Fierce battles are under way for the control of Bakhmut and the nearby town of Soledar in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, as fighting between the two European neighbours enters its 319th day.

A Russian missile slammed into a village market in east Ukraine on Thursday, killing two women and wounding four others.
A Russian missile slammed into a village market in east Ukraine on Thursday, killing two women and wounding four others. (AFP)

Monday, January 9, 2023

UK considering giving battle tanks to Ukraine: report

Britain is considering supplying Ukraine with tanks for the first time to help the country fight Russian forces, Sky News reported, citing a Western source.

Discussions have been taking place "for a few weeks" about delivering the British Army's Challenger 2 main battle tank to Ukraine, the reports said.

Iran could be contributing to war crimes in Ukraine - White House

Iran could be contributing to war crimes in Ukraine by providing drones to Russia, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

"Their weapons are being used to kill civilians in Ukraine and to try to plunge cities into cold and darkness which, from our point of view, puts Iran in a place where it could potentially be contributing to widespread war crimes," Sullivan told reporters.

Russia’s Lukoil sells interest in Italian refinery

Russia's Lukoil has sold its Italian refinery to a consortium of Western private equity and trading firms, the company said, in the first major sale of Russian-held western assets since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

Russian companies identified as close to the government in Moscow have been under pressure by Western governments and other international institutions for their role in the conflict in Ukraine.

Two British voluntary workers missing in Ukraine - police

Ukrainian police said they were looking for two British voluntary workers who had gone missing in east Ukraine, the scene of heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

A police statement named the two as Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry and said in a statement they were trying to establish their whereabouts.

The police said the two left the city of Kramatorsk for the town of Soledar on Friday morning and were reported missing on Saturday evening after contact with them was lost. The police statement said they were aged 28 and 48 but gave no details of their voluntary work.

Russian and Ukrainian human rights commissioners to meet in Türkiye 

The Russian and Ukrainian human rights commissioners will meet in Türkiye this week for talks likely to include the possibility of further exchanges of prisoners of war, news agencies from both countries reported.

Interfax quoted the Russian commissioner, Tatiana Moskalkova, as saying the meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Lubinets would take place during an international forum in Türkiye between Thursday and Saturday.

She said there had already been a discussion of the "approximate agenda of our negotiations" but gave no details.

Ukraine's Ukrinform news agency quoted Lubinets as saying the main issue was "the return of our heroes and heroines," a reference to prisoner exchanges.

Ukrainian rescuers work on a missile strike site following a Russian bombardment on a local market in Shevchenkove village, Kharkiv region on Monday.
Ukrainian rescuers work on a missile strike site following a Russian bombardment on a local market in Shevchenkove village, Kharkiv region on Monday. (AFP)

Bakhmut is ‘holding on’ despite Russian attacks - Zelenskyy

Kiev's forces are repelling ongoing Russian strikes on towns in the eastern Donbass area, according to Ukrainian officials.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address that Bakhmut and Soledar were "hanging on" as Moscow-backed separatists claim to have taken control of Bakhmutske, located near the strategic city of Bakhmut.

Russia: Western arms deliveries will 'prolong suffering'

The Kremlin has said moves by Western countries to supply Ukraine with weapons - including light tanks - would only make life more difficult for Ukrainians.

"Fundamentally, these deliveries cannot and will not change anything... (they) can only prolong the suffering of the Ukrainian people," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in response to a question on France's decision last week to send armoured vehicles to Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron last week pledged to send light tanks to Kiev. The move to supply the French-made AMX-10 RC to Ukraine - a light model in service since the 1980s - would make France the first Western country to send tanks to Ukraine.

Pope condemns Ukraine-Russia war

Pope Francis has said wars such as that in Ukraine, where civilian areas are subjected to what he called indiscriminate destruction, are "a crime against God and humanity".

Francis made his remarks in his yearly speech to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, an overview of the world situation which has come to be known informally as his "state of the world" address. 

Russian strike near Kharkiv kills two

A Russian missile slammed into a village market in east Ukraine, killing two women and wounding four others, including a 10-year-old girl, regional prosecutors said.

Footage posted by public broadcaster Suspilne on the Telegram messaging app showed rescue workers sifting through large piles of rubble, burning debris and a large crater in Shevchenkove, about 80 km (50 miles) southeast of the city of Kharkiv.

In a written statement, prosecutors said they have opened an investigation into a potential war crime, referencing preliminary information that the attack came from an S-300 air defence system in Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine.

Russia backs banning of maps

Russia's government gave its support to a bill classifying maps "challenging the country's territorial integrity" as "extremist materials," according to local media.

State news agency TASS reported that the bill amending the law on "counteracting extremist activity," proposes to list "cartography and other documents and images that dispute the territorial integrity of Russia" as "extremist materials."

It is certain Kiev will reclaim all its lands: Ukrainian PM

The Ukrainian prime minister has said it is certain that Ukraine will reclaim all of its lands from Russia.

"We don't know when the war will end, but it's certain that we will reclaim all of our land," said Denys Shmyhal in an interview with the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

"We're doing everything we can to quickly end the war. For this, the international community must strictly keep sanctions on Russia and strengthen them," he added.

For live updates from Sunday (January 8), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies