Ukraine war - latest: Putin statements 'not having the desired effect' on Russians, analysis finds; Moscow responds to secret 'CIA peace deal' reports (2023)

Key points
  • EU in show of support as Zelenskyy meets bloc's top officials
  • Putin statements 'not having desired effect' on Russians, analysis finds
  • Next six months of war will be 'absolutely crucial', says US
  • Why are European Union leaders in Ukraine?
  • Reports of secret peace proposal are 'hoax' - Kremlin
  • Dominic Waghorn:Signs suggest Putin is now doubling down
  • Live reporting by Chris Lockyer.Updates also from Deborah Haynesin Ukraine and Diana Magnay in Moscow


EU in show of support for Zelenskyy as more sanctions set for invasion anniversary

Top European Union officials have met Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a show of support as the country battles to counter Vladimir Putin's forces and strives to join the EU and NATO.

The EU will unveil its 10th package of sanctions against Russia on 24 February to mark the first anniversary of Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference in Kyiv.

The sanctions will target technology used by Russia's war machine, among other things, she said.

The measures will be aimed at components used in the manufacturing of drones, she added, naming Iran as a key supplier of Russia.

Closing loopholes that the Kremlin uses to get around sanctions will also be a priority, according to Ms von der Leyen, who was on her fourth visit to the Ukrainian capital since the war began.

The exact measures in the next EU sanctions package must be agreed upon by the bloc's 27 member countries - a process that can take weeks.


Russian shelling kills US medic in Ukraine

A US medic has been killed in Ukraine, following Russian shelling in Bakhmut, his organisation has confirmed.

Pete Reed's vehicle was reportedly hit by a missile while he was helping people to evacuate.

Mr Reed, who had founded Global Response Medicine, had not long been in the country, arriving there to be the country manager for Global Outreach Doctors.


Canada imposes more Russian sanctions

Canada has imposed sanctions on 38 people and 16 entities, which it says are "complicit in peddling Russian disinformation and propaganda".

Those sanctions include Russian state-owned media group MIA Rossiya Segodnya, and singer Nikolay Victorovich Baskov, who performed in a pro-war concert in Moscow.


Ukrainian troops take part in training drills

Ukrainian servicemen photographed during drills at the border with Belarus.


More calls for Russian athlete bans - this time at Wimbledon

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, a former Wimbledon finalist, wants to see a continuation of the tournament's ban on Russian competitors.

The decision to ban Russia, and its ally Belarus, from the grand slam was condemned by the men's and women's tours, as well as Novak Djokovic and former player Martina Navratilova.

"I hope they will do the same thing and keep the ban in place. I don't think it should change," the 28-year-old told the BBC.

"There are still people suffering and still Russian soldiers killing innocent Ukrainians. The war is still there. The decision should not be any different."

The other three grand slams, the Australian, French and US Open, all allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals.


Ukraine continues push to ban Russian athletes from Olympics

Ukraine has threatened to boycott next year's Olympic Games in Paris if organisers allow Russia to take part.

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) current stance is to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete as neutral competitors.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are among the countries that support Kyiv's potential boycott, while other nations like Denmark are actively seeking the banning of Russia and Belarus from the games.

The IOC says it can discriminate against athletes because of their citizenship, and banning the two countries could have ramifications beyond sport.


Russia has claimed to encircle Bakhmut - but what does the evidence show?

by Jack Taylor, OSINT Producer

Verified images show that Russian forces are operating on the outskirts of Bakhmut, a key Ukrainian city on the eastern front that Moscow claims it has already encircled.

This claimed encircling can be seen in the latest control maps, produced by the Institute for the Study of War.

Red areas represent verified Russian advancesand yellow areas are claimed by Moscow to also be under their control.

Professor Michael Clarke, defence and security analyst, said that it appears close to "the end game in Bakhmut. The Russians have got north and south of the city."

Imageshave been posted on social media that show Russian units around Bakhmut.

Many have been taken by Ukrainian soldiers using drones, such as this screenshot from a video of artillery engaging a Russian position.

An analysis by Sky News of these images show Russian soldiers in some of the areas of known control, but there is limited visual evidence of soldiers in areas that Russia claims to control.

Sky News has verified and located these images from Bakhmut by matching key features with existing satellite imagery, such as this video of Russians in the east of the city.

Michael Clarke explained that fighting through a city centre by going from house to housecan be "very difficult" for an invading force. Instead, the Russian army can be seen trying to encircle the city in order to surround defending Ukrainian forces.

"The Ukrainians will have to decide - can we stop the ring from closing, or do we arrive at the point when we have to get out and live to fight another day."


France and Italy in talks to send anti-tank missile system to Ukraine

More defensive weapons could be on the way to Ukraine, with France and Italy in final talks to send anti-tank systems.

It comes after a number of countries pledged to send tanks to the battlefield, after requests from Kyiv.

"This will allow Ukraine to defend itself against Russian drones, missiles and plane attacks, through the coverage of a significant part of the Ukrainian territory," a French defence ministry statement said.


EU countries agree price caps on Russian refined oil products

EU countries have agreed on a European Commission proposal to set price caps on Russian refined oil products, the Swedish presidency of the European Union has said.

EU diplomats said the price caps agreed by ambassadors for the 27 EU countries were $100 per barrel on products that trade at a premium to crude, such as diesel, and $45 per barrel for products that trade at a discount, such as fuel oil.

Poland and Baltic states Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia had pushed for the caps to be set at lower levels to curb Russia's revenues from fuel, diplomats had said, dragging on talks for days.

The price caps, together with an EU ban on Russian oil product imports, are part of a broader agreement among the Group of Seven (G7) countries. It follows a $60 per barrel cap imposed on Russian crude on 5 December as G7 countries, the EU and Australia seek to limit Moscow's ability to fund its war in Ukraine.

Both caps work by prohibiting Western insurance and shipping companies from insuring or carrying cargoes of Russian crude and oil products unless they were bought at or below the set price cap.


New EU sanctions 'will hit Russia's war machine'

The European Union's next package of sanctions against Russia will hit the trade and technology that supports its war against Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said.

"Our 9 packages of sanctions are biting, and a 10th one is on its way. With our partners, we must deny Russia the means to kill Ukrainian civilians and destroy homes and offices," she said on Twitter.

"New measures will hit the trade and technology that supports Russia's war machine."

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