As the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 345th day, we take a look at the main developments.
Here is the situation as it stands on Friday, February 3, 2023:
- CIA Director William Burns said the intelligence agency has assessed that the next six months will be “critical” for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.
- Russia, determined to make progress before Ukraine gets newly promised Western battle tanks and armoured vehicles, has picked up momentum on the eastern front and it announced advances north and south of Bakhmut, which has suffered persistent Russian bombardment for months.
- Russian forces are pushing from both the north and south to encircle Bakhmut, using superior troop numbers to try to cut it off from resupply and force the Ukrainians out, Ukrainian military analyst Yevhen Dikiy said.
- Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian forces would respond to the delivery of longer-range Western weapons to Kyiv by trying to push Ukrainian forces further away from its borders to create a safe buffer zone.
- Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Russia’s arms suppliers would “significantly” increase their deliveries in 2023 to help inflict a “crushing defeat” on Ukraine.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has evoked a famous World War II victory over the Nazis to rally his nation while predicting a Russian triumph in Ukraine.
- The German government approved the delivery of Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine from industrial stocks and is in talks over purchasing back 15 Gepard tanks from Qatar to send to Kyiv, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.
- European Union leaders will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Friday, bringing the promise of new sanctions against Russia but likely dashing Ukraine’s hope for swift EU membership.
- EU countries will seek a deal on Friday on a European Commission proposal to set price caps on Russian oil products amid divisions between member states, diplomats said.
- Poland believes it will be possible to build a coalition of some 40 countries, including the United States, Britain and Canada, by February 10, backing calls to block Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Paris Olympics, a Polish minister said.