January 26, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Tara Subramaniam, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Leinz Vales, Maureen Chowdhury and Matt Meyer, CNN

Updated 12:37 a.m. ET, January 27, 2023
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5:37 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Missiles strike Odesa region less than 24 hours after regional capital put on UNESCO heritage list

From CNN’s Maria Kostenko and Jo Shelley

Thursday’s wave of Russian air strikes damaged energy infrastructure in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, causing “major troubles with the power supply,” regional governor Maksym Marchenko said on Telegram. 

“There are hits and damage to several energy infrastructure facilities in the Odesa region and other regions of the country,” Marchenko wrote.

The strikes came less than 24 hours after the historic center of the regional capital, the port city of Odesa, was added to the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay had said then he hoped the move would help protect the city from the war.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Thursday that the attack was in response to the listing.

“Among [the] targets of today’s mass missile strike, Russia struck Odesa causing massive power outages,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter. “This destruction is Putin’s response to UNESCO inscribing Odesa on its World Heritage List yesterday and placing it under reinforced protection of the World Heritage in Danger List.”

More than 30 Russian missiles were reportedly launched at Ukraine on Thursday morning, just hours after two dozen attack drones were shot down.

Missile strikes have been reported in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and the Odesa and Vinnytsia regions.

5:30 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Poland to receive first batch of Abrams tanks from the US 

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signs a contract for the purchase of 250 Abrams tanks for the Polish Army in the 1st Warsaw Armored Brigade in Wesola near Warsaw, Poland, on April 5.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signs a contract for the purchase of 250 Abrams tanks for the Polish Army in the 1st Warsaw Armored Brigade in Wesola near Warsaw, Poland, on April 5. (Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Poland will receive its first Abrams tanks from the United States in the spring, defense minister Mariusz Błaszczak said Thursday.

Błaszczak told public broadcaster Polskie Radio 1 that 58 of the US-made tanks will be delivered in the coming months, and Polish troops had been undergoing training on the vehicles "for some time." 

"First the Leopards, now the Abrams. Thank you [President Joe Biden]. Peace in Europe is getting closer," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted. 

In December, the US approved a $3.75 billion sale of Abrams tanks to Poland.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” reads a note from the US State Department published at the time.

“The proposed sale will improve Poland’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force that is capable of deterring adversaries and participating in NATO operations.”

Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine: The announcement on the first delivery of these tanks comes as Poland prepares to send some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Marcin Przydacz, head of the Polish president's International Policy Bureau, said the country will send "one company" of tanks.

He would not specify exactly how many tanks Poland intended to send but said that a company of tanks was usually made up of “between 10 and 14 Leopard 2 vehicles.” 

5:38 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

One killed and at least two wounded in Kyiv after Russian missile attacks

From CNN’s Maria Kostenko and Jo Shelley

One person has died and at least two have been wounded in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv after Russia launched a new wave of missile attacks on Thursday morning, city mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said on Telegram.

“There is information about one dead and two injured as a result of a missile hit in the Holosiyivskyi district,” he said. Klitschko also reported explosions in the Dniprovskyi district.

Earlier Monday, Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat told national television that more than 30 missiles had been fired at Ukraine from strategic bombers that took off from Russia’s Murmansk region.

Missile strikes have also been reported in the Vinnytsia region.

An air raid alert remains in place across the country. 

3:57 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Ukraine scrambles air defenses after Russians fire more than 30 missiles, air force says

From CNN’s Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

People gather in a subway station being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 26.
People gather in a subway station being used as a bomb shelter during a rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 26. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Ukrainian air defenses are working to intercept Russian attacks after Moscow's forces fired more than 30 missiles at Ukraine on Thursday morning, the Ukrainian Air Force said.

Air force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said on Ukrainian television that around six Russian Tu-95 aircraft had “taken off from [Russia's] Murmansk region and have launched missiles."

"We expect more than 30 missiles, which have already begun to appear in various regions,” Ihnat said, adding that Ukrainian air defenses were working to intercept the attacks. 

Some missiles hit Ukraine's west-central Vinnytsia region, Gov. Serhiy Borzov said on Telegram, but no casualties were reported. 

The head of the Kyiv city military administration, Serhii Popko, said on Telegram that more than 15 cruise missiles had been launched “in the direction of Kyiv” and all had been shot down. 

An air raid alert is in place across the country. 

Drones repelled: Separately, Ukraine’s Air Force Command has said its air defenses shot down 24 attack drones sent by Russia overnight 

The attacks come after the United States and Germany said Wednesday they would send battle tanks to Ukraine. 

2:28 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Analysis: Biden rallies Western alliance and gives Zelensky an "iron fist" against Putin

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

Joe Biden delivers remarks on the continued support for Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on January 25.
Joe Biden delivers remarks on the continued support for Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on January 25. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

The more Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to break NATO, the stronger it gets.

Not for the first time in the war in UkrainePresident Joe Biden took decisive action that closed fissures in the alliance. He announced Wednesday he would ship 31 advanced US tanks to Kyiv’s military in a move that prompted a reluctant Germany to drop its resistance to sending its own tanks and could unlock similar moves all over Europe.

This represented a significant symbolic, political and military win for Ukraine. It hopes what it calls its new “iron fist” will punch through entrenched Russian lines in the east, could fuel an advance on Russia’s land bridge to annexed Crimea in the south and will stave off a feared Russian spring offensive.

It took Biden’s statesmanship to end the most public and damaging Western rift of the war so far. The US had previously said its Abrams tanks were too complex and too high maintenance for the Ukraine war and didn’t suit the terrain. But Biden’s change of heart, which gives Germany cover, underscores Washington’s view that Western unity against Putin is critical to saving Ukraine.

Indeed, Putin’s major goal off the battlefield is to forge splits between the Western allies and to disrupt or end the flow of weapons on which Ukraine’s survival as an independent nation depends.

His failure, despite fierce Russian public threats designed to bully European nations into balking at tank transfers, also comes after a mild winter robbed Russia of another prong of its strategy — starving Europeans of gas imports during freezing weather in hopes they’d pressure their own leaders to step back from supporting Ukraine.

“Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve,” Biden said at the White House on Wednesday. “He expected our support for Ukraine to crumble with time. He was wrong … and he was wrong from the beginning and he continues to be wrong. We are united.”

Read the full analysis here.

2:12 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Swiss arms embargo exemption allows Ukraine to use demining gear on "case-by-case basis"

From CNN's Alex Stambaugh and Pauline Lockwood

Switzerland's Federal Council has granted a new exemption to its arms embargo to allow the use of Swiss demining equipment in Ukraine in some cases. 

"The Federal Council decided on a new provision with regard to the arms embargo. Switzerland can now grant exemptions from the arms embargo on demining equipment for use in Ukraine on a case-by-case basis," the council said in a statement Wednesday. 
"In issuing the export license, steps will be taken to ensure that the material is used lawfully and for its intended purpose."

Switzerland, though not a member of the European Union, will also implement the EU's ninth round of sanctions against Russia, including the sanctioning of around 200 additional individuals and entities, the government said Wednesday. 

Swiss stance: Switzerland has blocked the requests of several European countries, including Germany and Denmark to re-export Swiss-made ammunition to Ukraine, arguing the moves would violate the country's long-held neutrality. 

However on Tuesday, a key Swiss parliamentary committee recommended waiving a law that bans the re-export of Swiss-made armaments in cases where at least two-thirds of the United Nations General Assembly determines there has been an illegal use of force.

Parliament's Security Policy Committee, which proposed the amendment, argued it would still "respect the law of neutrality" because it would not allow the direct export of war material to conflict zones. 

"The majority of the committee believes that Switzerland must make its contribution to European security, which means providing greater aid to Ukraine," its statement said.

The motion has yet to be voted on in parliament.

2:00 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Ukrainian air defenses shoot down Russian missiles, officials say

From CNN's Maria Kostenko and Alex Stambaugh  

Andriy Yermak attends a briefing in Kyiv on December 2, 2022.
Andriy Yermak attends a briefing in Kyiv on December 2, 2022. (Ruslan Kaniuka/AP)

Ukraine's air defense systems shot down an unspecified number of Russian missiles on Thursday morning, the Ukrainian president's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram.

At least two of the rockets flew through the southern Mykolaiv region, Gov. Vitaly Kim said on Telegram.

Earlier, Ukraine's largest private energy company on Thursday implemented emergency power outages in several regions including Kyiv "due to the threat of a missile attack," the firm said.

Air raid sirens have sounded across all regions of Ukraine on Thursday morning. So far, there have been no reports of strikes. 

2:00 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Emergency power outages imposed in several parts of Ukraine due to threat of Russian missile attacks

From CNN's Maria Kostenko

Ukraine's largest private energy company on Thursday implemented emergency power outages in several regions including Kyiv "due to the threat of a missile attack," the firm said.

In a Telegram post, the DTEK group said the outages in the capital, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk were "a necessary preventive step to avoid significant damage to the energy infrastructure if enemy missiles reach their target."

Air raid sirens have been ringing across all parts of Ukraine, including Kyiv, on Thursday morning. 

2:00 a.m. ET, January 26, 2023

Air raid sirens across central and eastern Ukraine signal a possible Russian attack, officials warn

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

Air sirens rang across much of central and eastern Ukraine Wednesday night as officials warned residents to shelter from a possible Russian attack.

“Threat of a missile strike,” Mykola Lukashuk, head of the Dnipropetrovsk Region Council, said on Telegram. “Stay in safe places until the end of the alert. The threat is not over.”

Lukashuk urged others on Telegram not to report the locations of possible interceptions by Ukrainian air defense.

“Do not help the enemy,” he said. “Wait for official information.”

In the southern Mykolaiv region, there were also official reports of possible incoming Russian fire.

“They write that three groups of mopeds [Shahed attack drones] have already taken off,” Vitaliy Kim, head of the Mykolaiv regional military administration, said on Telegram. “The petty crooks couldn't come up with anything better on the best president's birthday.”

In the northeastern Kharkiv region, the military administrator warned residents to remain in their shelters: “There is a threat of missile attacks. Do not ignore the alarms.”

In the central Kirovohrad region, the military administrator said on Telegram: “The level of missile threat remains high.”