Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 330 of the invasion | Ukraine
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has stepped up calls for Ukraine’s army to be supplied with heavy tanks and urged “resolve and speed” of decision-making from western allies. Addressing a packed gathering at the World Economic Forum in Davos via video link on Wednesday, Ukraine’s president warned that “tyranny is outpacing democracy”.
Nato countries are set to announce new “heavier weapons” for Ukraine, the alliance’s chief has said. Many of Ukraine’s allies will meet on Friday at the Ramstein military base in Germany, including all 30 Nato members. “The main message there will be more support and more advanced support, heavier weapons and more modern weapons,” said Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary general. This month Britain pledged western heavy tanks and the US promised to send its powerful Bradley armoured fighting vehicles, while France offered its highly mobile AMX-10 RCs.
The European Union’s head also spoke in favour of the west providing tanks to Ukraine. “We, the EU, will continue to support them for as long as it takes,” Charles Michel, the European Council president, said on Wednesday. “The time is now – they urgently need more equipment and I am personally in favour of supplying tanks to Ukraine.”
Germany’s chancellor avoided committing to the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Olaf Scholz did not mention the Leopard tanks when a Ukrainian delegate asked him “why the hesitancy” in signing off their re-export at the Davos summit. The German leader said his country was “strategically interlocked” with the US, France and other “friends and partners”, and that any decisions about weapons had to be part of a collective effort to help Ukraine win the war. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper later reported that Scholz had spoken with the US president, Joe Biden, and “made it clear that Germany could only give in to the pressure to deliver if the US delivered Abrams battle tanks”. The US was not prepared to provide the advanced Abrams tanks to Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday, citing difficulties in maintenance and training.
Canada announced it would donate 200 armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine. The move came during a visit to Kyiv by Canada’s defence minister, Anita Anand. Zelenskiy thanked the Canadian people and its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, “on this difficult day”.
Bulgaria helped Ukraine survive Russia’s early onslaught by secretly supplying it with large amounts of desperately needed diesel and ammunition, the politicians responsible have said. The former Bulgarian prime minister Kiril Petkov and finance minister Assen Vassilev said their country – one of the poorest EU members and long perceived as pro-Moscow – provided 30% of the Soviet-calibre ammunition Ukraine’s army needed during a crucial three-month period last spring, and at times 40% of the diesel.
Poland’s president has warned that Russia could be planning a new offensive in the coming months, calling on countries to provide Ukraine with “weapons, weapons, weapons”. Andrzej Duda told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Russia was still strong and that more action was needed to support Ukraine, saying current levels of assistance were inadequate.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy has written a letter inviting the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, for talks, which was handed to the Chinese delegation in Davos, said the Ukrainian leader’s wife, Olena Zelenska. “It was a gesture and invitation to dialogue and I hope very much that there will be a response to this invitation,” she told reporters on Wednesday. China has sought to position itself as neutral in the war, while at the same time deepening ties with Moscow.
Ukraine reported intense fighting overnight in the east of the country, where both sides have taken huge losses for little gain in intense trench warfare over the past two months. Ukrainian forces repelled attacks in the eastern city of Bakhmut and the nearby village of Klishchiivka, the Ukrainian military said. Russia has focused on Bakhmut in recent weeks, claiming last week to have taken the mining town of Soledar on its northern outskirts. “We notice a gradual increase in the number of shelling occasions and attempts at offensive actions by the occupiers,” Zelenskiy said in his latest address.
Vladimir Putin has said he has “no doubt” that Russia’s victory in Ukraine is “inevitable”. He announced that Russia’s military-industrial complex was ramping up production during a visit to a factory in St Petersburg. In a separate speech, the Russian president also claimed Moscow’s actions in Ukraine were intended to stop a “war” that had been raging in eastern Ukraine for many years. Ukraine and the west have rejected Putin’s stated objectives of demilitarising and “denazifying” Ukraine as a pretext for a war of choice and unprovoked aggression.
Four people have been detained by Moscow police at a makeshift memorial dedicated to victims of Saturday’s deadly missile strike on a residential building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, according to a report. People began placing flowers at the statue of Ukrainian writer Lesya Ukrainka in a “spontaneous memorial in memory of the victims of the missile strike in Dnipro”, the independent Russian human rights monitor OVD-Info said.