Here is the situation as it stands on Thursday, February 9, 2023:
- French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy will fly together on Thursday morning from Paris to a summit of European Union heads of state and government in Brussels, the Elysee Palace has announced.
- Zelenskyy started his European trip on Wednesday in London, where he won a pledge from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced NATO fighter jets.
- The Ukrainian president met his French counterpart and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris for talks over dinner.
- Russia’s embassy to Britain on Wednesday warned London against sending fighter jets to Ukraine, saying such a move would have “military and political consequences for the European continent and the entire world”, the TASS news agency reported.
- The United States, which has refused to send Kyiv F-16 fighter jets, is expected to announce a $2bn weapons package in coming days that would include rockets with bombs that double the range of those it sent last year.
- Western partners could deliver the first battalion of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine in the first three or four months of this year, German defence minister Boris Pistorius said on Wednesday during a trip to Warsaw.
- Russian attacks remained intense on Wednesday in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, said Ukrainian officials. Moscow’s forces concentrated on the areas of Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut and Avdiivka, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Facebook.
- Kyiv says it expects Moscow to broaden that offensive with a big push as the February 24 anniversary of the invasion approaches.
- International prosecutors said they have found “strong indications” that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the use in Ukraine of a Russian missile system that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The Kremlin, which has repeatedly denied any Russian state involvement in downing the plane, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- Russian authorities are discussing a one-off budget contribution from businesses this year of about 200-250 billion roubles ($2.8-$3.5bn), three sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters, as Moscow seeks to rein in its widening budget deficit.
- Western sanctions on Russia have significantly reduced state oil revenues and diverted tens of billions of dollars towards shipping and refining firms, some with Russian connections.