January 24, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Jack Guy, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:14 a.m. ET, January 25, 2023
29 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:39 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

EU welcomes Ukraine taking corruption seriously, spokesperson says

From CNN's Mick Krever in London

The European Commission on Tuesday welcomed developments in Ukraine suggesting the country is taking corruption seriously, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

European Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero said that she could not comment on ongoing criminal matters, but said "we do welcome of course the fact that the Ukrainian authorities are taking these issues seriously.”

Ukraine was granted EU candidate status in June 2022.

“Anti-corruption measures are of course an important dimension of the EU accession process,” Pisonero said during a news conference. “And they are also part of policy conditions for the Union’s continued macro-financial assistance.”

Some more context: A number of senior Ukrainian officials have resigned or been fired by President Volodymyr Zelensky in the biggest shakeup of the government since the war began.

The shakeup comes amid a growing corruption scandal linked to the procurement of wartime supplies.

The recent changes to “personnel” within Ukraine's government prove that Zelensky “sees and hears society," according to a presidential adviser.

11:07 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

German defense ministry says it has 320 Leopard 2 tanks in its stock

From CNN's Inke Kappeler and Claudia Otto in Berlin

Two Leopard 2 A7V battle tanks on the road in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, on September 15, 2021.
Two Leopard 2 A7V battle tanks on the road in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, on September 15, 2021. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

The German army has 320 Leopard 2 tanks in its possession, but it has not revealed how many would be battle ready, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense told CNN.

Those Leopard 2s — all in the A5, A6 and A7 series, are in various stages of condition, state of repair and readiness to be deployed, the spokesperson explained. 

The German army no longer has Leopard 1s in its possession, which is an older series of the main battle tank line, she said. Likewise, it does not have older Leopard 2 models like the A4, in stock. 

Separately, the arms manufacturer Rheinmetall said last week it had 139 Leopards in stock, but of those only 29 Leopard 2s would be combat-ready for delivery in the spring of this year. Those 29 have already been theoretically pledged to third party countries as part of a tank swap.

The rest of the stock needed to be prepared over a longer period of time, according to the company.

A Rheinmetall spokesperson on Tuesday told CNN that of the rest of the stock — 88 Leopard 1 tanks — a few could be deliverable in about nine months, and the rest in a year. 

Another German weapons manufacturer, FFG, has 99 Leopards in its depot, but only the older Leopard 1 range, a spokesperson for the company tells CNN. 

Even if a tank is ready and repaired, it needs munition and spare parts to be deployable. 

Some context: Poland has formally asked Germany for permission to transfer Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Germany has so far resisted calls from Poland, the US and a handful of other NATO countries to transfer the tanks into Ukraine, or authorize other countries to send some of their Leopards to Kyiv.

However, Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said earlier that the country will make a decision on the tanks "very soon."

9:48 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Russia has "quite enough" weapons, Russian Security Council deputy chairman says

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, claimed Tuesday that Moscow's "adversaries" monitoring arms production in the country would be disappointed because it has "quite enough of everything," according to state news agency TASS. 

Medvedev made the comments during a visit to the Kalashnikov plant in the city of Izhevsk, where he held a meeting focusing on the production of essential weapons and military vehicles, according to TASS. 

"We have seen the vehicles, and today we will talk about production of the most essential weapons, with an emphasis on drones, which are in particularly high demand during the special military operation," Medvedev said, according to TASS. "Naturally, we will discuss a number of other key issues, especially considering that it is necessary to constantly come back to them and look at what is being produced and how." 

"And our adversaries are watching as well, as they claim from time to time that we [lack] either this or that, that we have only enough missiles for only a couple more strikes, or something else like that. So, I would like to disappoint them — we have quite enough of everything," he said, according to TASS. 

9:08 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Putin admits shortage and increased prices of some drugs in pharmacies

From CNN's Radina Gigova in London 

Russian President Vladmir Putin said Tuesday that inspections have indicated a shortage of some drugs in Russian pharmacies as well as an increase in prices, according to state news agency TASS.

“The fact is that, firstly, our prices have grown lately and there has been a certain shortage of some medicines, despite the fact that we have seen an increase in the production of pharmaceutical products,” Putin said during a virtual meeting with members of the government.

“In the first three quarters of last year it was about 22% up, with domestically manufactured drugs accounting for 60% of our market," Putin said, according to TASS.  

"Nevertheless, there is a shortage of certain drugs, and their prices have risen," he added. 

Some context: Shops in Moscow have shuttered as businesses face the economic fall-out from massive Western sanctions in response to the war in Ukraine. While the shelves in most stores remain well stocked, Western products are becoming increasingly scarce and very expensive, further driving prices that are already hammering many Russian households.

8:59 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Poland will request compensation from the EU for any Leopard tanks sent to Ukraine

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Soldiers on a Polish Leopard tank take part in the DEFENDER-Europe 22 military exercise, in Nowogard, Poland, on May 19, 2022.
Soldiers on a Polish Leopard tank take part in the DEFENDER-Europe 22 military exercise, in Nowogard, Poland, on May 19, 2022. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images)

Poland will ask for reimbursement from the European Union for any Leopard tanks it sends to Ukraine, the Polish prime minister said Tuesday.

In an interview with Polish broadcaster TVN, Mateusz Morawiecki said the request will be “another test of the goodwill of the European Union,” and added that he hopes it will happen.

The German government has received the Polish request to export German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, a spokesperson told CNN.

Germany has so far resisted calls from Poland, the US and a handful of other NATO countries to transfer the tanks into Ukraine, or authorize other countries to send some of their Leopards to Kyiv.

That position has led to a weekslong spat between German and Polish leaders, with Morawiecki accusing Germany of “wasting time” by failing to come to a decision.

“We are preparing our decision and it will come very soon,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday, adding that if the decision is to send the tanks, Germany would be able to “act very soon."

CNN's Rob Picheta and Antonia Mortensen contributed to this post.

6:46 p.m. ET, January 24, 2023

It's mid-afternoon in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

Poland has officially requested permission to re-export German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. A German government spokesman would not say how quickly a possible approval could happen, but said the process would take place with “necessary urgency.” 

In Ukraine, a number of officials have left their government posts amid a renewed anti-corruption drive from President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Here are the latest headlines:

  • Poland appeals to Berlin: After confirming that Poland has requested permission to send German-made tanks to Ukraine, Polish defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak said: "I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause, because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!”
  • NATO chief believes decision is coming: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that he is “confident” a decision on sending German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine will be made "soon."
  • Government shake-up in Kyiv: The recent changes to “personnel” within Ukraine's government prove that Zelensky “sees and hears society," according to a presidential adviser. Multiple Ukrainian officials have resigned or been sacked, amid allegations of corruption.
  • Russia to tighten border controls: Russian lawmakers have drafted a bill requiring citizens to register online to book a specific date and time for crossing the country's borders, state news agency TASS reported Tuesday. However Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied that Moscow is planning to restrict freedom of travel.
  • Russian general "likely" dismissed: A top Russian general who oversaw a withdrawal of Moscow's forces from Ukraine's southern Kherson region two months ago has "likely" been dismissed as a key operational commander in the war, according to Britain's defense minister.

The current map of control:

8:41 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

As conflict rages on, Shakhtar Donetsk wants to send a positive message with "miracle" season

From CNN's Don Riddell and George Ramsay

Oleksandr Zubkov of Shakhtar celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on October 05, in Madrid, Spain.
Oleksandr Zubkov of Shakhtar celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk at Santiago Bernabeu stadium on October 05, in Madrid, Spain. (Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press/Getty Images)

Uprooted from its home in Ukraine’s Donbas region in 2014, soccer club Shakhtar Donetsk  is accustomed to the change and upheaval brought about by war having played at stadiums around the country for close to a decade.

But even by Shakhtar’s standards, the events that have unfolded since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February have been unprecedented.

“What we’re doing on the pitch, it’s in support of our people, our refugees, our Ukrainian Army,” the club’s CEO Sergei Palkin tells CNN Sports.

All the speeches from our coaching staff and myself to our players have just concentrated on (the fact) that we are playing for Ukraine.”

At the start of Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian Premier League was postponed for six months, in which time Shakhtar embarked on a “Global Tour for Peace” across Europe to raise money for those caught up in the war.

Read the full story here.

8:35 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Western allies urge Ukraine to shift from brutal eastern battles to focus on a southern offensive

From CNN's Natasha Bertrand, Alex Marquardt and Katie Bo Lillis

Ukrainian servicemen fire an anti-aircraft gun towards Russian positions on a frontline near the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on January 15.
Ukrainian servicemen fire an anti-aircraft gun towards Russian positions on a frontline near the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on January 15. (Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters)

US and Western officials are urging Ukraine to shift its focus from the brutal, months-long fight in the eastern city of Bakhmut and prioritize instead a potential offensive in the south, using a different style of fighting that takes advantage of the billions of dollars in new military hardware recently committed by Western allies, US and Ukrainian officials tell CNN.

For nearly six months, Ukrainian forces have been going toe-to-toe with the Russians over roughly 36 miles of territory in Bakhmut, which lies between the separatist-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. Heavy shelling has left the city almost completely destroyed.

“It is a brutal and grinding fight,” a senior Western intelligence official said last week, with each side exchanging anywhere from 100-400 meters of land per day and exchanging several thousands of artillery rounds almost daily.

[Bakhmut] is less attractive militarily, in terms of any sort of infrastructure, than it might have been if it had not been this destroyed.”

Now, ahead of what is widely expected to be a brutal spring of fighting, there is a tactical opening, US and Western officials say. In recent weeks they have begun suggesting that Ukrainian forces cut their losses in Bakhmut, which they argue has little strategic significance for Ukraine, and focus instead on planning an offensive in the south.

That was part of a message delivered by three top Biden officials who traveled to Kyiv last week.

Read the full story here:

7:27 a.m. ET, January 24, 2023

Germany confirms it has received Polish request to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz

A Leopard 2 combat tank in action at the 9th Panzerlehr Brigade of the German Bundeswehr in Munster, northern Germany, on February 7.
A Leopard 2 combat tank in action at the 9th Panzerlehr Brigade of the German Bundeswehr in Munster, northern Germany, on February 7. (Focke Strangmann/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

The German government has received a Polish request to export German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, a spokesman told CNN.

He would not say how quickly a possible approval could happen, but said the process would take place with “necessary urgency.” 

“The Federal Government has received an application from Poland for the export of Leopard 2 tanks," the spokesman confirmed.

"As already explained by government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit at yesterday's government press conference, applications for the approval of an arms export are examined with the necessary urgency in accordance with the established procedures and arms export guidelines,” he added.