- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.
A stuffed toy leopard is placed on a Leopard 2/A4 battle tank during a handover ceremony of tanks at the army base of Tata, Hungary, on July 24, 2020 - Sputnik International

LIVE UPDATES: Canada Will Send Four Leopard 2 Tanks to Ukraine, Defense Minister Says

Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 following a plea from the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk to protect their citizens amidst increased attacks from Ukraine.
Since October 10, the Russian military has been carrying out precision strikes on Ukrainian energy and military infrastructure in response to Ukrainian terrorist attacks on Russian territory, particularly the bombing of the Crimean Bridge carried out by Ukrainian intelligence.
Earlier this month, fierce battles in Donetsk took place, with Russian forces successfully liberating the strategic town of Soledar.
When Russia started its special military operation in Ukraine to protect the people of Donbass from Ukrainian aggression, Western countries boosted military aid to Kiev. Ukraine has long been asking for M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 battle tanks, but the Western countries were reluctant, fearing possible escalation. However, now the US and Germany have finally decided to supply Ukraine with these military vehicles.
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02:49 GMT 27.01.2023
Japan Freezes Assets of 22 Russian Individuals, 3 Companies - Foreign Ministry
Tokyo on Friday froze the assets of 22 Russian individuals and 3 companies against the background of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, according to a statement on the Japanese Foreign Ministry's website.

"Asset Freeze measures: Measures (i) and (ii) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Notice (promulgated on January 27) will come into effect for individuals and entities of the Russian Federation (22 individuals and 3 entities); and individuals considered to be directly involved in the 'annexation' of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol or the destabilization of Eastern Part of Ukraine, as well as individuals of eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, who are considered to be directly involved in the purported 'incorporation' by Russia (14 individuals)," the statement read.

The list of individuals, among others, includes Russian Children Ombudswoman Maria Lvova-Belova, Deputy Defense Minister Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko, the head of the Russian Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, and Alexander Malkevich, the deputy chair of a public oversight coordination center at Russia’s Civic Chamber.

The list also includes Russian manufacturer of trucks, buses, and engines KAMAZ, the Irkut aircraft manufacturer, and Moscow-based manufacturer and supplier of missiles Avangard.

Tokyo also banned exports to 49 Russian entities, as well as banned exports of dual-use items "which could contribute to the development of military capacity."
00:46 GMT 27.01.2023
Fragment of the stele at the entrance to the territory of the Zaporozhye NPP in Energodar. - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2023
Zaporozhye Authorities Slam IAEA Reports About Powerful Explosions at NPP as Provocation
19:30 GMT 26.01.2023
IAEA Experts Report Powerful Explosions Near Zaporozhye NPP
Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have again reported powerful explosions in the area of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the agency said in a statement.

"Powerful explosions have been occurring outside the facility, indicating military activities in the vicinity of the site located on the frontline of the ongoing conflict," the agency said.

In recent days and weeks, agency experts at the station have reported such incidents to headquarters in Vienna almost daily.

"Some blasts apparently take place some distance away from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant (NPP), while others seem much closer to the facility itself. Yesterday, eight strong detonations were heard at around 10am local time, causing office windows at the plant to vibrate, and more were audible today," the agency added.
18:20 GMT 26.01.2023
France to 'Respond' to Kiev's Request to Supply Air Defense Systems - Foreign Minister
PARIS (Sputnik) - France will respond to Ukraine's request for the supply of air defense systems, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Thursday.
"Today, the main need of Ukraine in terms of military equipment is air defense systems. This was again reminded yesterday by the Ukrainian defense minister. And I can tell you that we will respond to this request," Colonna said at a joint press conference with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, held in the Ukrainian city of Odesa.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that air defense systems were Ukraine's number one priority.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he did not rule out any options in terms of further arms supplies to Ukraine, including sending Leclerc tanks.
On Wednesday, the United States announced it would send 31 Abrams tanks to Kiev, which would constitute a Ukrainian tank battalion. The announcement came hours after Germany committed to providing 14 Leopard tanks to Ukraine after being repeatedly pushed to do so by its EU and NATO allies.
In April 2022, Moscow sent a note to NATO member states condemning their military assistance to Kiev after Russia started its military operation in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that any arms shipments on Ukrainian territory would be "legitimate targets" for Russian forces.
18:19 GMT 26.01.2023
EU Hosting 4Mln Ukrainian Refugees as Migration Pressure Mounts
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Many EU member states are under pressure to manage migration after 4 million Ukrainian refugees crossed into the European Union last year, the bloc's commissioner for home affairs said Thursday.
"Many member states are under huge pressure, especially in terms of reception capacity and when it comes to the process of processing asylum applications," Ylva Johansson told reporters after an informal ministerial meeting in Stockholm.
The EU recorded a rise in irregular migration, with 330,000 people crossing into EU countries illegally last year. Simultaneously, the number of asylum applicants spiked to 924,000.
"On top of that, we are hosting 4 million Ukrainian refugees," Johansson added.
The commissioner argued that asylum applicants were "quite often" people who did not need international protection. These included Moroccans, Egyptians, Tunisians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians, and Cubans, Johansson said.
About 60% of those asylum bids will likely be rejected, she noted, adding that their bulk was "clogging up the system." She insisted that EU nations needed to move quicker to finalize a pact on easier re-admissions of migrants with third countries.
18:18 GMT 26.01.2023
Top Serbian Diplomat Says Wrong to Sanction Russia After Supporting Belgrade on Kosovo
BELGRADE (Sputnik) - Serbia joining sanctions against Russia would be wrong as Moscow supports Serbia on the issue of Kosovo, even though Belgrade does not recognize the results of referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Thursday.
"As you know, we did not join sanctions against Russia due to our national, state and economic interests, and for reasons of cooperation. But also because of Serbia's issue with the territorial integrity and sovereignty in relation to Kosovo, in which Russia has supported Serbia across other forums. It would be wrong if Serbia now imposed sanctions against Russia," Dacic said at a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara.
Dacic stressed that Serbia and Turkey aspire to be constructive forces in maintaining world peace and stability, and taking any side in conflicts is not in their interests.
18:17 GMT 26.01.2023
US to Send Most Advanced Version of Abrams M1 Tank to Ukraine - Reports
WASHINGTON, January 26 (Sputnik) - The United States will send Ukraine its most advanced version of the Abrams M1 main battle tank, US media reported on Thursday, citing three people familiar with the matter.
The advanced Abrams tanks, known as the M1A2 model, to be sent to Ukraine will not be equipped with a secret armor that uses depleted uranium due to federal restrictions, the report said.
The M1A2 Abrams tank, compared to the older M1A1 configuration, has improved optics for targeting and a separate thermal optics system that allows the tank's commander to scan for targets in all weather and battlefield conditions, the report added.
The newer model of the tank also has a digitized control station that features technology allowing the commander to quickly identify friendly vehicles and enemy positions, according to the report.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that the United States will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. However, US officials have said that training and delivery of the tanks to Ukraine's battlefields will take many months, certainly not in time for Ukraine's "counteroffensive in spring."
17:54 GMT 26.01.2023
UN on Countries Supplying Tanks to Kiev: We Want to See Peace in Ukraine, What We're Seeing Now is Not Moving Us in That Direction
17:41 GMT 26.01.2023
A Leopard 2 tank. File photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2023
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Why Sending Leopard 2 & M1 Abrams Tanks to Ukraine is NATO's Grave Mistake
17:40 GMT 26.01.2023
Canada Will Send Four Leopard 2 Tanks to Ukraine, Defense Minister Says
17:22 GMT 26.01.2023
A Ukrainian BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle seen during the Sea Breeze 2019 military exercise in Odessa - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2023
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Ukrainian Armored Vehicle Blown Up by Anti-Tank Mine Placed by Friendly Troops: Video
16:55 GMT 26.01.2023
US, NATO Came Dangerously Close to Full-Scale Military Conflict in Europe, Russian Deputy Envoy to OSCE Warns
VIENNA (Sputnik) - The United States and NATO have approached a dangerous line on the way to a full-scale military conflict in Europe, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the OSCE Maxim Buyakevich said on Thursday.

"The leadership of the United States and its satellites in NATO has approached a dangerous line. Their deliberate actions to escalate the military confrontation in Ukraine, provoking the regime into military operations against the Russian population using Western heavy weapons and target designations based on NATO intelligence is a direct path to a full-scale military conflict in Europe, from which absolutely all the inhabitants of our continent will definitely lose," Buyakevich said at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.

According to Buyakevich, the NATO countries agreed on decisions "deepening their involvement in armed confrontation with Russian troops."
The participants of the meeting at the US airbase Ramstein in Germany took steps aimed at "qualitatively strengthening the military escalation, increasing the intensity of hostilities", these steps "will definitely cause further civilian casualties and additional destruction in many settlements," the diplomat added.
16:38 GMT 26.01.2023
Norway to Train Ukrainian Medical Specialists, Snipers
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Norway will train Ukrainian medical specialists and snipers, the Norwegian Defense Ministry said on Thursday, adding that their training will begin this spring and last throughout the year.
"Norway will train Ukrainian soldiers as medical specialist, junior officers and snipers… The training of Ukrainian soldiers will happen in Norway. The plan is to start the training this spring and conduct several rounds throughout 2023," the ministry said in a statement.
Norway also plans to increase the number of its instructors in other international programs specializing in training Ukrainian soldiers, including Operation Interflex in the United Kingdom or the EU's training mission for Ukraine, the statement added.
Western countries have ramped up their military support for Ukraine after Russia launched a special military operation there in late February 2022, responding to calls for help from the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Moscow has repeatedly condemned arms supplies to Kiev, saying they prevent peace talks and prolong the conflict. Russia has also warned that the increasing involvement of NATO in the hostilities may lead to a direct face-off.
16:33 GMT 26.01.2023
Shturm-S Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Missile System Crews in Action During Special Military Operation
16:32 GMT 26.01.2023
Nuclear explosion - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2023
'First Come the Tanks, Then Come the Nukes': Trump Calls on Biden to End 'Crazy' Ukraine Conflict
16:30 GMT 26.01.2023
US Abrams Tanks Will Not Arrive in Ukraine in Time for 'Spring Offensive,' Nuland Says
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Abrams tanks will not be delivered to Ukraine in time for the spring offensive, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Thursday.

"Abrams, as you know, are very sophisticated tanks and they require significant training," Nuland told a Senate hearing. "So even as we approved them yesterday it's gonna take some time to get them to the battlefield, so this is not something that's going to appear in time for the spring offensive."
15:22 GMT 26.01.2023
US Announces New Russia-Related Sanctions
The United States has imposed sanctions on six individuals and 12 entities in connection with Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the Treasury announced on Thursday.
The list includes Russian cargo airline Aviacon Zitotrans, UAV developer Ural Civil Aviation Factory, Joint Stock Company National Aviation Service Company, LLC Research & Production Enterprise Prima, Federal State Unitary Enterprise Scientific and Production Enterprise Gamma, as well as state-owned enterprise Almaz-Antey and its CEO Yan Novikov, among others.
Likewise, the US has imposed visa restrictions on 531 members of the Russian military and designated private military company Wagner Group as "a significant transnational criminal organization."
15:21 GMT 26.01.2023
Biden Plans Trip to Europe on 1st Anniversary of Russia's Operation in Ukraine
US President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Europe to coincide with the first anniversary of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, American media reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
12:55 GMT 26.01.2023
UK to Provide Ukraine With Challenger 2 Tanks by End of March, British MoD Says

"On the issue of training [Ukrainian military to work with Challenger 2 tanks], it will start next week on Monday. I was asked when the weapons would be in the theater of operations, by that I am referring to the Challenger 2, the intention is that it will be at the end of March," deputy Defense Minister Alex Chalk said, addressing the UK Parliament.

12:14 GMT 26.01.2023
Air Raid Sirens Sound in Nikolayev and Odessa Regions
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