Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on January 23, 2023
- During the January 20 meeting of the Contact Group in Ramstein, Ukraine received air defense systems, artillery and armored vehicles for offensive operations. The German government did not authorize the transfer of German Leopard 2 tanks, which caused criticism from Central and Northern Europe.
- Positional fighting continues along the front line in Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions. Russian troops continue their attempts to surround Bakhmut. They have advanced south of the city, trying to cut off the garrison’s communications.
- A helicopter crash in Brovary on January 18 killed 14 people, including the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, his first deputy and the State Secretary. The Ministry of Internal Affairs includes the National Guard of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service and the State Emergency Service, which are engaged in military operations.
The fiercest battles are ongoing in the north of Donetsk region. Russian troops are trying to bypass Bakhmut and cut off its garrison from the south and north. In addition, Russian troops are conducting offensives at the Avdiivka (Donetsk region) and Orikhiv (Zaporizhzhia region) directions, yet without success. Positional fighting continues in other parts of the frontline.
Russian troops keep shelling the frontline and border regions of Ukraine, destroying civilian infrastructure. As a result, civilian casualties were recorded over the past week: in Donetsk region, 9 people were killed and 20 people were wounded; in Kherson region, 2 people were killed and 18 people were wounded; in Kharkiv region, 1 person was killed and 8 people were wounded. In addition, 1 person was wounded in Sumy region. The shelling of the territory of Zaporizhzhia region and the area of Nikopol in Dnipropetrovsk region continues unabated.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
On January 18, a helicopter of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine crashed in Brovary, Kyiv region, killing 14 people (including one child) and injuring 25 others (including 11 children). Among the 9 people who died on board the helicopter were the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Denys Monastyrskyi, First Deputy Minister Yevhen Yenin and State Secretary Yurii Lubkovych. The causes of the crash are currently being investigated by a special government commission, which is expected to report on the results of the investigation by February 18.
After search and rescue operations in Dnipro at the site of a Russian missile hitting a high-rise building on January 14, 2022, a total of 46 people (including 6 children) were confirmed dead; another 9 people were reported missing.
On January 21, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine detained Vasyl Lozynskyi, Deputy Minister of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine, over an investigation into abuse of office and obtaining illegal benefits. The deputy minister is accused of taking a $400,000 bribe when purchasing generators. On January 22, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dismissed Lozynskyi from his post.
The expenditures of the general fund of the state budget of Ukraine from February 24 to the end of 2022 amounted to UAH 2.23 trillion, of which almost a third was paid to the military (UAH 721.9 billion).
Russia continues to artificially impede the operation of the grain corridor for the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports. The Russian side is delaying the inspection of ships in the Bosphorus Strait, which leads to queues of ships. As a result, the decline in Ukrainian grain exports is estimated at 3 million tons per month.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
On January 20, the eighth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group was held at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, attended by defense ministers from 50 countries. The President of Ukraine addressed the participants, calling on international partners to speed up decisions on arms supplies to Ukraine. The United States announced a new large-scale defense assistance package for Ukraine worth $2.5 billion, including Avenger air defense systems, missiles for NASAMS and HIMARS air defense systems, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, and Stryker armored personnel carriers; MRAPs, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, and HMMWV transporters. Germany’s Defense Minister announced a spring package of military aid to Ukraine worth €1 billion, which will include Patriot, Iris-T, Gepard air defense systems, etc. The Netherlands will provide Ukraine with two Patriot air defense launchers. The Ministry of Defense of Finland declared that it would provide another batch of military aid worth €400 million, including heavy weapons.
In addition, Lithuania and Latvia will provide Ukraine with L-70 anti-aircraft systems, Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems, ammunition, and Mi-8 helicopters as part of a new military aid package. Estonia allocated €113 million in military aid to Ukraine, the largest aid package provided by the country.
The United Kingdom will deliver 600 Brimstone missiles, Canada – 200 Senator armored vehicles, and Slovakia – Zuzana-2 self-propelled artillery systems. The Swedish government decided to transfer CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, Archer self-propelled artillery systems, and NLAW anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine.
In the run-up to the Ramstein meeting, on January 19 in Tallinn, defense ministers and authorized representatives of nine NATO member states – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the Netherlands – signed a document titled the Tallin Pledge. This declaration is aimed at ensuring unwavering support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. The signatories declare their intention to continue to provide Kyiv with “unprecedented set of donations including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, air defense, ammunition, and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine’s defense.”
Although the German leadership did not make a decision to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock responded to another call from the Baltic foreign ministers by stating that Germany would have no objections if third countries, including Poland, sent German-made tanks to Ukraine.
On January 19, the European Parliament adopted a resolution by a majority vote in support of the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The resolution calls for the political and military leadership of Russia and the authorities of Belarus to be brought to justice.
Last week, the President of Ukraine held talks with President of the European Council Charles Michel, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi, OSCE Chairman-in-Office Bujar Osmani, as well as with U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse, who were on a visit to Kyiv. Volodymyr Zelenskyi briefed his partners on the situation at the front and on the need for weapons. Also visiting Ukraine were U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Latvian Minister of Defense Ināra Mūrniece.
The President of Ukraine also had phone conversations with President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the UAE Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The information in the newsletter is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.