Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Wednesday, January 25th, 2023.
- After months of delays and mounting pressure from its allies, Berlin has finally decided to send at least ten Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks to Ukraine.
It will also allow third countries to re-export German tanks to Ukraine. Citing an unnamed Ukrainian official, ABC news previously reported that representatives of 12 countries agreed to supply Ukraine with around 100 German-made Leopard-2 tanks, pending Germany’s approval.
The delivery dates are still unclear, as officials say it usually takes several months to train troops to use the tanks effectively. Several national security experts previously noted that Abrams tanks are notoriously difficult to keep properly supplied and maintained due to their powerful turbine engine – in contrast to diesel-powered German Leopard tanks.
- On top of that, neutral Switzerland will stop blocking the supply of Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine, allowing European countries to transfer them to Kyiv.
The Security Policy Commission of the Swiss National Council has adopted a proposal allowing other countries to re-export weapons received from Switzerland – in certain cases. Switzerland’s existing laws prohibit the re-export of weapons to warring countries, born out of the country’s long-standing commitment to neutrality. The commission argues that this clause ought to have an exemption for cases when one side is being attacked in breach of international law, “...specifically in case of the Russo-Ukrainian war.”
- Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu has changed the commanders of Russia’s Western and Southern military districts.
According to a report by Russian media outlet RBC, Col. Gen. Sergei Kuzovlev is now the head of the Southern military district, and the Western military district – previously helmed by Kuzovlev – is now led by Lt. Gen. Yevgeniy Nikiforov. According to Ukrainian intelligence, the reshuffle was in fact a manifestation of the internal political struggle at the top of the Russian leadership: a man from the Shoigu-Gerasimov (head of Russia’s General Staff) circle was replaced with a candidate from the Surovikin-Prigozhin group.
- Russian Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky has probably been dismissed as one of the key operational commanders of Russia’s invasion forces in Ukraine.
In a sign of further court jockeying within the Russian Ministry of Defense, Teplinsky, “the officer (...) in charge of Russia’s relatively successful withdrawal from west of the Dnipro in November 2022,” received high praise in Russia as a capable and pragmatic commander, according to the UK Ministry of Defense.
- Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov has resigned amid a scandal related to food procurement for the armed forces.
He said his decision was motivated by the desire to remove threats to the stable provision of the army, which has said had arisen due to a “campaign of allegations” against him. Shapovalov was head of procurement at the Ministry, and is likely the subject of an investigation by anti-corruption bodies into the food procurement scandal.
- Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko has been dismissed from his post following a scandal over his taking a vacation in Spain in wartime.
The day before, media reported that Symonenko had submitted a letter of resignation, having gone on a 10-day vacation to Spain during the war – despite a direct ban from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
- And another deputy minister of infrastructure has also resigned, though he claims his reasons have nothing to do with the sacking of a fellow deputy infrastructure minister.
- The total amount of documented direct damage to Ukraine's infrastructure caused by the full-scale war with Russia is estimated at $137.8 billion.
This sum only regards damages documented so far – the true number is likely far higher. The largest increase in damages in December was due to an increase in losses from the destruction of housing, educational institutions, and cultural, religious, and sports facilities. Over the 10 months of full-scale war, a total of 149,300 residential properties have been damaged or destroyed, including 131,400 private houses, 17,500 apartment buildings, and 280 dormitories.
- A Ukrainian court has seized two An-148 aircraft belonging to a Russian joint-stock company worth EUR 10 million ($11 million).
The name of the company has not been disclosed. The An-148s are regional passenger jets, with flight ranges up to 3,500 kilometers. According to the investigation, in 2021, the sanctioned enterprise, through a Cypriot offshore company, entered into a lease agreement for these planes with a Ukrainian company that used them in its economic activities.
- The day’s long read: The West’s fear is receding. But what is Putin capable of now?
Former Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin explains the current strategy of Western support for Ukraine, and discusses what options for “escalation” Russia still has.