Ukraine live briefing: U.K. to send ‘most significant’ military aid package for Ukraine; Dnipro survivors unlikely

Ukraine live briefing: U.K. to send ‘most significant’ military aid package for Ukraine; Dnipro survivors unlikely

Updated January 16, 2023 at 6:13 p.m. EST|Published January 16, 2023 at 1:17 a.m. EST

Dnipro mayor said there’s little hope of finding more survivors in rubble of an apartment block hit by a Russian missile on Jan. 15 which killed dozens. (Video: Reuters)

The United Kingdom on Monday detailed its “most significant package of combat power” that it has pledged to Ukraine to bolster its military capacity, according to the British defense minister. The package includes Challenger 2 tanks, AS90s self-propelled guns, hundreds of armored vehicles, more than 100,000 artillery rounds and aerial systems, Defense Minister Ben Wallace said, while detailing a tranche of military support.

Wallace said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s resolve to “continue inflicting wanton violence” must be met with greater combat power, and he urged the international community to accelerate its diplomatic, economic and military efforts.

Ukraine’s calls for more advanced Western air defense systems and tanks — which have intensified after a strike on a Dnipro apartment building killed at least 40 people — will be front and center this week as top U.S. officials and allies meet in Europe to discuss support for Ukrainian forces.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

1. Key developments

The U.K. will send self-propelled guns, artillery rounds, armored vehicles and other equipment to make sure Ukraine “seizes its upper hand” in the next phase of the conflict, Wallace said in an address at the House of Commons, urging nations to keep “the pressure on Putin.” In response to the military aid package, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was “deeply grateful to the UK for standing with Ukraine resolutely.”Putin’s resolve to “continue inflicting wanton violence” must be met with greater combat power, Wallace said.Rescue workers in Dnipro made significant progress overnight. On Monday afternoon, they were removing mounds of rubble from the blast site, and smoke was no longer rising in the air, Washington Post reporters observed. But the death toll had risen to 40, Dnipro Mayor Borys Filatov told The Post, and dozens of people were missing. Filatov said authorities do not expect to find many more survivors in the wreckage. By the end of Monday, 39 people were still missing.Ukrainian intelligence is gathering information about Russian military personnel “who prepared and carried out” the Dnipro strike, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address Monday, adding that “every person guilty of this war crime will be identified and brought to justice.” He also thanked Britain for the military assistance package, saying it was “exactly what we need.”Several Ukrainian parliament members are demanding the resignation of presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych after he said a Russian cruise missile could have been shot down by Ukrainian forces and fallen on a house in Dnipro, a statement he later recanted. Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksiy Goncharenko said on Telegram that several parliament members are collecting signatures to demand Arestovych’s dismissal. They also sent an “appeal” to the nation’s main internal security service, the SBU, because the false statements amounted to “treason,” Goncharenko added.U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet with officials from roughly 50 nations Thursday in Germany. “We are focused on doing everything we can to help make sure that the Ukrainians have the capabilities that they need to be successful in their efforts to defend their sovereign territory,” Austin said last week. NATO chiefs of defense will also gather in Brussels to talk about the war in Ukraine, among other issues.German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned after missteps sparked a debate about her ability to lead Germany’s response to the war in Ukraine. Criticism of her handling of the ministry during the crisis mounted after she gave a New Year’s Eve message on video that was slammed for being tone deaf, as well as revelations that she took her son on a government helicopter. In a statement, Lambrecht blamed the “media focus on my person.”2. Battleground updates

The commander of Ukraine’s air force said Russia fired five long-range Kh-22 missiles — whose warheads each weigh more than 2,000 pounds — at Ukraine on Saturday. Ukraine doesn’t have the ability to shoot down such missiles, Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk said. The Post could not independently verify the type of missile used in the attacks. The Kremlin denied responsibility Monday.Ukraine’s military “almost certainly maintained positions” in Soledar as of Sunday, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. The town has come under renewed assault by Russian mercenaries and released convicts from the private military contractor Wagner Group, raising the stakes for Ukrainian officials who must decide whether the costs of defending the area in terms of ammunition, weapons and manpower are too high. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar urged people not to make unverified claims about troop movements in and around Soledar, saying only top military officials had the full picture of the situation.An overnight strike against Zaporizhzhia damaged a residential building and wounded five people, including two children, according to the regional governor. Oleksandr Starukh said a long-range S-300 missile struck close to the building and caused the windows and doors to blow out, spraying debris and glass. The Post could not independently verify the report of an attack or the type of weapon used.There was intense fighting over the weekend around Kreminna and Bakhmut, Britain’s Defense Ministry said. Around Kreminna, a city in the Luhansk region, the ministry reported “a complex series of local attacks and counterattacks in wooded country” but said Ukraine’s military continues overall “to gradually advance their front line east.”The Kremlin is “belatedly” taking personnel mobilization, reorganization and industrial actions it should have taken before invading Ukraine in February, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War said. This is probably in preparation for treating the conflict as a major conventional war rather than what Moscow has continued to call it: a “special military operation.” The Kremlin “is likely preparing to conduct a decisive strategic action in the next six months intended to regain the initiative and end Ukraine’s current string of operational successes,” the Washington-based think tank said.The deaths of more than 7,000 Ukrainian civilians have been confirmed, the United Nations announced Monday, as the war nears its first-year mark. The U.N. monitoring mission in Ukraine said those killed included 2,784 men, 1,875 women and 1,939 adults whose gender was unknown. About 400 children have also died in the conflict. The updated numbers include only those cases the United Nations has been able to corroborate, but the international organization acknowledged that the actual figures are “considerably higher.”3. Global impact

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed Turkey’s “readiness” to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, according to a statement about his Monday phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The NATO country has walked a fine line during the war, trying to maintain its close relationship with Ukraine while relying on Russian natural gas and imports.A joint military exercise involving Russia and Belarus began Monday, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said, and is expected to continue until Feb. 1. The ministry said aviation units of Belarus’s armed forces would work with Russian forces “to improve interoperability in the joint execution of training and combat missions.” Viacheslav Chaus, the regional governor of Chernihiv, near Ukraine’s border with Belarus and Russia,  » …
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