia and NATO."

     

  • Jimmy Grant

    Polish prime minister thanks Germany for decision to send tanks

    Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for the decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

    Morawiecki tweeted: "Thank you @Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz.

    "The decision to send Leopards to Ukraine is a big step towards stopping Russia.

    "Together we are stronger."

  • Jimmy Grant

    Rishi supports NATO allies sending tanks to Ukraine

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised the decision made by Germany and NATO allies to send battle tanks to Ukraine.

    Sunak tweeted: "The right decision by NATO Allies and friends to send main battle tanks to Ukraine.

    "Alongside Challenger 2s, they will strengthen Ukraine’s defensive firepower.

    "Together, we are accelerating our efforts to ensure Ukraine wins this war and secures a lasting peace."

  • Jimmy Grant

    Germany will send tanks to Ukraine

    Germany will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and approve re-export from other countries, according to a statement earlier today from German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit.

    Germany will send 14 battle tanks as well as ammunition and logistics.

    Countries such as Norway, Poland and Spain will now also be permitted to send their stocks of Leopard 2 tanks.

    Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: "This decision follows our well-known line of supporting Ukraine to the best of our ability.

    "We are acting in a closely coordinated manner internationally." 

  • Jimmy Grant

    US tanks sent to Ukraine will ‘burn’

    Russia said US tanks sent to Ukraine will ‘burn like the rest’ earlier today.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "Technologically, this is a failed plan.

    “This is an overestimation of the potential that this will add to the Ukrainian army.

    “These tanks burn like all the rest. They are just very expensive."

    The warning comes following America agreeing to potentially send dozens of M1 Abrams tanks in an escalation of its involvement in the war.

  • Jimmy Grant

    Four injured in Russian shelling of Donetsk

    Four people were injured in the shelling of Kostiantynivka in the Donetsk region yesterday, according to reports.

    Governor Pavlo KyrylenkoIn released a statement on Telegram: “This shelling is another Russian crime and another proof that there are no absolutely safe places in Donetsk region. Save your life – evacuate!”

    Two children were among the injured, he added.

  • Catherine Micallef

    Ukraine tank plan to be revealed in Parliament by Olaf Scholz

    Olaf Scholz is expected to unveil the tank plan to be rolled to Ukraine to Parliament on Wednesday.

    This will confirm the decision to finally allow the exportation of the German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and help battle the Russians.

    It comes after the US made a preliminary agreement to send M1 Abrams tanks.

    Germany wants that the rolling of the Leopard 2 tanks is closely coordinated with allies, mainly the US.

    With Washington sending over some of its tanks too, Berlin hopes that it minimises the risk of any backlash from Russia.

    The speech in Parliament is set to be given this early afternoon.

  • Catherine Micallef

    Zelensky touches down on tanks

    The Ukrainian President mentioned the ongoing talks about tanks being provided to Kyiv in his nightly address.

    He said: "By the way, there is a lot of talk about tanks now. 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.

    "However, discussions need to end with decisions. Decisions to really strengthen our defense against terrorists. Our allies have the necessary number of tanks.

    "When the necessary weight of decisions is reached, we will be happy to express gratitude for every weighty decision."

    Germany has been put under pressure to allow the exportation of Leopard 2 tanksCredit: AP
  • Catherine Micallef

    Zelensky thanks Lithuania

    In his daily evening address, President Zelensky thanked Lithuania for their support in the war.

    The Ukrainian President said: "So is another decree signed today. The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, starts celebrating the 700th anniversary of its foundation. All this time, the histories of our nations have been closely intertwined.

    "And we actually share a common destiny of our freedom: the more protected one nation is, the more protected the other is. Perhaps this is understood more clearly now than ever before in our history.

    "Ukraine will always be grateful to Lithuania, to Mr. President Nausėda, to all Lithuanian leaders, to all Lithuanian families who perceived the Russian aggression against Ukraine as an attack on their freedom. Who help us protect our common future in a free and peaceful Europe.

    "Today, I signed a decree awarding Vilnius the honorary distinction of a "Rescuer City" for everything that the city and Lithuania as a whole have done to help us in the fight against Russian terror."

  • Catherine Micallef

    Japan PM considering a trip to Ukraine

    Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering a trip to Ukraine after he had been invited by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

    Japan is hosting the Group of Seven meeting this year and he told Parliament: "Nothing has been decided at this time regarding my visit to Ukraine."

    "I will consider this in light of various circumstances and conditions."

    Mr Kishida was invited by President Zelensky during a call on January 6.

  • Catherine Micallef

    Zelensky's nightly address for January 24, 2023

    In his daily evening address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine spoke with France and Finland over more support.

    The Ukrainian President said: "Today I had extensive negotiations with President of France Macron. We discussed many topics.

    "I thank Mr. President for his willingness to strengthen Ukraine's air defense and expand our armored cooperation. This armored element is becoming increasingly important for the situation at the front. So is the artillery element.

    "I thank France and Emmanuel personally for the much-needed decisions to strengthen Ukraine's artillery. I am also grateful for the respective leadership within our anti-war coalition.

    "And I heard today a full understanding of the situation both in a conversation with Mr. President Macron and in a conversation with Mr. President of Finland, who was on a visit to Kyiv today.

    "There is a new package of support from Finland, including defense support. There is a willingness to strengthen sanctions against Russia and to join our diplomatic initiatives. We have a vision of how we can use this year to our countries’ advantage to cooperate within European and Euro-Atlantic institutions.

    "That is, today, thanks to the French and Finnish stages of our diplomatic marathon, we have significantly strengthened Ukraine's defense.

    "The main thing now is the speed of implementation of everything we agreed upon. Today I discussed in great detail the points of our Peace Formula – what can be done together with France, what can be done together with Finland.

    "It is very important for European leadership in these diplomatic efforts to be tangible. And today, in particular in my conversation with Emmanuel, I was pleased to hear his leadership initiatives.

    "I am also grateful to Finland for the vision of the role of this country in guaranteeing our common security under the Peace Formula. I signed several decrees on awarding the defenders of our country.

  • Catherine Micallef

    Brit arrested in Spain after being accused of helping Russian yacht avoid sanctions

    A UK national that is yet to be named, has been arrested in Mallorca after he was accused of helping a Russian tycoon avoid sanctions on his £80million yacht.

    The Brit was wanted by the US authorities on fraud and money laundering charges.

    The yacht was one of those seized because of its links to the Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg.

    The Brit was arrested on Monday by the Civil Guard in collaboration with the FBI and the Homeland Security Investigation (HSI).

  • Catherine Micallef

    Possibility of Norway aiding Ukraine

    Norwegian newspapers Aftenposten and Dagens Naeringsliv claimed that anonymous sources told them that the government is thinking about sending some of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine once Germany gives the official green light.

    Nato member Norway, which is also a neighbouring country to Russia, might provide Ukraine with four or eight Leopard 2 tanks.

    Norway currently holds 36 such tanks.

    Ukraine is in demand of Leopard 2 tanks to beat Russia at warCredit: EPA
  • Catherine Micallef

    Will Berlin finally reach a decision?

    Germany is expected to make a decision today on whether to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks or not.

    Berlin has been highly pressured to finally make a decision and aid Ukraine with the much-needed tanks.

    Germany almost reached a decision on Tuesday, however, it was then reported that Chancellor Olaf Scholz will be confirming the decision on Wednesday instead.

    German media such newspaper Der Spiegel and news channel NTV reported that Scholz is ready to give the green light.

  • Jimmy Grant

    Turkey will not support Sweden’s NATO membership following burning of Qu’ran

    President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he will not support Sweden’s NATO membership bid.

    The news comes following a protest in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm over the weekend where a copy of the Qur’an was burnt.

    After a cabinet meeting today, Erdoğan said: “Those who allow such blasphemy in front of our embassy can no longer expect our support for their Nato membership.”

    He added: “So you will let terror organisations run wild and then expect our support for getting into Nato.

    “That’s not happening.”

  • Jimmy Grant

    €500million military aid for Ukraine approved by EU

    The EU has agreed to send €500million in military aid to Ukraine, according to sources.

    Although they previously blocked such assistance, Hungary approved the decision.

    But Hungary signified its opposition to any sanctions that would restrict its cooperation with Russia in terms of nuclear energy.

  • Jimmy Grant

    Emergency blackouts in Ukraine

    Emergency blackouts affected five Ukrainian regions yesterday, including four cities, according to Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s electricity transmission system operator.

    Supply couldn’t keep up with demand following the electricity network and power plants being targeted by Russian drone and missile attacks on January 14.

    Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Lviv, and the Volyn province exceeded consumption limits earlier today, leading to the shutdowns.

    Ukrenergo said they were “constantly working to restore damaged facilities affected by enemy attacks.”

    They added, however, that “after each subsequent attack by the Russians on the energy infrastructure, recovery becomes increasingly difficult and takes longer.”

  • Catherine Micallef

    Three ships leave Ukrainian port thanks to the Black Sea Grain Initiative

    In July, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations worked to come up with the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

    Before the Ukraine war commenced, Russia and Ukraine accounted for almost a quarter of grain exports globally.

    Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, exports plummeted potentially causing a food crisis.

    Under this agreed plan, more than 670 ships have been sent out from Ukrainian ports.

    Three more carrying wheat and corn have now also sailed to Spain, Turkey and Djibouti.

    Russia and Ukraine are two of the biggest grain exportersCredit: Reuters
  • Catherine Micallef

    South Africa supports ‘peaceful resolution’

    Mr Lavrov met with South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor who is in support of a “peaceful resolution” between Ukraine and Russia.

    She said: “We are fully alert that conflict, wherever it exists in the world, impacts negatively on all of us, and as the developing world it impacts on us, particularly as the African continent.

    “This is why as South Africa we consistently articulate that we will always stand ready to support the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the continent and throughout the globe.”

  • Catherine Micallef

    Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov shares comments in South Africa

    While visiting South Africa, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov spoke about the West aiding Ukraine in the war.

    He said that the “hybrid” conflict with the West is now “almost a real one.”

    Mr Lavrov added: “It is well known that we supported the proposal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate early in the special military operation and by the end of March, the two delegations agreed on the principle to settle this conflict.

    “It is well known and was published openly that our American, British, and some European colleagues told Ukraine that it is too early to deal, and the arrangement which was almost agreed was never revisited by the Kyiv regime.”

  • Catherine Micallef

    Wagner leader criticises Russian defence chiefs

    Yevgeny Prigozhin – who runs the 50,000-strong Wagner private army – hit out at Russian defence chiefs as his relationship with Vladimir Putin strains further.

    Prigozhin said: “Female war correspondents go into the absolute heat of [war]. Jail inmates fight better than units of the Guards.

    “Servicemen with broken spines pass on their military experience at training camps, moving around like robots.

    “And a bunch of clowns try to teach fighters exhausted with hard military labour how many times they ought to shave — and what kind of perfume they must use to greet high commanders.

    “I believe we must introduce legal restrictions, and the harshest punishment with a jail term of up to 50 years for the glamorisation of the army.”

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