Ukraine war latest: Putin's war is 'dry run for Chinese president' - so give Ukraine weapons now, Boris Johnson urges (2023)

Key points
  • Putin's war a 'dry run' for China's ambitions, warns Boris Johnson
  • Russians kicking Ukrainians out of their homes on the frontline before possible new offensive
  • US long-range rockets would 'escalate' conflict, says Kremlin
  • Could we see Western fighter jets above Ukraine?
  • Moscow's forces 'encircle' key Ukrainian city| But it's 'extraordinarily unlikely' it will fall
  • Dominic Waghorn: The race is on to arm Ukraine before a spring offensive
  • Live reporting by Emily Mee.Updates also from Deborah Haynesin Ukraine and Diana Magnay in Moscow


At least two dead and seven wounded in missile attack

A few minutes ago, we brought you the news of a Russian missile attack on a residential building in Kramatorsk.

A Ukrainian official has now confirmed at least two people have died and seven more were wounded in the strike.

The head of the Donetsk military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said the building was "completely destroyed".

Emergency services are working at the site and it is believed more people could be under the rubble.


People 'screaming under the rubble' after missile hits residential building

A Russian missile has destroyed a residential building in Kramatorsk, in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.

Ukrainian government officials confirmed the attack, with the country's vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov describing people "screaming under the rubble".


(Video) Boris Johnson Speaks On Putin's Missile Threat, Russia-Ukraine Blame Game +More |Russian Invasion

Home of former interior minister searched as part of helicopter crash investigation

Former interior minister Arsen Avakov's property has been searched in connection with an investigation into a deadly helicopter crash last month.

The crash just outside Kyiv killed 14 people, including the interior minister at the time, Denis Monastyrsky.

Mr Avakov held the role when the Super Puma helicopter involved in the crash was purchased as part of a contract since in 2018.

The politician has denied any wrongdoing and said the contracts were approved by parliament.

Ukraine launched an investigation shortly after the crash, saying it would look into all possible causes - including pilot error, technical malfunction and sabotage.


Russia making 'powerful attempts' to break through in eastern Ukraine

Moscow's forces are attempting to gain ground in eastern Ukraine, particularly near the strategic location of Lyman.

Ukraine's deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar has warned Russian soldiers are also pressing ahead with an offensive near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

Moscow has been gaining momentum on the battlefield over the past few days, announcing advances north and south of Bakhmut - which it has been trying to crack for months.

However, the advances still appear incremental and the Russian forces are reportedly taking heavy losses.

"Fierce fighting rages in the east. The enemy is trying to expand the area of its offensive in the Lyman sector. It is making powerful attempts to break through our defences," said Ms Malyar, adding that Ukrainian forces were holding out against an opponent that had more troops and weapons.

"Despite heavy losses, the Russian invaders are also continuing their offensive in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Novopavlivka sectors," she said.


(Video) Russia-Ukraine war live: Kyiv calls for faster weapons supplies as Russia presses eastern offensive

Four killed after mine falls into basement of home

A Russian mine has killed four people and injured one more after it fell into the basement of a home.

Chernihiv regional governor Viacheslav Chaus said the attack happened in the village of Yeline.

The region is in the north of Ukraine, bordering Belarus.


Man detained after being accused of gathering information for Russia on Ukrainian military

An employee of Ukraine's main defence company has been accused of working for Russian military intelligence.

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) said the Ukroboronprom employee had been attempting to leak classified information about available Ukrainian armaments.

He had also allegedly been preparing reports for Moscow about the consequences of Russian missile strikes on the capital, Kyiv.

The SBU said it had been alerted to the man's activities early on and began documenting his actions.


What is likely to happen in the war this year - and why the West has difficult choices to make

As we head toward the spring and the weather improves, the conflict in Ukraine is expected to get back into full swing.

(Video) Ukraine War: Kremlin reacts to Zelenskyy's 'Putin's a nobody' comment

General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander of the Joint Forces Command, believes there is a realistic possibility that an expected Russian offensive could happen within the next two or three weeks.

Speaking to Sky News, he said Moscow is aware of the importance of striking first and keeping both the West and Ukraine "on the back foot".

He said Russian forces will "go as soon as they can" - and we should not underestimate them, despite their poor performance so far.

General Sir Richard said the Russian military has changed leadership and plans in recent weeks, so we must be "much more circumspect this year about the quality of the Russian performance".

"Ukraine only holds on if we maintain the flow of money, weapons and equipment for as long as it takes," he said.

He warned the most likely outcome this year is that "the two sides remain essentially locked in stalemate" - and that we are "nowhere near the end of this".

That is where the West comes in.

The former commander argued that if allies are willing to step up both funding and weapons for Ukraine, then Russia can be decisively defeated.

However, he said the "easiest way to keep this war going seemingly forever is just to dribble stuff in and make it a score draw every year, year-on-year".


Germany must replenish tank stocks quickly, defence minister says

Berlin has made the key decision to send stocks of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine - and it will likely have an impact on the country's spending.

Defence minister Boris Pistorius has said Germany will need to order new tanks quickly to replace those being sent to Kyiv, and that he does not care where the money will come from.

"For me, the crucial fact is that we have to order new tanks, not in a year, but swiftly, so that production can begin," he told reporters on a visit to a tank battalion in the western town of Augustdorf.

"Where will the money come from? Let me casually put it likethis: frankly, I don't care. It is essential that we can providethem [the tanks] quickly," he said.

Reporters had been questioning Mr Pistorius on whether he would push for an increase to a fund set up to modernise Germany's military.

Even before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Germany was €20bn short of reaching NATO's target for ammunitions stockpiling.


(Video) Retired colonel shows Russia’s strategy in eastern Ukraine

Sending jets 'would not be the right approach', says UK - but no 'solid decision' made yet

Britain's defence secretary has responded to Boris Johnson's call for the UK to send fighter jets to Ukraine - and it seems he is not yet willing to make a decision either way.

"I've been involved with this for a pretty long time. And I've learned two things; never rule anything in and never rule anything out," Ben Wallace told reporters on the matter.

He said that while no "solid decision" had been made, he did not think it was the "right approach" for now to send jets.

"What's going to move on thisconflict this year is going to be the ability for Ukrainians todeploy Western armour against Russia," he said.

The former prime minister has been vocal today on providing more arms for Ukraine - but the UK government has so far distanced itself from his comments.


Ukraine accused of using banned antipersonnel mines in occupied territory

International organisation Human Rights Watch has claimed the Ukrainian military used banned antipersonnel mines in the Izyum region of Kharkiv.

In its latest report, it said it had documented "numerous cases" of missiles being fired into the area while it was under Russian occupation.

The "petal mines" were being fired near Russian military facilities, but led to 11 civilian casualties, HRW said.

The organisation noted that while Izyum was under occupation, Russian forces had kidnapped, tortured and in some cases killed civilians.

"Russian forces have repeatedly used antipersonnel mines and committed atrocities across the country, but this doesn't justify Ukrainian use of these prohibited weapons," said HRW arms division director Steve Goose.

Over 100 people were interviewed as part of the report, including witnesses, victims of landmines, first responders, doctors and Ukrainian deminers.

"Human Rights Watch documented PFM mine use in nine different areas in and around Izyum city and verified 11 civilian casualties from these mines," the report said.

According to the organisation, all nine areas were near the places where Russian troops were stationed at the time.

It added that the use of antipersonnel mines by Russia on occupied territory was "unlikely".

(Video) Boris Johnson claims Vladimir Putin threatened him with missile strike | Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence insisted its military adheres to international obligations, including the ban on the use of any antipersonnel mines.

It said that it could not comment on information about the types of weapons used by Ukraine until the war has ended.


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