US says Russia is violating nuclear arms control treaty by not allowing inspections
From CNN's Michael Callahan and Jennifer Hansler
Russia is violating a key nuclear arms control agreement with the United States and continuing to refuse to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities, a State Department spokesperson said Tuesday.
"Russia is not complying with its obligation under the New START Treaty to facilitate inspection activities on its territory. Russia's refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control," the spokesperson said in statement.
"Russia has also failed to comply with the New START Treaty obligation to convene a session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission in accordance with the treaty-mandated timeline," the spokesperson added.
Under the New START treaty — the only agreement left regulating the world's two largest nuclear arsenals — Washington and Moscow are permitted to conduct inspections of each other's weapons sites, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, inspections have been halted since 2020.
A session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission on the treaty was slated to meet in Egypt in late November but was abruptly called off. The US has blamed Russia for this postponement, with a State Department spokesperson saying the decision was made "unilaterally" by Russia.
The treaty puts limits on the number of deployed intercontinental-range nuclear weapons that both the US and Russia can have. It was last extended in early 2021 for five years, meaning the two sides will soon need to begin negotiating on another arms control agreement.
The State Department says Russia can return to full compliance, if they "allow inspection activities on its territory, just as it did for years under the New START Treaty" and also scheduling a session of the commission.
On Monday, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the last remaining element of the bilateral nuclear arms control treaty with the United States could expire in three years without a replacement.
Asked if Moscow could envisage there being no nuclear arms control agreement between the two nations when the extension of the 2011 New START Treaty comes to an end after 2026, Ryabkov told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti on Monday: "This is a very possible scenario."
The statement comes as Russia continues its war in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putinin December acknowledgedthat the conflict is “going to take a while,” as he also warned of the “increasing” threat of nuclear war. And without categorically ruling out the first use of nuclear weapons, Putin said he viewed the Russian nuclear arsenal as a deterrent rather than a provocation.
Ukraine renews calls for fighter jets and more weapons
From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv
Ukraine's foreign minister renewed calls for fighter jets on Tuesday.
"The [Ukraine] Armed Forces must receive all the types of weapons they need to defend and restore the territorial integrity of our country," Ukraine's foreign minister DmytroKuleba saidin a briefing.
Kuleba said Ukraine needs fighter jets and long-range missiles not to escalate but rather to act as a deterrence and defense against Russia's continued war in Ukraine:
"Our partners are aware of the types of weapons we need — first and foremost, fighter jets and long-range missiles that can hit targets up to 300 km (more than 186 miles) away. These are not weapons of escalation, but rather weapons of defense and deterrence against the aggressor. We are actively negotiating to unlock all these solutions. I have instructed all our diplomats in key capitals to make this a priority," Kuleba continued.
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, also called for more weapons.
Podolyak tweeted Tuesday addressing a belief he said some EU representatives have that Kyiv shouldn't be given weapons due to a fear the war will spread to Europe. The Ukrainian official said war is "already in the center of Europe" and Russia "kills people in the most anti-human way." He also warned that if Ukraine does not get weapons the war will spread to the EU because Russia "won't stop the expansion."
What Western nations are saying about Kyiv's requests: The UK said Tuesday it believes it's "not practical" to send its fighter jets to Ukraine.The fighter jets are "extremely sophisticated and take months to learn how to fly," a Downing Street spokesperson told journalists.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that although France had not received any request from Ukraine to send fighter jets,“nothing is off limits in principle.”
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden responded "no," when asked by a reporter if he would send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has alsoruled out sending fighter jetsto Ukraine, according to an interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday. "This is out of the question," Pistorius was quoted as saying.
France will send 12 additional Caesar howitzers to Ukraine, defense minister says
From CNN's Pierre Bairin in Paris
France will send an additional 12 Caesar howitzers to Ukraine, on top of the 18howitzersParis has already delivered to Kyiv, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at a news conference in Paris alongside his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, Lecornu said that Denmark has also committed to giving 19 French-made howitzers to Ukraine.
The French minister said another priority was the training of Ukrainian troops and that 2,000 of them would be trained in France by the summer.
Lecornu also announced a new plan to jointly train Ukrainian soldiers with the Polish military.
“I can confirm that 150 French soldiers will be going to Poland at the end of February to train battalions in conjunction with Poland,” he said.
When asked whether France would deliver fighter jets to Ukraine, the defense minister said that there were "no taboos" about sending the airplanes but that each request has to fulfill three criteria: a weapon request must not diminish France’s own defense forces; that the weapons must be useful and useable on the ground; and that they are used for defensive objectives only.
“We discussed the [air] platform because it's our necessity to make our capabilities stronger to defend our airspace,” said Reznikov.
“I'm an optimist and I think it will be as soon as possible,” the Ukrainian defense minister said, adding “one year ago when I was in Washington, DC, I asked about stinger [missiles] and the answer was ‘It's impossible, Oleksii!’ and it became possible.”
US likely to announce another Ukrainian security assistance package soon, White House says
From CNN's Sam Fossum
The US will likely announce further security assistance for Ukraine "soon," according to White House spokesperson Olivia Dalton.
"I expect we're going to have more security assistance to announce soon," Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Asked about whether the US would send F16 jets to Ukraine, Dalton reiterated President Joe Biden's comments on Monday and pointed to the billions of dollars in aid provided so far.
Biden said "no" when asked by a reporter Monday on whether he would send the jets to Ukraine. His answer comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sought fighter jets to help sustain his war effort against Russia. Biden has consistently said the planes aren't on the table, even as he has given aid in other areas, including providing Abrams tanks.
Dalton also emphasized that the US remains in "regular contact" with Ukrainian officials about their needs.
More on US aid to Ukraine: As of Jan. 19,the United States has committed $26.7 billion to Ukraine in security aid since the beginning of the war nearly a year ago.
UK says it's "not practical" to send fighter jets to Ukraine
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy
The UK said Tuesday it believes it's "not practical" to send its fighter jets to Ukraine.
The fighter jets are "extremely sophisticated and take months to learn how to fly," a Downing Street spokesperson told journalists Tuesday, adding that given those conditions they “believe it is not practical to send those jets into Ukraine.”
The comments come as Ukrainian officials continue to pressure their Western allies for further resources.
The spokesperson said the UK is committed to continuing to "discuss with our allies about what wethink what is the right approach" when it comes to assisting Ukraine.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that although France had not received any request from Ukraine to send fighter jets,“nothing is off limits in principle.”
Other nations saying no to jets for Kyiv: On Monday, US President Joe Biden responded "No," when asked by a reporter if he would send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has also ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine, according to an interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on Friday. "This is out of the question," Pistorius was quoted as saying.
Bakhmut continues to be one of the main directions for Russian attacks, Ukrainian military says
From CNN's Radina Gigova andSvitlana Vlasova
The key eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut continues to be one of the main directions for Russian attacks and "everything is being done" to prevent Russian forces from blocking the movement of Ukrainian units,Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said during an interview on Ukrainian television on Tuesday.
"Bakhmut continues to be one of the main directions of the enemy's attack – they’ve hit our positions there with cannon and rocket artillery 197 times, and there were 42 combat encounters. The enemy got significant losses in personnel during the last 24 hours:277 enemies were killed, 258 were injured to varying degrees,"Cherevatyi said.
CNN is not able to independently confirm the number of sustained casualties.
When asked whether the Russians have been able tocut off the transport artery to Bakhmut,Cherevatyi replied "not yet."
"They didn’t succeed and everything is being done not to allow them to block the movements of our units. All necessary ammunition, equipment, food anything else that our forces need is being supplied to Bakhmut," he said.
When asked to comment on reports about a Russian offensive north of Bakhmut in the Lyman direction,Cherevatyisaid Russian forces "do counteroffensive in this direction from time to time" and that he "can’t say it’s a big offensive operation."
"They are moving there — their motorized rifle units and artillery — first of all, to hold the line there, and secondly, as I said, to regain an advantage. In particular, during the last 24 hours inBilohorivka andNovoselivske the enemy did a counteroffensive, but they were repulsed and pulled back," he said.
Farewell ceremony for US volunteer who died fighting in Ukraine held in Lviv, mayor says
From CNN's Viktoria Butenko and Radina Gigova
A farewell ceremony for American volunteer Daniel Swift who died fighting in Ukraine took place in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Tuesday, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said in a message on his official Facebook page.
"He fought with the International Legion and was awarded with [Ukrainian commander] Bohdan Khmelnitskiy award of the 3rd degree. The brave seal is now taking his last path home," Sadovyi said.
"Sincere condolences and eternal memory to the Defender," he added.
Swift, a former US Navy SEAL, who deserted the military nearly four years ago, was killed fighting in Ukraine earlier in January, according to a statement by the US Navy.
In his post, Sadovyi went on to say that Ukraine needs "powerful weapons to stop these deaths."
"We are calling on the whole world not to postpone what can save lives today. This year all of us have understood the war can be stopped with force only. So we are calling to give us tanks, give us fighter jets," he said.
"Russia is a wounded bear at the moment. It needs to be put back into its cave. And this we can do only if we are unite all our resources," Sadovyi said.
Russian troops are turning Bakhmut into "a total ruin," Ukrainian regional military chief says
From CNN's Stephanie Halasz
Russian troops are pummeling the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut into what the Donetsk region military administration head Pavlo Kyrylenko called a “total ruin.”
Two people were killed in the last few hours, including one underage boy, Kyrylenko says on Telegram. Four civilians were wounded, he added.
“Russians are levelling Bakhmut to the ground, killing everyone they can reach. We are carefully documenting all war crimes. They will be held accountable for everything!,” he wrote on Telegram.
CNN reported in January that the US and Western officials are urging Ukraine to shift its focus from the brutal, months-long fight in the eastern city of Bakhmut and prioritize instead a potential offensive in the south, using a different style of fighting that takes advantage of thebillions of dollars in new military hardwarerecently committed by Western allies.
Russia sent more than 9,000 "illegally mobilized" citizens back home, Russian prosecutor general says
From CNN’s Anna Chernova
Russia had to send home more than 9,000 people who were “illegally mobilized,” Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
“Through the efforts of [the Prosecutor General Office] supervision, more than 9,000 citizens who were illegally mobilized were returned home, including those who, due to their health condition, should not have been mobilized in any case,” Krasnov said at a televised meeting with Putin in the Kremlin.
Mobilization had not been carried out for a long time in Russia, he added, and it “revealed a lot of significant problems.”
In addition, most issues with supplying body armor and uniforms to the front “have been resolved,” according to Krasnov.
“Now we control the supply of winter uniforms to mobilized military personnel, as well as the formation of appropriate warehouses and their safety,” he said.
Russian citizens had used crowdfunding to equipsoldiers deployed to Ukraine as troops said they've been short of even basic equipment.
Some background: Putin announced a "partial mobilization"in late September 2022 after Russia suffered a series of major setbacks on the battlefields in Ukraine. The controversial draft sparked protests and an exodus of men from the country before it was suspended Nov. 1 after the target of 300,000 personnel was met.