LIVE TEXT The war in Ukraine, day 336. The Netherlands could supply Ukraine with 18 Leopard 2 tanks / Switzerland could allow the re-export of its weapons to Ukraine / Two British citizens were killed in Soledar / The US could send Ukraine a “significant number” of tanks Abrams

The British Foreign Office reports that two British citizens were killed while evacuating people to Ukraine

The British Foreign Office says two British citizens, Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry, who were reported missing in Ukraine earlier this month, were killed while evacuating people from Soledar, in eastern Donetsk region.

According to the report, the men had worked as volunteers helping civilians escape from the front lines of the war in Russia.

Soledar has been the site of some of the fiercest fighting along the entire front line in Ukraine in recent months.

Switzerland could allow the re-export of its weapons to Ukraine

On Tuesday, the Security Policy Committee of the lower house of the Swiss parliament approved an initiative to allow other countries to re-export Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine.

“The majority of the commission believes that Switzerland must contribute to European security and, consequently, provide more support to Ukraine,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

At the same time, the Commission considers that the initiative is in accordance with the country’s neutrality law, because “the changes do not allow the direct export of war material to conflict zones”, but only affect “the non-export declarations of countries that buy Swiss war material”.

The initiative has not yet been approved by both chambers of the parliament.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, traditionally neutral Switzerland joined the EU in imposing sanctions against Moscow, including those targeting Russian gold. The Swiss government also froze nearly $8 billion in Russian financial assets in response to the invasion.

Last week, Switzerland’s foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis, said his country supported the use of frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine, but that it would require “major legal adjustments.” Since current Swiss law does not allow the confiscation of sanctioned assets, a referendum may be needed to change this law, the official concluded.

Zelensky makes a series of dismissals after the embezzlement scandal

Volodymyr Zelensky appointed the governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksii Kuleba, as deputy head of his office. Kuleba will replace Kyrylo Tymoshenko, who was fired on Tuesday, in the biggest government reshuffle in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Also, Zelensky dismissed the governors of four Ukrainian oblasts: Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Sumy and Zaporizhzhia.

Also on Tuesday, the Cabinet of Ministers gave the green light to the dismissal of these governors and officially dismissed six government officials.

Taras Melnychuk, the official representative of the government in the parliament, said that the Deputy Minister of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov, the Deputy Minister of Social Policy Vitaliy Muzychenko, the Deputy Ministers of Territories and Communities Ivan Lukerya and Vyacheslav Nehoda, the deputy heads of the State Service for Maritime and River Transport Anatoliy were fired. Ivankevych and Viktor Vyshnyov.

Tuesday’s reshuffle took place after a series of journalistic investigations claimed that several high-ranking officials had embezzled funds.

US May Send Ukraine ‘Significant Number’ of Abrams Tanks – WSJ

The administration of American President Joe Biden is inclined to send a significant number of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, anonymous American officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal announce.

The move could be announced as early as this week and would be “part of a wider diplomatic deal with Germany, in which Berlin would agree to send a smaller number of its own Leopard 2 tanks and also approve the delivery of a greater number of German-made tanks by Poland and other nations,” the report states.

Two days ago, US lawmakers called for Abrams tanks to be offered to Ukraine as a way to push Germany to authorize the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine.

There were reports in the press that Germany would approve the delivery of Leopards if the US provided Abrams tanks to Kiev. However, the German government has denied making such a request.

So far, the US has refused to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine, while Germany has failed to make a decision on supplying Leopard tanks.

On Tuesday, 12 countries agreed to provide Ukraine with about 100 Leopard 2 tanks after Berlin approves. The agreements were concluded at the Ramstein defense summit, according to the official quoted by ABC News.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said two days ago that if Berlin does not authorize the tank deliveries, Poland will create a coalition of allies without Germany to supply Leopards to Kiev anyway.

Germany is expected to approve Poland’s request to deliver German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on January 25, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. “Berlin wants to make a quick decision on the matter to quell growing frustration among allies, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the decision is private,” Bloomberg wrote.

Since the start of Russia’s all-out invasion in February 2022, the German government has been criticized for delaying and blocking arms shipments to Ukraine.

Summary of Tuesday

  • Poland wants to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine with funds from the European Union
  • Ukraine hands over the list of 748 prisoners to Russia – Ombudsman
  • Damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure is estimated at 138 billion dollars
  • Russia uses its friendship with Lukashenko to launch attacks on Ukraine
  • Moscow about the resignations from Kyiv: insatiable vampires

In Ukraine, “a new division of the cake” has begun. The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, writes on her Telegram channel, commenting on the news of the resignation of several Ukrainian government officials, in the context of investigations into alleged corruption episodes. Of this cake, adds the spokeswoman, only one piece is left, but “these insatiable vampires continue to share it.”

  • Lukashenko: Kyiv offers Minsk a non-aggression pact

Ukraine offered Belarus a non-aggression pact. This was stated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, complaining that, at the same time, the government in Kyiv is arming policemen to be used against Minsk. “I don’t know why – said Lukashenko, quoted by the BeITA agency, taken over by TASS – the Ukrainians need this. On the one hand, they ask us not to fight against Ukraine in any way, not to move our forces, they offer us to sign a non-aggression pact. On the other hand, they prepare this explosive mixture and arm it.”

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