Day 329 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Rescue Operations in Dnipro have been Suspended, 20 People are Missing
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
The interior minister of Ukraine, his deputy and two children - among the 18 victims (at least) of a helicopter crash near Kyiv
At least 18 killed in a helicopter crash in the Ukrainian town of Brovary near the capital Kyiv.
Among the victims are the Minister of the Interior Denys Monastyrsky, his first deputy and three children. 29 were injured, including 15 children. There were nine people on board the helicopter. Earlier, the governor of Kyiv region reported that the machine collapsed near a kindergarten and a residential building.
The crashed helicopter belongs to the Ukrainian emergency service. According to initial data, the helicopter crashed into the kindergarten, followed by a fire in the building in which there were children and staff.
The exact causes of the crash remain unclear for now, there is no comment from Russia. Ukrainian representatives did not report a Russian attack at the time of the tragedy. The incident took place in dark and foggy weather.
Ukrainian military are training in the US to use “Patriot” systems
Ukrainian military has begun training in the US to use “Patriot” missile defense systems. The news was confirmed by the Pentagon.
According to the US War Department, about 100 Ukrainian soldiers are at the Fort Sill base in Oklahoma, where their training in the use of Patriot missiles is expected to last several months.
In December, President Joe Biden decided to send the defense system to Ukraine. Germany and the Netherlands made a similar commitment. The Patriot is the most advanced surface-to-air system the West has so far given Ukraine to repel Russian airstrikes.
Local media commented that Kyiv's decision to send troops from the battlefield for training across the Atlantic was unusual, although Ukraine has sent its forces for short training sessions at European bases.
The Washington Post points out that the US military usually goes through a year-long training course on the Patriot before using it, but the Pentagon has been working on options to reduce the training time for Ukrainian forces given the urgent need for them in the country.
At the moment, the Pentagon has no plans to conduct courses for Ukrainians on other defense systems, but it is not excluded that it will be done if necessary.
The training of Ukrainian military personnel in the United States to operate the American anti-aircraft missile systems "Patriot" will last 10 weeks, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced in the meantime.
He noted that the American partners have committed to this deadline, although the normal duration of preparation is 10 months.
Rutte promised Biden Patriot missiles for Ukraine
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told US President Joe Biden that his country will offer Patriot missiles to Ukraine. The Netherlands will join the US and Germany in sending the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, Rutte told Biden at the White House.
"I think it is important to join this and this morning I also discussed it with Olaf Scholz from Germany," Rutte said.
Biden told Rutte he looked forward to discussing ways to strengthen the supply chain as he welcomed the Dutch prime minister to the White House. Biden also thanked Rutte for being "very, very firm" in his support for Ukraine.
Rutte said the Netherlands had decided to spend an additional 2.5 billion euros (.70 billion) to support Ukraine, an announcement the government made earlier.
Biden and Rutte are expected to discuss further support for Ukraine, "as well as further defense and security cooperation and strengthening bilateral trade relations," an official statement from Amsterdam said.
In October, the United States adopted sweeping measures to limit China's ability to make its own chips, and American trade officials said at the time that they expected the Netherlands and Japan to introduce similar rules soon.
The largest Dutch company is ASML Holding, a supplier to the semiconductor industry.
Rutte told reporters on Friday that he felt no pressure from Washington to accept more restrictions on semiconductor exports to China.
Rescue operations in Dnipro have been suspended, 20 people have disappeared without a trace
Emergency teams have suspended the search for missing people under the ruins of a high-rise residential building hit by a Russian missile in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, DPA reported.
Twenty people are still missing, the civil protection service said. "The chances of finding someone, unfortunately, tend to zero," said Mayor Boris Filatov. It is possible that some of the bodies were so disfigured by the fire and the collapse of the building that they would be difficult to find, he said.
Since Saturday's attack, 45 bodies, including six children, have so far been found in the large city in central Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region. About 80 people were injured. 28 injured are still in hospital, many of them in critical condition.
More than 230 apartments in the nine-story building were destroyed.
Amid the ongoing conflict, Britain and the United States have pledged to continue supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia "for as long as necessary," PA media and DPA reported.
After talks in Washington with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed Britain's decision to deliver the British Army's Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Kyiv.
He indicated that the US would make further announcements in the coming days. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host the talks with key allies at the Ramstein base in Germany later this week.
Britain has pledged to send 14 tanks, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for around 300 modern Western battle tanks so his forces can launch an offensive against the Russian aggressor.
In practice, this probably means American Abrams and German Leopard 2 tanks.
Earlier, the Netherlands promised to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine. This was announced by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in a conversation with American President Joe Biden in Washington, reported AFP.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has confirmed that the Ukrainian military has begun training in the US to use the Patriot missile defense system.
Silent protest: Muscovites set up a memorial to the victims of Russian missile terror in Dnipro
Brave Muscovites set up a memorial to the victims of the Russian missile terror on Dnipro in the heart of Moscow at the monument to Lesya Ukrainka.
The silent resistance infuriated the secret and uniformed services, who set up covert and overt posts, hoping to catch people leaving flowers at the foot of the monument. Lesya Ukrainka (Larisa Petrivna Kosach) is a famous Ukrainian writer, translator and playwright who lived in the period 1871-1913.
It is not known how after the rocket attack on a residential building on "Naberezhna Peremogi" Blvd. in Dnipro in the foundations of the pedestal in Moscow, on which stands the bronze sculpture of Lesya Ukrainka, opposite the "Ukraine" Hotel on "Ukrainsky" Blvd., leading to the Kyiv railway station in Moscow, flowers and children's toys appeared in memory of the dead. A black-and-white photo of the entrance to the 9-story building, destroyed by the Russian army, was also left next to the pedestal.
On social networks, the transmission of silent resistance began, and this mobilized the Russian authorities to look for those who sympathized with the victims of the Kremlin terror. On the boulevard next to the monument, a patrol car began to be on duty, and on Tuesday evening the SOTA telegram channel reported that there were now two patrol cars. According to the channel, the uniformed officers randomly and selectively stop passers-by, hoping to catch someone who has gone to the monument with flowers.
MEPs have proposed the creation of a tribunal for Russian crimes in Ukraine
MEPs have announced the creation of a special UN tribunal for the crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. This happened during a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last night.
"We need a special tribunal not only against Putin, but also against Lukashenko," said the MEP from the European People's Party, Andrius Kubilius, and added that it should not be delayed, as with the "Leopards" for Ukraine. Kubilius added that justice delayed is justice denied.
"Justice today means justice tomorrow," said his colleague from "Renew Europe" Petras Austrevičius.
"There are no excuses for the Kremlin's crimes in Ukraine and they cannot remain without consequences," were the words of European People's Party MEP Andrey Kovachev. He asked the European institutions and the member states to be the initiators of the establishment of this tribunal. Kovachev recalled the words of the Bulgarian Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski, when he was asked what he would do after the Liberation of Bulgaria:
"When Bulgaria is liberated, then I will go to Russia and form committees, because the people there are more oppressed than we are. In Russia, this was the case in the 19th century, it was also the case in the 20th century and, unfortunately, to this day."
"Victory will come with the force of arms, and justice - with the creation of an international tribunal," said the MEP from the same party, Alexander Yordanov:
"The politicians who planned and ordered the aggression against Ukraine, as well as the military who carried out the specific crimes on Ukrainian territory, must stand before it."
In the Russian parliament, MPs proposed that only those who served in the army should enter government jobs
The chairman of the Russian Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, proposed that service in the army be made mandatory for entry into the civil service, the prosecutor's office and participation in the election of deputies.
Volodin also made it clear that Russia should waive various deferments given to specialists in key fields. "Who will defend the motherland? Workers, peasants? No, there should be no difference between people." Yesterday, the defense commission in the Duma rejected the proposal to exempt people with a scientific degree and doctoral students from mobilization.
"We need to look at this and do it as quickly as possible so that in the future all social elevators, all personnel decisions can be made taking into account the need for service in the armed forces, the presence of a military reporting specialty," Volodin suggests according to the site of the Duma, RBC reported.
According to him, this should be necessary for holding public office, for holding positions in the judicial system and in the prosecutor's office. Thus, "every person, regardless of where he works, can and should defend his country and, most importantly, be ready for it."
Volodin, who did not serve in the army, also made such a proposal when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a so-called partial military mobilization in September over the war in Ukraine. Today, the Kremlin confirmed that the mobilization order is in fact indefinite, although Putin formally announced its end in the fall and the Defense Ministry said its goal had been met.
According to the current legislation, citizens over the age of 18 are subject to service, but it is not part of the professional qualification. Last year, Russia announced a plan to raise the conscription age from 18 to 21 (and the upper age from 27 to 30), which is also expected to reduce justifications for deferments near the upper age limit.
Yesterday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the last announced large-scale reform of the army - of which the above is only a part - will begin this year and last for three years. However, some of the measures of the reform, which includes an increase in the number of military personnel - up to 1.5 million people, may come into force already this year.
“Some forge victory in factories; some solve the questions of the economy; some are called. In the future, all personnel decisions must be made taking into account the need for service in the Armed Forces,” said Volodin
Kremlin: The partial mobilization continues
Contrary to the assurances of Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov, the partial mobilization announced in September continues today - the decree announcing it remains in force.
This was announced by the president's administration in response to an inquiry by Yabloko MP Artur Gaiduk, he said on his Telegram channel, quoted by "Moscowtimes".
"Military commissariats continue to recruit military units with citizens who have expressed a desire to voluntarily participate in the SVO, as well as citizens who wish to enter military service under a contract. Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated September 21, 2022 No. 647 Regarding the announcement of partial mobilization in the Russian Federation, it continues to function", says the Kremlin's response.
The deputy sent the question at the end of November - a month after Sergei Shoigu and Vladimir Putin announced the end of the initiative. According to him, the lack of an official document "creates grounds for worries and rumors, even causes stress and other troubles, citizens are afraid to make long-term plans".
The party noted that the decree contains the concept "until the end of the period", therefore the completion of the mobilization should be formalized in the same way as the beginning of the mobilization, that is, through a presidential decree.
Similar appeals were sent to Vladimir Putin by deputies from local structures of "Yabloko" in Moscow and Karelia.
In announcing the end of the mobilization, Putin admitted that he "honestly did not think" whether it was necessary to sign a decree to end it. The administration's legal department concluded that a separate document would not be necessary. After that, Peskov publicly denied on several occasions the Kremlin's plans to continue the mobilization in Russia.
Answering questions from journalists on January 17, the Kremlin spokesman said that the topic of continued mobilization in the Russian Federation is being raised artificially.
"Yes, it (the subject of mobilization) is being artificially awakened both outside and inside the country. I suggest that you still remember the relevant statements of President Putin on this issue," he recommended.
In the meantime, the authorities are preparing initiatives related to improving the effectiveness of mobilization. In late November, Putin ordered the creation of a single register with information on all Russians meeting the criteria for mobilization. The database of military registration services will be connected to the databases of the Russian version of the Central Election Commission, the Registry Office, the Federal Tax Service and the Pension Fund. In December, Putin called for the formation of a working group on the issues of "mobilization preparation and mobilization," as well as the social and legal protection of military personnel participating in the hostilities in Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists on September 21, 2022. Before that, the Kremlin repeatedly denied the possibility of this happening.
"This is not true, this is nonsense," Peskov announced on May 4, when asked if mobilization was planned.
On June 16, he called the rumors about the mobilization "false information", on June 21 - "pure fakes".
On September 13, a week before the start of the mobilization, Peskov assured that "this is out of the question".
NATO transferred to Romania the AWACS which it will use to monitor Russian military activity
NATO aircraft with the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) have been deployed in Romania, from where they will carry out missions to monitor Russian military activity near the borders of the 30-member military alliance, reported Romanian media quoted by BTA.
Two of the AWACS planes landed yesterday at the 90th Air Transport Base Otopeni near Bucharest, and a third is expected to arrive at a later date. They are expected to be based in Romania for several weeks. For the purposes of the mission, 185 soldiers will also be deployed in Romania.
The AWACS aircraft, which NATO calls "eyes in the sky", are part of a fleet of 14 aircraft that are usually based in West Germany. They have large fuselage-mounted radar domes and can detect aircraft hundreds of kilometers away. For several weeks, they will be based at Otopeni Airport, which is about 200 km from the eastern border with Ukraine.
The deployment of the monitoring planes is in connection with the implementation of measures to strengthen the defense position of the Alliance in the Black Sea region, the Ministry of National Defense of Romania indicated. "Romania and allies are safe," Romanian Defense Minister Angel Talvar wrote on Facebook.
Germany's ambassador to Romania, Peer Gebauer, said at the airport after the first plane landed that the deployment "underlines our determination to remain strong in this moment of crisis."
"This AWACS surveillance mission, which will begin today in Romania, is yet another proof of our resolve, of our commitment to defend every inch of allied territory," the ambassador was quoted as saying by the AP.
After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, NATO increased its presence on the eastern flank in Europe, including by sending additional multinational battle groups to the alliance countries of Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The AWACS also conduct regular patrols over Eastern Europe and the Baltic Sea region to track Russian warplanes near NATO borders, the AP noted.
"NATO's eastern flank is very, very close to war, a war like we haven't had (in Europe) since World War II," commented Sebastian Slavitescu, a NATO expert and former Romanian diplomat. "These planes or any increased military aid to Romania in these difficult times near us are more than welcome," commented the expert.
He added that the AWACS missions send a clear message to Moscow: "We are watching you, we know what you are doing."
Kadyrov: Russia will not lose. We will press a button and "salamu alaykum"
“Russia will not lose. We will press a button and salamu alaykum” (greeting in Arabic, translates as "peace be upon you").
This was announced by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in his traditional threatening statements on social networks.
"Russia is a great country, a nuclear country. Russia will never allow itself to lose any battle. We will press a button and salamu alaykum”.
The war criminal then quoted an equally anti-human statement from "our president".
"Why should there be a world without Russia"? Why should these scoundrels continue to live and we should not? Let us all cease to exist. We will go to heaven, they to hell."
"Russia will never allow itself to lose a battle. We will push the button and 'Salam Aleykum'!" - Kadyrov tells cheerfully and adds that Russians will go to heaven, the rest of the world - to hell. pic.twitter.com/IpBRGwCk9p— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) January 17, 2023
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