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Ukraine war live updates: U.S. reportedly readying $2 billion aid package for Ukraine; Kyiv signals reforms ahead of EU summit



Zelenksyy signals Kyiv ready to unroll new reforms as it pursues EU membership

Ukraine will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other top EU officials on Friday, with hopes high in Kyiv that its application to join the EU will continue to progress.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday that Kyiv is preparing new reforms as it prepares for a summit with top EU officials at the end of the week.

“We are preparing new reforms in Ukraine. Reforms that will change the social, legal and political reality in many ways, making it more human, transparent and effective. But these details will be announced later, based on the results of the relevant meetings,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

Ukraine will host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other top EU officials on Friday, with hopes high in Kyiv that its application to join the EU will continue to progress.

“This week will be a week of European integration in every sense of the word,” Zelenskyy said. “We are expecting news for Ukraine. We are expecting the decisions from our partners in the European Union that will be in line with the level of cooperation achieved between our institutions and the EU, as well as with our progress. Progress, which is obvious – even despite the full-scale war,” he said.


“We are preparing Ukrainian positions for negotiations with EU representatives,” he added.

Ukraine applied to join the 27-member political and economic bloc last year, just days after Russia invaded last February, and wants its application fast-tracked. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said earlier this week that Kyiv hopes it can join the EU within two years.

Other counties in Europe, such as North Macedonia and Montenegro, have been waiting more than a decade to have their membership applications progress, however, and there are expectations that EU officials could try to temper Ukraine’s expectations during their visit.

— Holly Ellyatt

U.S. readies $2 billion-plus Ukraine aid package with longer-range weapons, sources say

U.S. President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outside the White House in Washington on Dec. 21, 2022.

Olivier Contreras | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The United States is readying more than $2 billion worth of military aid for Ukraine that is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time as well as other munitions and weapons, two U.S. officials briefed on the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.


The aid is expected to be announced as soon as this week, the officials said. It is also expected to include support equipment for Patriot air defense systems, precision-guided munitions and Javelin anti-tank weapons, they added.

One of the officials said a portion of the package, expected to be $1.725 billion, would come from a fund known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows President Joe Biden’s administration to get weapons from industry rather than from U.S. weapons stocks.

The White House declined to comment. The contents and size of aid packages can shift until they are signed by the president.

In addition to the USAI funds, more than $400 million worth of aid was expected to come from Presidential Drawdown Authority funds, which allows the president to take from current U.S. stocks in an emergency.

That aid was expected to include mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS) and ammunition. The U.S. has sent approximately $27.2 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s February 2022 invasion. Russia calls the invasion a “special operation.”

— Reuters

U.S. accuses Russia of endangering nuclear arms control treaty

In image from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Oct. 26, 2022, a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired as part of Russia’s nuclear drills from a launch site in Plesetsk, northwestern Russia.


Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Russia’s refusal to allow on-the-ground inspections to resume is endangering the New START nuclear treaty and U.S.-Russian arms control overall, the Biden administration charged.

The finding was delivered to Congress and summarized in a statement by the State Department. It follows months of more hopeful U.S. assessments that the two countries would be able to salvage cooperation on limiting strategic nuclear weapons despite high tensions over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Inspections of U.S. and Russian military sites under the New START treaty were paused by both sides because of the spread of the coronavirus in March 2020. The U.S.-Russia committee overseeing implementation of the treaty last met in October 2021, but Russia then unilaterally suspended its cooperation with the treaty’s inspection provisions in August 2022 to protest U.S. support for Ukraine.

“Russia’s refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control,” the State Department said Tuesday.

The administration also blamed Russia for the two country’s failure to resume talks required under the New START treaty.

— Associated Press


Biden says he will talk to Zelenskyy soon about additional weapons packages

U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters before walking to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House January 4, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

President Joe Biden told reporters he is planning to speak to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about future military aid packages.

“We’re going to talk,” Biden said when asked if he has spoken to Zelenskyy and what he planned on tell him about future assistance requests.

In recent days, Kyiv has asked Western partners for additional weapons, including fighter jets.

— Amanda Macias

Bakhmut hit by rocket-propelled artillery 197 times over past day, official says

A damaged car and pile of debris are seen as the Russia-Ukraine War continues in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 28, 2023.


Marek M. Berezowski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Bakhmut in Donetsk remains the key target for Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, a spokesman of the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhii Cherevaty, said during a national telethon Tuesday.

“Bakhmut continues to be one of the main directions of the enemy’s attack. There, they struck our positions with rocket-propelled artillery 197 times” over the past day, he said, in comments reported by news agency Ukrinform.  

He added that 42 combat clashes had taken place in the same timeframe with 277 Russian soldiers killed and 258 wounded.

Ukrainian soldiers return from the front line in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 29, 2023.

Marek M. Berezowski | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Cherevaty said Russian troops were unable to cut the route used to supply Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut despite the repeated attacks.


 “So far they have not succeeded. Everything is being done to prevent them from blocking the movement of our units. All the necessary ammunition, equipment, food, are being delivered to Bakhmut,” Cherevaty said.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify the information.

— Holly Ellyatt

Russia claims further advances in Donetsk

Russia’s defense ministry claimed that its armed forces in Ukraine have seized another village in Donetsk.

Russian troops have reportedly captured the village of Blahodatne in the region (the area pro-Russian separatists call the “Donetsk People’s Republic” or DPR), according to an official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov.

Ukraine has not commented on the claim, but Russia has been seen to have made incremental gains in the Donetsk region around Vuhledar, to the southwest of the city of Donetsk.

A volunteer who are evacuating civilians from Bakhmut, when the Russian shelling began in Bakhmut, Ukraine on January 30, 2023.


| Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Yan Gagin, an advisor to the acting head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, told the Rossiya-1 TV channel Tuesday that Russian forces in Donetsk are taking control of one settlement after another, and are advancing on Bakhmut, capturing which is a key strategic goal for Russia.

“Our troops in Artemovsk [Russia’s name for Bakhmut] are advancing, and they are taking settlement after settlement, moving quite actively,” he said in comments reported by news agency Tass and translated by Google.

The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence said Tuesday that, in the last three days, Russia likely developed its probing attacks around the Donetsk towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar into a “more concerted assault.”

The settlements lie around 30 miles southwest of the city of Donetsk, and Russia previously used the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade in an unsuccessful assault on the same area in November 2022, the ministry noted on Twitter.

—Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Source: CNBC


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