Ukraine Russia news – live: British Challenger 2 tanks to reach Kyiv within weeks, says Ben Wallace

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Defence secretary Ben Wallace has said that Ukraine could receive promised British Challenger 2 tanks within a few weeks.

The Challenger 2 Tanks will arrive in Ukraine in “the spring”, he said after speaking to the Ukrainian soldiers training to use the superior Western battle tank, as the biggest war in Europe after the Second World War marks a year tomorrow.

Britain has already given more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers basic training in drone warfare and has been training tank crews since late January.

This comes as Joe Biden has called Vladimir Putin’s move to temporarily suspend Russia’s participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty a “big mistake”.

“It’s a big mistake to do that. Not very responsible. But I don’t read into that that he’s thinking of using nuclear weapons or anything like that,” Mr Biden said.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “an affront to our collective conscience” at the UN general assembly.

Key Points

  • Russia reveals conditions for rejoining nuclear treaty

  • Putin ‘tried and failed’ to launch intercontinental ballistic missile during Biden visit to Ukraine

  • Zelensky refutes territorial capture by Russia

  • Putin says Russia is having a 'very difficult time'

  • Putin's Ukraine gamble seen as biggest threat to his rule

  • Zelensky slams fresh Russian attacks on civilians in Kherson

British Challenger tanks could reach Ukraine by ‘spring’, says Ben Wallace

03:34 , Arpan Rai

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has said that Ukraine could receive promised British battle tanks within a few weeks.

The Challenger 2 Tanks will arrive in Ukraine in “the spring”, he said, as he spoke to Ukrainian soldiers training to use the superior Western battle tank.

“It is hugely inspiring to come and witness Ukrainian soldiers being trained on British Challenger 2 tanks. Their resilience and determination to succeed for the liberation of their country sends a powerful message to Russia,” Mr Wallace said.

Britain has already given more than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers basic training in drone warfare and has been training tank crews since late January, part of what ministers say is proof of the country’s leading role in supporting Ukraine.

Photographer says capturing Ukraine conflict helped her ‘not go crazy’

05:00 , Eleanor Noyce

A photojournalist who captured Kyiv through a series of images on the day Russia invaded Ukraine said photography helped her document her “weird” feelings and “not go crazy”.

Alina Smutko took photos on February 24 in case she saw ‘Ukrainian’ Kyiv for the last time.

Danielle Desouza reports:

Photographer says capturing Ukraine conflict helped her ‘not go crazy’

‘I’m not a hero but I’m not a wimp either’ – UK aid workers reflect on Ukraine

04:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Aid workers from the UK who have visited Ukraine have shared the lessons they have learned over the past 12 months, with one saying: “I have never seen those looks on people’s faces before and I have spent years working in hospitals.”

Nurse, midwife and humanitarian aid worker Wendy Warrington, 56, from Bury, Greater Manchester, and Liberty Rose, a 27-year-old nursing student who lives in Emsworth, Hampshire, have both visited Ukraine in the 12 months since the war started.

The pair spoke to the PA news agency about the “strength and resilience” required to assist in the embattled country, as well as their tips for how people can help as the conflict continues.

Danielle Desouza reports:

‘I’m not a hero but I’m not a wimp either’ – UK aid workers reflect on Ukraine

Zelensky says working in a ‘very powerful manner’ with Sunak

03:18 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he and Rishi Sunak spoke last evening over a phone call ahead of the war anniversary.

“In the evening I spoke with the prime minister of the United Kingdom. We are working in a very powerful manner together with the UK to strengthen our warriors, to bring our common victory closer, to implement our defence agreements reached during my visit to London,” he said in his nightly address.

Mr Zelensky said: “And it would be great if all our partners, like the UK, understood how the speed of defence supplies affects concrete successes on the battlefield.”

We also discussed important political issues that need to be resolved this week, he added.

The real surprise of 2023? That Putin is still standing

03:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Well, he hasn’t changed the script much. For Vladimir Putin, it was as if the past year of setbacks, debates, and humiliation for his own forces had never happened. For him, absurdly, it was the West that started the war, and is “culpable” – not Russia.

It is, apparently, the Ukrainians who are the aggressive neo-Nazis, and not the brutal nationalists in the Kremlin who sent the tanks into Ukraine a year ago and, unable to prevail on the battlefield, have spent the last 12 months terrorising civilians. Even now, with so many casualties that the Russian president has had to announce a new national agency to support the bereaved, the biggest war in Europe since 1945 is still referred to using the euphemism “special military operation”.

Despite the failure of his ‘special military operation’, the degradation of domestic living standards, and international isolation, the Russian leader hasn’t been overthrown, writes Sean O’Grady:

The real surprise of 2023? That Putin is still standing | Sean O’Grady

Ukraine's health care on the brink after hundreds of attacks

02:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Valentyna Mozgova sweeps shattered glass and other debris from the vacant halls of the bombed-out hospital where she began her career. Living in the basement, the 55-year-old lab technician now works as its solitary guard.

Russian artillery strikes targeted Marinskaya Central District Hospital in 2017 and again in 2021. But numerous barrages over the last seven months forced the hospital’s medical staff to flee, destroying key departments such as neurology and gynecology, as well as a general medical clinic in the process.

Mozgova chose to stay. Having worked in the hospital’s laboratories since graduating from medical school in the late 1980s, she agreed to act as the hospital’s security guard for 10,000 hryvnia ($250) a month. She and her husband were soon joined in the basement shelter by five others who had lost their homes to bombing, a dog and a cat.

Mozgova picks up the broom at 8 a.m. sharp every three days to inspect the hallways, carefully avoiding the fragments of Russian Grad rockets strewn across the floors for fear of yet another explosion.

“Everything is decaying and falling apart,” she told The Associated Press. “But I’m so sick of it. I want to live my life normally, sleep in my bed, watch my TV, not jump at the sound of an explosion, go to work calmly and do my job.”

Read more:

Ukraine's health care on the brink after hundreds of attacks

Global impact: 5 ways war in Ukraine has changed the world

01:00 , Eleanor Noyce

War has been a catastrophe for Ukraine and a crisis for the globe. The world is a more unstable and fearful place since Russia invaded its neighbour on Feb. 24, 2022.

One year on, thousands of Ukrainian civilians are dead, and countless buildings have been destroyed. Tens of thousands of troops have been killed or seriously wounded on each side. Beyond Ukraine’s borders, the invasion shattered European security, redrew nations’ relations with one another and frayed a tightly woven global economy.

Here are five ways the war has changed the world:

Global impact: 5 ways war in Ukraine has changed the world

Biden and Stoltenberg meet Nato Bucharest Nine allies in Poland

Wednesday 22 February 2023 23:50 , Eleanor Noyce

Joe Biden and Jens Stoltenberg met with Nato Bucharest Nine allies in Poland on Wednesday, 22 February.

The US president and the Secretary General of Nato held talks with the military alliance’s eastern flank to assure them that the Biden administration is highly aware of looming threats brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Bucharest Nine are Nato allies who joined the military alliance after being dominated by Moscow during the Cold War.

Mr Biden has been staying in Poland after his surprise trip to Ukraine, in which he reiterated US support for Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops in their fight against Vladimir Putin’s forces.

The meeting comes after Vladimir Putin suspended a landmark nuclear arms control treaty just days before the first anniversary of his invasion of Ukraine, amid a period of highest tension between Russia and the West in the decades since the Cold War.

Holly Patrick reports:

Biden and Stoltenberg meet Nato Bucharest Nine allies in Poland

Russia threatens ‘further countermeasures’ after suspending key nuclear arms deal

Wednesday 22 February 2023 23:20 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia has said it will consider taking “further countermeasures” against the US and its allies after it suspended its participation in a key nuclear arms deal.

President Vladimir Putin announced the country is suspending the new START treaty on Tuesday.

His deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov has now said Russia will be “monitoring” the US to decide whether to launch further action.

He said: “We will, of course, be closely monitoring the further actions of the United States and its allies, including with a view to taking further countermeasures, if necessary.”

Mr Putin announced Russia will no longer comply with the agreement, which limits participating countries’ nuclear capabilities, in a lengthy state of the nation address - in which he also blamed the West for the war in Ukraine.

My colleague Kate Plummer reports:

Russia threatens ‘further countermeasures’ after suspending key nuclear arms deal

Russia's sports exile persists 1 year after invading Ukraine

Wednesday 22 February 2023 22:50 , Eleanor Noyce

One year after the invasion of Ukraine began, Russia‘s reintegration into the world of sports threatens to create the biggest rift in the Olympic movement since the Cold War.

Russia remains excluded from many international sporting events, but that could soon change. Next year’s Paris Olympics are fast approaching and qualifying events are under way. The International Olympic Committee is working to bring athletes from Russia and ally Belarus back into competition, but not everyone agrees.

If Russian athletes are to return to competition, the sports world must resolve two key issues that became clear in the days after the invasion: How can Russian athletes return without alienating Ukrainians? And what can be done about the Russians who support the war?

As the first battles raged, the Ukrainian fencing team refused to compete against Russia at a tournament in Egypt, holding up a sign reading: “Stop Russia! Stop the war! Save Ukraine! Save Europe!”

More here:

Russia's sports exile persists 1 year after invading Ukraine

International journalists federation suspends Russian union

Wednesday 22 February 2023 22:20 , Eleanor Noyce

The International Federation of Journalists has suspended with immediate effect the Russian Union of Journalists over its action since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its role in annexed Ukrainian territories.

The IFJ, which represents more than 600,000 media workers across the world, said the Russian union’s membership was suspended following an investigation then a vote by its global executive committee on Wednesday.

The vote was held after the union refused to reconsider its decision to set up branches in four regions annexed by Russia, the federation said.

“The Russian Union of Journalists’ actions in establishing four branches in the annexed Ukrainian territories have clearly shattered ... solidarity and sown divisions among sister unions,” said IFJ President Dominique Pradalié.

Read more:

International journalists federation suspends Russian union

Matt Hancock promotes NFTs to raise money for former Ukrainian lodgers

Wednesday 22 February 2023 21:50 , Eleanor Noyce

Matt Hancock is promoting crypto art created by his former Ukrainian lodger to help raise money for refugees who have fled the war.

The NFTs, which make up a 15-piece collection called From Ukraine with Love, were made by Oleg Mischenko, whose family had been staying with the former health secretary until they moved into their own home in Suffolk last week.

They will be auctioned off on cryptocurrency trading app Coinbase, this week, with 90 per cent of the money raised going to charity Care International’s Ukraine appeal, while the remaining funds will go to Mr Mischenko’s family.

A physical sale of the art will also take place at the NFT Gallery in Mayfair and the artworks will be traded in Ethereum.

My colleague Kate Plummer has more:

Matt Hancock promotes NFTs to raise money for former Ukrainian lodgers

Russia denies plan to test new missile off South Africa

Wednesday 22 February 2023 21:20 , Eleanor Noyce

The Russian military denied Wednesday that it was planning to test its new Zircon hypersonic missiles during naval drills off the coast of South Africa this week that will coincide with the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

China‘s navy also is participating in the Indian Ocean exercises, which come at a time when Russia’s relationship with the West is at its lowest point since the Cold War, and ties between China and the United States are under serious strain.

As Russian and Chinese warships prepared in South Africa for their joint drills, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted China’s most senior foreign policy official at the Kremlin. Those meetings showed the strengthening of Russia’s relationship with China and raised concern in the West that Beijing might be ready to offer Moscow stronger support for its war in Ukraine.

Russia’s aims for the naval exercises came under scrutiny because of the involvement of the Admiral Gorshkov, a frigate which is armed with hypersonic missiles. The ship arrived in Cape Town last week emblazoned with the letters Z and V, letters also seen on Russian weapons on the front lines in Ukraine and which are used as patriotic symbols in Russia.

Read more:

Russia denies plan to test new missile off South Africa

Putin’s most baffling remarks about the West since the war in Ukraine started

Wednesday 22 February 2023 20:50 , Eleanor Noyce

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin delivered a state of the nation speech in Moscow this week marking the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine he ordered a year ago.

In the colourful two-hour speech, the Kremlin leader vowed to continue his “special military operation” in Ukraine and told listeners that it would be impossible for Russia to be defeated. Mr Putin acknowledged the difficulty of the war on Russians who had lost loved ones, but he stressed that the West and Ukrainian elites were actually behind the war and not his military orders.

Mr Putin also took an interesting detour to comment on practices in the West. Adding to his many bizarre comments about his opposers, Mr Putin said paedophilia was normal in the UK.

My colleague Thomas Kingsley dissects Putin’s most baffling remarks about the West since the war in Ukraine started:

Putin’s most baffling remarks about the West since the war in Ukraine started

Zelensky and Sunak speak ahead of first anniversary of Ukrainian invasion

Wednesday 22 February 2023 20:40 , Arpan Rai

Rishi Sunak has spoken to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky ahead of the first anniversary of the invasion.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The prime minister spoke to president Zelensky this evening, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Friday.

“The prime minister updated on his visit to the Munich Security Conference, and said he had used the event to call on allies to accelerate their support to help Ukraine progress military gains in the coming weeks and months.”

“Now was the time for Ukraine to seize the opportunity to make real progress on the battlefield and further demonstrate to Putin that Ukraine would ultimately win, the leaders agreed.”

Iconic Slovenian band Laibach to perform in Ukraine amid war

Wednesday 22 February 2023 20:20 , Eleanor Noyce

Slovenia’s iconic band Laibach will hold a concert in Ukraine‘s capital next month, saying Wednesday this will make them the first foreign group to perform a full show in Kyiv since the beginning of the Russian invasion last February.

The industrial rock band will hold a “very special concert” on March 31st at the Bel Etage Music Hall in Kyiv, a statement said. The concert will be dubbed ‘Eurovision’ in reference to the pop song contest which Ukraine won in 2022 but which will be hosted by the UK in Liverpool instead of Ukraine this year because of the war.

“While the rest of Europe prepares to celebrate its idea of freedom and solidarity on 9 May in Liverpool, Laibach will be taking Eurovision back to Ukraine — where it belongs and where the only true and real vision of Europe is taking place right now,” the concert announcement said.

Laibach is Slovenia’s best known band which has won fame abroad for its totalitarian visual style, toying with populist imagery and almost martial-rhythm songs, sang in husky, deep vocals.

Read more:

Iconic Slovenian band Laibach to perform in Ukraine amid war

Ukrainian mother thanks the UK public for donations, describing them as “angels of kindness"

Wednesday 22 February 2023 19:50 , Eleanor Noyce

A Ukrainian mother forced to flee her home has thanked the UK public for donating to help those affected by the conflict, saying they are “angels of kindness”.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has become the biggest charity donor to the response inside Ukraine, and to the regional refugee response, raising more than £400 million since it was launched in March 2022.

The organisation said the money has gone towards supporting work in communities, tackling homelessness, trauma and emergency responses and is “testimony to the generosity of the British people”.

Among those supported is Polina, a social worker and mother of three young boys who fled Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine when she was six months pregnant, and is being housed in DEC-supported accommodation.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed, who recently visited the country to see the work being carried out, told the PA news agency: “There was a huge gratitude and appreciation for the support of the British public.

“Polina, for example, said ‘you are angels of kindness’ and wanted me to pass on the thanks to the British public for their support.

“But also this inspired and motivated people for themselves to support each other and also share what they have with others.”

King Charles welcomes visit from president of German Parliament, showing solidarity amidst war in Ukraine

Wednesday 22 February 2023 19:20 , Eleanor Noyce

King Charles III has held an audience with the president of the German parliament.

He is expected to become the first British monarch to address the Bundestag during a state visit to Germany later this month, having welcomed Barbel Bas to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday afternoon.

Charles and Ms Bas shook hands in the Palace’s 1844 Room, with the pair appearing in good humour, laughing as they chatted and greeted one another.

The King’s trip to Germany is expected to follow immediately after a state visit to France, which is due to be Charles’s first official journey abroad since he acceded to the throne.

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on the reported trips.

Katja Mast, first parliamentary secretary of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, welcomed the forthcoming visit, telling the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that German-British friendship was “extremely important to Europe and the world” post-Brexit and amid the war in Ukraine.

Ben Wallace praises “dedication and determination” of Ukrainian soldiers training on tank operation

Wednesday 22 February 2023 18:50 , Eleanor Noyce

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has praised the “dedication and determination” of Ukrainian soldiers being trained to operate British Challenger 2 tanks donated for the war against Russia.

The Secretary of State, who is a former soldier himself, met the troops training at Bovington Camp in Dorset and told them: “Britain is going to continue with you until the end.

“We are not in it for a period, we are in it until we defeat Russia in Ukraine and send them home.”

He added: “We will keep with you, and from Britain’s point of view the message to Russia is we are not giving up and we are not going away.”

Speaking to a Ukrainian commander, he said: “I think your tactics are working alongside the bravery of your soldiers and it’s really showing the Russians. Keep doing it.”

Blackouts, air raids and reporting by candlelight: The ‘new normal’ of The Kyiv Independent newsroom

Wednesday 22 February 2023 18:20 , Emily Atkinson

Olga Rudenko never thought her team of journalists would be reporting on a second year of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“In the first few months of the invasion I’d have been surprised if someone told me it would last a year or longer,” says the editor-in-chief of The Kyiv Independent.

“For a good chunk of time I believed it would end soon – just because of how horrible everything was that was happening. When you’re in the middle of all that, it’s too horrible and big to think it will happen for a long time.

“You think: ‘Surely the world will stop this’... But here we are.”

Editor-in-chief Olga Rudenko speaks to Rachel Sharp about the ‘new normal’ in the newsroom:

Blackouts, air raids, reporting by candlelight: The Kyiv Independent’s ‘new normal’

Russia says New START suspension won't bring nuclear war closer

Wednesday 22 February 2023 17:50 , Emily Atkinson

Russia has said its decision to suspend its participation in the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the US did not increase the risk of nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday he was freezing Russia’s participation in the treaty during a speech in which he also repeated accusations that the West was seeking to destroy Russia.

“I do not believe that the decision to suspend the New START Treaty brings us closer to nuclear war,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Finland and Sweden are heading into Nato ‘hand-in-hand’, says Finnish president

Wednesday 22 February 2023 17:20 , Emily Atkinson

Finland and Sweden are proceeding “hand-in-hand” towards Nato membership, but the decision to ratify the applications for the two Nordic countries lies with Turkey, Finnish president Sauli Niinisto has said.

“We proceed hand in hand in terms of the things that are in our own hands,” Niinisto said, but added: “Ratification is not in our hands.”

Niinisto was speaking at a joint news conference with the Swedish and Norwegian prime ministers at the Swedish government’s summer retreat outside Stockholm.

Finland would still proceed with joining the alliance once approved, even if Sweden’s application was held up, Niinisto said.

The Finnish president also said he would sign a Nato membership application bill when it is agreed by Finnish lawmakers, with a vote scheduled for 28 February

Once the parliaments of Nato’s 30 member states have ratified the application, Finland would become a member, even if Sweden’s accession was delayed.

“If Turkey and Hungary ratify Finland, we will be, as we have requested, members of Nato,” he said.

Eastern European countries 'jointly condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine’

Wednesday 22 February 2023 16:50 , Emily Atkinson

All members of the Bucharest Nine, the nations on Nato’s eastern flank that joined the alliance after being dominated by Moscow during the Cold War, have jointly condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine, a Polish presidential adviser said.

“All allies agreed that they would support each other in the event of a threat,” Marcin Przydacz, an adviser to Polish president Andrzej Duda told reporters.

“The next point of the declaration was the condemnation of the brutal, bloody war against Ukraine, which is being waged by Russia. All members of the Bucharest Nine signed these words.”

EU countries 'fail to agree new Russia sanctions’

Wednesday 22 February 2023 16:20 , Emily Atkinson

The EU has failed to reach a consensus on a new set of sanctions against Russia meant to be in place for the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on Friday, four diplomatic sources in the bloc’s hub Brussels said.

“There are several issues outstanding, including on rubber and reporting obligations of Russian assets in Europe,” one source told Reuters.

More talks among Brussels representatives of EU member countries were due on Thursday afternoon, said the sources.

The proposed package includes trade curbs worth more than 10 billion euros, according to the bloc’s chief executive.

Russia says it is studying Xi's global security initiative

Wednesday 22 February 2023 15:50 , Emily Atkinson

Russia has said it is studying a newly released paper on Beijing’s Global Security Initiative (GSI), Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s flagship security proposal.

“The positions of the two countries on the most pressing international issues coincide or are close, which the Russian and Chinese leadership has repeatedly spoken about,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharkova said in a briefing.

“The same can be said for the global security initiative,” she added.

China on Tuesday released the GSI paper, which aims to uphold the principle of “indivisible security”, a concept endorsed by Moscow.

G7 ‘to discuss Ukraine aid programme’ on Thursday

Wednesday 22 February 2023 15:20 , Emily Atkinson

The main topic at the G7 finance ministers’ meeting hosted by Japan tomorrow will be financial support to Ukraine, according to German finance ministry sources.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva will give an update on the planned aid programme at the meeting, which the sources said has been discussed intensely.

The IMF aims to adopt a new aid programme for Ukraine by the end of March.

The G7 finance ministers are expected to issue a joint statement after their talks.

Watch Live: United Nations mark one year since Russia invaded Ukraine

Wednesday 22 February 2023 14:59 , Emily Atkinson

World journalism body suspends Russia's membership over Ukraine

Wednesday 22 February 2023 14:48 , Emily Atkinson

The International Federation of Journalists sayd it has suspended the membership of Russia’s main journalism trade union after it established branches in occupied regions of Ukraine.

“The IFJ is an organization built on international solidarity, on principles of cooperation between member unions and respect for the rights of all journalists.

“The Russian Union of Journalists’ actions in establishing four branches in the annexed Ukrainian territories have clearly shattered this solidarity and sown divisions among sister unions,” IFJ president Dominique Pradalie said in a statement.

The head of the Union of Russian Journalists told state news agency TASS that the move violated the IFJ’s charter and would hurt the world body financially because it would no longer receive substantial membership fees from Russia.

Russian lawmakers endorse suspension of nuclear pact with US

Wednesday 22 February 2023 14:30 , Eleanor Noyce

The lower house of Russia’s parliament on Wednesday quickly endorsed President Vladimir Putin‘s move to suspend the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the United States, with officials and lawmakers casting it as an eleventh-hour warning to Washington amid the tensions over Ukraine.

Putin declared that Moscow was suspending its participation in the 2010 New START treaty in his state-of-the-nation address Tuesday, saying that Russia can’t accept U.S. inspections of its nuclear sites under the pact while Washington and its NATO allies have openly declared the goal of Russia’s defeat in Ukraine.

The Russian president emphasized that Moscow was not withdrawing from the pact altogether, and the Russian Foreign Ministry said the country would respect the caps on nuclear weapons set under the treaty and keep notifying the U.S. about test launches of ballistic missiles.

Read more:

Russian lawmakers endorse suspension of nuclear pact with US

Spain plans to send six German tanks to Ukraine

Wednesday 22 February 2023 14:10 , Eleanor Noyce

Spain is to send six German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, Defence minister Margarita Robles has announced.

Ms Robles confirmed that the battle tanks would be ready by late March or early April, adding that more may be sent in the future.

Elsewhere, the UK has sent 14 Challenger 2 tanks. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the Government to send more.

Vladimir Putin to meet top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

Wednesday 22 February 2023 14:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Vladimir Putin is going to receive top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Moscow on Wednesday, two days before Ukraine marks a year of siege by Moscow, officials in the Kremlin confirmed.

The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Russian president will receive Wang Yi who is visiting Moscow on a high-level diplomatic mission on behalf of the Xi Jinping administration.

Mr Wang reached Moscow on Tuesday, marking the highest-level Chinese official’s visit to ally-nation Russia after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

On Wednesday, he met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and said that he looked forward to sealing new agreements during his visit to Russia.

The two sides also “exchanged views over Ukraine and other issues”, reported Xinhua news agency.

My colleague Arpan Rai has more:

Vladimir Putin to meet top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

Biden meets NATO leaders in Warsaw

Wednesday 22 February 2023 13:44 , Eleanor Noyce

US President Joe Biden is meeting with nine NATO leaders today in Warsaw, Poland.

The NATO Bucharest Nine are the countries on the eastern flank, closest to Russia. Its members include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Russians arrive for patriotic concert dedicated to Defender of the Fatherland Day

Wednesday 22 February 2023 13:30 , Emily Atkinson

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Putin defends “special military operation” in Ukraine, thanking “defenders of the motherland”

Wednesday 22 February 2023 13:18 , Eleanor Noyce

President Putin has thanked the “defenders of the motherland” partaking in the “special military operation” in Ukraine at a rally held in Moscow.

“We are protecting our language, culture, territory, everyone, all of our people, our defenders of the motherland. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts”, Mr Putin says.

The anthem of the Russian Federation plays.

Putin addresses rally in Moscow

Wednesday 22 February 2023 13:13 , Eleanor Noyce

President Putin is currently addressing a rally in Moscow. Celebrating the “brave men” fighting for Russia’s “historical borders”, he is met by cheers from the crowd.

“Today, in this special military operation, we are here to celebrate but I’ve just heard from the highest military command of our country that right now, there is a fight going on on our historical borders for our people”, Mr Putin says.

“The same brave men that we have here, they’re fighting over there in a heroic way, a brave way, and we’re proud of them. We’re proud of them and in their honour, let’s say hooray.

“They should hear our call. They are supported by the whole country.”

Editorial: A successful summit between Biden and Zelensky – but the elephant in the room remains

Wednesday 22 February 2023 13:00 , Emily Atkinson

Without planes, the whole effort of the last year, including tragic civilian casualties, stands at risk of being wasted.

Read our latest editorial here:

Editorial: A successful US-Ukraine summit – but the elephant in the room remains

Hungarian minister urges ceasefire and peace talks over Ukraine

Wednesday 22 February 2023 12:30 , Emily Atkinson

A top Hungarian official has urged a ceasefire and peace talks over Ukraine to prevent further escalation of the war into a broader conflict.

Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto on Wednesday called for an immediate end to hostilities after speeches by US president Joe Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, which he said highlighted the severity of the standoff.

Spain ‘to send six 2A4 Leopard tanks to Ukraine'

Wednesday 22 February 2023 12:01 , Emily Atkinson

Spain aims to send six German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, defence minister Margarita Robles told lawmakers this morning, adding that the number could increase over time.

Vladimir Putin to meet top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

Wednesday 22 February 2023 11:47 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin is going to receive top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi in Moscow on Wednesday, two days before Ukraine marks a year of siege by Moscow, officials in the Kremlin confirmed.

The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Russian president will receive Wang Yi who is visiting Moscow on a high-level diplomatic mission on behalf of the Xi Jinping administration.

Mr Wang reached Moscow on Tuesday, marking the highest-level Chinese official’s visit to ally-nation Russia after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Arpan Rai has more:

Vladimir Putin to meet top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi ahead of Ukraine war anniversary

Russia reveals conditions for rejoining nuclear treaty

Wednesday 22 February 2023 11:13 , Emily Atkinson

Russia would need to see a change in Nato’s stance and a willingness for dialogue before it would consider returning to its last remaining nuclear treaty with the US.

The lower house of the Russian parliament voted quickly in favour of suspending Moscow’s participation in the New START treaty following Vladimir Putin’s announcement yesterday.

The 2010 treaty limits each country’s deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550. Security analysts say its potential collapse could unleash a new arms race at a perilous moment when Putin is increasingly portraying the Ukraine war he launched one year ago as a direct confrontation with the West.

Asked in what circumstances Russia would return to the deal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Everything will depend on the position of the West... When there’s a willingness to take into account our concerns, then the situation will change.”

Interfax news agency quoted deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying: “We will, of course, be closely monitoring the further actions of the United States and its allies, including with a view to taking further countermeasures, if necessary.”

Russia's parliament moves to suspend New START nuclear treaty

Wednesday 22 February 2023 10:50 , Emily Atkinson

Russia’s parliament has moved to suspend Moscow’s participation in the New START treaty.

Putin announced the suspension in a major national address yesterday as the first anniversary of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine approaches.

In a session on Wednesday morning, Russia’s State Duma, the lower house, voted to approve the suspension of the treaty. The Federation Council, the upper chamber of parliament, was due to vote on the same proposal after 3pm in Moscow.

 (AP)
(AP)

Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council, said the move was a “long overdue” response to the United States and Nato effectively declaring war on Russia.

“This decision was forced on us by the war declared by the United States and other NATO countries on our country. It will have a huge resonance in the world overall and in the United States in particular,” Medvedev said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Medvedev also called for the nuclear arsenals of Britain and France to be included in future arms control agreements between Russia and the West.

Putin to meet China’s top diplomat in Moscow today

Wednesday 22 February 2023 10:30 , Emily Atkinson

Vladimir Putin will meet China’s top diplomat in Moscow today, the Kremlin says.

“Putin will receive Wang Yi,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

At a meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov earlier on Wednesday, Wang said that he looked forward to clinching new agreements during his visit to Moscow.

“I am ready to exchange views with you, my dear friend, on issues of mutual interest, and I look forward to reaching new agreements,” Wang said through an interpreter.

 (GRIGORY SYSOYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
(GRIGORY SYSOYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

“No matter how the international situation changes, China has been and remains committed, together with Russia, to make efforts to preserve the positive trend in the development of relations between major powers,” Wang said.

Wang said he would work to “strengthen and deepen” relations between Moscow and Beijing.

Czech PM: We will continue to help Ukraine as long as needed

Wednesday 22 February 2023 10:10 , Emily Atkinson

The Czech Republic will continue to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion for as long as needed, prime minister Petr Fiala said ahead of a meeting with leaders of Nato’s eastern flank.

“We will continue in (our) help for as long as Ukraine needs it,” Fiala said.

Russian missiles ‘hit Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, injuring two

Wednesday 22 February 2023 09:52 , Emily Atkinson

Two civilians were wounded in a Russian missile strike on Wednesday on industrial facilities in Kharkiv, the biggest city in eastern Ukraine, local officials said.

Kharkiv, Ukraine‘s second largest city, lies about 30 km (19 miles) from the border with Russia and has frequently been under fire since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago.

“According to preliminary data, four strikes hit the Kyiv district of Kharkiv. The enemy is targeting industrial facilities,” Ihor Terekhov, the city mayor, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

The regional governor, Oleh Synehubov, said separately that two civilians had been lightly wounded but gave no details.

Watch: London Fashion Week show shines spotlight on Ukrainian designers

Wednesday 22 February 2023 09:30 , Emily Atkinson

Putin ‘tried and failed’ to launch intercontinental ballistic missile during Biden visit to Ukraine

Wednesday 22 February 2023 09:15 , Emily Atkinson

Russia conducted the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Monday when US president Joe Biden arrived in Ukraine, according to a report. However, the launch failed.

The missile test involved a heavy Sarmat missile – known as Satan II in the West – capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads across the continent, two US officials familiar with the matter told CNN.

But the missile, which has been successfully tested before, appeared to have failed this time, officials said, as Russian president Vladimir Putin would have mentioned it in his State of the Nation address on Tuesday had the launch been a success.

Shweta Sharma reports:

Putin ‘launched intercontinental ballistic missile’ during Biden visit to Ukraine

Russia ‘concerned’ by UN disrupting IAEA staff rotation at power plant

Wednesday 22 February 2023 09:01 , Emily Atkinson

Moscow has expressed “deep concern” over the United Nations’ behaviour regarding the rotation of staff at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry said the UN’s nuclear body was “disrupting” the scheduled changeover of IAEA staff stationed at the plant – under Russian control – without good reason.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Zelensky ‘plans to attend July Nato summit'

Wednesday 22 February 2023 08:51 , Emily Atkinson

Volodymyr Zelensky plans to attend in person a Nato summit taking place in Vilnius in July, Ukraine‘s ambassador to Lithuania told local newswire BNS.

Mr Zelensky has made only two foreign trips since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago – one to Washington in December and another to London, Paris and Brussels in February.

 (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Vilnius summit on July 11-12 will be attended by most leaders of the Atlantic alliance, Lithuania presidential office said.

“That is our plan,” ambassador Petro Beshta said.

Ukraine hopes attendees at the summit would agree “very clearly that as soon as the war is over, Ukraine becomes a member of Nato”, the ambassador said.

Children in Ukraine forced to endure over 900 hours underground as war rages on

Wednesday 22 February 2023 08:30 , Emily Atkinson

Children in Ukraine recall feeling “terrified to death” as they have been forced to hide underground for an average of 920 hours since Russian invaded Ukraine a year ago.

Running to bunkers upon the chilling screech of air raid sirens, families and children are often trapped for up to eight hours underground at a time, Save the Children has found.

Remembering the first explosions she experienced last year, 16-year-old Sofia* said: “I was having physics classes online when we first heard explosions ten kilometres away. They then began to land on nearby streets.

“Our teacher instructed us to rush to the shelter. When I got to the corridor, I heard a loud explosion. I only managed to sit next to the wall, close my ears, and open my mouth to avoid being shocked by the blast wave.”

Children in Ukraine forced to endure over 900 hours underground as war rages on

Live: View outside Biden's Warsaw hotel as he prepares to meet eastern Nato allies

Wednesday 22 February 2023 08:09 , Emily Atkinson

Watch live views outside Joe Biden’s hotel in Warsaw as he prepares to meet eastern Nato allies today.

The US president is staying in Poland after his surprise trip to Ukraine, in which he reiterated US support for Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops in their fight against Russia.

On Wednesday, Mr Biden will meet staff from Warsaw’s US embassy. He will then gather leaders of the Bucharest Nine, Nato’s eastern allies who joined the military alliance after being dominated by Moscow during the Cold War.

Russia Duma's speaker says U.S. destroyed international stability

Wednesday 22 February 2023 08:01 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The United States has destroyed the architecture of international stability by ceasing to honour its commitments and rejecting Russia‘s proposals on global security issues, Duma’s speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Wednesday.

The Duma, Russia‘s lower house of parliament, will on Wednesday consider President Vladimir Putin’s draft law on suspending Moscow’s participation in the New START treaty. It is expected to rubber-stamp the initiative.

Putin outlined the suspension of the landmark treaty as a warning over Ukraine in a major set-piece speech on Tuesday, as U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to keep supporting and standing up for Ukraine as the first anniversary of the Russian aggression nears.

“By ceasing to comply with its obligations and rejecting our country’s proposals on global security issues, the United States destroyed the architecture of international stability,” Volodin wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“They plunged the world into a state of conflicts and challenges.”

Duma’s speaker Vyacheslav Volodin (AP)
Duma’s speaker Vyacheslav Volodin (AP)

Russia says concerned by UN disrupting IAEA staff rotation at Zaporizhzhia plant

Wednesday 22 February 2023 07:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russia on Wednesday expressed “deep concern” over the United Nations’ behaviour regarding the rotation of staff at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

In a statement, Russia‘s foreign ministry said the United Nations nuclear body was “disrupting” the scheduled changeover of IAEA staff stationed at the plant, which is under the control of Russian forces, without good reason.

 (Reuters)
(Reuters)

Russia's parliament prepares to approve suspension of New START

Wednesday 22 February 2023 07:33 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Russian officials on Wednesday blamed the United States and the West for President Vladimir Putin’s decision to suspend Moscow’s participation in the New START treaty, as Russia‘s parliament was set to rubber-stamp the move.

Putin announced the suspension in a speech on Tuesday, as U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to keep supporting and standing up for Ukraine as the first anniversary of the Russian aggression nears.

Ex-President Dmitry Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said the move was a “long overdue” response to the United States and NATO effectively declaring war on Russia.

“This decision was forced on us by the war declared by the United States and other NATO countries on our country. It will have a huge resonance in the world overall and in the United States in particular,” Medvedev said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

Medvedev also called for the nuclear arsenals of Britain and France to be included in future arms control agreements between Russia and the West.

Deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev (AP)
Deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev (AP)

Russia‘s parliament is expected to rubber-stamp the move to suspend the treaty, possibly as early as Wednesday.

The head of Russia‘s Duma, the lower house of parliament, also blamed the United States for the breakdown.

“By ceasing to comply with its obligations and rejecting our country’s proposals on global security issues, the United States destroyed the architecture of international stability,” Vyacheslav Volodin said in a statement.

Russia‘s moves have sparked concern in Washington and European capitals.

Russia‘s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who oversees Russia‘s arms control diplomacy with the United States, said on Wednesday that the possible resumption of the treaty depended on Washington, as he also said Moscow was keeping a close eye on NATO’s other nuclear powers, Britain and France.

“We will obviously pay special attention to what line and what decisions London and Paris are taking, which can no longer, even hypothetically, be considered outside of the Russian-U.S. dialogue on nuclear arms control,” the TASS news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

He said there was currently no direct dialogue between Moscow and Washington on nuclear issues and it was unknown whether it would resume.

Russia‘s foreign ministry said on Tuesday evening it would continue to abide by the limits on the number of warheads it can deploy and stood open to reversing its decision.

Putin likely conducted failed intercontinental ballistic missile test during Biden’s visit – CNN

Wednesday 22 February 2023 07:16 , Arpan Rai

Russia attempted to carry out a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile which failed around the time the US president Joe Biden was visiting in Ukraine, two US officials aware of the matter said.

The test launch of the heavy SARMAT missile which can deliver multiple nuclear warheads tanked, according to the officials, reported CNN.

Officials added that the Russian president Vladimir Putin would have boasted the test, had it been successful, in his State of the Nation address yesterday.

One of the officials said that Moscow informed Washington in advance of the launch through deconfliction lines.

Putin presenting contradictory narrative of existential struggle – MoD

Wednesday 22 February 2023 06:40 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he intends to continue with the “special military operation in Ukraine” as he made his first State of the Nation speech since 2021, the British defence ministry said today.

The Russian president characterised Western elites as having “become a symbol of total unprincipled lies” and suspended Russia from the New START treaty, the MoD noted.

“Putin continued the bellicose tone he has adopted in speeches over the last six months but did not reveal any practical measures which might relieve Russia’s current deadlock on the battlefield,” the ministry said.

It added that Mr Putin continues to present a contradictory narrative of both an ongoing existential struggle, and at the same time insisting everything in Russia is fine and going to plan, rendering “both messages ineffective”.

New START: last US-Russia arms control treaty in jeopardy

Wednesday 22 February 2023 06:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s announcement Tuesday that Moscow is suspending its participation in the last remaining U.S.-Russia arms control treaty will have an immediate impact on U.S. visibility into Russian nuclear activities, but the pact was already on life support.

Putin’s decision to suspend Russian cooperation with the treaty’s nuclear warhead and missile inspections follows Moscow’s cancellation late last year of talks that had been intended to salvage an agreement that both sides have accused the other of violating.

In his state-of-the-nation address to the Russian people, Putin said Russia was withdrawing from the treaty because of U.S. support to Ukraine, and he accused the U.S. and its NATO allies of openly working for Russia’s destruction.

The U.S. had previously walked away from the treaty. During the Trump administration, the U.S. declined to engage in negotiations to extend it, accusing Moscow of flagrant violations. But when President Joe Biden took office in 2021, his administration signed a five-year extension.

Here is a look at New START and what Russia’s announcement means for keeping U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons in check:

New START: last US-Russia arms control treaty in jeopardy

Putin speech: Eight key claims from Russian leader – and the reality

Wednesday 22 February 2023 05:03 , Arpan Rai

Vladimir Putin’s speech to Russia’s elite yesterday came almost one year to the day since invading Ukraine.

Here are eight key points from his speech, which was delivered to members of both houses of parliament, state officials, military commanders and soldiers. It lasted about one hour and 45 minutes.

Read more here:

Putin speech: Eight key claims from Russian leader – and the reality

Putin suspends Russia's involvement in key nuclear arms pact

Wednesday 22 February 2023 05:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that Moscow was suspending its participation in the New START treaty — the last remaining nuclear arms control pact with the United States — sharply upping the ante amid tensions with Washington over the fighting in Ukraine.

Speaking in his state-of-the-nation address, Putin also said that Russia should stand ready to resume nuclear weapons tests if the U.S. does so, a move that would end a global ban on nuclear weapons tests in place since Cold War times.

Explaining his decision to suspend Russia’s obligations under New START, Putin accused the U.S. and its NATO allies of openly declaring the goal of Russia’s defeat in Ukraine.

“They want to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on us and try to get to our nuclear facilities at the same time,” he said.

Putin argued that while the U.S. has pushed for the resumption of inspections of Russian nuclear facilities under the treaty, NATO allies had helped Ukraine mount drone attacks on Russian air bases hosting nuclear-capable strategic bombers.

Read more:

Putin suspends Russia's involvement in key nuclear arms pact

Zelensky slams fresh Russian attacks on civilians in Kherson

Wednesday 22 February 2023 04:37 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned fresh missile attacks on Ukrainian civilians in Kherson as he downplayed Vladimir Putin’s speech.“I have not watched it, because during this time there were missile strikes on Kherson. Twenty-one people were wounded and six were killed,” Mr Zelensky said.

Addressing the attack in his nightly address, he said: “The Russian army has once again brutally shelled Kherson today. There are wounded and dead. My condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones...”

“This Russian shelling did not and could not have any military purpose. As well as thousands of similar Russian attacks, which are a real message from Russia to the world. The terrorist state is trying to tell the world by firing missiles at city streets, at residential buildings, at schools, at pharmacies and hospitals, at churches, at bus stops, at markets, at power plants that terror is allegedly something to be reckoned with,” he added.

Propagandists claim Russia offered Biden ‘security guarantee’ for trip to Kyiv

Wednesday 22 February 2023 04:00 , Eleanor Noyce

Russian propagandists have claimed they aided Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine by offering him a “security guarantee”.

Discussing the US president’s trip to Kyiv on Russian state TV, the presenters claim they could have “destroyed Biden” while he was meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Has someone given a security guarantee?” one asked, with another answering: “We did”.

“You know, we could have destroyed Biden.”

During his trip to Kyiv, the president promised another £500m in military aid to Ukraine.

Watch:

Propagandists claim Russia offered Biden ‘security guarantee’ for trip to Kyiv