Situation around Ukraine in brief. January 20

20.01.2023, Moscow.

We publish a summary of events concerning the situation around Ukraine as of 7 p.m., January 20.

Political situation

The Eurasian Economic Union and Iran signed a free trade agreement.

There is evidence that the US is trying to establish ties with opponents of the current Afghan authorities and is secretly sponsoring ISIL [organization banned in Russia] – Russian Foreign Ministry.

The State Duma called the pictures of the Pantzir-S1 SAM system on the roofs of the business center and the Ministry of Defense in Moscow a fake. Yevgeny Lebedev, a member of the Duma Defense Committee, said the images were unreliable. “I don’t know anything about this. I think these are fakes, montage,” Lebedev told the media.

Mali’s military rulers received more warplanes and helicopters from Russia Thursday, the latest in a series of deliveries from its new top military and political ally. Eight planes and two helicopters were counted at a ceremony attended by Russian ambassador Igor Gromyko and the head of Mali’s junta, Colonel Assimi Goita – Africanews.

Zamir Kabul, the Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan and Director of the Second Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that Russia is ready to participate in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, if it receives such a proposal – Russia-24 TV channel.


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba believes that the German government will inevitably approve the transfer of main tanks to Ukraine. He said this during an online speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The prosecutor’s office opened a case against Metropolitan Pavel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate(. The priest is accused of inciting religious hatred.

Since January 19, the daily transit of Russian gas through Ukraine went down by more than 20% – to a new historic low. This was reported by the former head of the Ukrainian gas transport system operator, Sergey Makogon.

Schools in the Zakarpatye region have problems with the organization of instruction in the state language, according to a statement by the commissioner for the protection of the state language. In 108 schools in the Beregovo district of Transcarpathia operate classes with the Hungarian language of instruction along with the Ukrainian language. In 37 of them there are no classes in which teaching takes place only in the state language. This is called a violation because the current legislation does not provide for the functioning of educational institutions with instruction in the language of a national minority.

Western countries and their supporters

Erdogan, in a conversation with Zelensky, confirmed his readiness to take on the role of mediator to establish peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said she opposed the resumption of flights to Russia.

CIA Director William J. Burns traveled in secret to Ukraine’s capital at the end of last week to brief President Volodymyr Zelensky on his expectations for what Russia is planning militarily in the coming weeks and months, said a US official and other people familiar with the visit. Burns emphasized the urgency of the moment on the battlefield and acknowledged that at some point assistance would be harder to come by, the people said – The Washington Post.

Following the start of Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, world’s largest oilfield firm SLB (SLB.N) has boosted its business in Russia by cherry-picking service and equipment contracts from rivals who left, according to company documents and people familiar with its operations. The company also expects to report record results for the fourth quarter for its Russian reservoir performance division – Reuters.

A new US military aid package to Ukraine could total up to $2.6 billion and will include about 100 Stryker vehicles and at least 50 Bradley armored vehicles. The Associated Press reported this, citing sources in Washington.

Western countries must support Ukraine more strongly. This was stated in Davos by the head of the US National Intelligence Agency, Evril Haines – reports Voice of America [this material (information) is produced, distributed and/or sent by or concerns the activities of a foreign agent of the Voice of America].

The heads of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees Michael McCaul and Mike Rogers (Republican Party) called on President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to transfer Leopard 2 tanks and ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. This is stated in a joint statement of the congressmen.

France is considering sending Ukraine its AMX-56 Leclerc tanks so that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz can get the basis he requested for “joint deliveries with allies” of Leopard 2 combat vehicles. Politico writes, citing an unnamed official in Paris.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, “I must state that there is no consensus on this issue. We cannot say when and what decision will be made on the Leopard tanks.”

Estonia announced the transfer to Ukraine of the largest package of military assistance worth €113 million: the Ukrainians will receive dozens of 155 and 152mm howitzers, thousands of shells, trucks for the transportation of ammunition, over 100 Carl-Gustav anti-tank grenade launchers and more than 1,000 rounds for them.

Sweden will transfer about 50 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles and Archer self-propelled artillery units to Ukraine. This was announced at a briefing by the country’s Defense Minister Pål Jonson.

Lithuania has announced a €125 million military aid package for Ukraine, including Mi-8 helicopters and L70 guns. The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense and the head of the department Arvydas Anušauskas wrote on his Twitter.

A group of nine countries promised to provide new military assistance to Ukraine, calling it the Tallinn Pledge. The package includes dozens of Stinger systems, helicopters, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns and other types of weapons. This is reported by the press service of the British government. The group includes Estonia, Britain, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia.

Poland announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine. This is stated in the declaration signed by the participants of the meeting of representatives of defense ministries of European countries in Estonia. The new package of military assistance of Poland includes anti-aircraft equipment C-60 and 70 thousand units of ammunition for them. The S-60 is a Soviet anti-aircraft artillery system developed in the 1940s, which uses 57 millimeter antiaircraft guns.

It is also noted that Poland has already transferred to Ukraine 42 infantry fighting vehicles and training packages for two mechanized battalions, as well as continued supplies of 155-mm KRAB howitzers and various types of ammunition for the Ukrainian armed units. Separately, it is noted that Poland is ready to transfer to Ukraine a company (14 tanks) of Leopard 2 with a thousand of ammunition, but only as part of the international coalition.

Stocks of Soviet-type arms in the European Union are exhausted, so the countries of the community intend to urgently increase the production of weapons to supply Kiev and their own armies – Czech Minister for European Affairs Mikulas Beck

French President Emmanuel Macron urged to prepare in advance for future wars during his visit to an air force base in the south of the country. To implement this requirement, he announced the preparation of a new law on military programs worth €413 billion. Earlier, it was planned to allocate €295 billion for military purposes. According to the French leader, they will be spent on developing all kinds of French armed forces: from nuclear deterrents to special forces – Sud Ouest.

Ukraine should not fixate on defending the city of Bakhmut at all costs and instead use a window of opportunity to prepare a major counter-offensive against Russian forces, a senior US official said Friday. France 24 wrote.

The Netherlands will provide Ukraine with two Patriot air defense missile launchers, the Dutch Defense Ministry said in a statement issued on January 20.

The European Union needs to continue arming the Kiev regime, because Russia is used to fighting to the end, as evidenced by its victories over Napoleon and Hitler, said Josep Borrel, head of EU diplomacy, at the ceremony of presentation of the New Economy forum award in Madrid. “Russia is a huge country, it’s used to fighting to the end, it’s used to almost losing and then rebuilding everything. She did it with Napoleon, she did it with Hitler.” It would be absurd to think that Russia has lost the war or that its military is incompetent, he added.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron announced the desire for a rapid EU expansion to the Balkans in a joint article published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. “The European Union is an anchor of stability on the European continent, not least for the countries of the Western Balkans. We are striving for rapid and concrete progress in the EU enlargement process,” they wrote.

In total, from 1 million (according to the police) to 2 million (according to the unions) French protested against the pension reform.

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