Ukraine war: fighting intensifies in east and north after tank promises

  • Ukraine says it needs more weapons and calls for sanctions
  • Western allies agreed this week to provide tanks
  • Russia says US president holds key to end fighting

NEAR VUHLEDAR, Ukraine, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Ukraine battled Russian troops trying to break through its lines to the east and northeast on Friday, and artillery shelling intensified after Western allies promised the Kyiv government that they would send them tanks to repel the invaders.

Kyiv said fierce battles were underway, a day after at least 11 people were killed in missile and drone strikes that were seen in Ukraine as a response to pledges by key allies to send it troops. chariots.

After weeks of bickering, Germany and the United States said this week they would send dozens of modern tanks to Ukraine to help repel Russian forces, paving the way for other countries to follow suit. not.

Poland gave Ukraine a boost on Friday by pledging 60 more tanks on top of the 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks it had already pledged.

A total of 321 heavy tanks have been pledged to Ukraine by several countries, Ukrainian Ambassador to France Vadym Omelchenko told BFM TV channel on Friday.

Ukraine has also requested US F16 fighter jets. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the government is aware of Ukraine’s request, but added, «We don’t have any additional weapons systems to discuss. today».

Both sides in the war are expected to launch offensives in the spring, although Washington has advised Ukraine to wait until the last weapons are in place and training has been conducted – a process that is expected to take several months.

Moscow has accused US President Joe Biden of prolonging the war by arming Kyiv. Ukraine says the only way to end the war is for the allies to give it the weapons to win it.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the situation at the front remained extremely serious, especially in the eastern region of Donetsk.

In a speech on Friday evening, Zelenskiy said Russian forces were not only storming Ukrainian positions, but also destroying towns and villages around them.

In the village of Bohoiavlenka in the Donetsk region, soldiers said fighting around the nearby town of Vuhledar had intensified, with Russian troops constantly trying to advance and capture it.

Vuhledar has come under heavy shelling in the past 24 hours, with seven buildings and two schools damaged, Yevhen Nazarenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian army’s 68th brigade, told Reuters.

«They are constantly using artillery fire, aviation. There is not a single quiet minute here,» he said.

Thick black smoke rose above Bohoiavlenka and explosions could be heard in the background. Some houses were damaged.

Oleh Synehubov, governor of the northeast Kharkiv region, said heavy fighting continued along the front lines there, but Ukrainian forces were resisting.


Millions of Ukrainians have faced power shortages after Thursday’s missile and drone strikes, the latest to target energy facilities and deprive people of heat, light and water.

Russian airstrikes hit five high-voltage substations in the central, southern and southwestern regions on Thursday, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said. Ukraine will need an additional $17 billion in funding this year for energy repairs, mine clearance and infrastructure reconstruction, he added.

Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with intense airstrikes away from the front roughly every week since October. Kyiv says the attacks serve no military purpose and are aimed at harming civilians, a war crime. Moscow says the strikes are aimed at reducing Ukraine’s combat capability.

The latest strikes have focused on «facilities that operate Ukraine’s defense industrial complex and transportation system», he said. «Massive attack objectives have been achieved. All assigned targets have been neutralized.»

After Ukraine regained land in the second half of 2022, the front lines were largely frozen for more than two months as Russia attempted to gain ground in the east and protect a corridor of land that she seized in southern Ukraine.

Oleskandr Musiyenko, head of Ukraine’s Center for Military and Strategic Research, said Russia was sending reinforcements, mostly conscripts, to block Ukrainian advances.

«But they don’t have the level of artillery and tank support that they had on February 24,» Musiyenko told Ukrainian television, referring to the date of the 2022 invasion of Moscow.


Kyiv accuses Moscow of deporting children and adults from occupied areas and giving them Russian passports.

Filippo Grandi, the head of the UN refugee agency, said it violated «fundamental principles of protecting children in war situations» and that Russia must end it.

Japan tightened sanctions on Friday, expanding a list of export bans and freezing the assets of Russian officials and entities.

But Ukraine’s hopes that the European Union will impose sanctions affecting nuclear energy have been dealt a blow by Hungary, which said it would veto such measures. Hungary has a Russian-built nuclear power plant which it plans to expand.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said it would summon the Hungarian ambassador to complain about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s «unacceptable» remarks about Ukraine. A ministry spokesman said Orban told reporters that Ukraine was a no-man’s land and compared it to Afghanistan.

Russia has stepped up its own measures against Western entities, with communications regulator Roskomnadzor saying it has blocked CIA and FBI websites.

Russia says it launched its «special military operation» to repel a hostile West. Ukraine and its allies say the invasion was an unprovoked act of aggression.

Reports from Reuters offices; Written by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Peter Graff and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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