Boris Johnson visits Ukraine amid fresh sleaze allegations
Berlin is facing mounting pressure to supply Kyiv with the German-made Leopard 2 – one of the most well-reputed battle tanks in the world – to fight back against Russia’s invasion, but its leadership has stalled any decision.
Annalena Baerbock’s comments represent a significant potential breakthrough for Kyiv, as under German law the government has to give its approval to countries such as Poland or Finland to re-export the tanks.
Earlier, the former British prime minister Mr Johnson made another visit to the outskirts of Kyiv city and said it was a “privilege” to arrive for the fourth time on the invitation of Volodymyr Zelensky.
Mr Zelensky repeated his long-standing plea for the tanks to the Conservative MP.
“We need more weapons: tanks, aircraft, long-range missiles,” Mr Zelensky said, according to a statement on his website.
Donetsk official says he visited Russia’s ‘captured’ Soledar town
The top Moscow-installed official in the occupied parts of the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine said late on Sunday that he had visited the town of Soledar that Russia claimed to have captured earlier this month.
Denis Pushilin, the administrator, released a short video on Telegram, showing himself driving and walking amidst uninhabited areas and destroyed buildings.
“I visited Soledar today,” Mr Pushilin said in an accompanying statement.
On 11 January, the Russian mercenary group Wagner said it captured Soledar, a salt mining town which has been the focus of intense fighting for months.
Ukraine has not confirmed if the town was captured by Russian forces.
Shweta Sharma23 January 2023 05:31
British MPs urge Germany to allow German-made tanks at this ‘moment of extreme urgency’
Writing a joint letter to the German defence minister, dozens of British MPs have urged him to allow Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s invasion using German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
The group, which includes the chairs of 24 major Commons committees and dozens of senior backbenchers, was coordinated by Labour’s Chris Bryant to contact Federal Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius “at this moment of extreme urgency”.
“We are conscious of the very significant efforts Germany has made to support Ukraine, especially over the last twelve months We understand the historic reasons for reluctance to provide German and German-made tanks,” they wrote, in a copy of the letter obtained by The Sun.
“However, we would urge you at this moment of extreme urgency, to reconsider your position and allow Leopard 2 battle tanks – both German-owned and German-built – to be provided to Ukraine in the next few days.”
Shweta Sharma23 January 2023 05:00
Boris Johnson makes shock visit to Ukraine
Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday, despite warnings from senior military figures that he should stay away and stop “looking for publicity”.
Mr Johnson said he had been invited by Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to visit the country for a fourth time, as he urged Western leaders to give Ukraine “all the tools they need”.
He said: “It is a privilege to visit Ukraine at the invitation of President Zelensky. The suffering of the people of Ukraine has gone on for too long.”
“The only way to end this war is for Ukraine to win – and to win as fast as possible. This is the moment to double down and to give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to finish the job. The sooner Putin fails, the better for Ukraine and for the whole world.”
His visit comes as he faces pressure over claims that he involved the BBC chair Richard Sharp in talks that led to his securing an £800,000 line of credit while at No 10.
Former civil service chief Sir Bob Kerslake said there was “no question” that there appeared to be a conflict of interest – describing the reported involvement of Mr Sharp in the talks as an “important departure from what should really happen”.
Shweta Sharma23 January 2023 04:23
Germany ‘would not stand in way’ of Poland sending tanks to Ukraine, says minister
Germany would “not stand in the way” of Poland sending tanks to Ukraine, the country’s foreign minister has said.
Speaking to a French television station on Sunday, Annalena Baerbock gave the clearest signal yet that Berlin’s European allies could deliver German-made equipment to the Ukrainian front lines.
When Ms Baerbock was asked about whether Germany would allow Poland to export the tanks to Ukraine, she replied: “For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way.”
Shweta Sharma23 January 2023 04:12
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Shweta Sharma23 January 2023 03:47