Rishi Sunak rules out sending fighter jets to Ukraine
Rishi Sunak has ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine on the grounds that it is "not practical".
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: "The UK's ... fighter jets are extremely sophisticated and take months to learn how to fly. Given that, we believe it is not practical to send those jets into Ukraine.
"We will continue to discuss with our allies about what we think what is the right approach."
It comes as Boris Johnson is scheduled to speak at a number of Republican events on Tuesday where he is expected to press the issue of aid to Ukraine.
Last night, Joe Biden ruled out sending advanced F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, rejecting pleas from Volodymyr Zelensky.
What we learned today
Rishi Sunak ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine on the grounds that it is "not practical.
British intelligence warned that Russia is trying to develop a new "axis of advance" to divert Ukrainian troops from Bakhmut.
Guy Verhofstadt, an MEP and the former Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament, suggested Russia may not have invaded Ukraine if the UK was still a member of the EU.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, said that Ukraine will receive 120 to 140 tanks in a "first wave" of deliveries from a coalition of 12 countries.
President Vladimir Putin backed a plan to set up joint military training centres with Belarus.
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Sending fighter jets to Ukraine is not taboo, says France
The French defence minister has said "there is no taboo" when he was asked about sending fighter jets to Ukraine.
Yesterday, Emmanuel Macron said that France had not ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine, setting him on a collision course with Germany.
Mr Macron said that “nothing is excluded in principle”, but only if certain conditions are met and that it does not lead to an “escalation”.
Russia might not have invaded Ukraine without Brexit, says Guy Verhofstadt
Vladimir Putin might never have invaded Ukraine if Britain had not voted for Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt has said.
Mr Verhofstadt, a federalist who dreams of a United States of Europe and a former prime minister of Belgium, was the European Parliament’s Brexit boss during the torturous UK-EU negotiations.
On Monday, Mr Verhofstadt said he had a “dream” that the UK and Ukraine could join the EU in the next five years.
Ex-Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt implies that if the UK didn't leave the EU Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine.@NickFerrariLBC | @guyverhofstadt pic.twitter.com/cxIdfzeCTd
— LBC (@LBC) January 31, 2023
Speaking to LBC on Tuesday, on the third anniversary of the day the UK left the EU, he said: “A united Europe, certainly on defence matters, would make an enormous difference. I think maybe that without Brexit, maybe there was no invasion. I don’t know.
“Let's hope that Britain can rejoin and let's hope that Ukraine can join and why not within five years?”
Read more on the story by James Crisp here
Breaking: France to send 12 more Cesar artillery pieces to Ukraine
France will send 12 further Caesar truck-mounted howitzers to Ukraine for its fight against Russian invaders, Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu said Tuesday.
The artillery pieces, adding to 18 already delivered, would be financed from a 200-million-euro ($217-million) fund France set up to fund arms for Kyiv, Lecornu said in a joint Paris press conference with his Ukranian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov.
Ukraine says it prevented Russia cutting off eastern supply line
Ukraine said on Tuesday its forces had repelled Russian attacks on a road near the eastern town of Bakhmut, preventing Moscow gaining control of an important Ukrainian supply line.
Russian troops have been unable to cut off the road leading from the town Chasiv Yar to Bakhmut, military spokesperson Serhiy Cherevaty said in televised comments. "Russian troops could not cut off the road which is used for supplying the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Ukrainian army in Bakhmut is supplied with everything necessary," he said.
He said Bakhmut remained one of the main focuses of Russian attacks, including artillery strikes and infantry assaults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russia said its forces had taken control of Blahodatne, a small village just north of Bakhmut.
Watch: Biden rules out sending F16s to Ukraine
Sunak: Prolonged stalemate in war benefits Russia
Rishi Sunak has determined after completing a review that a "prolonged stalemate" in the war in Ukraine would benefit Russia and therefore supports accelerating support for Kyiv.
Giving an account of Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "He said since becoming Prime Minister he had reviewed the UK's approach and concluded that a prolonged stalemate in the conflict would only benefit Russia.
"Which was why he had decided there was an opportunity to accelerate UK support working closely with our allies to give Ukraine the best chance of success and make the most of the window of opportunity where Russian forces were on the back foot.
"He said the new strategy would also see greater diplomatic efforts and planning work with the Ukrainians on how to rebuild once the conflict had ended."
Ukraine to receive 120-140 tanks in 'first wave' of deliveries
Ukraine will receive 120 to 140 tanks in a "first wave" of deliveries from a coalition of 12 countries, Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, said on Tuesday.
Ukraine secured pledges earlier this month from a group of Western countries to supply main battle tanks to help Kyiv's forces fend off Russia's full-scale invasion.
"The tank coalition now has 12 members. I can note that in the first wave of contributions, the Ukrainian armed forces will receive between 120 and 140 Western-model tanks," Kuleba said during an online briefing.
UK economy to suffer more than sanctions-hit Russia in 2023, warns IMF
The UK is on course to be the only major economy to shrink this year owing to Jeremy Hunt's tax raid and higher borrowing costs, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF downgraded its 2023 UK growth forecast by more than any other G7 nation, blaming the prospect of a deeper recession on “tighter fiscal and monetary policies”.
It leaves the UK economy languishing behind Germany and even sanctions-hit Russia, with both countries expected to eke out modest growth this year.
Read more from Szu Ping Chan here
Pictured: Ukrainian servicemen in Bakhmut
Russia building 'new axis' to distract Ukraine forces
Russia is trying to develop a new "axis of advance" to divert Ukrainian troops from Bakhmut, British intelligence has warned.
In its latest intelligence update, the Ministry of Defence said: "Russian commanders are likely aiming to develop a new axis of advance into Ukrainian-held Donetsk Oblast, and to divert Ukrainian forces from the heavily contested Bakhmut sector."
The MoD said there was a "realistic possibility" that Russia would continue to make local gains in the sector, but added that it was "unlikely" to have enough troops to achieve an operationally significant breakthrough,
Last night, the Ukrainian Army general staff said that Russian forces shelled a dozen settlements in the Bakhmut sector over the past 24 hours.
Downing Street has said it is "not practical" to send UK fighter jets to Ukraine
Downing Street has said it is "not practical" to send UK fighter jets to Ukraine to bolster its fight against Russia.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The UK's Typhoon and F35 fighter jets are extremely sophisticated and take months to learn how to fly, given that we believe it is not practical to send those jets into Ukraine.
"We will continue to provide and accelerate our military support to Ukraine and listen carefully to their requests.
"It is the length of time it takes to learn how to use what are very complex pieces of equipment that is the limiting factor in this case but we will explore what more we can do to support Ukraine."
Putin backs military training centres with Belarus
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday backed a plan to set up joint military training centres with Belarus, with fears mounting that Minsk could enter the Ukraine conflict to fight with Moscow.
In a decree published Tuesday, Putin tasked the defence and foreign ministers to conduct talks with Belarus and sign an agreement to establish the facilities.
The document did not specify where they would be based.
Minsk allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory as a launching pad for its Ukraine offensive that began on February 24 last year.
Poland not in talks to send F-16s to Ukraine
Poland is not in talks to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, a deputy defence minister said Tuesday, a day after the US ruled out delivering fighter jets to the war-torn country.
"There are no official discussions on transferring F-16s at the moment," Poland's Wojciech Skurkiewicz told AFP.
Japan and Nato pledge 'firm' response to China, Russia threats
Japan and Nato must "remain united and firm" in the face of security threats posed by China, North Korea and Russia's war in Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday in Tokyo.
Stoltenberg, secretary general of the European and North American military alliance, warned that Beijing was keeping a close eye on developments in Ukraine and "learning lessons that may influence its future decisions".
He spoke alongside Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after the pair held talks as part of a trip to Asia by Stoltenberg aiming to boost ties with democratic allies.
"What is happening in Europe today could happen in East Asia tomorrow. So we must remain united and firm, standing together for freedom and democracy," he said.
Stoltenberg and Kishida said they were worried by the increasing cooperation they saw between China and Russia.
Boris Johnson to meet US Republicans to push Ukraine aid
Boris Johnson is expected to plead with the US to send more aid to Ukraine after Joe Biden rejected Zelensky's request to send fighter jets.
The former British prime minister is scheduled to speak at a number of Republican events on Tuesday where he is expected to press the issue of aid to Ukraine.
Representative Joe Wilson, a member of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said Mr Johnson would speak at a private Republican club in Washington this evening.
Todd Young, the US senator, said Mr Johnson is also scheduled to meet with a group of Republican senators.
On Wednesday the former British prime minister will discuss the need for "Western unity and support for Ukraine and what more can be done against the threat Russia poses" at the Atlantic Council think tank.
The talks come after Biden ruled out sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, dealing a serious blow to Ukraine’s leaders, who had put the jets top of their latest weapons wishlist.
Pictured: A boy stands on a destroyed Russian tank displayed in downtown Kyiv
Kyiv berates Croatian president for saying Crimea won't return to Ukraine
Ukraine has criticised the president of Croatia for saying that Crimea will never be retaken, calling the remarks “unacceptable," writes Nick Squires.
Kyiv was reacting to comments by President Zoran Milanovic, who said it was "clear that Crimea will never again be part of Ukraine".
Russian forces seized the Black Sea peninsula in 2014 but Ukraine has repeatedly vowed to take back the territory, even if that means prolonging the war with Moscow.
“We consider as unacceptable the statements of the president of Croatia, who effectively cast doubt on the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.
President Milanovic criticised the West for supplying Ukraine with heavy tanks and other weapons in its campaign against Russia, saying the arms deliveries will only prolong the war.
Boris Johnson: Putin cleared way for Ukraine to join Nato
Vladimir Putin has paved the way for Ukrainian membership of Nato, Boris Johnson has said.
The war has “vapourised” the case against admitting Ukraine to the alliance, Mr Johnson wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post.
Ukraine has been seeking to join Nato for years, with calls for admission ramping up since the Russian invasion last year.
Read more on the story here
Putin vs the West, BBC, review: an unnerving insight into the mind of the Russian leader
"Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile it would only take a minute.”
Not the words of a Bond villain but of Vladimir Putin, on the telephone to Boris Johnson, on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine.
It was one of many insider moments revealed in Putin vs the West (BBC Two), billed as the story of how Putin wrongfooted the West in the decade leading up to the war.
Read more of Anita Singh's review of Putin vs the West here
'The situation is stably f----d': Russians close in on gateway to Bakhmut
With each explosion, the pigeons over Chasiv Yar scatter in a new direction. Their murmuration reforms, there is another boom, and the flock splits again, writes Roland Oliphant.
Then somewhere, the rapid drumming of a Grad rocket volley. Serhiy Chaus, the mayor of this small Donbas town, does not flinch.
“Stable. Stably f----d,” he said when asked to summarise the situation in his town on Monday morning.
Read: 'The situation is stably f----d': Russians close in on gateway to Bakhmut
Russian court fines Amazon's Twitch $57,000 over Ukraine content
A Russian court on Tuesday fined streaming service Twitch 4 million roubles ($57,000) for failing to remove what it said were "fakes" about Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported.
Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Moscow has long objected to foreign tech platforms' distribution of content that falls foul of its restrictions, with Russian courts regularly imposing penalties. ($1 = 70.3200 roubles)
Russia and Belarus start joint military staff training
Russia and Belarus have started a week-long session of staff training for the joint command of their regional grouping of forces, the Belarusian defence ministry said on Tuesday.
The training is part of preparation for joint drills the two countries will hold in Russia in September, the ministry added in its statement.
Russia-Ukraine in pictures:
Scholz bid to rally Ukraine support in South America falls flat
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's bid this week to rally support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's invasion during his first South American tour fell flat, with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reiterating his view both parties shared blame.
In a joint news conference with Lula in Brasilia, Scholz said he was delighted by Brazil's return to the world stage. But he grew stony-faced as his fellow leftist leader expounded his views on the Ukraine war.
"I think Russia made the classic mistake of invading another country's territory, so Russia is wrong," Lula told reporters.
"But I still think that when one won't, two won't fight. You have to want peace," he said, adding that he had heard very little from either side about finding a peaceful end to the war.
Lula also said Brazil would not provide ammunition to Ukraine for German-made Gepard anti-aircraft guns, as reportedly requested by Germany.
Brazil would work with other countries to help achieve peace in Ukraine, as his country has not taken sides, he said.
Biden rules out sending F-16s to Ukraine but Macron may still commit French fighter jets
Joe Biden has ruled out sending advanced F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, rejecting pleas from Volodymyr Zelensky.
The US president was addressing reporters at the White House on Monday night when he was asked if Washington would offer the single-engine multirole fighters to Kyiv. He replied simply, “No”.
The decision dealt a serious blow to Ukraine’s leaders, who had put the jets top of their latest weapons wishlist. Mr Zelensky’s government has repeatedly pressed the US for the modern aircraft, which would be a significant upgrade from the Ukrainian military's Soviet-era MiG and Sukhoi fighters.
Read the full story from Henry Samuel here
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