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Kyiv Pushes for Fighter Jets Despite U.S., German Refusal; Russia Makes ‘Concerted Assault' on Donetsk

Mustafa Ciftci | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

This was CNBC's live blog tracking developments on the war in Ukraine on Jan.31, 2023. See here for the latest updates. 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks on during a press conference with US President Joe Biden at the East Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2022.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks on during a press conference with US President Joe Biden at the East Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, on December 21, 2022.

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Kyiv's hopes were dashed Tuesday after its biggest military supporter, the United States, ruled out sending fighter jets to Ukraine.

When reporters asked Monday whether he would send F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv, U.S. President Joe Biden gave reporters a one-word answer: "No." Biden's comments come a day after his German counterpart, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, also ruled out sending jets to Ukraine.

The U.S. and Germany last week gave the greenlight to send modern battle tanks to Ukraine after months of pleas from Kyiv.

Within hours of when it heard news that it would receive Western tanks, the Ukrainian government renewed its calls for fighter jets such as the U.S.' F-16s. Kyiv said it needs all the firepower it could get sooner rather than later.

Ukraine's defense minister is expected to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday as differences appear to be emerging between allies over fighter jets.

Macron said Monday that fighter jets for Ukraine are "not excluded. But he added that there would be conditions attached to any offer, including that the craft would "not be likely to hit Russian soil but purely to aid the resistance effort."

Poland has also signaled its willingness to send such weaponry but said it would act in "full coordination" with its allies while Lithuania has urged NATO to give Ukraine all the weapons it needs. The Netherlands has said it is willing to consider any request for F-16s.

Memorial held in Lviv for American volunteer who died defending Ukraine

Soldiers stand by the coffin of American volunteer Daniel Whitney Swift during the farewell ceremony in the Latin Cathedral in Lviv. Swift fought Russia in the ranks of the International Legion under the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The funeral ceremony for Swift took place in the Latin Cathedral according to Catholic custom. Daniel's brother was present at the farewell in Lviv. After the ceremony, his body will be delivered to the United States, where it will be buried.

Soldiers of the honor guard with the portrait of Daniel Swift and the coffin covered with the flags of the USA and Ukraine during the farewell ceremony in the Latin Cathedral on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
Stanislav Ivanov | Getty Images
Soldiers of the honor guard with the portrait of Daniel Swift and the coffin covered with the flags of the USA and Ukraine during the farewell ceremony in the Latin Cathedral on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
A brother of Daniel Swift with the ceremonial flag of the USA and the mayor of Lviv Andrii Sadovyi with the flag of Ukraine during the farewell ceremony on Rynok Square on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
Stanislav Ivanov | Getty Images
A brother of Daniel Swift with the ceremonial flag of the USA and the mayor of Lviv Andrii Sadovyi with the flag of Ukraine during the farewell ceremony on Rynok Square on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
The coffin covered with the flags of the USA and Ukraine during the farewell ceremony in the Latin Cathedral on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
Stanislav Ivanov | Getty Images
The coffin covered with the flags of the USA and Ukraine during the farewell ceremony in the Latin Cathedral on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
A brother of Daniel Swift with a ceremonial US flag during a farewell ceremony on Rynok Square on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Stanislav Ivanov | Getty Images
A brother of Daniel Swift with a ceremonial US flag during a farewell ceremony on Rynok Square on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine.
The coffin covered with US and Ukrainian flags and soldiers stand guard during the farewell ceremony in the Latin Cathedral on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
Stanislav Ivanov | Getty Images
The coffin covered with US and Ukrainian flags and soldiers stand guard during the farewell ceremony in the Latin Cathedral on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine. 
An honor guard soldier holds a portrait of Daniel Swift on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Stanislav Ivanov | Getty Images
An honor guard soldier holds a portrait of Daniel Swift on January 31, 2023 in Lviv, Ukraine.

— Stanislav Ivanov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

U.S. accuses Russia of endangering nuclear arms control treaty

In image from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Oct. 26, 2022, a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired as part of Russia's nuclear drills from a launch site in Plesetsk, northwestern Russia.
Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
In image from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Oct. 26, 2022, a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired as part of Russia's nuclear drills from a launch site in Plesetsk, northwestern Russia.

Russia's refusal to allow on-the-ground inspections to resume is endangering the New START nuclear treaty and U.S.-Russian arms control overall, the Biden administration charged.

The finding was delivered to Congress and summarized in a statement by the State Department. It follows months of more hopeful U.S. assessments that the two countries would be able to salvage cooperation on limiting strategic nuclear weapons despite high tensions over Russia's war on Ukraine.

Inspections of U.S. and Russian military sites under the New START treaty were paused by both sides because of the spread of the coronavirus in March 2020. The U.S.-Russia committee overseeing implementation of the treaty last met in October 2021, but Russia then unilaterally suspended its cooperation with the treaty's inspection provisions in August 2022 to protest U.S. support for Ukraine.

"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 State Department said Tuesday.

The administration also blamed Russia for the two country's failure to resume talks required under the New START treaty.

— Associated Press

Biden says he will talk to Zelenskyy soon about additional weapons packages

U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters before walking to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House January 4, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters before walking to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House January 4, 2023 in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden told reporters he is planning to speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about future military aid packages.

"We're going to talk," Biden said when asked if he has spoken to Zelenskyy and what he planned on tell him about future assistance requests.

In recent days, Kyiv has asked Western partners for additional weapons, including fighter jets.

— Amanda Macias

Three ships leave Ukrainian ports under Black Sea Grain Initiative

Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images
Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Three vessels carrying 166,500 metric tons of grain and other food products have left Ukrainian ports, the organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from the country said.

The ships are destined for Spain and China and are carrying wheat and corn.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal brokered in July among Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, eased Russia's naval blockade and saw three key Ukrainian ports reopen.

So far, more than 690 ships have sailed from Ukrainian ports.

— Amanda Macias

Residents pick up donated firewood in Stanislav, Kherson

Local residents pick up firewood donated by a charity fund in Stanislav in the Kherson region.

Local residents pick up firewood donated by a charity fund in Stanislav, Kherson Region, on January 31, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
Local residents pick up firewood donated by a charity fund in Stanislav, Kherson Region, on January 31, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Local residents pick up firewood donated by a charity fund in Stanislav, Kherson Region, on January 31, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
Local residents pick up firewood donated by a charity fund in Stanislav, Kherson Region, on January 31, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Local residents pick up firewood donated by a charity fund in Stanislav, Kherson Region, on January 31, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images
Local residents pick up firewood donated by a charity fund in Stanislav, Kherson Region, on January 31, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

— Genya Savilov | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. imposes restrictions on Iranian drone manufacturers in move to limit Russia's use of the weapon in Ukraine

Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images
A "kamikaze" drone approaches for an attack in Kyiv on Oct. 17, 2022.

The U.S. Commerce Department imposed restrictions on seven Iranian drone manufacturers and on any transfers of foreign-made components that support drone production.

The move furthers efforts to cut the Russian military off from the items and resources it needs to sustain its war in Ukraine, the department said.

"As a result, Russia has fewer places to turn for military support, as evidenced by its acquisition of drones from, and partnership with, pariah states like Iran. We will continue to take effective, coordinated action with our federal agency colleagues and international partners to stop entities anywhere in the world from supporting Putin's horrific war," said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea Rozman Kendler in a statement.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced a slew of fresh sanctions and additional measures targeting Iran's aviation and defense sector, as Washington ups the ante in its campaign against Tehran for supplying Moscow with weapons.

— Amanda Macias

Nearly 8 million Ukrainians have become refugees from Russia’s war, U.N. estimates

More than 7.9 million Ukrainians have become refugees and moved to neighboring countries since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the U.N. Refugee Agency estimates.

Number of Ukrainians enter Poland since war tops 9.5M
Mahmut Resul Karaca | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Number of Ukrainians enter Poland since war tops 9.5M

Nearly 5 million of those people have applied for temporary resident status in neighboring Western European countries, according to data collected by the agency.

NATO member Poland has accepted the majority of the refugees from Ukraine.

"The escalation of the international armed conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance," the U.N. Refugee Agency wrote.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy, Trudeau agree on 'joint diplomatic steps' toward peace in Ukraine

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Church of St Demetrius the Great Martyr to speak with members of the Ukrainian community as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 4, 2022.
Carlos Osorio | Reuters
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits Church of St Demetrius the Great Martyr to speak with members of the Ukrainian community as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 4, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed on a joint effort toward the implementation of a 10-point peace formula that aims to resolve the Russian war in Ukraine by February, Zelenskyy announced.

The Ukrainian president tweeted that he is in "constant contact" with Trudeau about the situation at the front and the military's need for armed vehicles, artillery and aviation.

"We agreed on joint diplomatic steps, in particular on the implementation of #PeaceFormula," Zelenskyy wrote.

Announced at the G-20 in November, Zelenskyy's peace formula includes the restoration of Ukraine's lost territories, release of all prisoners of war, the withdrawal of Russian troops, a tribunal for those responsible for the conflict and security guarantees for Ukraine.

— Chelsey Cox

Watch: U.S. Congressional Ukraine Caucus holds news conference with wounded soldiers

The U.S. Congressional Ukraine Caucus will discuss Russia's war at a news conference alongside wounded soldiers.

— Jacob Pramuk

France announces it will provide training and more CAESAR guns to Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a CAESAR self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions in eastern Ukraine on December 28, 2022.
Sameer Al-doumy | Afp | Getty Images
Ukrainian servicemen fire with a CAESAR self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions in eastern Ukraine on December 28, 2022.

France said it will provide 12 additional CAESAR guns to Ukraine and send about 150 soldiers to Poland to train 600 Ukrainians on a monthly basis.

The CAESAR, or CAmion Equipe d'un Systeme d'ARtillerie, is a French 155 mm, 52-caliber self-propelled gun-howitzer.

French Minister of Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu said that he expects about 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers to be trained by the summer.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian prosecutor general launches investigation after a child dies from Russian shelling in Bakhmut

Olga Tomah, 70, reacts in front of a residential building where her flat burns after Russian shelling in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on January 20, 2023.
Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images
Olga Tomah, 70, reacts in front of a residential building where her flat burns after Russian shelling in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on January 20, 2023.

The office of Ukraine's prosecutor general said it launched a pre-trial investigation in Bakhmut after a man and 12-year-old boy died in Russian shelling.

"According to the investigation, on January 31, 2023, the armed forces of the Russian Federation fired barrel artillery at a residential area in the city of Bakhmut. A man and a 12-year-old boy were killed as a result of the shelling," the office wrote on its Telegram channel.

The office added that five civilians were injured during the attack.

"On-site prosecutors continue to take all possible and appropriate measures to document war crimes committed by representatives of the armed forces of the Russian Federation," the office added.

— Amanda Macias

Russia's war has damaged more than 75,000 buildings in Ukraine, official says

A Russian soldier walks amid the rubble in Mariupol's eastern side where fierce fighting between Russia/pro-Russia forces and Ukraine on March 15, 2022.
Maximilian Clarke | SOPA Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images
A Russian soldier walks amid the rubble in Mariupol's eastern side where fierce fighting between Russia/pro-Russia forces and Ukraine on March 15, 2022.

Russia's war has completely destroyed more than 75,000 buildings, including houses, hospitals and schools, said Yaroslav Brisiuck, deputy chief of mission at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington.

"The Russian Federation does not stop shelling Ukrainian cities, infrastructure destroying historic and cultural heritage of Ukraine," the diplomat said during an event at the German Embassy in Washington.

"More than 50% of the Ukrainian energy systems have been destroyed by Russian missiles and Iranian drones," Brisiuck added.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian official says Russian forces have committed more than 64,000 crimes since war began

War crime prosecutor of Kharkiv Oblast stands with forensic technician and policeman at the site of a mass burial in a forest during exhumation on September 16, 2022 in Izium, Ukraine.
Yevhenii Zavhorodnii | Global Images Ukraine | Getty Images News | Getty Images
War crime prosecutor of Kharkiv Oblast stands with forensic technician and policeman at the site of a mass burial in a forest during exhumation on September 16, 2022 in Izium, Ukraine.

A Ukrainian diplomat said his country's law enforcement has documented more than 64,000 crimes committed by Russian forces since February.

"Russia cannot defeat us on the battlefield so they have resorted to the technique of killing civilians. Russian troops on a daily basis commit war crimes against humanity," Yaroslav Brisiuck, deputy chief of mission at the Ukrainian Embassy in the U.S.

Brisiuck said that Ukrainian authorities partnered with third-party investigators have recorded instances of rape and sexual violence, torture, looting and forced deportations.

"We must continue consolidating the efforts on the legal front to restore the rule of law and deliver justice and hold Russia responsible," he said during a discussion at the German Embassy in Washington.

Brisiuck added that Ukraine has started the colossal litigation process for potential crimes at both the national and international level, including the International Criminal Court.

The Kremlin denies that its troops in Ukraine target civilians or commit war crimes.

— Amanda Macias

Most major companies have yet to withdraw from Russia

A view of Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed at night in Moscow, Russia on October 27, 2022.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A view of Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed at night in Moscow, Russia on October 27, 2022.

After Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February 2022, companies across the G-7 major economies and the European Union announced plans to cease business operations in Russia.

Yet a report published earlier this month by Switzerland's University of St. Gallen found that of the 1,404 EU and G-7 companies that were active in Russia at the time of the first incursion into Ukraine, fewer than 9% had divested at least one subsidiary by November 2022.

The research team noted that these divestment rates barely changed over the fourth quarter of 2022.

Barclays European consumer staples analysts said that while most of the companies they cover had pledged to exit Russia, few have managed to do so yet. Various companies told Barclays that there were a host of challenges to fully divest.

Read the full story here.

- Elliot Smith

Ukraine to receive 120-140 tanks in 'first wave' of deliveries, minister says

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba attends a joint media briefing amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine 14 September 2022.
Nurphoto | Getty Images
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba attends a joint media briefing amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Odesa, Ukraine 14 September 2022.

Ukraine will receive 120 to 140 tanks in a "first wave" of deliveries from a coalition of 12 countries, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday.

Kyiv secured pledges from the West this month to supply main battle tanks to help fend off Russia's full-scale invasion, with Moscow mounting huge efforts to make incremental advances in eastern Ukraine.

"The tank coalition now has 12 members. I can note that in the first wave of contributions, the Ukrainian armed forces will receive between 120 and 140 Western-model tanks," Kuleba said during an online briefing.

The foreign minister said Kyiv was working behind the scenes to win over more countries to supply tanks at what officials say is a critical time in the war.

"... We continue to work on both expanding the membership of the tank coalition and increasing the contributions of those already pledged," he said.

Kyiv plans to launch a major counteroffensive to recapture swathes of territory taken by Russia in the south and east of the country.

The United States has told Kyiv to hold off on those plans until Western military assistance has arrived in Ukraine. Ukraine is also concerned that Russia could launch its own major offensive in the coming weeks or months.

— Reuters

Bakhmut hit by rocket-propelled artillery 197 times over past day, official says

A damaged car and pile of debris are seen as the Russia-Ukraine War continues in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 28, 2023.
Marek M. Berezowski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A damaged car and pile of debris are seen as the Russia-Ukraine War continues in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 28, 2023.

Bakhmut in Donetsk remains the key target for Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, a spokesman of the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhii Cherevaty, said during a national telethon Tuesday.

"Bakhmut continues to be one of the main directions of the enemy's attack. There, they struck our positions with rocket-propelled artillery 197 times" over the past day, he said, in comments reported by news agency Ukrinform.  

He added that 42 combat clashes had taken place in the same timeframe with 277 Russian soldiers killed and 258 wounded.

Ukrainian soldiers return from the front line in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 29, 2023.
Marek M. Berezowski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian soldiers return from the front line in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 29, 2023.

Cherevaty said Russian troops were unable to cut the route used to supply Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut despite the repeated attacks.

 "So far they have not succeeded. Everything is being done to prevent them from blocking the movement of our units. All the necessary ammunition, equipment, food, are being delivered to Bakhmut," Cherevaty said.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia claims further advances in Donetsk

Russia's defense ministry claimed that its armed forces in Ukraine have seized another village in Donetsk.

Russian troops have reportedly captured the village of Blahodatne in the region (the area pro-Russian separatists call the "Donetsk People's Republic" or DPR), according to an official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov.

Ukraine has not commented on the claim, but Russia has been seen to have made incremental gains in the Donetsk region around Vuhledar, to the southwest of the city of Donetsk.

A volunteer who are evacuating civilians from Bakhmut, when the Russian shelling began in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 30, 2023.
| Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
A volunteer who are evacuating civilians from Bakhmut, when the Russian shelling began in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 30, 2023.

Yan Gagin, an advisor to the acting head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, told the Rossiya-1 TV channel Tuesday that Russian forces in Donetsk are taking control of one settlement after another, and are advancing on Bakhmut, capturing which is a key strategic goal for Russia.

"Our troops in Artemovsk [Russia's name for Bakhmut] are advancing, and they are taking settlement after settlement, moving quite actively," he said in comments reported by news agency Tass and translated by Google.

The U.K.'s Ministry of Defence said Tuesday that, in the last three days, Russia likely developed its probing attacks around the Donetsk towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar into a "more concerted assault."

The settlements lie around 30 miles southwest of the city of Donetsk, and Russia previously used the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade in an unsuccessful assault on the same area in November 2022, the ministry noted on Twitter.

—Holly Ellyatt

Russia says European powers should counterbalance 'aggressive' Poland, Baltics

A person walks past a New Year decoration Kremlin Star, bearing a Z letter, a tactical insignia of Russian troops in Ukraine, at the Gorky Park in Moscow on December 29, 2022.
Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty Images
A person walks past a New Year decoration Kremlin Star, bearing a Z letter, a tactical insignia of Russian troops in Ukraine, at the Gorky Park in Moscow on December 29, 2022.

Russia said on Tuesday that calls by the president of Lithuania to supply Ukraine with fighter planes highlighted the "extremely aggressive position" of the Baltic states and Poland, and that "major European countries" should counterbalance their stance.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Monday that NATO should stop drawing "red lines" and should supply Ukraine with whatever weapons it needed, including fighter jets and long-range missiles.

Asked about those comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "In general, we see an extremely aggressive position from representatives of the Baltic countries and Poland. They are apparently ready to do anything to provoke the growth of further confrontation, with little regard for the consequences."

He added: "Of course, it is very sad that under these conditions the leaders of major European countries, who drive all European processes, unfortunately do not play a balancing role."

Nauseda's call followed decisions last week by Germany and the United States to supply battle tanks to Ukraine, a move Russia described as an escalation of the conflict.

The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - all ruled by Moscow until they broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991 - have strongly backed Ukraine, supporting its argument that it needs more advanced Western weapons as soon as possible in order to head off a feared new Russian offensive.

Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year in what it called a "special military operation."

— Reuters

Kyiv criticizes Croatian president for saying Crimea will never return to Ukraine

Pedestrians pass a giant wall mural showing a map of the Crimean peninsula filled with the flag of the Russian Federation, in support of the Russian annexation, in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, March 28, 2014.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Pedestrians pass a giant wall mural showing a map of the Crimean peninsula filled with the flag of the Russian Federation, in support of the Russian annexation, in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, March 28, 2014.

Ukraine's foreign ministry criticized Croatian President Zoran Milanovic on Tuesday for saying Crimea would never return to Ukrainian control, describing his comment as "unacceptable."

Russia seized the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. In remarks on Monday detailing his objection to Zagreb providing military aid to Kyiv, Milanovic said it was "clear that Crimea will never again be part of Ukraine".

"We consider as unacceptable the statements of the president of Croatia, who effectively cast doubt on the territorial integrity of Ukraine," Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

— Reuters

Ukraine's defense minister in Paris with jets on the agenda

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that whether Ukraine will be supplied with fighter jets would depend on several factors.
Ludovic Marin | Afp | Getty Images
French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that whether Ukraine will be supplied with fighter jets would depend on several factors.

Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will be meeting French President Emmanuel Macron and his French defense counterpart Sebastien Lecornu in Paris Tuesday, with the thorny issue of fighter jets high on the agenda.

Ukraine has set its sights on receiving fighter jets, such as U.S. F-16s, from its allies, but the U.S. and Germany have already ruled out such weaponry, particularly given the fact they only greenlighted the sending of Western tanks to Ukraine last week.

For his part, President Joe Biden answered with an emphatic "no" when asked by reporters Monday if the U.S. would be sending jets to Ukraine.

There appears to be a softer attitude among some of Ukraine's allies, however. with Poland and France signaling that the provision of fighter jets is not out of the question. On Monday, Macron said any offer would depend on several factors.

"Nothing is excluded in principle," Macron said after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte when asked about the possibility of sending jets to Kyiv as it battles Russia's invasion, France 24 reported.

The conditions are that Ukraine must first make the request; that any arms would "not be escalatory"; and that they would "not be likely to hit Russian soil but purely to aid the resistance effort." Macron added that any arms delivery "must not weaken the capacity of the French armed forces."

— Holly Ellyatt

Russians setting up 'field hospitals' amid heavy losses in Luhansk

Hospital staff in Ukraine. Many medical facilities have had to move underground amid extensive Russian bombardment.
Marcus Yam | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Hospital staff in Ukraine. Many medical facilities have had to move underground amid extensive Russian bombardment.

Russian forces are reportedly commandeering civilian medical facilities and turning them into "field hospitals" in order to treat wounded soldiers as casualties mount, Ukraine said Tuesday.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted on Facebook claiming that Russian forces in Luhansk continue to "suffer heavy losses" and that they have "begun using additional civilian medical facilities to house wounded Russian invaders."

Two hospitals in the city of Luhansk, including a maternity hospital, have become field hospitals where soldiers are being treated, Ukraine said. Because of that, the General Staff said maternity services can now only be offered at the Luhansk Regional Perinatal Center "where there is a catastrophic lack of space and risks and adverse conditions for childbirth."

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia carrying out 'more concerted assault' on Donetsk now, U.K. says

In the last three days, Russia likely developed its probing attacks around the Donetsk towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar into a "more concerted assault," Britain's Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.

The settlements lie around 30 miles southwest of the city of Donetsk, and Russia previously used the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade in an unsuccessful assault on the same area in November 2022, the Ministry noted on Twitter.

Members of a Ukrainian artillery unit cover their ears as an M109 self-propelled artillery unit is fired at Russian mortar positions around Vuhledar from a front line position on Dec. 19, 2022 in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Members of a Ukrainian artillery unit cover their ears as an M109 self-propelled artillery unit is fired at Russian mortar positions around Vuhledar from a front line position on Dec. 19, 2022 in Donetsk, Ukraine.

"Elements of the 155th are again involved as part of an at least brigade sized force which has likely advanced several hundred metres beyond the small Kashlahach River which marked the front line for several months."

The ministry noted that Russian commanders are likely aiming "to develop a new axis of advance" into the Ukrainian-held part of the Donetsk region "and to divert Ukrainian forces from the heavily contested Bakhmut sector."

"There is a realistic possibility that Russia will continue to make local gains in the sector," the U.K. said, but it added that "it is unlikely that Russia has sufficient uncommitted troops in the area to achieve an operationally significant breakthrough."

— Holly Ellyatt

Biden rules out sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outside the White House in Washington on Dec. 21, 2022.
Olivier Contreras | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outside the White House in Washington on Dec. 21, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters Monday afternoon that the U.S. would not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

When asked by reporters whether he would send fighter jets to Kyiv, Biden replied with one word: "No."

The U.S. and Germany only last week gave the greenlight to sending modern battle tanks to Ukraine after months of pleas from Kyiv for the tanks.

Within hours of receiving news that it would be receiving Western tanks, Kyiv renewed its calls for fighter jets, such as the U.S.' F-16s, saying it needs all the firepower it can get sooner rather than later.

Biden's comments come a day after his German counterpart, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, also ruled out sending jets to Ukraine, saying it seems "frivolous" to discuss the issue when allies had just approved the sending of tanks.

Ukraine's defense minister is expected in Paris on Tuesday to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, with differences appearing to emerge between allies over F-16s.

News outlet Politico reported Monday that France is considering Ukraine's request for fighter-jet pilot training, citing an aide to the country's defense minister, while Poland has signaled its willingness to send such weaponry but said it would act in "full coordination" with its allies.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia's new offensive against Ukraine will fail, Zelenskky vows

Yan Dobronosov | Getty Images News | Getty Images
"The situation is very tough. Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other areas in the Donetsk region are under constant Russian attacks. There are constant attempts to break through our defense," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Sunday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Kyiv and its Western partners will do everything necessary to make sure "Russia's intentions to move to a new stage of offensive for the sake of revenge fail."

"I am confident in our army. We will stop them all little by little, destroy them and prepare our big counteroffensive," Zelenskyy said in an address alongside his Danish counterpart in Odesa.

Zelenskyy thanked Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen for providing financial and security assistance to Ukraine.

"I am grateful to the Danish coalition government for creating a separate fund to help our country. Reconstruction should become one of the key directions of the fund's work," Zelenskyy added.

— Amanda Macias

Ukrainian representative in Tehran summoned to Ministry of Foreign Affairs following drone strikes in Iran

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook that the temporary representative of Ukraine was summoned to a meeting at Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran.

Nikolenko did not elaborate on the details of the meeting but added that Kyiv is not responsible for the string of explosions at Iranian facilities, according to an NBC News translation.

Over the weekend Iran said that bomb-carrying drones struck a defense manufacturing plant in the central city of Isfahan. The Iranian Defense Ministry did not share information on who it suspected of carrying out the strike.

— Amanda Macias

EU allocates 114 million euros to build an energy hub in Poland

Local residents charge their devices, use internet connection and warm up after critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 24, 2022.
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images
Local residents charge their devices, use internet connection and warm up after critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 24, 2022.

The European Union allocated 114 million euros to Poland's new "rescEU energy hub" for Ukraine.

The hub will essentially be a logistics center for supplying emergency energy aid to Ukrainians amid Russian shelling on critical infrastructure. The funds will purchase approximately 1,000 generators to be distributed to Ukrainians through the hub.

The European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism has previously provided 1,400 generators to Ukrainians in need.

— Amanda Macias

Friends bury 28-year old orphan Ukrainian serviceman in Bakhmut

EDITOR'S NOTE- Graphic Content- This post contains the image of a dead Ukrainian servicemen in Sloviansk.

Friends gather to bury Ukrainian serviceman, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, at a cemetery in Sloviansk. Koroniy was a member of the Azov battalion, killed in action in Bakhmut, Donetsk region.

Ukrainian servicemen and friends of the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, who was killed in action in Bakhmut, carry his coffin during a funeral at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images
Ukrainian servicemen and friends of the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, who was killed in action in Bakhmut, carry his coffin during a funeral at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Kateryna Avdeyeva (C), holds a portrait of her late friend, Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, as she attends his funeral ceremony at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images
Kateryna Avdeyeva (C), holds a portrait of her late friend, Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, as she attends his funeral ceremony at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Natalia Shalashnaya (R), 52, mourns over the casket of the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, of whom she was the legal guardian, at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP | Getty Images
EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Natalia Shalashnaya (R), 52, mourns over the casket of the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, of whom she was the legal guardian, at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Kateryna Avdeyeva (C), mourns as she holds a portrait of her late friend, Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, as she attends his funeral ceremony at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images
Kateryna Avdeyeva (C), mourns as she holds a portrait of her late friend, Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, as she attends his funeral ceremony at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Natalia Shalashnaya, 52, pours water into the grave of the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, of whom she was the legal guardian, at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images
Natalia Shalashnaya, 52, pours water into the grave of the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, of whom she was the legal guardian, at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Oleksiy Storozh (R), 28, fires his rifle in the air during the burial of his best friend, the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
Yasuyoshi Chiba | Afp | Getty Images
Oleksiy Storozh (R), 28, fires his rifle in the air during the burial of his best friend, the late Ukrainian serviceman of the Azov battalion killed in action in Bakhmut, 28-year-old orphan Oleksandr Korovniy, at a cemetery in Sloviansk on January 30, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

-Getty Images

Kremlin dismisses Boris Johnson's missile strike accusation

Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.
Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.

The Kremlin dismissed Boris Johnson's claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike.

The former U.K. prime minister claimed in a BBC documentary that he'd had a phone call with Putin before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Johnson said in the show that Putin "threatened me at one point, and he said, 'Boris, I don't want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute' or something like that."

"But I think from the very relaxed tone that he was taking, the sort of air of detachment that he seemed to have, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate," Johnson said.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the claim as a "lie" Monday, telling reporters "What Mr. Johnson said is not true. More precisely, it is a lie," he said according to an NBC News translation of the comments.

"This may either be a deliberate lie by Mr. Johnson, and then the question arises as to the reasons for his presentation of such a version of events. Or he actually did not understand what President Putin was talking about with him. And in this case it becomes a little worrying for the interlocutors of our President," Peskov said.

"But once again I officially repeat: this is a lie, there were no threats with missiles."

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine's prime minister says Kyiv wants to join the European Union within two years

Ukraine has made no secret of its wish to join the EU and has already applied to join the bloc.
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Ukraine has made no secret of its wish to join the EU and has already applied to join the bloc.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Kyiv wants to join the European Union within two years, setting a very ambitious timetable for joining the bloc.

Speaking to Politico, Shmyhal said "we have a very ambitious plan to join the European Union within the next two years ... So we expect that this year, in 2023, we can already have this pre-entry stage of negotiations," he said.

Ukraine has made no secret of its wish to join the EU and has already applied to join the bloc. It is not the only candidate country. Others, such as North Macedonia and Montenegro have waited over ten years for any progress in their own respective membership applications. French President Emmanuel Macron has said EU membership for Ukraine is likely to be a process that will take "decades."

EU commissioners are heading to Kyiv on Friday to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Politco noted that their task will likely be "managing expectations" regarding such a tight timetable for entry into the EU.

— Holly Ellyatt

Boris Johnson claims Putin threatened him with a missile attack

Russia welcomed Boris Johnson's departure from office.
Justin Tallis | Afp | Getty Images
Russia welcomed Boris Johnson's departure from office.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed to threaten him with a missile strike in what he described as an "extraordinary" phone call before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In an excerpt of a BBC documentary called "Putin vs the West," Johnson says he spoke to Putin in February 2022, shortly before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. During that call, he said he told Putin that war would be an "utter catastrophe" and would entail sanctions on Moscow and likely more NATO troops on Russia's borders.

Johnson said that after making those points during the call, in which he said Putin had been "very familiar," Putin appeared to threaten him.

"He threatened me at one point, and he said, 'Boris, I don't want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute' or something like that," Johnson said in the documentary, the BBC reported.

"But I think from the very relaxed tone that he was taking, the sort of air of detachment that he seemed to have, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate."

It's impossible to ascertain whether Putin was serious in his comment but relations between the U.K. and Russia were already strained before the war, particularly after a Russian nerve agent attack carried out in the U.K. in 2018. The U.K.'s staunch support of Kyiv has heightened tensions.

— Holly Ellyatt

Germany's Scholz adamant Berlin will not send fighter jets to Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin on Jan. 25, 2023.
Fabrizio Bensch | Reuters
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin on Jan. 25, 2023.

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted at the weekend that fighter jets would not be provided to Ukraine, telling a German newspaper that there should not be a "bidding war" over weaponry and that Germany "will not allow a war between Russia and NATO."

Scholz reiterated Germany's objections to sending fighter jets to Ukraine, telling the Tagesspiegel newspaper Sunday that there is no question of doing so.

"The question of combat aircraft does not arise at all," Scholz said, according to Politico's translation of the original story.

"I can only advise against entering into a constant competition to outbid each other when it comes to weapons systems," he added.

Germany last week agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine after months of resisting pressure to do so. Berlin also said it would allow other allies to send their own German-made tanks to Kyiv. The U.S. also agreed to send a number of M1 Abrams tanks.

Kenzo Tribouillard | Afp | Getty Images
A Belgian F-16 jet fighter takes part in the NATO Air Nuclear drill "Steadfast Noon" at the Kleine-Brogel air base in Belgium on October 18, 2022.

Ukraine expressed gratitude for the decision to send tanks but immediately said it needed more firepower to counter Russia's invasion, asking for fighter jets from its allies. One defense ministry advisor told CNBC he was sure Kyiv would receive F-16 fighter jets from its allies and that there should be no delay over the decision, as there was over tanks.

Over the weekend, another Ukrainian official said negotiations over the possible sending of attack aircraft to Ukraine were "ongoing."

"Our partners understand how the war develops. They understand that attack aircraft are absolutely necessary to cover the manpower and armoured vehicles that they give us," advisor to the head of the Office of the President Mykhailo Podolyak told the Freedom TV channel Saturday.

"In the same way, in order to drastically reduce the key tool of the Russian army - artillery, we need missiles. That's why negotiations are already underway, negotiations are accelerating," Podolyak said in comments translated by NBC News.

— Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC's previous live coverage here:

Boris Johnson says Putin threatened him with missile strike in pre-call; Berlin rules out fighter jets for Kyiv

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