Ukraine-Russia war latest: Putin hunts for troops as ‘mobilisation rule for fathers of three dropped’

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The Kremlin has denied dropping a rule permitting fathers of three to defer mobilisation in Russia’s war in Ukraine, as Vladimir Putin is feared to be mulling a further push for troops.

Citing the deputy chair of Russia’s Human Rights Council, state Duma deputy Nina Ostanina claimed that the loophole in Mr Putin’s mobilisation drive last autumn had been closed, in comments echoed by a top military official in Russia’s Zabaikalsky region.

But a senior politician in Mr Putin’s ruling United Russia party, Andrei Turchak, denied that the rule had been scrapped, while Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it was “not aware” of the rule’s cancellation. Kyiv has repeatedly warned that Moscow plans to mobilise half a million more troops.

It came as Russia vowed to take retaliatory measures against French media in response to RT France’s announcement that it was shutting down after authorities used European Union sanctions to freeze its bank accounts.

Kyiv urged its allies to “think faster”, as pressure piled on Germany to decide on supplying Kyiv with its main battle tanks, the Leopard 2.

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Macron and Scholz host talks aimed at shoring up Franco-German alliance

France and Germany are seeking to overcome differences laid bare by Russia’s war in Ukraine and shore up their alliance with a day of ceremonies and talks on Europe’s security, energy and other challenges.

Germany’s entire cabinet is in Paris on Sunday for joint meetings, and 300 politicians from both countries are coming together at the Sorbonne University to mark 60 years since a landmark treaty sealed a bond between the long-time enemies that underpins today’s European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will oversee two rounds of talks at the Elysee Palace, focusing first on energy and economic policy, and then on defence.

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Kremlin denies dropping mobilisation rule for fathers of three

The Kremlin has denied dropping a rule permitting fathers of three to defer mobilisation in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Citing the deputy chair of Russia’s Human Rights Council, state Duma deputy Nina Ostanina claimed that the loophole in Vladimir Putin’s mobilisation drive last autumn had been closed, in comments echoed by the military commissar of Russia’s Zabaikalsky region, Yuri Shuvalov.

But a senior politician in Mr Putin’s ruling United Russia party, Andrei Turchak, denied that the rule had been scrapped, while Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it was “not aware” of the rule’s cancellation.

Kyiv has repeatedly warned that Moscow plans to mobilise half a million more troops.

Andy Gregory22 January 2023 08:30

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Germany’s allies urge it to make decision on Leopard 2 tanks

The Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have jointly urged Germany to step up its leadership and send its main battle tanks to Ukraine, as an aide to Voldoymr Zelensky hit out at “indecision” over whether to arm Kyiv with the vehicles (see post at 6:03am).

“We, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania foreign ministers, call on Germany to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now,” Estonia’s Foreign Minister said on Twitter.

“This is needed to stop Russian aggression, help Ukraine and restore peace in Europe quickly. Germany as the leading European power has special responsibility in this regard.”

The statement came a day after Germany and Western allies reached no decision on whether Berlin would agree to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or permit other countries that have them to do so.

Andy Gregory22 January 2023 07:48

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Russia announces major restructuring of armed forces, British MoD says

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu announced plans for major changes to the structure of the armed forces on 17 January which will be implemented between 2023 and 2026, as highlighted in the UK MoD’s latest intelligence update.

This included an increase to 1.5 million personnel – an 11 per cent increase on top of the previously announced expansion to 1.35 million.

“Shoigu also announced the re-establishment of Moscow and Leningrad military districts, a partial return to the Soviet era organisation of forces in Western Russia. A new army corps is to be established in Karelia, near the Finnish border,” it added.

The MoD said it signals that Russia’s leadership highly likely assesses that an enhanced conventional military threat will endure for many years beyond the current Ukraine war. However, Russia will highly likely struggle to staff and equip the planned expansion.

Shweta Sharma22 January 2023 07:05

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Yellen says price caps could be expanded on Russian oil but ‘complicated’ task

US treasury secretary Janet Yellen says the price cap on Russian sales of crude oil could be expanded to include refined petroleum products in February, but that the task will be “more complicated”.

“It’s more complicated, but we’ve been working hard to figure out how to achieve the same objectives,” as with the broader cap on Russian crude, she said.

“We’ve studied these markets very carefully and believe we’re going to come out with a set of caps that will achieve the same things that we’ve achieved with crude so far,” Ms Yellen told reporters Saturday during a visit to Dakar, Senegal.

Shweta Sharma22 January 2023 06:43

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Latest visuals from Russia’s war in Ukraine

  • Russia has intensified shelling Ukraine‘s eastern regions outside the main front line in the Donbas industrial area, officials from the Zaporizhzhia and Sumy regions said.

Ukrainian serviceman fires with a 2A65 Msta-B howitzer towards Russian troops in a frontline in Zaporizhzhia region

(REUTERS)

Aftermath of shelling, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Zaporizhzhia

(Oleksandr Starukh via REUTERS)

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky attended a memorial service on Saturday to commemorate seven senior officials killed in a helicopter crash and broke down as he met family members of the victims.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena offer relatives their condolences during the funeral ceremony of Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky

(AFP via Getty Images)

Fourteen people were killed, other ministry officials and a child

(AFP via Getty Images)

Rescue workers clear rubble from an apartment building which was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack on a residential neighbourhood in the southeastern city of Dnipro

(AP)

A woman walks by the scene where a helicopter crashed into civil infrastructure on Wednesday

(AP)

Shweta Sharma22 January 2023 06:22

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Zelensky’s adviser says ‘global indecision’ over arms supply killing people

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, criticised the West and Germany for slow decision-making on sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

In a tweet, he expressed his frustration at “global indecision” over arms supply to Ukraine.

“Today’s indecision is killing more of our people. Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians. Think faster.”

Shweta Sharma22 January 2023 06:03

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US officials advice Ukraine to not launch major offensive

Senior US officials are advising Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces as Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser said the West’s indecision is killing Ukrainians.

A senior Biden administration official said on Friday the United States was holding fast to its decision not to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine at this time, amid a controversy with Germany over tanks.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity said US talks with Ukraine on any counter-offensive have been in the context of ensuring the Ukrainians devote enough time first to training on the latest weaponry provided by the United States.

The US on Thursday announced it will send hundreds of armoured vehicles to Ukraine for use in the fight.

Shweta Sharma22 January 2023 05:52

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Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania urge Germany to send tanks to Ukraine

The Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania made a joint call to Germany to step up its leadership and send its main battle tanks to Ukraine, mounting further pressure on Berlin to move faster on aiding Kyiv in its war against Russia.

“We, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Foreign Ministers, call on Germany to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now,” Estonia’s Foreign Minister said on Twitter.

“This is needed to stop Russian aggression, help Ukraine and restore peace in Europe quickly. Germany as the leading European power has special responsibility in this regard.”

The statement came a day after Germany and Western allies reached no decision on whether Berlin would agree to send its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or permit other countries that have them to do so.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year raised concerns in the small Baltic states – all NATO members that restored their independence after decades of Soviet rule in 1991 – that they could also come under an attack from Moscow.

Shweta Sharma22 January 2023 05:32

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Zelensky says he is ‘indescribable sadness’ as he pays tearful tribute to officials killed in crash

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky attended a memorial service on Saturday to commemorate seven senior officials killed in a helicopter crash and broke down as he met family members of the victims.

In his daily video address, Mr Zelensky spoke about the crash.

“My condolences to all relatives and friends. It hurts to think about it, it hurts to talk about it,” he said.

“We are losing people every day, whom we will always remember and regret we can’t bring back,” he added, talking of “how many bright people are taken by wartime”.

Interior minister Denys Monastyrskyi, his deputy and five other high-ranking ministry officials were killed on Wednesday when their French-made Super Puma helicopter plummeted amid fog into a nursery near Kyiv.

Another seven people were killed, including one child, in the crash. Officials are still investigating the cause.

The helicopter went down just days after at least 45 people were killed in a Russian missile attack that partially levelled a block of flats in the southeastern city of Dnipro.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Shweta Sharma22 January 2023 05:15



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