Russia-Ukraine war: Britain considers sending Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine – The Telegraph

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Britain is considering supplying Ukraine with tanks for the first time to help the country fight Russian forces, The Telegraph understands.
Discussions have been taking place about delivering the British Army’s Challenger 2 main battle tank to Ukraine, in a move that would signal a step-up in Western support from Ukraine.
The move to supply the British tanks to Ukraine would make the UK the first Western country to send main battle tanks to Ukraine.
The UK has not made a final decision on the matter.
It comes after French President Emmanuel Macron pledged last week to send light tanks to Kyiv.
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France and other Western countries’ move to supply Ukraine with weapons will "prolong the suffering" of the Ukrainian people", the Kremlin has said.  
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move "will not change anything" and would only make life more difficult for Ukrainians.
French President Emmanuel Macron last week pledged to send light tanks to Kyiv.
"Fundamentally, these deliveries cannot and will not change anything… (they) can only prolong the suffering of the Ukrainian people," he told reporters in response to a question on France’s decision last week to send armoured vehicles to Ukraine.
Russia’s top investigative body is hunting down a patriotic film star after he spoke out against the war and said he could fight for Ukraine.
Artur Smolyaninov walked away from his successful career and a string of lucrative contracts to flee Russia in order to openly condemn the invasion of Ukraine without risk of arrest. He is best known for his roles in nationalist blockbusters
However, Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia – which typically deals with high-profile crimes – announced that he tasked his colleagues with drafting charges against the 39-year-old film star in connection with a recent interview in which he “made a number of remarks targeted against Russia”.
Read: Russia hunts down patriotic actor for saying he could fight for Ukraine
NATO and the EU are seeking to ramp up cooperation after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended the European security order, a joint declaration seen by AFP on Monday said.
The two Brussels-based organisations have been looking to improve coordination for years, despite fears in some quarters that efforts to bolster the EU’s role in defence could undermine the US-led alliance.
The invasion of Ukraine has spurred calls to better harness the combined clout of Europe’s economic muscle and US military might to better protect the one billion citizens living in member states.
"This is a key juncture for Euro-Atlantic security and stability, more than ever demonstrating the importance of the transatlantic bond, calling for closer EU-NATO cooperation," said the statement, which is to be released by top NATO and EU officials on Tuesday.
"As the security threats and challenges we are confronted with are evolving in scope and magnitude, we will take our partnership to the next level."
Kyiv expects the European Union to include Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom in its next round of sanctions over the war in Ukraine, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Monday.
Shmyhal said after talks in Kyiv with Frans Timmermans, a vice-president of the European Union’s executive European Commission, that Russia’s nuclear energy industry should be punished over the invasion of Ukraine more than 10 months ago.
Russia has occupied the Zaporizhzia nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine since last March and President Vladimir Putin issued a decree last October transferring control of the plant from Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom to a subsidiary of Rosatom. Kyiv says the move amounts to theft.
"We are actively working with our European partners on providing support in four areas: demilitarisation of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, supply of electrical equipment, opportunities to import electricity from the EU, and sanctions against Russia," Shmyhal wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
🤝 Teamwork is essential to success.

Ukrainian recruits are taught to work together in combat to defeat the enemy.

🎬 Watch these recruits repel an enemy advance on live fire tactical training in the snow with the @BritishArmy.

🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦
Three women from Ukraine, Iran and Turkey on Monday won Sweden’s Olof Palme human rights prize for 2023 for championing women’s rights and freedoms.
Marta Chumalo of Ukraine, Iran’s Narges Mohammadi and Eren Keskin of Turkey were honoured for "their efforts in the fight to secure women’s freedom, in an age when human rights are threatened by war, violence and oppression", the Olof Palme Memorial Fund said in a statement.
Chumalo, a psychologist and feminist, was highlighted for being one of the founders of "Women’s Perspectives", an NGO promoting women’s rights and combating violence against women.
"Since 2014, and especially since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Marta Chumalo has been heavily involved in raising awareness about the effects of the war, and in addressing the needs of its victims," the fund said.
She said “yes”.
🇺🇦 defenders Lisa and Yevhen met each other in the first days of 🇷🇺 full-scale invasion. Fighting shoulder by shoulder, they found themselves in love.
Love and light prevail.#StandWithUkraine
Officials at a vocational school in an eastern Ukraine city dismissed claims by Russia that hundreds of Ukrainian troops were killed in a missile strike there, saying Monday that a rocket merely blew out windows and damaged classrooms.
Russia specifically named the vocational school in Kramatorsk as the target of an attack in the almost 11-month war. 
The Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles hit two temporary bases housing 1,300 Ukrainian troops in the city, killing 600 of them, late Saturday.
Associated Press reporters visiting the scene in sunny weather Monday saw a four-story concrete building with most of its windows blown out. Inside, locals were cleaning up debris, sweeping up broken glass and hurling broken furniture out into a missile crater below.
Russian actor Artur Smolyaninov faces criminal charges in his home country after allegedly making "anti-Russian" comments in a newspaper interview, investigators said on Monday.
Smolyaninov, who starred in the 2005 film "The 9th Company" about the Soviet Union’s ill-fated military campaign in Afghanistan, said in an interview last week that he would fight for Ukraine, not Russia, if he had to take part in the conflict.
Smolyaninov said last October that he was no longer living in Russia.
His comments – made in an interview for Novaya Gazeta Europe, a newspaper now banned in Russia – drew condemnation from members of the Russian parliament, one of whom said the actor should be barred from all state-contracted films.
"For my part, I will appeal to the Investigative Committee with a request to initiate a criminal case against this traitor," lawmaker Biysultan Khamzaev told the RIA news agency.
A picture has cast doubt over Russia’s claim that its forces killed 600 Ukrainian soldiers in a missile strike on the eastern Donbas city of Kramatorsk.
There were no signs of any casualties after Moscow claimed to have carried out a "retaliation operation" against a Ukrainian military barracks in the area.
Reporters on the ground shared images of a crater outside two college dormitories that the Kremlin said had been used to house Ukrainian personnel.
Read more from Joe Barnes here
The Kremlin rejected a Ukrainian assertion that a senior Russian official has been floating the idea of a potential peace deal over Ukraine with European officials.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, told the country’s public broadcaster on Thursday that Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of Russia’s presidential administration, had been holding meetings with European officials in an attempt to force Kyiv to sign what he characterised as an unfavourable peace deal.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked about Danilov’s assertion, said it was "another fake."
Italy will not take a decision on the supply of new arms to Ukraine until February due to political tensions, cost considerations and military shortages, newspaper la Repubblica reported on Monday.
Two weeks ago Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Rome was considering supplying air defences after a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in which she reaffirmed her government’s "full support" for Ukraine.
Shortly afterwards, Defence Minister Guido Crosetto struck a cautious tone on whether Italy would be able to supply Ukraine with air defence systems.
Pope Francis has said wars such as that in Ukraine where civilian areas are subjected to what he called indiscriminate destruction are "a crime against God and humanity".
Delivering his annual “state of the world” address, Francis spoke of "the war in Ukraine, with its wake of death and destruction, with its attacks on civil infrastructures that cause lives to be lost not only from gunfire and acts of violence, but also from hunger and freezing cold".
He quoted from a Vatican constitution, saying "every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation".
Referring to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, he said: "Sadly, today too, the nuclear threat is raised, and the world once more feels fear and anguish."
He repeated his appeal for a total ban on nuclear weapons, saying even their possession for reasons of deterrence is "immoral"
russian occupiers shelled a local market in #Kharkiv region. Child among seven victims. Every day brings evidence of #genocide in the middle of Europe.
A 60-year-old woman was killed and several other people were wounded in a Russian missile strike on a market in the village of Shevchenkove in eastern Ukraine on Monday, the regional governor said.
Footage posed by public broadcaster Suspilne on the Telegram messaging app showed rescue workers sifting through large piles of rubble, burning wreckage and a large crater in what it said was Shevchenkove, southeast of the regional capital Kharkiv.
"According to confirmed information, unfortunately a 60-year-old woman died," Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, wrote on Telegram.
"All other victims were hospitalised. Doctors are helping them. Rescuer workers continue to clear the debris."
Vladimir Putin claims that he is in an existential war with the West. And he has a point – although perhaps not in the way he means, writes Daniel Hannan.
The unsmiling autocrat grasps that losing to Ukraine is worse than losing to Nato, and is now redefining the war as a defensive strike against Russia’s ancient foes.
“The West lied about peace, but was preparing for aggression, and today it admits it openly,” he told his countrymen last week. “They cynically use Ukraine and its people to weaken and partition Russia.”
It is a preposterous claim.
Read the full piece from Daniel here
A Ukrainian refugee and her British host family will mark the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war by running a half marathon in a bid to raise money for displaced children caught up in the conflict and spread the message to "be more Zelensky".
Anna Tysovska, 32 and from Kyiv, and Jane Finlay, 57 and from Cornwall, will run the Hampton Court Half Marathon in south-west London on Sunday February 26 as they try to raise funds to buy generators for children in Ukraine.
The run will take place a few days after the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 20 2022 and is one of many initiatives Ms Tysovska has launched to help her country since fleeing the war.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 9 January 2023

Find out more about the UK government's response:

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