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Key events

‘We’re going to stand with you, as long as it takes’: Joe Biden

President Joe Biden promised Tuesday that the United States will support Ukraine for as long as it takes to fight off the Russian invasion.

“We’re going to stand with you, as long as it takes. Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, more peace – not just in Europe, but everywhere,” Biden said, addressing Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington, Oksana Markarova, who was in attendance at the president’s State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress.

Kremlin is expected to target the north-eastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhia regions

Ukraine national security chief Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that the Kremlin is expected to target the north-eastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhia regions in a new thrust.

Speaking in his office in Kyiv, he told Reuters:

Attempts at an offensive in either the Kharkiv or Zaporizhzhia direction will of course be made.

How successful they’ll be will depend on us.

Top Ukrainian officials including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy have said Moscow will attempt to mount another major offensive with freshly mobilised troops in the coming weeks as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion nears on 24 February.

Danilov said:

They need to have something to show before their people, and have a major desire to do something big, as they see it, by this date.

Summary and welcome

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine. I’m Jordyn Beazley and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments as they unfold over the next hour.

Russian forces have ramped up a winter assault in eastern Ukraine, bringing tens of thousands of freshly mobilised troops to the battlefield, Reuters reports. Kyiv expects Moscow to broaden its offensive as towns in the northeast and south came under fire.

  • Ukraine’s military claimed on Tuesday that the last 24 hours were the deadliest of the war for Russian troops. It increased its tally of Russian military dead by 1,030 overnight to 133,190, the biggest increase in daily Russian military deaths since the war began in February 2022. Russia has also said it killed large numbers of Ukrainian troops in recent weeks, claiming it inflicted 6,500 Ukrainian casualties in the month of January. These figures could not be independently verified, but the assertion that the fighting was the deadliest so far fits descriptions from both sides of an escalating campaign of close-contact trench warfare in Ukraine’s east.

  • Ukraine’s parliament has approved the appointment of Ihor Klymenko as the new interior affairs minister and Vasily Malyuk as the new head of the security services, known as the SBU. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked parliament for approving his proposed candidates and called for an end to “rumours or any other pseudo-information” that could undermine unity.

  • Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have announced they plan to provide Ukraine with at least 100 refurbished Leopard 1 battle tanks. In a joint statement, their defence ministers said the shipment of the older Leopard 1 was part of an effort “to support Ukraine in their endeavour to withstand Russian aggression”. The delivery would occur “within the coming months” and include logistical support and training.

  • Germany’s defence ministry has said Leopard 2A6 battle tanks will be available to Ukraine by the end of March. The head of the German arms maker Rheinmetall has also said it expects to send 20 to 25 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine this year. Germany’s defence minister, Boris Pistorius, made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Tuesday.

  • Ukraine’s top national security official, Oleksiy Danilov, has said he is confident his country will eventually receive US-made F-16 fighter jets. It was “only a matter of time” before Kyiv gets the F-16s, Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defence council, told CNN. He also suggested Ukraine may be capable of striking Russia on its own territory, beyond occupied Ukraine.

  • Ukraine has released extraordinary video footage that appears to show Russian fighters dragging their badly wounded commander away from the battlefield, then beating him violently with what appear to be shovels. A Ukrainian drone captured the incident near the eastern city of Bakhmut, where intense fighting has been raging for months.

  • Russia almost certainly lacks the munitions and units required for successful offensives, the UK Ministry of Defence has said. Its intelligence update stated it remained unlikely that Russia could build up the forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war in the coming weeks.

  • Recriminations have broken out among EU officials after a possible visit to Brussels by Zelenskiy was leaked, raising concerns over his security. Zelenskiy was reported to be planning a trip to Brussels this Thursday to meet EU leaders in person at a summit and address the European parliament in an extraordinary session.

  • Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, has warned that western arms supplies to Ukraine are effectively “dragging” Nato into the conflict, which could lead to an “unpredictable level of escalation”. In remarks during a conference call with military officials, quoted by state-owned Tass news agency, Shoigu accused the US and its allies of “trying to prolong the conflict as much as possible” by supplying Kyiv with what he described as “heavy offensive weapons”.


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