Live Updates
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues calling for more tanks and weapons as this week marks 11 months since the start of Russia’s invasion.
  • Germany seems to be closer to allowing Ukraine to receive German-made Leopard 2 tanks, a move previously resisted due to concerns about provoking a larger war between Russia and NATO allies. Poland is urging Germany to allow its transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to support Ukrainian troops.
  • Meanwhile, the European Union is moving to approve another military aid package for Ukraine, valued at about 500 million euros.
  • In response to continued strain on Ukraine’s energy grid following the latest wave of targeted Russian attacks, Ukraine’s energy grid operator introduced emergency power outages in several regions on Monday.

Follow Newsweek’s live blog for the latest updates.

Ukrainian soldier in Kupiansk
Ukrainian soldiers walk over rubble in a destroyed building after testing a drone on January 23, 2023 in Kupiansk, Ukraine. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nearly 20% of Ukraine Under Russian Control

Russia controls about 18% of “internationally recognized” areas of Ukraine, according to the latest British intelligence.

Areas include the Donbas and Crimea regions that have been under Russian control since 2014, the U.K. Ministry of Defence said Monday.

A map drawn by the ministry shows such areas shaded in pink, stretching from eastern Ukraine down to the south. These also include the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, which Russia annexed in late September of 2022.

“Ukraine has liberated around 54% of the maximum amount of extra territory Russia seized” since the invasion began, the ministry said.

Russia Says Ukraine ‘Hides’ Weapons at Nuclear Plants

Ukrainian troops are keeping weapons and ammunition from Western countries at nuclear power plants across the country, recent Russian intelligence alleges.

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Director Sergey Naryshkin reportedly said he has “reliable data” indicating Ukraine is storing weapons in various plants, he told Russia’s state-controlled news agency RT.

Ukraine’s military “hides ammunition depots behind nuclear reactors,” the statement said. If there is a detonation at one of the nuclear facilities where the weapons are allegedly being kept, “such a tragedy can always be blamed on Moscow,” Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service added.

The weapons allegedly being housed by nuclear reactors are among the most expensive that NATO allies have sent to Ukraine over the course of the war, according to an RT correspondent. They reportedly include HIMARS rocket launchers from the U.S., air defense systems and “large-caliber artillery shells.”

Russia said the alleged storing of weapons in this way serves as a terrorist activity and that Ukraine is thus using civilians as “shields,” according to RT.

The United Nations’ (U.N.) nuclear watchdog agency has repeatedly raised concerns about nuclear safety and security over the course of the war, calling in particular for a nuclear protection zone around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s Zaphorizhzhia region. The U.N. agency said last week it has placed permanent safety teams at nuclear facilities throughout Ukraine as part of ongoing efforts to avoid a nuclear accident.

Most Civilian Casualties Caused by ‘Explosive Weapons’

The war in Ukraine continues to claim the lives of civilians, as the war stretches into its 11 month.

Nearly 18,500 civilian casualties have now been reported, the United Nations said, warning the actual figures are “considerably higher.”

About 7,070 civilians have been killed over the course of the war, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported Sunday. Another 11,415 civilians have been injured.

Most of the reported casualties were caused by “explosive weapons with wide area effects, including shelling from heavy artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, missiles and air strikes,” OHCHR said.

The “actual” numbers are likely much higher due to reporting delays.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office reports at least 459 children have died and more than 914 have been injured. Juvenile prosecutors also warn these numbers are not final.

Flowers at the Lesya Ukrainka monument
Flowers lay at the monument to famous Ukrainian poetess Lesya Ukrainka in Moscow on January 23, 2023, in memory of those killed in a recent strike on a residential block in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images

Former FBI Agent Arrested For Helping Russian Oligarch

A former FBI special agent has been charged with violating U.S. sanctions on Russia by helping a Russian oligarch.

Charles McGonigal was the special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York from 2016 to 2018. He is accused of working with a former Soviet diplomat and Russian interpreter on behalf of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Deripaska was sanctioned for having acted or purported to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a senior official of the Russian Federation and for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy.

McGonigal had supervised investigations into Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska before he retired in 2018.

He, along with Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat who later became a U.S. citizen and a Russian interpreter for courts and government offices, investigated a rival oligarch in return for concealed payments from Deripaska.

As part of their negotiations with Deripaska’s agent, McGonigal, Shestakov “attempted to conceal Deripaska’s involvement by, among other means, not directly naming Deripaska in electronic communications, using shell companies as counterparties in the contract that outlined the services to be performed, using a forged signature on that contract and using the same shell companies to send and receive payment from Deripaska,” according to the FBI.

Additionally, McGonigal and Shestakov tried to have the sanctions placed against Deripaska lifted.

Both McGonigal and Shestakov were arrested Saturday and McGonigal was taken into custody after landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport. They are scheduled to appear in court in Manhattan on Monday. Both are being held at a federal jail in Brooklyn.

They have been charged with violating and conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, conspiring to commit money laundering and money laundering. Shestakov is also charged with making material misstatements to the FBI.

McGonigal was separately charged in federal court in Washington, D.C. with concealing $225,000 in payments he received from an outside source with whom he traveled to Europe.

Estonia’s Aid Package Includes Howitzers, Training

Ukraine is expecting more aid to roll in from European allies.

Kaimo Kuuk, Estonia’s ambassador to Ukraine, said Estonia is prepared to give Ukraine all of its 155 mm howitzers as promised in their latest aid package announced last week.

“We want to create a precedent so that other countries will not have any excuses why they cannot provide Ukraine with the necessary weapons to win the war,” Kuusk reportedly said.

Additionally, Estonia will provide Ukraine will dozens of 155mm FH-70 and 122mm D-30 cap, hundreds of Karl-Gustaf anti-tank grenade launchers with ammunition and specialized training of Ukrainian soldiers, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In total, this military assistance package is over one percent of Estonia’s GDP.

The European Union also approved a 542 million euro military aid package to Ukraine, Reuters reports.

This includes an additional 45 million euros earmarked for non-lethal equipment for the EU’s training mission in the country.

This is EU’s seventh military assistance package to Ukraine.

Defense System Reportedly Placed Near Putin’s Home

An air defense system known as the Pantsir-S1 has reportedly been installed close to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s home in Novgorod to protect him from potential attacks.

Agentstvo, an independent investigative Russian news agency, shared a photo of what it identified as the Pantsir-S1 defense system Monday on Telegram. The system is located a few kilometers away from the Putin residence in Valdai, according to The Kyiv Post.

News of the Pantsir-S1 near Valdai follows reports last week of other air defense systems popping up on major government buildings in Moscow, possibly in anticipation of a Ukrainian attack. The Ukrainian news outlet UkraineWorld on Sunday shared on social media one image of what reporters identified as a Pantsir-S1 on top of a Russian government building.

While most of the attacks launched over the course of Russia’s 11-month war have taken place in Ukraine, some Russian air bases were hit in late 2022. Ukraine most recently said it launched attacks at targets in Russian-occupied territories on Sunday.

The Pantsir-S1 that is reportedly near Putin’s home is said to have been put in place shortly after suspected Ukrainian drone attacks in December. Local residents told The Kyiv Post the air defense system is protected by Russian soldiers and is “on combat alert.”

Poland to Help Ukraine ‘With Germany or Without’

Top government officials in Poland are urging Germany to allow the transfer of German-made tanks to Ukraine as the 11-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion approaches this week.

Though Poland is trying to collaborate with Germany on the transfer, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Monday that his country plans to continue providing assistance to Ukraine and that “Ukraine and Europe would win the war with Germany or without,” according to Poland’s national news agency.

Morawiecki said Poland will soon make its request to send the Leopard 2 tanks official. Poland needs Germany’s approval in order to send the tanks Poland possesses to Ukrainian troops, since Ukraine is not a NATO country.

Over the weekend, Germany’s foreign minister suggested Germany would not block Poland from providing the tanks, according to the Associated Press. If Poland’s request is made official, “we would not stand in the way,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reportedly said during an interview with a French news agency.

Following a meeting last week with the Ukraine Contact Group at the Ramstein air base in Germany, Morawiecki told the Polish Press Agency that Germany’s resistance to sending the tanks is “unacceptable” and that Germany “should not weaken or sabotage the activities of other countries” that are supporting Ukraine.

If Germany does not consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks, Morawiecki said Poland will work with a “smaller coalition” of other countries to provide Ukraine with tanks and other military tools.

“I try to weigh my words, but I’ll say it bluntly. Ukraine and Europe will win this war—with or without Germany,” Morawiecki told the Polish Press Agency.

Power Deficit Prompts Emergency Outages in Five Regions

Ukraine’s power deficit has increased as consumption rises, the country’s national energy company Ukrenergo reports.

“Electricity consumption is higher than on Sunday due to the beginning of the working week, as well as a gradual decrease in temperature throughout Ukraine,” Ukrenergo said in a report.

In response, emergency power outages have been issued in five regions: Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Volynsk and Lviv, Ukrenergo announced.

This comes as a result of Russian missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in recent weeks.

“The last attack of the Russians on January 14 caused significant damage to several power units of thermal power plants,” Ukrenergo said in a statement. “Electricity production at running power plants cannot fully cover consumption.”

Additionally, Ukrenergo said more than 10 gigawatts of basic installed capacity is currently inaccessible to the Ukrainian energy system and are under Russian control. Many of the wind and solar plants are also located in temporarily occupied areas in the southern part of Ukraine.

The energy company said electricity manufacturers are “constantly” working to repair the damage.

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