(Bloomberg) — A suspected Russian surface-to-air missile slammed into a residential building in Kharkiv, causing a fire and casualties, the city’s mayor said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged allies to provide long-range missiles and his defense minister made a plea for aircraft.
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned of a Western arms race in Ukraine and said he’s ready to talk to President Vladimir Putin about ending the war in Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24 with Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.
A North Korean official denounced the US decision to send Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine.
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On the Ground
Russia’s defense ministry said its troops have taken up “more advantageous lines and positions” in their offensive in the Donetsk region. The chairman of the “We are Together With Russia” party said on state TV that Kremlin troops have advanced in the Zaporizhzhia region, without offering evidence. At least one death and several injuries were reported in Kherson after widespread Russian rocket attacks Sunday on civilian targets.
(All times CET)
Scholz Said Talks of Fighter Jets Isn’t Helpful (1 a.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said discussing the possibility of sending fighter jets to Ukraine doesn’t help the country in the fight against Russia.
“It’s strange that this debate is happening,” Scholz told reporters in Santiago, Chile. He suggested that domestic politics might be the reason after Saskia Esken, the co-leader of his Social Democratic Party, earlier Sunday left the door open to providing the aircraft in an interview with German broadcaster ARD.
Russian Missile Strike on Kharkiv Reported (10:27 p.m.)
A residential building in downtown Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, was hit by a suspected Russian S-300 missile Sunday night, regional governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Telegram.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram that a fire broke out and preliminary reports indicate there were civilian casualties.
Two weeks ago, a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the city of Dnipro killed 45 people, according to an official Ukrainian count.
Americans Split on Arming Ukraine, NBC Says (9:30 p.m.)
Americans are about evenly split on whether Congress should provide more funding and weapons to Ukraine, with 49% in favor and 47% opposed, according to an NBC News poll. In the same poll, 65% oppose making cuts to the US defense budget. The Jan. 20-24 poll of 1,000 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reiterated on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Republicans want to put all federal spending, including the Pentagon’s, on the table in a bid to extract budget cuts from President Joe Biden in exchange for raising the US debt ceiling.
Bakhmut, Vuhledar Under Constant Attack, Zelenskiy Says (8:15 p.m.)
Ukrainian positions in the towns of Bakhmut and Vuhledar and other areas in the Donetsk region are under constant Russian attack, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Sunday.
The Kremlin’s goal is to prolong the war and exhaust Ukrainians, he said in his nightly video address. “We have to speed up the delivery and discovery of new, necessary weapons options for Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said.
Zelenskiy Speaks With Czech President-Elect (5:30 p.m.)
Ukraine’s leader said he congratulated Petr Pavel on his win Saturday in the Czech presidential election and invited the former NATO general to visit Ukraine.
Pavel, who has pledged unwavering support for Ukraine, defeated Andrej Babis, a business magnate known for his clashes with the European Union.
Aircraft Could Be ‘Game Changer’ for Ukraine: Reznikov (4:30 p.m.)
Talks with European and North American allies on the supply of military aircraft may lead to commitments, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a CBC News interview, even as allies express reserve.
“Everything that’s impossible today [will be] possible tomorrow,” Reznikov said. His comments come despite a warnings from Germany about a developing arms race in Ukraine. Hungary has also warned that Western allies are becoming more deeply involved. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday urged allies partners to provide Ukraine with long-range rocket systems.
Reznikov said that he remains optimistic about a Ukrainian victory over Russia this year, though “there is much to do before then.” The situation on Ukraine’s eastern front, while difficult, is controllable, he said.
US Military Officials Prod Pentagon on F-16s: Politico (4:30 p.m.)
A contingent of military officials is pushing the Pentagon to approve sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Politico reported, citing three people with knowledge of the discussions whom it didn’t identify.
Ukrainian officials have been advocating for stepped-up donations by allies, including long-range missiles as well as planes, after the US and Germany agreed to send main battle tanks to help Kyiv’s defenses.
Kremlin Doesn’t Rule Out Scholz Talks (4 p.m.)
Vladimir Putin has no call scheduled with Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz, but is open for such contact, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.
The last known call between the pair was Dec. 2. Scholz said Sunday he would continue to speak with Putin by phone, calling such contacts “necessary” in a German newspaper interview.
While earlier calls have touched on specific issues including prisoner swaps or grain exports, “it’s important to me that the talks keep coming back to the actual topic: How will the world get out of this terrible situation?” Scholz said.
Russia Shells Kherson Hospital, Injuries Reported (3 p.m.)
One person was killed and at least two injured by Russian rocket strikes on liberated Kherson on Sunday, the deputy head of the regional military administration said.
Among the sites hit were a hospital — injuring a nurse — along with warehouses, a bus station, a school playground and other buildings as well as private cars.
Germany’s Scholz Warns of Arms-Race Risk (12:30 p.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned against allies getting into a race to send even more advanced weaponry to Ukraine, days after his government said it would send battle tanks. On Saturday, Ukraine’s president said that the nation “needs long-range missiles” so that “terrorists do not have a sense of impunity.”
“It’s my responsibility to do everything in my power to ensure that Russia’s war on Ukraine doesn’t become a war against NATO,” Scholz said in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper. “I won’t allow such an escalation.”
Germany has pledged to send Ukraine more than 100 Leopard 2 battle tanks in a joint effort with allies. The US offered M1 Abrams tanks, in a reversal of a previous position.
Russia’s Volodin Calls Ukraine a US ‘Training Ground’ (10 a.m.)
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker in Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said the US is being driven by “the fear of losing its colony” in Ukraine with the provision of ever-heavier weapons.
“Ukraine is a training ground for Washington and NATO to test their weapons and test out new ways of waging war,” Volodin said in a lengthy Telegram post on Sunday. “There are American instructors, mercenaries. All this indicates the direct participation of Washington in the hostilities, the fear of losing their colony.”
In separate comments Sunday, Russia’s foreign ministry cited a “lack of reaction” from the US to Russia’s claim that Ukraine had struck a hospital in occupied Luhansk with US-donated HIMARS on Saturday, killing 14. That, the ministry said, “confirms their direct involvement in the conflict.”
Ukraine Needs Long-Range Missiles, Zelenskiy Says (8:30 a.m.)
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stepped up his call for Ukraine’s allies to provide long-range missiles, citing a Russian missile attack on a residential area of Kostiantynivka in the Donetsk region.
“Ukraine needs long-range missiles – in particular, to remove this possibility of the occupiers to place their missile launchers somewhere far from the front line and destroy Ukrainian cities with them,” he said in a video address on Saturday.
North Korea Slams US for Donating Tanks to Ukraine (8 a.m.)
A North Korean official called last week’s US move to send Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine an “unethical crime” aimed at perpetuating an unstable international situation, according to a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the department of US affairs at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, also denied Pyongyang was providing Russia with arms. The White House this month showed intelligence images it said showed Russian rail cars entering North Korea, loading missiles and rockets, and returning to Russia.
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