January 19, 2023 - Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Leinz Vales, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 1:21 a.m. ET, January 20, 2023
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12:10 p.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Zelensky: Supply of Western-made tanks to Ukraine remains "pressing and very sensitive"

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference with European Council President Charles Michel after their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference with European Council President Charles Michel after their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday the supply of Western-made tanks to Ukraine continues to be "pressing and very sensitive" in his nation's war against Russia.

Zelensky told journalists the impasse over the tanks “depends on a lot of reasons and unfortunately does not depend on Ukraine's wish.”

Speaking alongside European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv, Zelensky celebrated the fact that several countries had come forward saying they would like to send some of their tanks to Ukraine, but added that in most cases they require permission from manufacturing countries.

“We all are waiting for the approval of the country which has the rights on the particular license,” Zelensky explained.

One of the countries concerned is Germany, which produces the Leopard tank. Poland, Denmark and others have said they want to send some of their Leopard to Ukraine but Berlin has been reluctant to approve the supply German-made tanks, to avoid escalation with Moscow.

“We put as much political pressure, as we can, but most importantly our pressure is based on the solid arguments,” Zelensky said. “The courage of our warriors and motivation of Ukrainian people is not enough against thousands of tanks of Russian Federation.”

Zelensky also said Ukraine was looking at other avenues, namely internal production, but added he did not want to give too much away to Russia.

“Time and speed are important. Each minute is a human life. The faster we are able to deoccupy our territory, the faster we become more powerful, the more our citizens' lives will be spared,” he added, saying current supplies were not coming in fast enough.


11:16 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine have eased in recent weeks but could pick up in the spring, Microsoft says

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Russia's cyberattacks against Ukrainian targets have eased over the past month, Microsoft President Brad Smith told CNN on Thursday, but he warned that could change with the arrival of springtime.

"The last 30 days have been quieter" for Russian cyberattacks, he told CNN at the World Economic Forum in Davos, adding that Microsoft has also observed a similar pullback on pro-Kremlin digital propaganda linked to the war.

"Right now, the Russian government, as we see it, is having to focus so many of its resources on the Russian population, to try to sustain support, that there's a little bit of a reprieve outside of Russia," Smith said.

But, he warned, that situation could rapidly change.

"Typically, when the spring comes, militaries wage offenses," Smith said. "We have to be ready for an offensive cyber war, offensive cyber influence activities, and that's part of what we are preparing for," he said. 

As of Jan. 19, Microsoft has spent $436 million in financial aid and technology assistance to Ukraine, Smith said.  

11:08 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Former Ukrainian president urges NATO to be united in sending German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stressed the importance of German-made Leopard tanks for Ukrainian defense in Russia's war, saying "it is impossible" to shore up a strong offensive operation without these tanks.

"All Western world, the NATO, should learn unity," he told CNN Thursday. "At the end of the day, we could [be in] the situation that Poland and other NATO members states will supply for us the tank without the permission of Germany."

He thanked Ukrainian allies, including the United States and Canada, for sending support for Ukrainian defense.

"We think that everybody now understands that we are not only protecting Ukraine, and you are not only supporting and helping Ukraine. We, together, protect freedom, democracy of the whole free world," he said.

10:41 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Dutch prime minister reaffirms calls for "broad coalition" for sending tanks to Ukraine

From CNN's Livvy Doherty

Mark Rutte, Netherlands prime minister, speaks an event on the sidelines on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on January 19.
Mark Rutte, Netherlands prime minister, speaks an event on the sidelines on day three of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on January 19. (Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he understands Germany and other countries who want a “broad coalition” for sending heavy battle tanks to Ukraine. 

In an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Rutte said “there has been broadly support to send military gear. We have sent so much since the start of the war. Of course, there is this debate going on tanks, and here the issue is, this will be a next step in the fight. It might be necessary, but I do understand the Germans and others are saying you need a broad coalition.”

Rutte noted that it was “crucial” that Ukraine wins the war but “you have to be also honest with him (Zelensky) and say, if you want tanks, for example, at this level he is asking for them, it is necessary that we do this not just by one country, but by a group of countries”

The Dutch prime minister said he was “fairly confident” that Europe and the US could bring their “dialogue” on tanks to a conclusion.

Some background: Kyiv has pleaded for modern tanks, a request the US is not yet willing to grant, even though the UK and other key allies are preparing to send tanks that could make a crucial difference in the war as Kyiv braces for a possible large-scale Russian counter-offensive.

9:41 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Ukrainian official repeats call for tanks and asks allies to stop fearing Putin

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Clare Sebastian in London

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has called on the nation's allies to supply Kyiv with tanks, saying they should stop fearing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Time to stop trembling at Putin and take the final step,” Podolyak tweeted on Thursday. “From Washington to London, from Paris to Warsaw, one thing is said: Ukraine needs tanks; tanks — the key to end war properly.”

Podolyak also appeared to take a jab at Germany for its hesitation in sending its Leopard 2 tanks. 

“True leadership is about leading by example, not about looking up to others,” he wrote, following reports Germany wanted the United States to send their Abrams tanks first. 

9:37 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Dnipro apartment death toll rises to 46, according to regional official

From Maria Kostenko in Kyiv

Memorial area in front of the apartment building destroyed by a Russian missile in the city of Dnipro, Ukraine, on January 18.
Memorial area in front of the apartment building destroyed by a Russian missile in the city of Dnipro, Ukraine, on January 18. (Ximena Borrazas/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

 The death toll from Russia’s attack Saturday on an apartment building in Dnipro, Ukraine, has risen to 46, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk region military administration said Thursday.

According to Valentyn Reznichenko, 11 people remain missing. Of those killed, 11 are still yet to be identified, he said.  

The attack injured an additional 80 people, 24 of whom remain hospitalized. Three of those are in serious condition, among them a 9-year-old girl.

9:26 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

UK pledges 600 Brimstone missiles to Ukraine

From CNN’s Allegra Goodwin and Mike Pratt  

The United Kingdom will send 600 Brimstone missiles to support Ukraine in its battle against Russia, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced Thursday.

“We’re going to send another 600 Brimstone missiles into theater which will be incredibly important in helping Ukraine dominate the battlefield,” Wallace said in a news conference in Estonia.

More on this weapon: The Brimstone missile was originally designed as an air-launched munition. However, Ukraine will launch the missile from trucks. The missile is extremely effective, particularly against moving targets, and provides a lower risk of collateral damage than other forms of air-dropped munition. 

Wallace's announcement comes after Downing Street on Saturday announced plans to send 12 Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems as part of efforts to "intensify" support for Ukraine.

9:33 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Russian and Belarusian defense ministers discuss training regional troops

From CNN’s Anna Chernova

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, on February 14.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, on February 14. (Kremlin Press Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a phone call with the Belarusian Minister of Defense Viktor Khrenin, both ministries said in separate statements Thursday.

According to the readout published by the Belarusian side, the military chiefs “discussed issues of bilateral military cooperation, the ongoing set of strategic deterrence measures, as well as the progress in the preparation of the regional grouping of troops."

Some background: Joint military aviation drills involving Belarusian and Russian forces are underway on the territory of Belarus. According to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, the main goal of the exercises is to “increase operational compatibility in the joint performance of combat training missions.”

The drills launched on Monday and are expected to continue until Feb. 1.

Ukraine and Belarus share a 1,000-kilometer frontier, much of it sparsely populated and thickly forested, but Kyiv has looked anxiously towards it. When Belarusian and Russian forces held joint exercises in February 2022, many of those Russian forces went on to cross the Ukrainian border in their ill-fated drive towards the capital.

The prospect of Ukraine’s long northern border becoming a passageway for Russian forces for the second time this year would be a nightmare for Ukraine’s already stretched forces.

8:50 a.m. ET, January 19, 2023

Sweden will send infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine as part of its biggest military aid to Kyiv  

From CNN’s Eve Brennan and Henrik Pettersson

Sweden plans to send as many as 50 armored combat vehicles to Ukraine as part of its new military aid package, according to a Swedish government statement released Thursday.  

The package "consists of, among other things, grenade launchers with ammunition, anti-armour ammunition, automatic rifles and mine clearance materiel combat vehicle 90 (CV90) with ammunition and Missile 57 (NLAW),” the statement said.

The new military aid — which also consists of an Archer artillery system — would be worth 4.3 billion Swedish crowns ($419 million) and it's the biggest defense package Sweden has given to Ukraine so far, according to the statement. 

Swedish deputy Prime Minister Ebba Busch said at a news conference Thursday that Ukraine will be provided with up to 50 CV90 infantry military vehicles and that this makes up the main part of the package.   

"Combat Vehicle 90 is Swedish manufactured and considered one of the world's best combat vehicles, and we're sending them in a quantity that we know will make a difference,” she said. 

The Swedish government has not said how many Archer artillery systems it would send to Ukraine. 

What Ukraine is saying: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Sweden for its support, saying in a tweet, “Sincerely grateful to the Government of Sweden [and the Swedish prime minister] for the new military assistance package.”  

“CV90 IFVs, Archer self-propelled howitzers & NLAW ATGMs are powerful weapons that [the Ukrainian] army needs to liberate our land from the Russian invader,” Zelensky wrote. “Together to a common victory!” he added.  

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleskii Reznikov also thanked his Swedish counterpart Kristersson, the Swedish defence minister Pål Jonson for “the 10th package of security assistance” to Ukraine. 

“Our warriors will master the artillery and vehicles quickly,” Reznikov said in a tweet Thursday.