As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 344th day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Thursday, February 2, 2023:
- At least four people in the Donetsk region have been killed as several villages came under Russian fire, regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
- Russian forces are encircling Bakhmut and are battling to take control of the highway that connects the city to the nearby town of Chasiv Yar, according to Russian-installed officials.
- The British Ministry of Defence said some of the war’s most intense shelling likely took place along the Dnieper River in southern Ukraine in recent days. The attacks included continued Russian shelling of Kherson city.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin told a government meeting that shelling of Russian regions from Ukraine must not be permitted, according to reports by state media outlets.
- The head of Russia’s SVR Foreign Intelligence Service accused NATO of “raising the stakes” in Ukraine by supplying Kyiv with additional military support.
- Germany’s defence minister showed off the tanks Berlin is preparing to send to Kyiv but recognised a “bitter loss” for the under-equipped German military.
- Ukraine’s defence minister said that Ukrainian lives will be saved by a sophisticated air-defence radar that France is supplying to Kyiv.
- The United States is readying more than $2bn worth of military aid for Ukraine which is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time.
- The Kremlin said the US will escalate the war in Ukraine, albeit not change its course, if it supplies Ukraine with longer-range rockets.
- The United Kingdom has not made a “solid decision” not to send its fighter jets to Ukraine but does not think it is the right approach at the moment, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.
Diplomacy and energy
- The US accused Russia of violating the New START Treaty, the last major pillar of post-Cold War nuclear arms control.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara looks positively on Finland’s application for NATO membership but does not support Sweden’s bid.
- Sweden is implementing an initial deal agreed with Turkey on its NATO membership but compromises on freedom of expression are not part of the pact, Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said.
- The US imposed sanctions on 22 individuals and entities in multiple countries that Washington accused of being tied to a global sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex.
- Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen visited Kyiv for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart.
- The International Energy Agency does not expect major supply problems or disruptions from a European Commission proposal to set price caps on Russian oil products.