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What happened this week in the Russian-Ukrainian war? Find the essential news and analyzes | Ukraine

Each week, we round up the must-reads from our coverage of the Ukraine war, news and reporting to analysis, visual guides and opinion.

The West worries about sending tanks to Ukraine

Tanks arguably ruled the First World Warafter four years of stalemate, and indispensable throughout the second, security and defense editor of the Guardian, And Sabbagh written like the UK and other nations increased pressure on Germany to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine this week. Yet, after the initial Russian invasion, one of the surprising features of the war in Ukraine is that it was not a war of dramatic maneuvers, but rather modest changes of front.

However, as the Russians try to fortify their positions, before perhaps another attack, Kyiv is under pressure to find a breakthrough this spring. NATO unwilling to help Ukraine with combat air power, the answer, for now, lies in the heavily armored tank.

A Leopard 2A5 tank.  France, Poland and the United Kingdom have pledged to send tanks soon for the Ukrainian army to use in its efforts to protect itself from Russia.  Finland plans to follow suit.
A Leopard 2 tank, which some European countries say could be crucial in giving Ukraine an edge. Photography: ABACA/REX/Shutterstock

Ahead of Friday’s crucial leaders’ meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, pressure was on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to approve the re-export of Leopard 2 tanks, along with Poland threatening to send Ukraine a batch of 14 tanks anyway. German officials have indicated they are ready for the United States to send some of its own Abrams tanks as well, but the United States said on Wednesday that the Abrams are fuel inefficient and require complex logistical support.

By the end of the Ramstein meeting, Germany had refused to make a decision on whether to give Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, sparking frustration in Kyiv and a warning from Poland that lives could be lost. be lost due to hesitation in Berlin.

Berlin’s new defense minister said no final decision had been made but had asked his ministry “to undertake a review of the stocks” of tanks available.

Jack Watling, senior land warfare researcher at the Royal United Services Institute, wrote that the prospect of several countries supplying Ukraine with NATO-designed main battle tanks offers a path to new momentum in the Kyiv attempt. to recover its territory from Russian occupation. The next six months will likely be critical to this effort. However, allowing Ukraine to operate these vehicles will require more than just the delivery of the tanks.

Less than a year ago, it would have hardly seemed imaginable that the German state would supply arms in a conflict, Kate Connolly writing. To complicate matters, Berlin was also not yet allowed NATO countries to use more than 2,000 Leopard 2 tanks to re-export them to Ukraine. Poland signaled that they could go ahead and do so anyway.

Dozens killed in massive rocket strike on Dnipro

A woman cries as she looks at a destroyed residential building following a missile strike 4 days ago in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro on January 4, 2023.
A woman cries as she watches a residential building destroyed by a missile strike on the city of Dnipro on January 4. Photo: Dnipropetrovsk State Administration/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

Russia carried out two massive rocket attacks on Ukraine on Saturday, devastating an apartment building in the south-central city of Dnipro, where at least 45 people died and dozens were injured. The target of the attack, according to the Ukrainian authorities, was the energy infrastructure of Ukrainea continuation of its strategy to leave the country without electricity and limit its ability to fight.

During the second attack in the afternoon, a rocket hit a nine-storey apartment in Dnipro, destroying an entire section of the building.

One of the dead was boxing trainer Mykhailo Korenovskyi, the only member of his family who was home at the time, Isobel Koshib reported. A family friend posted a video of the family celebrating a child’s birthday in their apartment alongside a photo taken after the kitchen attack, which is missing an entire wall.

Helicopter crash kills interior minister

A woman cries as Orthodox priests hold a service at the site of a helicopter crash, amid the Russian attack on Ukraine, in the town of Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 19, 2023.
A service is held at the site of a helicopter crash in the town of Brovary, outside Kyiv, on January 19. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters

At least 14 people, including Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and other senior officials were killed after a helicopter crashed into a kindergarten on the outskirts of Kyiv.

Isobel Koshib and Pierre-Beaumont reported that a number of children from Brovary school were among the victims after debris hit the building. The most recent update on Wednesday afternoon suggested a child had been killed, after previous reports that the number was at least three.

The SBU State Security Service said it was investigating possible causes, including a violation of flight rules, a technical malfunction and the intentional destruction of the helicopter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described the crash as “a terrible tragedy” on a “dark morning”. “The pain is indescribable,” he wrote on Telegram.

The new German Defense Minister

A veteran but low-key politician has been named Germany’s new defense minister, the government has announced, fill the role at a crucial moment as the country is under intense pressure to increase its commitment to Ukraine. Kate Connolly profile Boris Pistorius.

Boris Pistorius, former Interior Minister of Lower Saxony and future Federal Minister of Defence, speaks during a press release at the Lower Saxony Interior Ministry in Hanover, Germany, on Tuesday 17 January 2023.
Boris Pistorius, former Interior Minister of Lower Saxony and future Federal Minister of Defence, speaks during a press release at the Lower Saxony Interior Ministry in Hanover, Germany, on Tuesday 17 January 2023. Photograph: Julian Stratenschulte/AP

Pistorius is a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, but his appointment by Scholz came as a surprise, not least because he has a low profile in Germany and is little known internationally. He has a reputation as a sharp-tongued, no-nonsense decision maker.

Wagner Group fighter seeks asylum

A former commander of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group who sought asylum in Norway told how he feared for his life in an interview Pjotr ​​Sauer conducted last month.

Andrey Medvedev, 26, said that in Ukraine he had witnessed the summary killing of Wagner fighters accused by their own commanders of disobeying orders. After fleeing his unit, he crossed the Norwegian border near the Pasvikdalen Valley last Friday, where he was arrested and detained by border guards.

Andrey Medvedev who, according to the Human Rights website, entered Norway from Russia.  He would seek asylum in the Nordic country.
Andrey Medvedev has entered Norway from Russia and is seeking asylum. Photography:

Medvedev is the first known Wagner Group soldier who fought in Ukraine to flee abroad. Prior to leaving Russia, Medvedev spoke in several phone calls, in which he detailed his time fighting with Wagner in eastern Ukraine.

“I fought in Bakhmut, commanding the first squad of the 4th platoon of the 7th assault detachment,” Medvedev said, adding that his unit was mostly made up of former prisoners who were thrown into the fighting as “cannon fodder “.

Kyiv Challenge Year

Volodymyr, Dmytro and Ihor from the Beatnik bar are pictured in the Kyiv bar.
Volodymyr, Dmytro and Ihor from the Beatnik bar are pictured in the Kyiv bar. Photography: Anastasia Vlasova/The Observer

Emma Graham Harrison and Artem Mazhoulin mapped Kyiv’s daily acts of resistance. Last spring at the Beatnik Bar in Kyiv, mixologists debated whether they should even try to reopen. Their families were mostly under Russian occupation in eastern Ukraine, many of their friends were on the front line. Was it really the right time to bother making and selling high-end cocktails? But they had emptied their bank accounts by volunteering, needed money to live on and support the war effort, and thought the government could settle for taxes.

And perhaps, in a town that had spent a month with Russian soldiers at the gates and is now unearthing the horrors they left behind in places like Bucha and Irpin, people would need a good drink. So in May they reopened, just 3-6pm, more cafe than nightlife because of the curfew.

“The mood has changed. There was the same bartender, the same regulars, the same background music but something different. There were no cheers, no exclamations, somehow everything was more reserved, it was like bar therapy, ”said Igor Novoseltsev.

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