Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy with Swiss counterpart Viola Amherd, Bern, Switzerland, January 16, 2024


Saturday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy — “Thwart Russia’s Attempt to Expand the War”


Map: Institute for the Study of War


UPDATE 1908 GMT:

Six civilians, including a pregnant woman, have been killed and 27 injured by a Russian strike on a recreation center in a northern suburb of Kharkiv city.

The strike was on Mala Danylivka, around 70 km (43 miles) southwest of the frontline, at about 11 a.m. An injured 8-year-old girl is in stable condition, and a man who was fishing near the site is still missing.

A paramedic is among the wounded, and an ambulance was damaged in the “double tap” strike, which targeted rescuers responding to the initial attack. Two Iskander ballistic missiles were used.

Three men and two women were killed and nine injured in Russian strikes on the Kupyansk district of the Kharkiv region.

The villages of Novoosynove and Kivsharivka were targeted by multiple launch rocket systems.


UPDATE 1417 GMT:

Ukraine law enforcement officials say drones attacked the Kushchyovskaya airbase and the Slavyansk oil refinery in the Krasnodar region of southwest Russia overnight.

Warplanes on the base included Su-34s, Su-25s, Su-27s, and MiG-29s.

Management of the oil refinery said it stopped operations as damage was assessed.

Three weeks ago Ukranian drones hit the same sites, striking several aircraft and fractioning and atmospheric distillation columnsa at the refinery.


UPDATE 1334 GMT:

A Russian court has ordered the seizure of the assets of Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Italy’s UniCredit.

The court in St. Petersburg mandated the confiscation of €239 million ($260 million) from Deutsche Bank and around €463 million ($504 million) from UniCredit.

The rulings are in response a request from RusKhimAlians, which wants to build a gas processing and liquefaction plant. The German company Linde withdrew from the project because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

UniCredit and Deutsche Bank were the guarantors of the project.

The Italian bank began preliminary discussions on sale of its Russian assets last year, but the talks have not advanced. Chief executive Andrea Orcel said UniCredit still wants to leave, but gifting an operation to Russia worth €3 billion euros is not a proper way to respect Western sanctions.


UPDATE 0654 GMT:

Ukraine has again asked the Biden administration to permit the use of US-supplied weapons inside Russia, including American assistance with the identification of targets.

The Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Brown, confirmed, “They asked for help in striking Russia. It was not only about weapons systems, but also about additional assistance in striking the Russian military.”

Amid Russia’s cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, the Administration flipped back and forth last week. Officials initially reiterated the long-standing ban on use inside Russia, despite authorization last month of ATACMS missile systems with a range of 300 km (186 miles).

During a visit to Kyiv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the decision was Ukraine’s. But a day later, the Pentagon again declared the prohibition.

Ukraine War, Day 813: US — Kyiv Can Strike Inside Russia With American Weapons

A White House official said the “long-standing policy” is that “we do not encourage or tolerate attacks on Russian territory”.


UPDATE 0613 GMT:

Three civilians were killed and three injured in Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region by Russian attacks on Saturday.

Two civilians, aged 83 and 70, were slain when trying to leave the town — under assault from three directions by the Russians — by car. A 60-year-old woman also perished.

Six civilians, including two children, were wounded in shelling of a residential area of Kharkiv city.


UPDATE 0605 GMT:

The French dairy products company Danone has confirmed the end of its Russian operations.

Danone, which had been in Russia for more than 30 years, announced the sale of its assets to Russian dairy company Vamin R LLC. The sale was valued at 17.7 billion rubles ($194.5 million) — experts estimated the company’s worth between 60 and 80 billion.

The deal was first tabled in October 2022, but it was held up by a decree by Vladimir Putin that nationalized Danone’s Russian assets.

About 5% of Danone’s global sales were in Russia.


ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has set out objectives for the Global Peace Summit, to be convened in Switzerland on June 15-16: free navigation to protect port infrastructure; global food security; and Ukrainian economic development.

Discussions will also consider other elements of Zelenskiy’s 10-point peace plan, first presented in November 2022 at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. They include nuclear and energy security, with the prevention of attacks on critical infrastructure; the exhchange of prisoners of war; and the return of forcibly deported Ukrainian children from Russia and Russian-occupied areas.

In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy noted that more than 50 countries have accepted invitations to the Summit. In the past week, he has spoken with the heads of state or government of 11 nations, as well as hosting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Even if they see the world differently, it is important to work to engage them because they have influence. Any kind of influence: defense – at the level of arms trade, economy – somewhere. They have an influence on Russia. And the more such countries we have on our side – on the side of ending the war – the more Russia will have to take it into account.