The Ukrainian army and the Russian private military group Wagner both claimed to be in control of the Blakhodatne region east of Donetsk on Sunday.
In its daily meeting, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced, referring to the clashes on Saturday: the units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled the attacks on the invaders in the areas of… Blahodatne… in the Donetsk region.
It listed 13 other towns in the Donetsk region where Ukrainian forces repelled attacks.
Meanwhile, the Wagner group, designated by the United States as a transnational criminal organization, announced on the Telegram messaging app that its units are in control of Belohodatne in eastern Donetsk.
Deutsche Welle could not confirm the details of either party’s claims.
Clashes have intensified in the Donetsk region, especially around Bakhmut, north of Blakhudatne.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described it as “acute” in a video conference late Friday.
Here are other updates on the war in Ukraine on Sunday, January 29:
Ukraine: Three people were killed by shelling of Kherson by Russia
Local authorities announced that Russian bombing of residential areas in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson left at least three people dead.
Kherson regional administration announced on social networks: enemy artillery targeted residential areas of the city. According to the government, these attacks killed two men and one woman and wounded six others.
The organization added that civilian facilities including the Kherson regional clinical hospital, a school, a bus station, a post office, a bank and residential buildings were damaged.
Kherson was occupied by Russian forces from the early days of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine until its recapture by Ukrainian forces in November. Since the liberation of this city, it has been shelled regularly by the Russians.
Schulz and Putin are “open” to a direct phone call
Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to hold talks with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state-run Ryanovsky news agency on Sunday.
“Currently, there are no negotiated agreements [with Scholz] In the program, quoted by RIA Novosti, Peskov said that Putin was and is open to contacts.
The last time Putin and Schulz spoke on the phone was in early December 2022.
“I will also speak to Putin on the phone again, because we need to talk to each other,” the German chancellor told the German newspaper. Tagesspiegel In an interview published on Sunday.
“But of course, this is also clear: As long as Russia continues to wage uncontrolled aggression, the current situation will not change,” Schulz said.
He said he had been in fairly regular contact with Putin, not rude in tone, but far apart in their views.
“You can have no illusions,” Schulz said. “Putin wants to annex parts of his neighboring country by force, and this is completely unacceptable.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has also been in direct contact with Putin since the invasion of Russia, and has sometimes faced criticism from allies for doing so.
US President Joe Biden and Putin had a video call in December.
The new Czech president, Pavel, called Zelensky
New Czech President and former NATO general Petr Pavel called Ukrainian President Zelensky on Sunday after winning the second round.
Tim Powell said he had spoken to Zelenskyi by phone and had said earlier during the campaign that he wanted to visit Ukraine as soon as possible if elected.
Czech presidents usually visit Slovakia on their first foreign visit, but Pavel had said he would visit Ukraine in the future, hopefully to meet his Slovak counterpart.
Zelensky also shared news of the call and said he had issued an invitation to Powell.
Zelensky wrote on Twitter in English: “I personally congratulated Petr Pavel on his victory in the Czech presidential election. I thanked him and the Czech people for their unwavering support.
Ukraine sanctions more Russian and Belarusian companies
Kyiv announced that it had imposed sanctions on 182 Russian and Belarusian companies, as well as three individuals. This was the latest in a series of attempts by President Zelensky to cut Belarus and Russia’s relations with his country.
According to the list published by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the sanctioned companies are said to be involved in the transportation of goods, car rental and chemical production.
The company includes Russian potash fertilizer producer and exporter Uralkali, Belarusian state potash producer Belaruskali, Belarusian Railways, as well as Russia’s VTB-Leasing and Gazprombank Leasing, both of which deal in transport leasing.
“Their assets are frozen in Ukraine, their assets will be used for our defense,” Zelensky said in a video speech.
Pyongyang denies the arms deal with Russia
North Korea has denied supplying Russia with weapons. It comes after the United States said Pyongyang had sent missiles and rockets to Russia’s private military group Wagner, which Washington has called a “transnational criminal organization.”
Among the evidence, the White House showed U.S. intelligence photos of Russian rail cars entering North Korea, picking up a shipment of missiles and anti-personnel missiles and returning to Russia, according to national security spokesman John Kirby.
Kwon Jong-gun, a senior North Korean official for US policy, said the allegations were a “self-made rumour”.
In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, he warned that if the United States continued to spread the rumor, it would face “really unfavorable results.”
“Attempt to tarnish image [North Korea] By faking something that does not exist, it is a great provocation that can never be allowed and cannot be reacted to.”
Germany’s Rheinmetall to increase production
German arms company Rheinmetall has announced that it is ready to increase production of tanks and artillery ammunition to meet strong demand in Ukraine and the West.
In an interview with Reuters, CEO Armin Papperger said the company may even start producing HIMARS multiple launch vehicles in Germany.
“We can produce 240,000 tank shells (120 mm) per year, more than the entire world needs,” Popperger said.
Demand for ammunition has increased since Russia invaded Ukraine due to its frequent use on the battlefield. But demand has also increased as Western militaries replenish their reserves and prepare for what they see as a growing threat from Moscow.
Popperger’s comments come ahead of the expected meeting between the heads of Germany’s defense industry and Boris Pistorius, the country’s new defense minister.
Rheinmetall produces a range of defense products. This company is famous for the 120 mm tank gun Leopard 2.
Erdogan hinted that Turkey might approve Finland in NATO and not Sweden
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that his country might want Finland to join NATO, but not Sweden.
Joining NATO requires the unanimous approval of current members.
Turkey has tried to use this as leverage in a long-running conflict with northern European countries, mostly Kurdish Turks fleeing Turkey, many of whom Turkey considers separatist terrorists.
Last week, Turkey froze the process with both countries, angering Sweden in particular after two public protests – the first by pro-Kurdish groups that burned an effigy of Erdogan, and the second by far-right groups that burned copies of the Koran. In response to Turkey’s threat of not joining NATO.
On Sunday, however, Erdogan spoke broadly about Sweden’s “extradition of terrorists.”
We may send a different message to Finland [on their NATO application] And Sweden will be shocked when they see our message, but Finland should not make the same mistake that Sweden made, Erdogan said in a televised speech.
More information on the war in Ukraine at dw.com
Russia has announced plans to rebuild and expand its military. But are these plans realistic, can they be financed and can hundreds of thousands of new troops or conscripts be equipped? DW’s Russian-language service went deeper.
This DW video looks at the Wagner group’s practice of using convicts to promise amnesty if they go to the front line.
And here’s more about the Wagner group and its financiers from Marina Miron, a security analyst and honorary fellow at King’s College London.
Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks and M1 Abrams vehicles may be the focus of attention from the United States, but Morocco appears to be the first African country to send military equipment to Ukraine. We took a closer look at the change in foreign policy.
You can also read more about the delivery of Western tanks to Ukraine in recent weeks here.
msh, jcg/dj (AP, Reuters, dpa, AFP)