Up to 40 countries could boycott Paris Olympics Games

Up to 40 countries could boycott the next Olympic Games, making the whole event pointless, said Poland’s sport and tourism minister Kamil Bortniczuk. His comments came after Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia jointly rejected an International Olympic Committee (IOC) plan to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete in 2024. Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Olympics if that occurs. But the IOC said on Thursday that any boycott would only “punish athletes”. Bortniczuk said he believed it would be possible to build a coalition of 40 countries, including Great Britain, the United States and Canada, to support a block on the … Continue reading Up to 40 countries could boycott Paris Olympics Games

US President Joe Biden rules out sending F-16 fighter jets

US President Joe Biden has ruled out sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, despite renewed calls from Ukrainian officials for air support. Asked by a reporter on Monday if the US would be providing the planes, Mr Biden replied simply “no”. His comment comes a day after Germany’s leader also ruled out sending fighter jets. Ukraine has said it needs the jets to take control of its airspace in its ongoing war with Russia. F-16 Fighting Falcons are widely considered one of the world’s most reliable fighter jets and are used by other countries, such as Belgium and Pakistan. They … Continue reading US President Joe Biden rules out sending F-16 fighter jets

German chancellor says he won’t send fighter jets to Ukraine

The German chancellor has ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine, just days after committing to supplying tanks. In an interview with a German newspaper, Olaf Scholz warned against a bidding war for weapons. But Ukraine has asked allied nations to create a “fighter jet coalition” to bolster their capabilities. The US said it would discuss the idea of supplying jets “very carefully” with Kyiv on Thursday. In an interview with Tagesspiegel, Mr Scholz said his focus was on the delivery of German-made Leopard 2 tanks. “The fact we’ve only just made a decision [on sending tanks] and the next … Continue reading German chancellor says he won’t send fighter jets to Ukraine

US sanctions Chinese firm helping Russia’s Wagner Group

The US has sanctioned a Chinese company for allegedly providing satellite imagery of Ukraine to support the mercenary Wagner Group’s combat operations for Russia. Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute is among 16 entities slapped with curbs by the Treasury Department. The firm, also known as Spacety China, has offices in Beijing and Luxembourg. Wagner supplies Russia thousands of fighters in the Ukraine war. Spacety China had provided Terra Tech, a Russia-based technology firm, with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite images of locations in Ukraine, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement … Continue reading US sanctions Chinese firm helping Russia’s Wagner Group

US and European countries pledge heavy weapons to Ukraine

More countries have answered President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to send further arms to Ukraine. The US says a package worth $2.5bn will be sent, including armoured vehicles and air defence systems. Several European nations promised their own new packages – including hundreds of missiles pledged to Kyiv by the UK. The announcements come ahead of a crunch meeting scheduled in Germany on Friday, in which 50 countries are set to co-ordinate arms supplies. A meeting on Thursday saw representatives from 11 nations gather at an army base in Estonia to discuss a range of new packages to help Ukraine recapture … Continue reading US and European countries pledge heavy weapons to Ukraine

Just in: Ukraine ministers killed in helicopter crash near school

Sixteen people have been killed, including Ukraine’s interior affairs minister, after a helicopter crashed beside a kindergarten in an eastern suburb of the capital Kyiv. Two children were among the dead and 10 more were being treated in hospital. The minister, Denys Monastyrskiy, was with eight others in the helicopter. His first deputy minister and the state secretary also died, officials said, when the helicopter came down in the suburb of Brovary. Wreckage from the helicopter lay outside a burning building. A fire broke out close to the kindergarten and children and staff were moved from the building. It was … Continue reading Just in: Ukraine ministers killed in helicopter crash near school

Ukraine Presidential adviser resigns over Dnipro remarks

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych has offered his resignation after suggesting a Russian missile which hit a building in Dnipro, killing 44 people, was shot down by Kyiv. Mr Arestovych apologised and said he had made a “fundamental error”. The original remark caused widespread anger in the country, and was used by Russian officials to blame Ukraine. The adviser is a well-known figure because of his daily updates on YouTube, watched by millions. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has not yet commented on Mr Arestovych’s decision to resign. Hours after Saturday’s missile strike hit an apartment building in Dnipro, Mr Arestovych … Continue reading Ukraine Presidential adviser resigns over Dnipro remarks

Russia’s Wagner Group commander requests Norway asylum

A former commander with the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group has claimed asylum in Norway after deserting from the mercenary outfit. Andrey Medvedev, 26, crossed the border into Norway last Friday, where he was detained by border guards. He is currently being held in the Oslo area where he faces charges of illegal entry to Norway, his lawyer Brynjulf Risnes said. Mr Risnes said his client left Wagner after witnessing war crimes in Ukraine. The Norwegian Border Guard confirmed to the BBC that a Russian man had been detained after crossing the country’s 198km (123miles) long border with Russia, but said … Continue reading Russia’s Wagner Group commander requests Norway asylum

Two British men missing in Ukraine, say officials

Two British nationals have gone missing in the eastern Donetsk region of Ukraine, Ukrainian police have said. Andrew Bagshaw, 48, and Christopher Parry, 28, were doing voluntary work, police said, and were last seen on Friday heading to the town of Soledar – where fighting has been intense. There has been no contact with them since. The Foreign Office said it was “supporting the families of two British men who have gone missing in Ukraine”. Mr Parry, from Truro in Cornwall, travelled to Ukraine to do humanitarian work and had most recently been helping people evacuate Bakhmut, in the eastern … Continue reading Two British men missing in Ukraine, say officials

Russia blames missile attack on use of phone by soldiers

Russia has said a new year missile attack that killed at least 89 Russian soldiers happened because troops were using their mobile phones. Ukraine hit a college for conscripts in Makiivka, in the occupied Donetsk area, shortly after midnight on 1 January. Soldiers’ use of banned phones allowed the enemy to locate its target, the Russian military has now said. While the number of people killed is unverified, it is the largest death toll acknowledged by Russia in the war. Ukraine claims the figure is far higher, saying 400 soldiers were killed in the attack and a further 300 wounded. … Continue reading Russia blames missile attack on use of phone by soldiers

Russia frees US man in Ukraine prisoner swap

A US citizen held since June is among dozens released in a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said in his nightly address Ukraine had received 64 soldiers, including four officers and 60 other troops. In a tweet, a top adviser to Mr Zelensky said the deal also freed an American, Suedi Murekezi. A White House spokesman refused to confirm the deal, but told reporters: “We certainly welcome that news.” Ukrainian chief of staff Andriy Yermak said the military personnel released had fought in Donetsk and Luhansk. In a post on social media he said Mr … Continue reading Russia frees US man in Ukraine prisoner swap

Russian missile strikes force emergency power shutdowns

Ukraine is switching to emergency shutdowns to stabilise its power grid after Monday’s Russian missile attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. He said many regions were affected, and the local authorities warned that about half of the Kyiv region would remain without electricity in the coming days. Overnight, more missiles hit critical infrastructure and residential houses near the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, regional officials said. No casualties were reported. Four people were killed in Monday’s attacks. Ukraine is now seeing snow and sub-zero temperatures in many regions, and millions are without electricity and running water. There are fears that a … Continue reading Russian missile strikes force emergency power shutdowns