Good morning from Kyiv where the entire country is still reeling from yesterday’s tragic helicopter crash which claimed the lives of 14 people including Ukraine’s interior minister.
President Zelensky described the crash as a “truly huge loss for the state” and said a full investigation is underway to establish what happened.
At this early stage nothing has been ruled out. All possibilities are being looked into: including pilot error, technical malfunction and sabotage.
You can read more about that story here.
On a less somber note, today those observing the traditions associated with the “Old” Julian Calendar are celebrating the Epiphany, the last of the important feasts of the Christmas holidays.
But true to form, Russia is delivering its perverse deadly greetings: shortly after 10 a.m. air raid sirens were sounding in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine.
What’s happening today?
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has just announced he is on his way to Kyiv.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, he said he would meet Zelensky as well as the prime minister and members of parliament.
He also said he would “discuss with president Zelensky and his team what are the concrete measures we can develop in order to make sure they are stronger and more powerful.”
Kyiv Post will bring you any notable updates from his visit when they happen.
What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?
Zelensky spoke at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos on Thursday morning, where he criticized hesitation by Germany about supplying its modern Leopard tanks.
His comments come amid reports saying Berlin will only provide them if the U.S. offers its Abrams tanks as well.
“There are times where we shouldn’t hesitate or shouldn’t compare. When someone says ‘I will give tanks if someone else will also share tanks,’” Zelensky said.
“I don't think this is the right strategy to go with.”
The President also reiterated Ukraine’s desire to take back Crimea while repeating requests for more Western weapons.
“Our objective is to liberate all of our territories,” he said.
“Crimea is our land, our territory, our sea, and our mountains. Give us your weapons and we will bring our land back.”
What’s the latest military situation?
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update on Jan. 19 focuses on the likelihood that Russia will deploy its new T-14 Armata main battle tanks in Ukraine.
The MoD notes that T-14s have been seen on satellite images in training areas “associated with pre-deployment activity for the Ukraine operation” but stresses it’s unclear if any have yet been moved into Ukraine.
It adds: “Any T-14 deployment is likely to be a high-risk decision for Russia. Eleven years in development, the programme has been dogged with delays, reduction in planned fleet size, and reports of manufacturing problems.
“An additional challenge for Russia is adjusting its logistics chain to handle T-14 because it is larger and heavier than other Russian tanks. If Russia deploys T-14, it will likely primarily be for propaganda purposes.
“Production is probably only in the low tens, while commanders are unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat.”
The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 18 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
· Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech commemorating the Soviet forces’ breaking of the siege of Leningrad illustrated that he remains uncertain about his ability to significantly shape the Russian information space.
· Putin continues efforts to reinvigorate Russia’s defense industrial base to support a protracted war in Ukraine.
· Putin and Lavrov continue to deny Ukrainian sovereignty and outright reject direct negotiations with Ukraine.
And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.
Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.
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