January 28, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Matt Meyer, Adrienne Vogt and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 5:49 PM ET, Sat January 28, 2023
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8:30 a.m. ET, January 28, 2023

German defense minister rules out sending fighter jets to Ukraine

From Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has ruled out Germany sending fighter jets to Ukraine, according to an interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday.

''This is out of the question," Pistorius is quoted as saying when asked whether Germany would send fighter jets to Kyiv.

It follows renewed public appeals by Ukraine’s government for Western fighter jets after Germany approved the delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks earlier this week.

"Fighter aircrafts are much more complex systems than main battle tanks and have a completely different range and firepower. We would venture into dimensions that I would currently warn against," Pistorius said in the interview.

Pistorius, who took office last week following his predecessor's resignation, also told the newspaper that Germany's 100 billion euro ($108 billion) special defense fund, which was set up last year, is no longer enough to cover its requirements. 

"The 100 billion will not be enough," Pistorius said, adding that he believes Germany would also need to increase its annual regular defense budget, which is currently set at around 50 billion euros (about $54 billion).

Pistorius also said that Germany's decision to suspend compulsory military service in 2011 "was a mistake," adding that he was open to discussing a new model to strengthen the relationship between citizens and the state.

8:39 a.m. ET, January 28, 2023

Russia fired 2 hypersonic Kinzhal missiles Thursday, Ukraine says

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London and Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

Two of the 70 missiles fired by Russia toward Ukraine on Thursday were Kinzhal-type hypersonic missiles, the Ukrainian Air Force said, calling on the West to provide them with advance air defense systems that are capable of shooting these down.

“We need Patriot and SAMP/T systems to be able to (intercept these missiles),” Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said during a briefing.

SAMP/T systems are used for air defense primarily in Europe.

The United States has said it will send Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine, but the systems do not appear to be operational in the country yet. Ukrainian troops were set to begin training on the Patriot system this month at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where the US conducts its own training on operating and maintaining the advanced air defense system.

France and Italy are finalizing an agreement to send SAMP/T systems to Ukraine, with an agreement expected in the coming weeks. 

8:37 a.m. ET, January 28, 2023

EU accuses Russia of "indiscriminate attacks" against Ukraine, taking war to a "different stage"

From CNN’s Duarte Mendonca

A senior European Union official accused Russia on Friday of taking its war against Ukraine to a “different stage” by taking aim at civilians and non-military targets, prompting Germany and the US to supply military equipment to Ukraine in order for the country to better defend themselves.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, the secretary general of the European Union’s European External Action Service, Stefano Sannino, said Russia had “moved from a concept of special operation to a concept now of a war against NATO and the West.”

“I think that this latest development in terms of armed supply is just an evolution of the situation and of the way Russia started moving the war into a different stage,” Sannino, said, adding that Putin was launching “indiscriminate attacks against civilians and against cities.”

The EU’s latest actions are aimed at “just giving the possibility of saving lives and allowing the Ukrainians to defend (themselves) from these barbaric attacks,” he added.

Tanks promised: The leaders of the United States and Germany each announced Wednesday they will send contingents of tanks to Ukraine, reversing their longstanding trepidation at providing Kyiv with offensive armored vehicles and unleashing powerful new tools in Ukraine’s efforts to retake territory seized by Russia.

The announcement by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that he will send Leopard 2 tanks was coupled with an announcement from US President Joe Biden that he was providing 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing the administration’s longstanding resistance to requests from Kyiv for the highly sophisticated but maintenance-heavy vehicles.

The dual announcements made for a landmark moment that followed weeks of intense pressure on Berlin from some of its NATO allies. The decisions were the result of prolonged diplomacy between Germany, the United States and other European allies, and come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky prepares for a new Russian offensive this spring.