Russia-Ukraine war live: Kyiv investigating fatal helicopter crash; British, Polish and Baltic defence ministers to meet | Ukraine

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the war in Ukraine. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.

Our top story this morning: Ukrainian authorities on Thursday were investigating the circumstances surrounding a helicopter crash that killed the country’s interior minister and 13 others.

And coming up today, the British and Polish defence ministers will meet with their counterparts from the Baltic states in Estonia, in a Ramstein pre-meeting designed to put further pressure on Germany to move forward with the Leopard 2s.

Here are the other key recent developments:

  • 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. ting 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.

  • 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.

  • 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”.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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