Ukraine news latest: Putin slams West’s ‘escalation’ as tyrant says German & US tanks are ‘a new level of confrontation’

THE Kremlin has sent a thinly veiled warning to the West, branding the decision to send German and US tanks as an “escalation” of the conflict.

America announced yesterday that it will send Abrams tanks to back the defenders in the Ukraine war and will train Ukrainian troops in a military aid package worth $400m (£323m).

It comes after German chancellor Olaf Scholz folded to international pressure and sent a squadron of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, and allow Nato allies to re-export dozens more.

In a statement, the Russian embassy said “battle tanks with German crosses will again be sent to the ‘eastern front’, which will inevitably lead to the death of not only Russian soldiers, but also the civilian population”.

“It destroys the remnants of mutual trust, causes irreparable damage to the already deplorable state of Russian-German relations, casts doubt on the possibility of their normalisation in the foreseeable future,” it added.

Read our Ukraine war blog below for the latest news…

  • Russians may have to reserve a timeslot to leave country by car

    According to a new legislative proposal, in a further crackdown of rights, Russians wishing to leave the country by automobile may have to reserve times and dates with government officials.

    Drivers will need to ensure they make a reservation online and provide a list of documents if they wish to cross the border, according to a draft of the bill.

    A section of the document reads: “The passage of vehicles belonging to Russian carriers, foreign carriers, citizens of Russia, foreign citizens, stateless persons and others on sections of highways in order to cross the state border of the Russian Federation is carried out on a reserved date and time in accordance with the procedure established by the government of the Russian Federation.”

  • Russian warship ‘sails towards US’

    A Russian warship armed with “unstoppable” hypersonic missiles is sailing towards the US coast in a show of strength, reports claim.

    The guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov has been closely monitored by Nato navies on its maiden voyage armed with 6,670mph Zircon weapons.

    An unconfirmed Russian Telegram channel report says it was “spotted on radar in neutral waters of the Atlantic Ocean – at an effective salvo launch distance from the US coast”.

    The nuclear-capable Mach 9 missiles have a reported range of 625 miles.

    The Russian defence ministry has not commented on the latest report.

    It comes after the Royal Navy intercepted the Gorshkov as it sailed through the English Channel earlier this month.

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • UK does not rule out providing Ukraine with long-range Harpoon cruise missiles

    The Royal Navy is set to retire a number of weapons this year, including Harpoon cruise missiles.

    These missiles can have a maximum range of 240km – six times further than the GMLRS that Britain supplied so far.

    The UK is considering the option of providing Ukraine with these missiles.

    Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said: “The UK has not ruled out the possibility of providing longer-range weapons to counter Russia’s indiscriminate mass targeting of civilian infrastructure.”

    She insisted UK weapons were used “in accordance with international humanitarian law”.

    Baroness Goldie added: “We liaise on a daily basis with the Ukrainian Government, and they are clear that equipment provided by the UK is intended for the defence of Ukraine.”

  • 11 months since the start of the war

    Yesterday was the 11-month anniversary since Russia invaded Ukraine.

    In his nightly address on Monday, President Zelensky pointed out how the 335th day of the war will be spent the same as others – “uniting all our forces for one thing – victory.”

    The Ukrainian President added: “Not of someone against someone among us. But for the sake of the whole of Ukraine. For the sake of the victory of our entire country in the war for freedom and independence for all Ukrainians.

    “It will happen. And all the steps necessary for this will be taken.

    “I thank all our warriors at the front! Today I would like to celebrate our anti-aircraft gunners of the Air Forces – you gave us a good day. Russian aircraft, helicopter and missiles were shot down.

    “I would also like to thank the warriors of the 35th separate marine brigade and the 79th separate air assault brigade for their bravery and the results Ukraine needs in the Donetsk direction. Thank you, guys!”

  • Ukrainian officials banned from travelling for non-official purposes

    On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky banned officials from travelling for non-official purposes.

    During his evening address, Zelensky said: “Officials will no longer be able to travel abroad for vacation or any other non-governmental purpose.

    “This applies to all government officials, as well as to various other levels of local government. This applies to law enforcement officers, members of parliament, prosecutors, and all those who have to work for the country and within the country.

    “If they want to have a rest now, they will have a rest out of the state service.”

    The cabinet will develop a system that ensures that any officials travelling will be doing so for “a real business trip.”

  • Putin ally warns of ‘global catastrophe’ as west supplies Ukraine with tanks

    An ally of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has warned of “global catastrophe” if the west continues to provide Ukraine with weapons.

    Vyacheslav Volodin, a Russian politician, wrote on Telegram: “If Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons.

    “Arguments that the nuclear powers have not previously used weapons of mass destruction in local conflicts are untenable.”

  • US to place more sanctions

    More sanctions will be put in place by the United States against the Russian private military company the Wagner Group.

    US officials said that this company has been helping Russia’s military forces in the Ukraine war and hence will implement further sanctions as of next week, the White House said on Friday.

    The head of the Wagner group issued a short letter to the White House on Saturday morning.

    The letter asked Washington to determine the crime that his company has been accused of.

    Credit: Getty
  • Sea King helicopter arrives in Ukraine

    A British Sea King helicopter has been pictured arriving in Ukraine, as the UK continues to provide support in its fight against Russia.

    Taking to Twitter, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defence minister, shared a clip of the impressive aircraft flying over the Ukrainian battlefield.

    He wrote: “Sea King from the UK has arrived in its new kingdom near the Black Sea in Ukraine!

    “It is a strong reinforcement for the Ukrainian Navy. Our cooperation will continue to increase.

    “Thank you to @BWallaceMP Together, we will secure the seas and lands across all of Europe!”

  • 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).

  • What support has the US announced today?

    President Joe Biden announced today the US will be sending 31 advanced M1 Abrams tanks worth over £300 million, as part of the western effort to support Kyiv.

    Biden said the battle tanks are to help Ukrainian fighters “improve their ability to manoeuvre in open terrain.”

    The US move follows Germany’s decision to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks to war-torn Ukraine.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Just under 1,000 Russians killed in past 24 hours, Ukraine claims

    Ukraine’s armed forces have claimed that 910 Russian troops were killed in the past 24 hours.

    Since the war started early last year, 123,080 Russian soldiers have been destroyed.

    Russia also faced significant tank losses as Ukraine claims nine were eliminated.

  • Russia now ‘on the backfoot’

    According to reports, a Downing Street spokesperson said Rishi Sunak had spoken to the leaders of the United States, Germany, France and Italy this afternoon.

     “The prime minister said it was now clear Russia was on the backfoot, and there was a window for international partners to accelerate efforts to secure lasting peace for Ukraine,” the spokesperson added.

    “He called on allies to intensify their support in the coming weeks and months.

    “All the leaders welcomed the strong coordination of military supplies and reflected on the collective international action across the spectrum in support of Ukraine.

    “They also welcomed the continued humanitarian and economic support for Ukraine in the wake of ongoing indiscriminate and barbaric Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure.

    “The leaders agreed to stay in close touch.”

  • Zelensky thanks nations for tanks

    Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked “Germany, Britain and the United States” for their recent help after it was announced they would received Leopard 2 tanks.

    Speaking to Sky News, Zelenksy said: “I would like to say thank you to Germany, to Britain and to the United States that they made this decision.”

    He added: “Overall I am very thankful to the world for the support for Ukraine.

    “But speaking frankly, the number of tanks and the delivery time to Ukraine is critical.” 

  • Russia says US allies ‘threatened’ Berlin with ‘international isolation’ if Germany didn’t send tanks

    Speaking at the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation, head of the Russian delegation Konstantin Gavrilov claimed American allies threatened Germany with “international isolation” if the nation refused to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

    Gavrilov said: “First, the allies threatened Berlin with international isolation in case of refusal to transfer the Leopards.

    Then none other than the representative of the US State Department, Ned Price, announced ‘imminent news’ regarding the direction of the German ‘beast to Kyiv.

    “This is how transatlantic ‘solidarity’ is forged.”

  • Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence update

    The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released it’s latest intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine.

    MoD tweeted: “As previously reported, Russia has worked to prepare a small number of T-14 Armata main battle tanks for the type’s first operational deployment in Ukraine.

    “However, in recent months, deployed Russian forces were reluctant to accept the first tranche of T-14 allocated to them because the vehicles were in such poor condition.

    “It is unclear exactly what aspects of the vehicles prompted this reaction, but within the last three years, Russian officials have publicly described problems with the T-14’s engine and thermal imaging systems.

    “In 2021, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu described the planned production run for 2022 as only an “experimental-industrial” batch. Therefore, it is unlikely that any deployed T-14 tanks will have met the usual standards for new equipment to be deemed operational.”

  • Iceland’s prime minister praises German tank decision

    At a news conference in Berlin, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir praised Germany’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and permit their re-export from allies.

    Although Ms Jakobsdottir said the ongoing crisis must end in peace, she conceded that “sadly there is not end in sight”.

    She added: “I think it is good that Germany is making this contribution in close cooperation with other partners and allies.”

  • Germany taking ‘the right path’ by sending tanks to Ukraine

    At a news conference with Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in Berlin following the announcement Germany will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said they were taking “the right path”.

    Scholz said: “We support Ukraine financially and with humanitarian aid and with arms.

    “Despite the fact that we did not do that for many decades we have added to our support in cooperation with our international partners.

    “That is the right path. Especially when we are talking about tanks.”

  • Zelensky ‘sincerely grateful’ for tank support pledge

    Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is “sincerely grateful” following Germany’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and approve re-export from European allies.

    Zelensky tweeted: “German main battle tanks, further broadening of defense support & training missions, green light for partners to supply similar weapons.

    “Just heard about these important & timely decisions in a call with @OlafScholz.

    “Sincerely grateful to the Chancellor and all our friends in Germany.”

  • Leopard 2 projectiles tipped with depleted uranium regarded by Russia as ‘nuclear dirty bombs’

    Head of the Russian delegation at the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation, Konstantin Gavrilov, said the use of Leopard 2 projectiles tipped with depleted uranium will be regarded by Russia as “nuclear dirty bombs”.

    Gavrilov said: “We warn Western sponsors of the Kiev military machine from encouraging nuclear provocations and blackmail.

    “We know that the Leopard 2 tank, as well as the Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, are armed with uranium-core armour-piercing projectiles, the use of which leads to contamination of the area, as happened in Yugoslavia and Iraq.

    “If Kiev is supplied with such shells for NATO heavy military equipment, we will consider this as the use of dirty nuclear bombs against Russia, with all the ensuing consequences.”

  • Leopard tanks can drive balancing a beer on their barrel

    Ukraine has been pleading with Germany to supply it with the much vaunted Leopard 2 and to allow other nations that operate it to donate theirs in a bid to turn the tide in the war with Russia.

    Incredible video shows a soldier balancing his pint on the barrel of the Leopard 2 before it drives off without spilling a drop in a demonstration of how stable it is.

    The tank was developed for the West German army in the Seventies and entered into service at the end of that decade.

    It’s powered by a diesel engine and is equipped with a powerful 120mm cannon and advanced night vision.

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