Update 40: Russia's war with Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is in a state of deadlock, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. In an intelligence update, it said there was a possibility of Russian advances around the heavily contested city of Bakhmut in the Donbas region, but otherwise little movement. In the east of the country both sides have taken huge losses for little gain in intense trench warfare over the past two months. The Russian army claimed on 21 January that it has launched an offensive in the Zaporizhzhia region in south-east Ukraine.

Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said he did not believe it was realistic to expect Ukraine to push Russian troops out of its internationally recognised territory in 2023. “From a military standpoint, I still maintain that from this year it would be very, very difficult to militarily eject Russian forces from every inch of Russian-occupied Ukraine,” he said at a press conference at the Ramstein US air force base in Germany on 20 January. The meeting of the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group, which is coordinating military support to Ukraine, was dominated by Germany’s hesitancy in reaching a decision on whether to supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Read more in the attached pdf on: discussions at Davos; the debates about supplying battle tanks to Ukraine, as well as other Western military and financial assistance; cooperation between Belarus and Russia; stalled diplomacy; the humanitarian consequences of the armed conflict; the risk of nuclear weapon use; investigations into alleged war crimes; sanctions against Russia; international food security and Ukrainian grain exports; energy security in Europe; the position of China; developments in Russia; and developments within NATO.

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