Latest Ukraine updates today
President Zelensky meets US officials
Negotiations for a peace deal cannot resume until Russia demonstrates it is willing to move its troops and equipment back “to the position before 24 February” when Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion, Mr Zelensky said in a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Earlier, Russia said it is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported, citing comments by foreign minister Andrei Rudenko on Wednesday.
It comes amid fears of global food shortages as Putin’s troops’ blockade Black Sea ports in Ukraine’s south.
Russian forces shell more than 40 towns in Ukraine’s Donbas region
Russian forces shelled more than 40 towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Ukraine’s military has said.
“The occupiers shelled more than 40 towns in Donetsk and Luhansk region, destroying or damaging 47 civilian sites, including 38 homes and a school. As a result of this shelling five civilians died and 12 were wounded,” the Joint Task Force of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook.
The statement said 10 enemy attacks were repelled, four tanks and four drones destroyed, and 62 “enemy soldiers” were killed.
After failing to seize Ukraine’s capital Kyiv or its second city Kharkiv, Russia is trying to take full control of the Donbas, the last main escape route for civilians trapped in the path of their invasion, now in its fourth month.
The region is comprised of two eastern provinces that Moscow claims on behalf of separatists.
Russia has poured thousands of troops into the region, attacking from three sides in an attempt to encircle Ukrainian forces holding out in the city of Sievierodonetsk and its twin Lysychansk.
Their fall would leave the whole of Luhansk province under Russian control, a key Kremlin war aim.
Russia says it is opening sea corridor for ships to leave Black Sea ports
Russia says it is opening a safe sea corridor, which will remain open every day, to allow foreign ships to leave Black Sea ports.
Mikhail Mizintsev, who heads Russia’s National Defence Control Centre under the General Staff, said on Wednesday that 70 foreign vessels from 16 countries are now in six ports on the Black Sea including Odesa, Kherson and Mykolaiv, according to the Interfax news agency.
Earlier, it said the port of Mariupol was functioning after three months of fighting amid growing international criticism of an unfolding global food crisis triggered by its blockade.
Ukraine shares video meme of ‘suicide’ drone attacking Russian tank set to Star Wars theme
Ukrainian armed forces have shared a video of a so-called “kamikaze” or suicide drone neutralising a Russian tank, catching the soldiers drinking alcohol on it off guard.
“A modern kamikaze drone, equipped with a powerful explosive, flew straight into the tank, causing irreparable damage to the enemy,” Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said in the Facebook post, sharing the video.
“According to our soldiers, the Russian occupiers were quietly drinking alcohol at one of the positions, sitting on the armor of their tank. However, the usual Russian occupation was abruptly interrupted by an unexpected attack from the air,” it added.
Here is the story:
Drones were provided by the Unted States as part of Biden’s military aid following the Russian invasion
Putin announces 10% raise to minimum wage
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a 10% raise to the minimum wage rate and pensions in the coming weeks, a move that comes as the Russian economy faces an unprecedented wave of international sanctions.
Mr Putin said in a government meeting that the minimum cost of living will be up 10 per cent beginning 1 June, and the minimum wage rate and state pensions will go up 10 per cent starting 1 July. The bump will bring the minimum wage to about $250 per month and the average pension to $320, according to the Interfax news agency.
“Our key and unchanging priority is to increase the welfare and quality of life of citizens,” Mr Putin said.
He also tasked government officials with increasing pay for Russian soldiers serving abroad as the Russian military operation in Ukraine enters its fourth month.
Russian tank operative reveals tactics in Ukraine war
A Russian tank operative has revealed tactics used in the Ukraine war, saying the hatch is left open to enable quick escape in the event of a strike.
Here is a summary of the interview, reported in a Russian newspaper:
Zelensky dismisses calls for Ukraine to cede land to Russia
Volodymyr Zelensky has strongly rebuffed those in the West who have suggested Ukraine cede control of areas occupied by Russian forces for the sake of reaching a peace agreement.
Those “great geopoliticians” who suggest this are disregarding the interests of ordinary Ukrainians – “the millions of those who actually live on the territory that they propose exchanging for an illusion of peace,” he said late on Wednesday in his nightly video address to the nation. “We always have to think of the people and remember that values are not just words.”
Mr Zelensky compared those who argue for giving Russia a piece of Ukraine to those who in 1938 ceded territory to Hitler in hopes of preventing World War II.
The interests of Ukraine should not be outweighed by “the interests of those in a hurry to meet the dictator again,” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mr Zelensky said his army was facing the fiercest attack by Russian forces, who in some places have many more weapons and soldiers. He pleaded for even more military assistance from the West, “without exception, without restrictions. Enough to win.”
EU, US and UK form atrocity crimes group
The European Union, the United States, and UK have announced the creation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA).
The ACA will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine.
A statement on the British government website said: “It advances commitments made by the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom to demonstrate international support and solidarity at this crucial historical moment for Ukraine.”
EU High Representative, Vice-President Josep Borrell, said: “It is critical to ensure that all those responsible for the terrible atrocities committed during the unprovoked Russian military aggression in Ukraine are brought to justice.
“There can be no impunity for war crimes. The Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group will be providing advice and supporting the ongoing efforts of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s War Crimes Units to collect, preserve, and analyse evidence of atrocities to help the investigations and ensure justice takes its course.
US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken said: “This initiative will directly support efforts by the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General to document, preserve, and analyse evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed by members of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions.
“The ACA is an essential element of the United States’ commitment that those responsible for such crimes will be held to account.”
Russian forces reportedly use thermite munitions in Donetsk
Russia ‘ready to let Ukraine export food’ as crisis warnings mount
Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, Moscow’s deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko said on Wednesday, as concerns grow over a global food shortage due to the war.
Russia’s invasion has sparked a global food crisis that the UN has warnedcould starve millions and lead to civil unrest in hunger-prone countries.
Here is the story:
Moscow suggests it could end blockade of Black Sea ports under international pressure
War could trigger global recession, says World Bank
World Bank President David Malpass has suggested that Russia’s war in Ukraine and its impact on food and energy prices, as well as the availability of fertiliser, could trigger a global recession.
Mr Malpass told an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce that Germany’s economy, the world’s fourth largest, has already slowed substantially due to higher energy prices, and said reduced production of fertiliser could worsen conditions elsewhere
“As we look at the global GDP … it’s hard right now to see how we avoid a recession,” Mr Malpass said. He gave no specific forecast.
He said the economies of Ukraine and Russia were both expected to see a significant contraction, while Europe, China and the United States were seeing slower growth.