A criminal investigation is under way after a helicopter crashed near a nursery outside Kyiv yesterday, killing 14 people. Germany will send tanks to Ukraine so long as the US agrees to do likewise, sources say. Listen to the Ukraine War Diaries podcast as you scroll.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released its latest intelligence report on the crisis in Ukraine.
It states that Russia is “likely considering” deploying a small number of its new T-14 Armata main battle tanks in Ukraine.
In December last year, imagery showed the tanks on a training area in southern Russia – this followed pro-government Russia media outlets claiming the T-14s were being prepared for deployment.
While it is “unclear” whether Russia has moved the type into Ukraine any T-14 deployment is “likely to be a high-risk decision for Russia”, the ministry states.
It also reports: “If Russia deploys T-14, it will likely primarily be for propaganda purposes. Production is probably only in the low tens, while commanders are unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat.”
The T-14 tanks is equipped with an anti-drone protection system, advanced sensors and onboard drones.
Its protective armour provides high durability and is able to withstand extreme temperatures.
An investigation is under way after a helicopter crashed in fog near a nursery outside Kyiv yesterday, killing 14 people, including Ukraine’s interior minister.
The crash set off a large fire, and an entire side of the local nursery building was charred.
The Kyiv region’s governor said children and staff had been in the nursery when the aircraft slammed into a building in Brovary, northeast of the capital.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the crash a “terrible tragedy” and has called for a criminal investigation.
“The SBU (Ukrainian security service) has initiated a criminal investigation into this terrible event,” he said in his nightly address.
“I have instructed the head of the security service of Ukraine, in cooperation with all other authorised bodies, to clarify all the circumstances of the disaster.”
He also said Ukraine had “lost people who were professionals, patriots, and reliable leaders”.
The minister of internal affairs Denys Monastyrskyi, his first deputy Yevhen Yenin and the ministry’s state secretary Yurii Lubkovych are among the dead.
If you are just joining this morning, welcome to our live coverage on the war in Ukraine.
Here is the latest:
The map below shows where in Ukraine Russian forces are in control…
A number of key figures in Ukraine’s defence against Russian hostility in cyberspace held high-level meetings with their UK counterparts in London on Wednesday.
Members of the Computer Emergency Response Team for Ukraine (CERT-UA) visited the offices of the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – for bilateral talks to further discuss the conflict and resilience building.
It came days after the Ukrainian delegation spoke at a cyber security summit in London to share insights on the conflict with Russia.
Paul Chichester, of NCSC, said: “Ukraine has defended itself resolutely in cyberspace in the face of Russian aggression and the UK has been proud to support that defence.
“It is fitting that, here in the UK, we are hosting senior figures involved in Ukraine’s response. We are honoured to do so.
“This visit is an important moment in our relationship and an excellent opportunity to learn from each other as we continue to build our collective resilience.”
Tom Tugendhat, the UK’s security minister, said he was “delighted” to welcome the group.
“Their fight against Russian barbarism goes beyond the battlefield and the terror being inflicted on civilian populations. There is the real and persistent threat of a Russian cyberattack on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure,” he said.
Mourners have gathered in the Ukrainian city of Brovary this evening to hold a vigil for the 14 people whose lives were lost in a helicopter crash today.
Dozens more were injured in the crash, which killed the Ukrainian interior minister, Denys Monastyrskyi, and a number of children.
There’s an interesting report in the US media.
The Wall Street Journal has cited senior German sources as saying the country won’t allow allies to ship German-made tanks to Ukraine – unless the US sends its own.
Germany has also said it will not send systems itself until the US steps up support in the same way, the newspaper claimed.
Ukraine has continued to plead with Western countries to send further military aid to help it fight Russia.
Last week Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary, confirmed another significant package of support, including Challenger 2 tanks.
There have been a significant number of changes at the top of Moscow’s military structure in recent months, raising rumours of tensions in the Russian army.
Most recently, Vladimir Putin demoted “General Armageddon”, Sergei Surovikin, from his post leading the offensive in Ukraine after only three months in the job.
A senior Pentagon official has this evening described the changing command as “kind of like a reality TV show”.
Colin Kahl, who had just returned from a visit to Kyiv, also said that the US and its allies want to “change the dynamic” in the Ukraine war by providing new arms.
However, he said the Pentagon still is not prepared to answer Ukraine’s calls for Abrams tanks.
“I just don’t think we’re there yet,” Mr Kahl said. “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It’s expensive.
“It’s hard to train on. It has a jet engine.”
The idea of a comedy night in a country twisted out of shape by war jars somewhat against the backdrop of blitz-like living conditions and mounting casualties in eastern Ukraine.
But in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, where blackouts and power rationing have become a feature of winter life, the need for humour as a means of escape remains, according to Sky News Ukraine War Diarist Oksana Koshel.
In the latest episode of the podcast, she attends a comedy night, albeit reluctantly, with her husband and fellow diarist Seva.
It’s an experience that brings both reflection and perspective as well as some profound realisations about the war.
Earlier tonight, Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Ukrainian president warned that “tyranny is outpacing democracy” as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, before pressing leaders again for more military aid.
Mr Zelenskyy said the speed of this support must outpace the scale of Russian attacks.
You can watch more from his address in the clip below…
Joe Biden has sent his condolences of the families of those killed in a helicopter crash outside the Ukrainian capital this morning.
Fourteen people died in the incident, including Ukraine’s interior minister, Denys Monastyrskyi, and several young children.
The US president said: “We grieve with all those who are mourning this heartbreaking tragedy. Mr Monastyrskyi and his team were deeply involved in the preservation of Ukraine’s democracy – both its defence against Russian aggression, and the vital work of reforms to strengthen Ukraine’s institutions through this war and into the future.
“A reformer and patriot, Mr Monastyrskyi championed the will of the Ukrainian people. We will continue to honour that legacy through efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s institutions, and in our unfailing partnership with the people of Ukraine to keep the flame of freedom bright.
“Today, we are praying for healing for the wounded and comfort for those who have lost loved ones.”
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